Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991)

R  |   |  Documentary  |  6 December 1991 (UK)
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Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.

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Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Himself (as Francis Coppola)
Eleanor Coppola ...
Himself - from 1938 radio broadcast (voice) (archive footage)
Tom Sternberg ...
Himself (as Fred Forrest)
Himself (as Larry Fishburne)
Herself (as Gia)
Himself (as Roman)
Herself (as Sofia)
Dean Tavoularis ...
Fred Roos ...


Documents the sensational events surrounding the making of 'Apocalypse Now' and Francis Ford Coppola's struggle with nature, governments, actors, and self-doubt. Includes footage and sound secretly recorded by Elanor Coppola, wife of Francis. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The magic and madness of making "Apocalypse Now"



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

6 December 1991 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Aux coeurs des ténèbres - l'apocalypse d'un metteur en scène  »

Box Office


$1,318,449 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Feature directorial debut for Fax Bahr and George Hickenlooper. See more »


In the end credits for musical listings under the Doors song The End, Elektra (Records) is misspelled (as "Electra.") See more »


Eleanor Coppola: The film Francis is making is a metaphor for a journey into self. He has made that journey and is still making it. It's scary to watch someone you love go into the center of himself and confront his fears, fear of failure, fear of death, fear of going insane. You have to fail a little, die a little, go insane a little, to come out the other side. The process is not over for Francis.
See more »


Spoofed in Tropic Thunder: Rain of Madness (2008) See more »


The Ride of the Valkyries
by Richard Wagner
See more »

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User Reviews

fascinating stuff
24 August 2002 | by (somewhere in england) – See all my reviews

Best documentary about the making of a film ever. This is fascinating stuff. Scary,funny,and always compelling, watching this you wonder how the film ever got finished. All the main actors contribute interviews for the film, (except Brando of course)and all are quite revealing. There's also contributions from George Lucas and John Milius. Some of Milius's anecdotes are highly amusing, and we get to hear excerpts from his original screenplay, a lot of which was never used, unfortunately. Some amazing footage shot by coppolla's wife include, Martin Sheen drunk and dangerous on set, Coppolla trying to get an obviously high Dennis Hopper to remember his lines, and poor Coppolla trying to shoot the ending with an uncooperative Brando selfishly wanting to do everything his way,and get paid millions for the privilege! If you are a fan of Apocalypse Now or even if you have an interest in cinema, this is a must see.

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