Apocalypse Now (1979) Poster

Martin Sheen: Captain Benjamin L. Willard



  • Willard : [objecting to surfing in a war zone]  It's pretty hairy in there. That's Charlie's point.

    Kilgore : Charlie don't surf!

  • Willard : Could we, uh... talk to Colonel Kurtz?

    Photojournalist : Hey, man, you don't talk to the Colonel. You listen to him. The man's enlarged my mind. He's a poet warrior in the classic sense. I mean sometimes he'll... uh... well, you'll say "hello" to him, right? And he'll just walk right by you. He won't even notice you. And suddenly he'll grab you, and he'll throw you in a corner, and he'll say, "Do you know that 'if' is the middle word in life? If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you"... I mean I'm... no, I can't... I'm a little man, I'm a little man, he's... he's a great man! I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas...

  • Kurtz : Did they say why, Willard, why they want to terminate my command?

    Willard : I was sent on a classified mission, sir.

    Kurtz : It's no longer classified, is it? Did they tell you?

    Willard : They told me that you had gone totally insane, and that your methods were unsound.

    Kurtz : Are my methods unsound?

    Willard : I don't see any method at all, sir.

    Kurtz : I expected someone like you. What did you expect? Are you an assassin?

    Willard : I'm a soldier.

    Kurtz : You're neither. You're an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill.

  • Colonel Lucas : Your mission is to proceed up the Nung River in a Navy patrol boat. Pick up Colonel Kurtz's path at Nu Mung Ba, follow it and learn what you can along the way. When you find the Colonel, infiltrate his team by whatever means available and terminate the Colonel's command.

    Willard : Terminate the Colonel?

    General Corman : He's out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct. And he is still in the field commanding troops.

    Civilian : Terminate with extreme prejudice.

    Colonel Lucas : You understand, Captain, that this mission does not exist, nor will it ever exist...

  • Willard : Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission, and for my sins, they gave me one. Brought it up to me like room service. It was a real choice mission, and when it was over, I never wanted another.

  • Willard : Are you crazy, Goddammit? Don't you think its a little risky for some R&R?

    Kilgore : If I say its safe to surf this beach, Captain, then its safe to surf this beach! I mean, I'm not afraid to surf this place, I'll surf this whole fucking place!

  • [quoting Kurtz] 

    Willard : In a war there are many moments for compassion and tender action. There are many moments for ruthless action - what is often called ruthless - what may in many circumstances be only clarity, seeing clearly what there is to be done and doing it, directly, quickly, awake, looking at it.

  • Willard : Hey soldier, do you know who's in command here?

    Soldier : Ain't you?

  • Willard : [incredulous]  What are you talking about?

    Chief Quartermaster (QMC) Phillips : We're taking her to some friendlies, Captain. She's wounded, she's not dead.

    Willard : Get off there, Chef.

    [Willard shoots the injured girl] 

    Chef : Fuck it!

    Willard : [to Chief]  I told you not to stop. Now let's go!

  • Chief Quartermaster (QMC) Phillips : My orders say I'm not supposed to know where I'm taking this boat, so I don't! But one look at you, and I know it's gonna be hot!

    Willard : We're going up river about 75 klicks above the Do Lung bridge.

    Chief Quartermaster (QMC) Phillips : That's Cambodia, captain.

    Willard : That's classified. We're not supposed to be in Cambodia, but that's where I'm going.

  • Colonel Lucas : Your report specifies intelligence/counterintelligence with ComSec I-Corps.

    Willard : I'm not presently disposed to discuss these operations, sir.

    Colonel Lucas : Did you not work for the CIA in I-Corps?

    Willard : No, sir.

    Colonel Lucas : Did you not assassinate a government tax collector in Quang Tri province, June 19th, 1968? Captain?

    Willard : Sir, I am unaware of any such activity or operation... nor would I be disposed to discuss such an operation if it did in fact exist, sir.

  • [quoting Kurtz] 

    Willard : As for the charges against me, I am unconcerned. I am beyond their timid lying morality, and so I am beyond caring.

  • [apologizing for severed heads adorning Kurtz's headquarters] 

    Photo Journalist : The heads. You're looking at the heads. Sometimes he goes too far. But... he's the first one to admit it.

    Chef : He's gone crazy!

    Photo Journalist : Wrong! Wrong! If you were here... if you could have heard the man speak just two days ago... God! You dare to call him crazy?

    Chef : Fucking A!

    Willard : I just want to talk to him.

    Photo Journalist : [thinking fast]  Well... uh... man, he's not here. He's gone away. He's gone away into the jungle with his people. He feels comfortable with his people! He forgets himself with his people! He forgets himself!

    Willard : I'll wait for him.

  • Willard : My mission is to make it up into Cambodia. There's a Green Beret Colonel up there who's gone insane. I'm supposed to kill him.

    Chef : What? Oh, that's typical! Shit! Fuckin' Vietnam mission! I'm short, and we gotta go up there so you can kill one of our own guys? That's fuckin' great! That's just fuckin' great! Shit! That's fuckin' crazy! I thought you were going in there to blow up a bridge, or some fucking railroad tracks or something!

