Apocalypse Now
Overview
Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American war film
War film
War films are a film genre concerned with warfare, usually about naval, air or land battles, sometimes focusing instead on prisoners of war, covert operations, military training or other related subjects. At times war films focus on daily military or civilian life in wartime without depicting battles...

 set during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

. The central character is US Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 special operations
United States Special Operations Forces
United States Special Operations Forces under United States Special Operations Command are active and reserve component forces of U.S. Military...

 officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 Captain Benjamin L. Willard
Benjamin L. Willard
Captain Benjamin L. Willard is a fictional character and the main protagonist in Francis Ford Coppola's film Apocalypse Now, and is portrayed by American actor Martin Sheen. His character is loosely based on the character Charles Marlow from Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness. He is a...

 (Martin Sheen
Martin Sheen
Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez , better known by his stage name Martin Sheen, is an American film actor best known for his performances in the films Badlands and Apocalypse Now , and in the television series The West Wing from 1999 to 2006.He is considered one of the best actors never to be...

), of MACV-SOG, an assassin sent to kill the renegade and presumed insane Special Forces Colonel
Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank just above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general...

 Walter E. Kurtz
Walter E. Kurtz
Colonel Walter E. Kurtz is a fictional character and the main antagonist of the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, portrayed by Marlon Brando. Colonel Kurtz is based on the character of a 19th century ivory trader, also called Kurtz, from the novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.-Biography:Walter...

 (Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American movie star and political activist. "Unchallenged as the most important actor in modern American Cinema" according to the St...

).

Coppola's and John Milius's
John Milius
John Frederick Milius is an American screenwriter, director, and producer of motion pictures.-Early life:Milius was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Elizabeth and William Styx Milius, who was a shoe manufacturer. Milius attempted to join the Marine Corps in the late 1960s, but was rejected...

 script is based on Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad was a Polish-born English novelist.Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, although he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties...

's novella
Novella
A novella is a written, fictional, prose narrative usually longer than a novelette but shorter than a novel. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards for science fiction define the novella as having a word count between 17,500 and 40,000...

 Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Joseph Conrad. Before its 1903 publication, it appeared as a three-part series in Blackwood's Magazine. It was classified by the Modern Library website editors as one of the "100 best novels" and part of the Western canon.The story centres on Charles...

, and also draws from Michael Herr
Michael Herr
Michael Herr is a writer and former war correspondent, best known as the author of Dispatches , a memoir of his time as a correspondent for Esquire magazine during the Vietnam War...

's Dispatches
Dispatches (book)
Dispatches is a New Journalism book by Michael Herr that describes the author's experiences in Vietnam as a war correspondent for Esquire magazine. First published in 1977, Dispatches was one of the first pieces of American literature that allowed Americans to understand the experiences of soldiers...

, the film version
Lord Jim (1965 film)
Lord Jim is a 1965 adventure film made by Columbia Pictures. It was produced and directed by Richard Brooks with Jules Buck and Peter O'Toole as associate producers, from a screenplay by Brooks...

 of Conrad's Lord Jim
Lord Jim
Lord Jim is a novel by Joseph Conrad originally published as a serial in Blackwood's Magazine from October 1899 to November 1900.An early and primary event is Jim's abandonment of a ship in distress on which he is serving as a mate...

(which shares the same character of Marlow
Charles Marlow
Charles Marlow is a recurring character in the work of Polish-born English novelist Joseph Conrad. Marlow is an alter ego of Conrad; both are sailors for the British Empire during the late-19th and early-20th century during the height of British imperialism....

 with Heart of Darkness), and Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog Stipetić , known as Werner Herzog, is a German film director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and opera director.He is often considered as one of the greatest figures of the New German Cinema, along with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff, Werner...

's Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Aguirre, the Wrath of God is a 1972 West German adventure film written and directed by Werner Herzog. Klaus Kinski stars in the title role. The soundtrack was composed and performed by German progressive/Krautrock band Popol Vuh...

(1972).
Quotations

Our Motto: Apocalypse Now!

Scrawled on the wall of the steps leading up from the river.

