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Apocalypse Now (1979)

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

Directors:

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

Writers:

John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola (as Francis Coppola) | 2 more credits »
Popularity
230 ( 82)
Top Rated Movies #55 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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
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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:

I love the smell of napalm in the morning. See more »

Genres:

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 »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

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 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$31,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$118,558, 19 August 1979

Gross USA:

$83,471,511

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$91,730,411
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (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:

Color (Technicolor)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the photographer (Dennis Hopper) is babbling about the religious fervor of Kurtz, he babbles out portions of the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling. See more »

Goofs

LTC Kilgore's stetson hat has a rank insignia on it when he is first seen, but the rank is missing in the Ride of the Valkyries attack. 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...
See more »

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 »

Alternate Versions

A 289min long workprint version exists. It has never been officially released but circulates as a video bootleg. The bootleg contains the following extra material not included in either the original theatrical release or the "redux" version.
  • A longer opening montage, the entire 10 minute song "The End" by The Doors is heard.It intercuts longer helicopters/jungle images with Willard in the hotel room in a drunken rage, as well as a scene where he is with a prostitute. There are various shots outside depicting the streets of Saigon.
  • When the two soldiers pick up Willard in the hotel room there is a brief conversation while they help him shower and shave. They notify him that his wait for his new mission is now over.
  • The scene where Willard is given his assignment is longer and contains much more dialogue. The general informs Willard that the mission is purely voluntary and he can decline it. The general also offers Willard a promotion to major upon completion of the mission. For some reason Colonel Kurtz is referred to in this scene as "Colonel Leevy". There are some external shots of the military base.
  • A brief scene where Willard is introduced to the crew of the Navy P.B.R.
  • Carmine Coppola's score is not present in this version. Many more songs by The Doors are played throughout the film instead.
  • None of the narration or dossier voiceovers are in this version.
  • There is no audio dubbing in this version. All the audio is from the sound recorded during the actual filming. Much of Robert Duvall's dialogue is unitelligable due to the sound of the helicopters in his scenes.
  • A much longer first cavalry "Ride of Valkyrie" attack scene (30+ mins)showing much unused footage and alternate takes.
  • A much longer playboy bunnies performance.
  • Various extended scenes on the boat, and alternate takes and shots.
  • A scene where a miniature toy boat passes the Navy PBR. Lance tries to grab it out of the water. The Chief yells at him to leave it alone claiming it's a booby trap. To prove it the Chief fires some shots at it to which it explodes.
  • When the P.B.R. reaches Do-lung bridge, the soldier that greets them gives a more detailed explanation of the chaos around the bridge.
  • When Lance is reading his letters on the boat, he suddenly stops to machine gun a water buffalo on the shore. The Chief yells at him to stop.
  • The sequence where Clean is killed is omitted.
  • A slightly longer French plantation sequence. After the French woman strips she crawls into the bed with Willard and they begin kissing.
  • The sequence where the Chief is killed is omitted.
  • More dialogue between Willard and the photojournalist when they first reach the Kurtz compound. The Journalist reveals that it was HE who was able to get the montangnards to break off their attack on the boat in the previous scene. Willard repeatedly asks the Journalists name but he refuses to answer.
  • The character of Colby, (the soldier who was sent before Willard to kill Kurtz, played by Scott Glenn) has a much more substantial role in this version. As Willard inspects the compound, Colby tells Willard that the night before, NVA soldiers had attacked (which explains all the bodies laying about the compound). Willard then enters Kurtz's house, much to the dismay of the journalist. Willard sees Kurtz empty bed and his medals, also his journal with the inscription "Drop the bomb, exterminate them all" (many of these scenes were in the final version but re-inserted in different places).
  • The scene where Willard talks to Chef about the air strike on the boat is omitted.
  • In this version. The first time Kurtz appears is the scene where a mud caked Willard is tied up (seated) to a pole in the rain. Kurtz appears with camouflage face paint, Willard asks...."Why he is being mistreated?" and tries to bluff his way past Kurtz by telling him that he had just completed a secret mission in Cambodia, and only stopped for supplies. Kurtz says nothing to him, but plants Chef's head in his lap. (Only a portion of this scene was in the original version).
  • The scene where Willard meets Kurtz in his bed chamber contains more dialogue....as Kurtz makes it clear that he knows why Willard is there.
  • A scene where Kurtz talks to Willard in the bamboo cage while two children sit on top of the cage and dangle insects in Willard's face. He tells him that Willard is "like his colleagues in Washington, master liars who want to win the war but don't want to appear as immoral or unethical".
  • A lengthy scene where the montangnards in a ritualistic display pick up the bamboo cage (with Willard inside) and poke him with sticks (Lance and Colby participate in this). The natives dance around the bamboo cage, chanting and singing while a squealing pig is tied up and killed.
  • A 10 minute version of the scene where Kurtz reads the poem "The Hollow Men", intercutting between his reading and the journalist talking with Willard.
  • A scene where the journalist meets Willard to tell him that he thinks Kurtz is about to kill him because he took his picture again. During which Colby comes behind the journalist and shoots him three times, killing him. Willard throws a knife at Colby's stomach to which he falls, but before he dies he asks Willard to talk to his family for him and asks him to kill Kurtz.
  • Kurtz speech about the horror and the children vaccination are omitted.
  • During the assassination scene at the end, before Willard enters Kurtz' home, one of the guards confronts him. Willard picks up a spear to defend himself as the guard picks up a child to shield himself. Willard runs the spear right through the child and into the guard. The final scene with Willard and the montangnards after Kurtz assasination are omitted.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Full Metal Jacket: Between Good and Evil (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

