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During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.

Director:

(as Francis Coppola)

Writers:

, (as Francis Coppola) | 1 more credit »
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433 ( 105)
Top Rated Movies #48 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Tyrone 'Clean' Miller (as Larry Fishburne)
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Jerry Ziesmer ...
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Bo Byers ...
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Storyline

It is the height of the war in Vietnam, and U.S. Army Captain Willard is sent by Colonel Lucas and a General to carry out a mission that, officially, 'does not exist - nor will it ever exist'. The mission: To seek out a mysterious Green Beret Colonel, Walter Kurtz, whose army has crossed the border into Cambodia and is conducting hit-and-run missions against the Viet Cong and NVA. The army believes Kurtz has gone completely insane and Willard's job is to eliminate him! Willard, sent up the Nung River on a U.S. Navy patrol boat, discovers that his target is one of the most decorated officers in the U.S. Army. His crew meets up with surfer-type Lt-Colonel Kilgore, head of a U.S Army helicopter cavalry group which eliminates a Viet Cong outpost to provide an entry point into the Nung River. After some hair-raising encounters, in which some of his crew are killed, Willard, Lance and Chef reach Colonel Kurtz's outpost, beyond the Do Lung Bridge. Now, after becoming prisoners of Kurtz, will... Written by Derek O'Cain

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Horror. . . The Horror. . .

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent images, language, sexual content and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

| |

Release Date:

15 August 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$31,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$96,992 (USA) (3 August 2001)

Gross:

£338,493 (UK) (21 December 2001)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Redux) | (workprint)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (Redux version)| (35 mm prints)| (Redux version)

Color:

(Technicolor)|

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Steve McQueen was the first to turn down the role of Captain Willard. He had initially verbally agreed to play him when Coppola agreed to his salary of $3,000,000 (equivalent to a little over $13,000,000 in 2013 dollars). But after thinking about the fact the work would require months of on-location shooting in the Philippine jungle, McQueen told Coppola he'd rather play the Kilgore role instead, which would require much less location work, as long as he would still be paid his full salary. Coppola, who was essentially self financing the movie, simply couldn't afford it and said no. See more »

Goofs

There is a jump cut just as Willard lifts the pages of Kurtz's journal, before he sees the handwriting on one page. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Willard: [voiceover] Saigon... shit; I'm still only in Saigon... Every time I think I'm gonna wake up back in the jungle.
Willard: When I was home after my first tour, it was worse.
[grabs at flying insect]
Willard: I'd wake up and there'd be nothing. I hardly said a word to my wife, until I said "yes" to a divorce. When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle. I'm here a week now... waiting for a mission... getting softer. Every minute I stay ...
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Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits in the film. The title can be seen as graffiti in the Kurtz compound late in the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Toxic Avenger Part II (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Surfin' Safari
Brian Wilson and Mike Love
Guild Music (BMI) c/o Original Sound Entertainment
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
In my opinion, Coppola's best work
21 December 2004 | by (Virden, MB, Canada) – See all my reviews

My favourite movie of all time. This was a flawed piece of work by Coppola and seeing the documentary 'Heart of Darkness' made it even more compelling. Coppola at this point was king of Hollywood after making 'the Godfather' and 'GodfatherII' and had developed the ego necessary to even dare try to make a movie like 'Apocalypse Now'. Through sheer arrogance he went to the Phillipines with a partial script and thought he would know what he would do when he got there. Just as Captain Willard thought he would know what to do once he got to Col. Kurtz's compound. And just like Willard, he DIDN'T know what he was going to do once he got there. This is such a masterpiece of American cinema, beautifully photographed and the river is such a perfect metaphor and backdrop for the story. What I like most about 'Apocalypse Now' is that it offers no answers or conclusions. Consequently, because of this open-endedness, it infuriates some viewers who like their movies to be much more obvious.

This movie defies categorization. Some call it a war movie which it isn't at all, really it is more of a personal study of man. The best pic about Vietnam is 'Platoon' in my opinion and if a viewer is seeking a retelling of the Vietnam War go there first for answers.

Coppola should be commended for his take on the bureaucracy of war which he conveys quite effectively with the meeting with Gen.Corman and Lucas (Harrison Ford) and the Playmate review. The sheer audacity of Kilgore makes him an unforgettable character and the dawn attack will always be a Hollywood classic.

It is an almost psychedelic cruise to a very surreal ending which makes it a movie not accessible to everyone. Very challenging to watch but rewarding as well. I could offer my explanations on each scene but that would be totally pointless. This movie is intended for interpretation and contemplation as opposed to immediate gratification.

A little footnote, definitely if your a first-time viewer of Apocalypse Now, watch the original version first, the 'Redux' version is, I think, more intended for the hardcore fan and is more of a curiosity than a 'new and improved' version of the movie


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