Have you ever considered any real freedoms? Freedom from the opinions of others...even the opinions of yourself?

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

I went down that river once when I was a kid. There's a place in the river.. I can't remember... Must have been a gardenia plantation at one time. All wild and overgrown now, but for about five miles you'd think that heaven just fell on the earth in the form of gardenias...

We must kill them. We must incinerate them. Pig after pig. Cow after cow. Village after village. Army after army. And they call me an assassin. What do you call it when the assassins accuse the assassin? They lie. They lie, and we have to be merciful, for those who lie. Those nabobs. I hate them. I do hate them.

We train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won't allow them to write "fuck" on their airplanes because it's obscene!

I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That's my dream. It's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor … and surviving.

I worry that my son might not understand what I've tried to be. And if I were to be killed, Willard, I would want someone to go to my home and tell my son everything – everything I did, everything you saw – because there's nothing that I detest more than the stench of lies. And if you understand me, Willard, you will do this for me.

The horror … the horror … (Kurtz' last words)

Encyclopedia
Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American war film
War film
War films are a film genre concerned with warfare, usually about naval, air or land battles, sometimes focusing instead on prisoners of war, covert operations, military training or other related subjects. At times war films focus on daily military or civilian life in wartime without depicting battles...

 set during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

. The central character is US Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 special operations
United States Special Operations Forces
United States Special Operations Forces under United States Special Operations Command are active and reserve component forces of U.S. Military...

 officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 Captain Benjamin L. Willard
Benjamin L. Willard
Captain Benjamin L. Willard is a fictional character and the main protagonist in Francis Ford Coppola's film Apocalypse Now, and is portrayed by American actor Martin Sheen. His character is loosely based on the character Charles Marlow from Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness. He is a...

 (Martin Sheen
Martin Sheen
Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez , better known by his stage name Martin Sheen, is an American film actor best known for his performances in the films Badlands and Apocalypse Now , and in the television series The West Wing from 1999 to 2006.He is considered one of the best actors never to be...

), of MACV-SOG, an assassin sent to kill the renegade and presumed insane Special Forces Colonel
Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank just above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general...

 Walter E. Kurtz
Walter E. Kurtz
Colonel Walter E. Kurtz is a fictional character and the main antagonist of the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, portrayed by Marlon Brando. Colonel Kurtz is based on the character of a 19th century ivory trader, also called Kurtz, from the novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.-Biography:Walter...

 (Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American movie star and political activist. "Unchallenged as the most important actor in modern American Cinema" according to the St...

).

Coppola's and John Milius's
John Milius
John Frederick Milius is an American screenwriter, director, and producer of motion pictures.-Early life:Milius was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Elizabeth and William Styx Milius, who was a shoe manufacturer. Milius attempted to join the Marine Corps in the late 1960s, but was rejected...

 script is based on Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad was a Polish-born English novelist.Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, although he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties...

's novella
Novella
A novella is a written, fictional, prose narrative usually longer than a novelette but shorter than a novel. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards for science fiction define the novella as having a word count between 17,500 and 40,000...

 Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Joseph Conrad. Before its 1903 publication, it appeared as a three-part series in Blackwood's Magazine. It was classified by the Modern Library website editors as one of the "100 best novels" and part of the Western canon.The story centres on Charles...

, and also draws from Michael Herr
Michael Herr
Michael Herr is a writer and former war correspondent, best known as the author of Dispatches , a memoir of his time as a correspondent for Esquire magazine during the Vietnam War...

's Dispatches
Dispatches (book)
Dispatches is a New Journalism book by Michael Herr that describes the author's experiences in Vietnam as a war correspondent for Esquire magazine. First published in 1977, Dispatches was one of the first pieces of American literature that allowed Americans to understand the experiences of soldiers...

, the film version
Lord Jim (1965 film)
Lord Jim is a 1965 adventure film made by Columbia Pictures. It was produced and directed by Richard Brooks with Jules Buck and Peter O'Toole as associate producers, from a screenplay by Brooks...

 of Conrad's Lord Jim
Lord Jim
Lord Jim is a novel by Joseph Conrad originally published as a serial in Blackwood's Magazine from October 1899 to November 1900.An early and primary event is Jim's abandonment of a ship in distress on which he is serving as a mate...

