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Apocalypse Now (1979)

R | | Drama, War | 15 August 1979 (USA)
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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 »
Popularity
389 ( 12)
Top Rated Movies #50 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 31 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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Bo Byers ...
MP Sergeant #1
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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:

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

15 August 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$31,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$118,558, 19 August 1979, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$83,471,511
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Redux) | (workprint)

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Francis Ford Coppola, who considered offering the role of Willard to Al Pacino, said that Pacino would probably have played the role if they could have filmed the movie in his New York City apartment. Jack Nicholson also was offered the role, but turned it down. See more »

Goofs

When Kilgore wants the tree-line bombed with napalm to the stone age, he asks for "Dove Four" and the pilots respond with "Dove One-Three", and "Dove Four" is never referred to again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Willard (voice-over): Saigon... shit; I'm still only in Saigon... Every time I think I'm gonna wake up back in the jungle.
Willard (voice-over): When I was home after my first tour, it was worse.
[grabs at flying insect]
Willard (voice-over): 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 in this room...
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Crazy Credits

There are four different treatments of the end credits, all four are available in different VHS, laserdisc, DVD and TV prints of the film...... When the film premiered in a limited 70mm format, it had no beginning or end credits, nothing but a one-line Omni Zoetrope copyright notice at the end. Programs were passed out to theater goers in lieu of any credits. When the film went into its wide release its format was 35mm. This version included end credits rolling over surrealistic explosions and burning jungle, showing the Kurtz compound being destroyed. When Coppola heard that people were assuming that the explosions during the end credits of the 35mm version meant that an air strike had been called in on the Kurtz compound (which is not what he wanted audiences to think) he quickly re-edited the 35mm version to have the end credits rolling over a simple black background and a slightly altered musical score. The "Redux" version also has the end credits over a black background but in different screen fonts and including additional "Redux" inserted cast members. See more »

Connections

Version of Heart of Darkness (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
In my top five favorite films ever made
6 January 2000 | by See all my reviews

Apocalypse Now is not only my personal favorite work by Francis Ford Coppolla, it's also one of the great visions ever put onto cinema. It makes what was horrific, strange, and ironically exciting and mysterious about the Vietnam War into this mad tale of obsession, death, loss, and the dark side of humanity. While the stories behind the production of the film made it notorious and rather risky back in 1979, it works on its own terms and represents not just Coppola's genius but others in the Zoetrope team as well. It also paints a sometimes lurid, ultra-violent, bleak and curious view of what war does to people, both in the lower ranks, the big-guns, and those who go too far "up the river".

Many have also been perplexed by Marlon Brando's performance in the film, but it's actually one of his very best turns on screen, albeit improvised and close to running off the rails. His few moments on screen (even in the somewhat unnecessary scene plopped into the Redux version) there's enough conviction in what he's saying- and what perhaps isn't said- that makes the trip down the river worthwhile on an intellectual and poetic level. And making up the bulk of the film are delirious turns by Robert Duvall (a Oscar nominated turn he should've won), Martin Sheen as the Captain with almost too much to ponder in an ever increasing state of everything but him being insane; character actors like Sam Bottoms, Frederic Forrest and 14 year-old Laurence Fishburne have some of the best work they've ever done. And it goes without saying that Dennis Hopper comes close to stealing any scene he's in, for better or worse, with the most to say in rambling, yet coherent words.

Every time I watch this film (and mostly the original version which is what first drew me in completely as opposed to the very good if muddled Redux version) I am astounded with how operatic everything is, and how the variations on the madness and chaos of Vietnam is put together. Of course one can give adulation to Coppola for this as he completed it without totally going off the deep end or possibly dying, and his talents are pulled to their richest peaks here as a storyteller and director of actors. But it can't be said enough how much I can't get enough of Vittorio Storaro's cinematography, which has in part come close to perfect for this kind of epic film. The music is perfectly eerie and insidious, with the Doors song used for one of my favorite iconic scenes in the movies (both of them). Walter Murch's editing- which apparently was what saved the film from being a four-hour disaster- makes the action move when it needs to and for individual shots to get their due. And even the production design is remarkable and, to the extent it goes to, original in its partial translation of both Conrad's fiction and the unfortunate realities of life on the river.

If you haven't seen it yet, in short, get off your ass and get a copy; it might cause a kind of shell-shock for a viewer after first taking it all in, but it has some of the purest, most rewarding bits of cinema ever to come out of that all-too-brief American new-wave of the 1970's.


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