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Apocalypse Now (1979)

R | | Drama, War | 15 August 1979 (USA)
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1:30 | Trailer

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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:

Francis Ford Coppola (as Francis Coppola)

Writers:

John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola (as Francis Coppola) | 1 more credit »
Popularity
330 ( 49)
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:
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:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

American Zoetrope

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, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$83,471,511
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Zoetrope Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Redux) | (workprint)

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The boat's name is "Erebus", seen on the transom, referring to the son of the Greek god of utter darkness, as the movie's source novel was Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness". (Erebus and Terror were also the two lost ships in the famous 1845 to 1846 British polar expedition of Sir John Franklin.) The back of the seat in the forward turret (with dual M2 .50 cal MGs) of the PBR (Lance's position) has the words "God's Country" written on it. The steel gun-shield protecting the gun mount (single M2 .50 cal MG) on the back of the boat is marked with the words "Canned Heat". See more »

Goofs

Before the Playboy/USO show where the crew is trying buy fuel from the quartermaster, the Playmate centerfolds hanging on the wall behind him are from the mid '70s, rather than the late '60s. The centerfold on the far right is Cynthia Wood, 1974 Playmate of the Year, who soon appears in the film during the USO show. 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 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

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 theatre goers in lieu of any credits (this ending was used for the theatrical cut featured on the 2011 Blu-Ray release).
  • 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

Referenced in The Chase Australia: Episode #2.84 (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Excerpts from 'Mnong Gar Music from Vietnam'
Courtesy of OCORA Radio France
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Truly a Masterpiece
4 July 2004 | by cristiangrecuSee all my reviews

Somewhere on IMDb there is a discussion about the greatest director of all times (Spielberg, Copolla and others are named there). The greatest argument was around Spielberg and whether he is or isn't a great director. The problem with Spielberg is that while he is a master technician, most of his films lack depth.Saving Ryan is really outstanding from a technical point of view, but its message is dull and while its very entertaining, it doesn't make you think about anything. AN is the best movie I ever saw because it combines great shooting with a deep philosophical perspective on so many things, starting from war in general, the clash of civilizations, the condition of soldier in wartimes (is a soldier a hero or an assassin? Brando says he is neither, the french lady says he is both ...) and many others. The problem with some people is that they try to argue about whether these points are true or false. But a great movie, and a great piece of art in general is supposed to spark arguments, not to solve them ... Maybe Coppola is right, or maybe he isn't, nobody holds the truth anyway. You can watch this movie for its outer beauty, amazing scenes, great acting and memorable quotes and you will be entirely satisfied. But what really make this movie a masterpiece is its inner quality. You can't help but make a comparison with the recent Fahrenheit documentary.Both Copolla and Moore tackle similar issues, but while Copolla presents matters from an outside , objective point of view, Moore takes a very partisan position that really compromises the whole point of a documentary ... It is really a shame that a film like Fahrenheit 9/11 won a prestigious award like Cannes. But anyway, if you want to start to understand a little of the Vietnam war, the Iraq war, the second World War and any war in general, you should definitely see this movie, and not the other one ...


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