(which shares the same character of Marlow
Charles Marlow
Charles Marlow is a recurring character in the work of Polish-born English novelist Joseph Conrad. Marlow is an alter ego of Conrad; both are sailors for the British Empire during the late-19th and early-20th century during the height of British imperialism....

 with Heart of Darkness), and Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog Stipetić , known as Werner Herzog, is a German film director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and opera director.He is often considered as one of the greatest figures of the New German Cinema, along with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff, Werner...

's Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Aguirre, the Wrath of God is a 1972 West German adventure film written and directed by Werner Herzog. Klaus Kinski stars in the title role. The soundtrack was composed and performed by German progressive/Krautrock band Popol Vuh...

(1972). The film drew attention for its lengthy and troubled production. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse is a 1991 documentary film about the production of Apocalypse Now.-Synopsis:The title is derived from the source material for Apocalypse Now, the Joseph Conrad novella Heart of Darkness...

documented Brando's showing up on the set overweight, Sheen's heart attack, and extreme weather destroying several expensive sets. The film's release was postponed several times while Coppola edited millions of feet of footage.

On the review aggregator
Review aggregator
A review aggregator is a system that collects reviews of products and services . This system stores the reviews and then uses them for purposes such as: creating a website for users to view the reviews, selling information to third parties about consumer tendencies and creating databases for...

 website Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

, Apocalypse Now has a 99% "Certified Fresh" rating and was received with critical acclaim. Its cultural impact and its philosophical themes have been extensively discussed. Honored with the Palme d'Or
Palme d'Or
The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and is presented to the director of the best feature film of the official competition. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du...

 at Cannes, and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Picture
The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to artists working in the motion picture industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only...

 and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, the film was also deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" and selected for preservation by the National Film Registry
National Film Registry
The National Film Registry is the United States National Film Preservation Board's selection of films for preservation in the Library of Congress. The Board, established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, was reauthorized by acts of Congress in 1992, 1996, 2005, and again in October 2008...

 in 2001.

Plot

U.S. Army Captain Benjamin L. Willard
Benjamin L. Willard
Captain Benjamin L. Willard is a fictional character and the main protagonist in Francis Ford Coppola's film Apocalypse Now, and is portrayed by American actor Martin Sheen. His character is loosely based on the character Charles Marlow from Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness. He is a...

 (Martin Sheen
Martin Sheen
Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez , better known by his stage name Martin Sheen, is an American film actor best known for his performances in the films Badlands and Apocalypse Now , and in the television series The West Wing from 1999 to 2006.He is considered one of the best actors never to be...

), a special operations
United States Army Special Operations Command
The United States Army Special Operations Command is the command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Forces...

 veteran, has returned to Saigon from deployment in the field and, holed up in his room, has difficulty adjusting to life. Intelligence
Military intelligence
Military intelligence is a military discipline that exploits a number of information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to commanders in support of their decisions....

 officers Lt. General Corman (G. D. Spradlin
G. D. Spradlin
Gervase Duan "G.D." Spradlin was an American actor. He often played devious authority figures. He is credited in over 70 television and film productions, and performed alongside actors including Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, and George C. Scott.-Early life:Spradlin was born in Pauls...

), Colonel Lucas (Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford is an American film actor and producer. He is famous for his performances as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy and as the title character of the Indiana Jones film series. Ford is also known for his roles as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, John Book in Witness and Jack Ryan in...

), and a civilian approach him with an assignment: to follow the Nung River into the remote Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

n jungle, find Colonel Walter E. Kurtz
Walter E. Kurtz
Colonel Walter E. Kurtz is a fictional character and the main antagonist of the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, portrayed by Marlon Brando. Colonel Kurtz is based on the character of a 19th century ivory trader, also called Kurtz, from the novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.-Biography:Walter...

 (Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American movie star and political activist. "Unchallenged as the most important actor in modern American Cinema" according to the St...