The Ride of the Valkyries
from "Die Walküre"
Composed by Richard Wagner
Conducted by Georg Solti
Performed by Wiener Philharmoniker (as The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra)
Courtesy of Decca Record Company Ltd/London Records Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
You love it, or you hate it....
25 June 2001 | by Cinema_HoundSee all my reviews

As I peruse through the hundreds of comments that loyal readers of the IMDB have posted on this film, I find it very interesting how few ,"middle of the road" comments there are. Everyone either loves it, or they hate it. Having seen Apocalypse Now approximately 30 times, and having recently dissected it on DVD (how did we ever live without those magical digital machines?????), I can say without hesitation that I am one of those who have a very special place in my heart for this film. "Why would you like a film that's so confusing?" ask many of my associates. The answer is this: Forget the war, forget the brutality....This is a classic story of society protecting itself from those that refuse to fall in line with the status quo. Brando represents the individual that has his own way of getting the job done. They (Big Brother) sent him out to do the job, he does it too well, without adhering to the accepted "standards" of death and destruction (Am I the only one who's troubled by the fact that we have 'standards' for death and destruction????), so they send the "Conformity Police" out to eliminate the individual. Hmmmmmm....Draw any parallels between this and things you see every day? With the deepest respect to Mr. Coppola, whom I believe is one of the best directors of all time, I think he transcended his original intent of the movie, and probably didn't even realize it until after the movie was released. The subtle sub-text that permeates the entire movie has way too much to it to have been planned and portrayed; instead, it seems to have 'grown' itself, like some wild flower in the middle of a vegetable garden. Again I must reiterate: I think FF Coppola did a bang-up job on this entire production, as did the cast and crew, but the sum of the movie exceeds the individual efforts ten-fold. So if you haven't seen the movie, rent it, watch it, then watch it again, and maybe a few more times, and look for all the generic parallels to everyday life. Only then make a judgment on the quality of the film. Those of you that have seen it, watch it again with the mindset previously described. I think you may just have a whole new appreciation for the film. Or maybe not! No matter whether you love it or hate it, be sure and give credit to Coppola for his masterful story-telling style!


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