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Apocalypse Now (1979)

R | | Drama, War | 15 August 1979 (USA)
Trailer
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
440 ( 6)
Top Rated Movies #51 | 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

Marlon Brando was paid one million dollars in advance. He threatened to quit and keep the advance. Francis Ford Coppola told his agent that he didn't care, and if they couldn't get Brando, they would try Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, and then Al Pacino. Brando eventually turned up late, drunk, and about eighty-eight pounds (forty kilograms) overweight. He admitted he hadn't read the script or "Heart of Darkness". He read Coppola's script, and refused to do it. After several days of arguments over single lines of dialogue, Coppola agreed to an ad-lib style script, with Brando filmed mostly in shadows. See more »

Goofs

When Kilgore calls for the soldier to start The Ride of the Valkyries, the soldier starts the reel-to-reel tape. Unfortunately, none of the tape actually touches a playback head. Instead the tape is wound underneath a tension bar and on to the take-up reel. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.10 (2011) 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

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User Reviews

the horror, the horror...
20 April 1999 | by The ClawSee all my reviews

So just how insane is 'Apocalypse Now'? Well, let's say that it is the kind of film that makes you want to bang your head against the wall. The beginning has no credits or titles; nothing. The whole film seems like it's taking place on a different world, and as the story moves on, sanity itself is shed. There was a French plantation scene that got cut out, and an alternate ending that would have had a massive battle scene outside Kurtz's compound.

'Apocalypse Now' is not a realistic film in the sense that the presentation of the Vietnam War is far from correct: helicopters going in BEFORE the napalm strikes, a USO show in the jungle at night, and the final bridge all lit-up like a Christmas tree. (for more realistic 'Nam War movies, try 'The Deer Hunter' or 'Platoon')

But what 'Apocalypse Now' lacks in historical accuracy, it makes up in artistic and dramatic scripting. Some of the best photography and lighting ever can be found here.

The film also raises some severe philosophical issues, and gives us entirely new ones. When the movie begins, the war is raging around us. It is chaotic and nerve-racking, yet still rational. When we finally get to Kurtz's base, the action has died down, but rational thinking has long since been vanquished to the point of total lunacy. This shows us the truth about men of war in times of war and peace. The voyage down the river has a sense of time travel (a sense that would have been much more apparent had the French Plantation scene remained.) And when you get to the end, keep in mind the old phrase: The King is dead... Long live the king.

Is Kurtz insane? Or are we not yet ready to understand him? These questions and more are up to you as 'Apocalypse Now has no easy answers.


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