), a member of the US Army Special Forces, and kill him. Once considered a model officer and future general, Kurtz became insane, went rogue, and is commanding a legion of his own Montagnard
Degar
The Degar are the indigenous peoples of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The term Montagnard means "mountain people" in French and is a carryover from the French colonial period in Vietnam. In Vietnamese, they are known by the term thượng - this term can also be applied to other minority ethnic...

 troops deep inside neutral
Neutral country
A neutral power in a particular war is a sovereign state which declares itself to be neutral towards the belligerents. A non-belligerent state does not need to be neutral. The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5 and 13 of the Hague Convention of 1907...

 Cambodia. Ordered to terminate the Colonel's command "with extreme prejudice
Terminate with extreme prejudice
In military and other covert operations, terminate with extreme prejudice is a euphemism for execution . In a military intelligence context, it is generally understood as an order to assassinate...

", Willard joins the crew of a Navy Patrol Boat, Riverine (PBR) composed of boat commander George "Chief" Phillips (Albert Hall), and crewmen Lance Johnson (Sam Bottoms
Sam Bottoms
Samuel John "Sam" Bottoms was an American actor and producer.-Personal life:Bottoms was born in Santa Barbara, California, the third son of James "Bud" Bottoms and Betty , both of whom survive him...

), Jay "Chef" Hicks (Frederic Forrest
Frederic Forrest
-Life:Forrest was born in Waxahachie, Texas, the son of Virginia Allie and Frederic Fenimore Forrest, a furniture store owner. He is known for his roles as Chef in Apocalypse Now, When The Legends Die, It Lives Again, the neo-Nazi surplus store owner in Falling Down, Right to Kill? and for playing...

), and Tyrone "Mr. Clean" Miller (Laurence Fishburne
Laurence Fishburne
Laurence John Fishburne III is an American film and stage actor, playwright, director, and producer. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Morpheus in the Matrix science fiction film trilogy, as Cowboy Curtis on the 1980's television show Pee-wee's Playhouse, and as singer-musician Ike Turner...

).

Willard and the PBR crew rendezvous with reckless Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

 Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall
Robert Selden Duvall is an American actor and director. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and a BAFTA over the course of his career....

), commanding a squadron of Air Cavalry attack helicopters, for escort to the Nung River. Initially scoffing at their request for escort, Kilgore, a keen surfer, learns Johnson is a professional surfer and befriends him. When Willard suggests the Viet Cong-filled coastal mouth of the Nung River for the boat and crew to be taken, Kilgore is reluctant but accepts after learning of the excellent surfing conditions there. The beach is taken amid napalm
Napalm
Napalm is a thickening/gelling agent generally mixed with gasoline or a similar fuel for use in an incendiary device, primarily as an anti-personnel weapon...

 strikes and "Ride of the Valkyries
Ride of the Valkyries
The Ride of the Valkyries is the popular term for the beginning of Act III of Die Walküre, the second of the four operas by Richard Wagner that comprise Der Ring des Nibelungen. The main theme of the Ride, the leitmotif labelled Walkürenritt, was first written down by the composer on 23 July 1851...

" playing over the choppers' loudspeakers, after which Kilgore orders Lance and other surfers in his command to surf the beach amid enemy fire. While Kilgore nostalgically regales all around him about a previous strike, Willard gathers his men to the PBR, which has been dropped from a helicopter into the river, and they continue their journey.

While navigating upstream, the crew has a run-in with a tiger
Indochinese Tiger
The Indochinese tiger or Corbett's tiger is a subspecies of tiger found in Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam and formerly in China. Tigers in peninsular Malaysia, formerly classified as Indochinese, have recently been reclassified as a separate subspecies, Malayan tiger Panthera tigris...

, watches a USO
United Service Organizations
The United Service Organizations Inc. is a private, nonprofit organization that provides morale and recreational services to members of the U.S. military, with programs in 160 centers worldwide. Since 1941, it has worked in partnership with the Department of Defense , and has provided support and...

 show featuring Playboy Playmates at a supply depot, and search a sampan
Sampan
A sampan is a relatively flat bottomed Chinese wooden boat from long. Some sampans include a small shelter on board, and may be used as a permanent habitation on inland waters. Sampans are generally used for transportation in coastal areas or rivers, and are often used as traditional fishing boats...

