Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.
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Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Francis Ford Coppola ... Self (as Francis Coppola)
Eleanor Coppola ... Self
Orson Welles ... Self - from 1938 radio broadcast (voice) (archive footage)
John Milius ... Self
George Lucas ... Self
Tom Sternberg Tom Sternberg ... Self
Sam Bottoms ... Self
Albert Hall ... Self
Frederic Forrest ... Self (as Fred Forrest)
Laurence Fishburne ... Self (as Larry Fishburne)
Gian-Carlo Coppola ... Self (archive footage) (as Gio)
Roman Coppola ... Self (archive footage) (as Roman)
Sofia Coppola ... Self (archive footage) (as Sofia)
Dean Tavoularis ... Self
Fred Roos ... Self
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Storyline

Documents the sensational events surrounding the making of Apocalypse Now (1979)' and Francis Ford Coppola's struggle with nature, governments, actors, and self-doubt. Includes footage and sound secretly recorded by Eleanor Coppola, wife of Francis. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The magic and madness of making "Apocalypse Now"

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This had its first showing on the Showtime TV network in the States. See more »

Goofs

In the end credits for musical listings under the Doors song The End, Elektra (Records) is misspelled (as "Electra.") See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Francis Ford Coppola: To me, the great hope is that now these little 8mm video recorders and stuff have come out, and some... just people who normally wouldn't make movies are going to be making them. And you know, suddenly, one day some little fat girl in Ohio is going to be the new Mozart, you know, and make a beautiful film with her little father's camera recorder. And for once, the so-called professionalism about movies will be destroyed, forever. And it will really become an art form. That's my ...
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Alternate Versions

The DVD is missing a mention of Harvey Keitel as Willard and a scene of Coppola singing Anything Goes is watered down as well. See more »


Soundtracks

The End
By Jim Morrison
Performed by The Doors
The Doors appear courtesy of Electra Asylum Records
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User Reviews

Travel deep inside the mind of Coppola & the craft of filmmaking
18 April 2001 | by JawsOfJoshSee all my reviews

How lucky can a master filmmaker get when the tide is against you smacking you & your new movie deliberately in the face? Legendary director Francis Ford Coppola certainly knows. This documentary, probably one of the most fascinating & insightful examinations into the craft of filmmaking and the creation of art, chronicles Coppola's three year odyssey filming the surreal Vietnam War epic "Apocalypse Now". Directed & narrated by his wife Eleanor, who accompanied her husband throughout the entire shooting of the film, this is THE most splendid "making-of" documentary I've ever seen. The finished version of "Apocalypse Now" that we've come to know is a strange, mystical journey - which probably evolved out of Coppola's own bizarre experiences while making the film.

Most of these strange occurrences on the set of "Apocalypse Now" served to hinder the completion of the film. The fact that such a brilliant film was even salvaged from the wreckage that was Coppola's life at the time is a miracle, but the film also serves as a testament to the genius of Coppola that was already established with the massive success of the first two "Godfather" films. Plagued by constant typhoons, a mercurial Marlon Brando, an unreliable Phillipine army, a cast of actors whacked out on drugs & alcohol (especially the maniacal Dennis Hopper), endless financial woes, and Coppola's own self-doubt & inner demons ("I don't have the movie yet!"), there is no surprise in the eventual photo shown of an exhausted Coppola standing on the set of his film in a damp raincoat, pointing a revolver at his own head. This may be an experience other directors have experienced (many David Lean films were logistical nightmares), but how many directors can testify to enduring these types of repeated misadventures for three years, and still manage to find the light at the end of the tunnel?

The entire cast is interviewed (years afterward) about the making of the film - except, of course, for Marlon Brando (Larry Fishburne doesn't get much screen time in the documentary, but his character was relatively small anyway). Martin Sheen, Dennis Hopper, and Frederic Forrest provide the most insight. Sheen & Hopper seem particularly direct at disclosing the grim nature of their excessive drinking at the time. Actors Robert Duvall, Sam Bottoms, Albert Hall, co-screenwriter John Milius, and the Coppolas themselves also reflect back on the construction of the film. The film is loaded with deleted scenes, extended takes, and much behind-the-scenes footage (Coppola angrily berates a stoned Dennis Hopper for forgetting his lines). Eleanor Coppola must really love her husband, because it takes a strong person to document - on film, nonetheless - three years worth of strife & turmoil as you watch your spouse in their craft, fearful they are creating the genesis of their own demise as an artist. A powerful, absorbing documentary on the creation of one of the greatest films ever made.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 December 1991 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$42,992, 1 December 1991

Gross USA:

$1,318,449

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,318,449
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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