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Apocalypse Now (1979)

1:31 | Trailer
A U.S. Army officer serving in Vietnam is tasked with assassinating a renegade Special Forces Colonel who sees himself as a god.


Francis Ford Coppola (as Francis Coppola), Francis Ford Coppola


John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola (as Francis Coppola) | 2 more credits »
169 ( 15)
Top Rated Movies #57 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marlon Brando ... Colonel Walter E. Kurtz
Martin Sheen ... Captain Benjamin L. Willard
Robert Duvall ... Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore
Frederic Forrest ... Jay 'Chef' Hicks
Sam Bottoms ... Lance B. Johnson
Laurence Fishburne ... Tyrone 'Clean' Miller (as Larry Fishburne)
Albert Hall ... Chief Phillips
Harrison Ford ... Colonel Lucas
Dennis Hopper ... Photojournalist
G.D. Spradlin ... General R. Corman
Jerry Ziesmer ... Jerry, Civilian
Scott Glenn ... Lieutenant Richard M. Colby
Bo Byers Bo Byers ... MP Sergeant #1
James Keane ... Kilgore's Gunner
Kerry Rossall ... Mike from San Diego


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


The Horror. . . The Horror. . . See more »


Drama | Mystery | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | French | Vietnamese

Release Date:

15 August 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier See more »

Filming Locations:

Philippines See more »


Box Office


$31,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$118,558, 19 August 1979

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (Redux) | (workprint) | (Final Cut)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (5.1) (70 mm prints)| Dolby Digital (Redux version)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)| DTS (Redux version)| Dolby Atmos (Final Cut)


Color (Technicolor)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


John Milius originally wrote the script in 1969, which was known then as "The Psychedelic Soldier". As Francis Ford Coppola described it, the original screenplay was a series of "comic book" scenes to point out the absurdity of the Vietnam War. Over the course of several years of re-writes, the final script kept some of the absurd elements from Milius' original screenplay for the first half, with Joseph Conrad's novel, "Heart of Darkness" added to it for the second half of the movie. See more »


Shadow of dolly and crew just before the scene with the news crew. See more »


[first lines]
Willard: 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 in this room...
See more »

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 »

Alternate Versions

"Apocalypse Now: Final Cut" is a 4K restoration from original negatives and a new cut by Francis Ford Coppola. This version runs at 183 minutes and was released theatrically and on Blu-ray in August 2019. See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Jungle Movies (2016) See more »


(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Performed by The Rolling Stones
Courtesy of ABKCO Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

I did setup an extra page for the Final Cut but i m d b simply threw it out
18 July 2019 | by eyeMDbeeSee all my reviews

Edit: With a lot of work I did set up an extra page for the final cut in July. Took me an entire day, because of tedious rules. It was meant to separate the different version in their ratings. But I M D B decided without even having the courtesy to notify me to simply re-merge my page into this one - and therewith wasted all my efforts.

I also did put a lot of work here into correcting false Trivia etc... But instead of any apprecciation, I get censored by I.M.D.B often

  • also without notification or explanation why,
so I now feel that we reviewers are treated as "useful !d!ots", doing all the work, whilst some algorithm simply throws out anything without regard of wasting people's life-time.

Now it is the end of August and I think I had it with this site and won't pour any of my heart-blood into it anymore.
  • - -

Here is my original review for the Final Cut version:

Looking at the reviews for the original version I noticed that many 1 star reviews did not dislike the original movie, but the Redux version. Unfortunately they therewith dragged down the original movie's ratings which gives a distorted impression. So in order to give everyone of you the opportunity to rate and review the original and the final version separately I did create this page.

And now I explain to you why I give this movie the top rating:

To me the reason why this movie is a classic is that it draws one into a total different world, by first engaging our emotional involvement, until the viewer comes out somewhere different and somehow changed.

The way it does that, is to straight away throw us into the total senselessness of a life, which was conditioned to find its purpose in fulfilling missions
  • only to then having none.
This is the conflict between fulfilling what is in your heart and machine-like "performing ones duty", and what I like about it, is that Coppola did not merely talk the talk, but really walk the walk himself:

He did pour all his heart blood into it - from financial risk, via encountering tremendous adversities, up to a huge production time he likely never did anticipate before: Just read the Trivia of Apocalypse Now (1979), it reads like a drama in itself! This shines through and gives this movie an authentic flair.

A mainstream movie would display initial difficulties, but only to move onto a new found reason to live for (either driven by one's career or romantic love); and then end happily with the revival of purpose and excitement. But for Apocalypse Now the deconstruction of the ego is just a starting point into an apocalypse of a false identity which mistakes the self with role one plays in society.

It does that by hurling us from one absurdity into the next; and the reason why art is in this case is better than a documentary, is because it does it without any judgment, but by chasing us frantically through bubbles within the chain of command where ethical rules don't apply:
  • a void of power, abused by the uncontrolled madness of immaturity
  • the world of war.

As often is the case in art, it is unclear whether the creators were fully aware of the implications of their work; but whether intended or not, the psychological effect of this movie is to hype up the viewers' tension and adrenalin; only to have their invested willpower shattered repeatedly by nonsensical decisions with tragic consequences.

That's why even after 40 years, this movie does still hold a great value, because it is a reflection of the stupidity of societies's values to simply function, instead of finding ones own true personality within. Such a movie could be made in the rebellious anti-war 70s, but in this decade of oblivious consumerism and vanity would hardly have been financed or noticed (not even to mention todays many butthurt viewers, whenever their politics is criticised or the political correctness of the hour is not catered for).

The part, however, which mesmerises me most is the conclusion drawn by one character to step out of this rat-race-madness in order to build a quite literal own realm with all the fascination and charisma gained, as soon as one doesn't allow to be squashed into the box of nonsensical norms anymore.

So in a way you get multiple movies here in one: A phoenix-like revival, one about the irrationality and atrocities of war, one about the cultural clash between the occupying and occupied forces (the french discussions alone could serve as a short-movie), and a journey into the mystical world of an irrepressible free spirit.

I left the cinema and felt like coming home from a long journey.

And as for this specific version: Even though I am not best qualified to judge in comparison, because I only can remember parts of the original and have not seen the Redux version, my feeling is that this is an excellent compromise between bringing us all important scenes, which were cut out in the first one, whilst not to try the viewers patience too hard with an overlong version.

Regardless of my subjective opinion, one thing is certain: Due to the most modern restoration to highest possible standards, the sound and picture quality of this version are objectively the best of all versions and fully live up to 2019-sounds and 2020-visions.

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