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.
Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The magic and madness of making "Apocalypse Now"



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This was one of the first documentaries to chart troubled film productions, a group that has since grown to include Burden of Dreams (1982) about the making of Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo (1982), Jodorowsky's Dune (2013) about Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky's failed attempt to film Frank Herbert's sci-fi classic, Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau (2014) about the tumultuous production of the remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) and Lost in La Mancha (2002) about Terry Gilliam's seemingly endless attempts to film Don Quixote. See more »


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


Eleanor Coppola: The film Francis is making is a metaphor for a journey into self. He has made that journey and is still making it. It's scary to watch someone you love go into the center of himself and confront his fears, fear of failure, fear of death, fear of going insane. You have to fail a little, die a little, go insane a little, to come out the other side. The process is not over for Francis.
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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 »


Anything Goes
by Cole Porter
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User Reviews

Maybe the best behind-the-scenes documentary ever made.
14 October 1999 | by AnonIISee all my reviews

I agree with the most positive reviews of this film. It's probably THE best documentary about the making of a movie, about the emotions and tensions behind the scenes, about the psychic terror of a director/creator trying desperately to not merely hold on to his artistic dream, but to survive! A must-see for any cinemaphile, and every Coppola enthusiast.

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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 »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$42,992, 1 December 1991

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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