    Willard : I'm sorry. Look, I'll cut you loose here and you can turn around and...

    Chef : [interupting]  No, no, we go together... on the boat! We came this far, so we go together. All the way! We'll take you up there, we'll go with you... but on the boat! Okay?

  • Roxanne : Do you know why you can never step into the same river twice?

    Willard : Yeah, 'cause it's always moving.

  • Lt. Carlsen : I'm Lt. Carlsen. I was sent from Nha Trang with this message for you three days ago, sir. They expected you here a little sooner. This is mail for the boat's crew. You don't know how happy this makes me in delivering all this.

    Willard : Why?

    Lt. Carlsen : Because now I can get out of here... if I can find a way.

    [an enemy artillery shell lands dangerously close by as Lt. Carlsen runs away] 

    Lt. Carlsen : You're in the asshole of the world, Captain!

  • Photo Journalist : He can be terrible. He can be mean. And he can be right. He's a great man. I wish I had words, man. I wish I had words... I can tell ya something like the other day he wanted to kill me. Somethin' like that...

    Willard : Why'd he wanna kill you?

    Photo Journalist : Because I took his picture. He said "If you take my picture again, I'm gonna kill you." And he meant it! So you just lay back. Lay cool. He becomes friendly again, he really does. But you don't judge the Colonel. You don't judge the Colonel like an ordinary man.

  • Hubert : [rebuffing Willard's inquiry as to when his family might return home to France]  You don't understand our mentality - the French officer mentality. At first, we lose in Second World War. I don't say that you Americans win, but we lose. In Dien Bien Phu, we lose. In Algeria, we lose. In Indochina, we lose! But here, we don't lose! This piece of earth, we keep it. We will never lose it, never!

    Gaston de Marais : You Americans. In 1945, yeah, after the Japanese war, your president Roosevelt didn't want the French people to stay in Indochina. So, you Americans implant the Vietnam.

    Willard : [to Hubert]  What's he mean?

    Hubert : Yeah, that's true. The Vietcong were invented by the Americans, sir.

    Willard : The Americans?

    Gaston de Marais : And now you take the French place. And the Vietnam fight you. And what can you do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    Hubert : The Vietnamese are very intelligent. You never know what they think. The Russian ones who help them, "come and give us their money. We are all Communists. Chinese give us guns. We are all brothers."... They hate the Chinese! Maybe they hate the American less than the Russian and the Chinese. I mean, if tomorrow the Vietnamese are Communists they will be *Vietnamese* Communists. And this is something you never understood, you American.

    Gaston de Marais : I don't know. Maybe in the future we can make something with the Vietnam.

    Philippe de Marais : Don't you understand? The VC say, "go away, go away". That's finish for all the white people in Indochina. If you're French, American, that's all the same. "Go." They want to forget you. Look, Captain. Look, this is the truth. An egg.

    [cracks it, draining the egg white] 

    Philippe de Marais : The white left, but the yellow stays.

    [stomps off] 

  • Chief Quartermaster (QMC) Phillips : [Redux version]  Captain, are you giving away our fuel for a Playmate of the Month?

    Willard : No, Playmate of the Year, Chief!

    [Willard takes a swig from a beer bottle] 

  • Kurtz : Where are you from, Willard?

    Willard : I'm from Ohio, sir.

    Kurtz : Were you born there?

    Willard : Yes, sir.

    Kurtz : Whereabouts?

    Willard : Toledo, sir.

    Kurtz : How far are you from the river?

    Willard : The Ohio River, sir?

    Kurtz : Uh-huh.

    Willard : About 200 miles.

    Kurtz : I went down that river once when I was a kid. There's a place in that river - I can't remember - must have been a gardenia plantation at one time. It's all wild and overgrown now, but about five miles, you'd think that heaven just fell on the earth in the form of gardenias. Have you considered any real freedoms? Freedoms from the opinions of others. Even the opinions of yourself.

  • [the redux version] 

    Willard : Who's in charge here?

    Soldier : In charge? I don't know, man. I'm just doing what I'm told - I'm just a working girl.

  • Chef : I was supposed to go to Paris, study at the Escoffier School. That's when I got my orders. Well, I joined the Navy. Heard they had better food. Cook school, that did it.

    Willard : Oh yeah? How's that?

    Chef : [mutters something]  They lined us up in front of a hundred yards of prime rib. All of us, you know, lined up and looking at it. Magnificent meat! Really! Beautifully marbled... magnifique! Next thing, they're throwing the meat into these big cauldrons. All of it, boiling it. I looked inside, man, and it was turning gray. I couldn't fuckin' believe that one!

  • Willard : [about Colonel Kilgore]  Well, he wasn't a bad officer, I guess. He loved his boys, and he felt safe with 'em. He was just one of those guys with that weird light around him. He just knew he wasn't gonna get so much as a scratch here.

  • Supply Sergeant : [Captain Willard steps on a sleeping soldier in the dark]  Goddamn it. You stepped in my face.

    Willard : We thought you were dead.

    Supply Sergeant : Well, you thought wrong, damn it.

See also

Release Dates | Official Sites | Company Credits | Filming & Production | Technical Specs

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