, mistakenly killing almost all civilians onboard. Willard shoots the one injured survivor to prevent any delay of his mission. On reaching a US Army outpost at a bridge under constant attack, Willard is informed that an army captain named Colby (Scott Glenn
Scott Glenn
Theodore Scott Glenn is an American actor. His roles have included Wes Hightower in Urban Cowboy , astronaut Alan Shepard in The Right Stuff ,Emmett in Silverado , Commander Bart Mancuso in The Hunt for Red October , Jack Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs and The Wise Man in Sucker Punch -Early...

) was sent to find Kurtz and is now missing. Lance and Chef are continually under the influence of drugs, and Lance in particular becomes withdrawn, smearing his face with camouflage paint and saying little. The next day, the boat is fired upon by an unseen enemy hiding in trees by the river, killing Mr. Clean and causing Chief, who had a close relationship with Clean, to become increasingly hostile toward Willard.

The group resumes its journey and is ambushed again, this time by Montagnard warriors. The crew opens fire and Chief is impaled with a spear. The dying Chief tries to kill Willard by pulling him onto the spear tip, but eventually succumbs to the wound. Afterwards, Willard confides in Chef and Lance about his mission, and the two surviving crew of the boat reluctantly agree to continue their journey upriver. As they draw closer to Kurtz's camp, they see the coastline is littered with bodies. After arriving at Kurtz's outpost, Willard takes Johnson with him to the village, leaving Chef behind with orders to call in an airstrike
Airstrike
An air strike is an attack on a specific objective by military aircraft during an offensive mission. Air strikes are commonly delivered from aircraft such as fighters, bombers, ground attack aircraft, attack helicopters, and others...

 on the village if he does not return. In the camp, the two men are met by a manic freelance photographer (Dennis Hopper
Dennis Hopper
Dennis Lee Hopper was an American actor, filmmaker and artist. As a young man, Hopper became interested in acting and eventually became a student of the Actors' Studio. He made his first television appearance in 1954 and appeared in two films featuring James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant...

), who explains that Kurtz's greatness and philosophical
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 skills inspire his people to follow him. As they proceed, they see bodies and severed heads scattered about the nearby Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 temple that serves as Kurtz's living quarters, and encounter the missing Captain Colby, who is nearly catatonic.

Willard is brought before Kurtz in the darkened temple, where Kurtz derides him as "an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks to collect a bill". Bound to a post, Willard watches helplessly as Kurtz drops Chef's severed head into his lap. After some time in captivity, Willard is released and given the freedom of the compound. Knowing that Willard will not leave, Kurtz lectures him on his theories of war, humanity
Human condition
The human condition encompasses the experiences of being human in a social, cultural, and personal context. It can be described as the irreducible part of humanity that is inherent and not connected to gender, race, class, etc. — a search for purpose, sense of curiosity, the inevitability of...

, and civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

. As Kurtz explains his motives and philosophy while praising the ruthlessness and dedication of the Viet Cong, he asks Willard to tell his son everything about him in the event of his death.

That night, as the villagers ceremonially slaughter a water buffalo
Water buffalo
The water buffalo is a domesticated bovid widely kept in Asia, Europe and South America.Water buffalo can also refer to:*Wild water buffalo , the wild ancestor of the domestic water buffalo...

, Willard enters Kurtz's chamber as Kurtz is making a recording, and attacks him with a machete
Machete
The machete is a large cleaver-like cutting tool. The blade is typically long and usually under thick. In the English language, an equivalent term is matchet, though it is less commonly known...

. Lying mortally wounded on the ground, Kurtz whispers his final words "The horror ... the horror ..." before dying. Willard descends the stairs from Kurtz's chamber and drops his weapon. The villagers do likewise and allow Willard to take Lance by the hand and lead him to the boat. The two of them sail away as Kurtz's final words echo.

Cast

  • Martin Sheen
    Martin Sheen
    Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez , better known by his stage name Martin Sheen, is an American film actor best known for his performances in the films Badlands and Apocalypse Now , and in the television series The West Wing from 1999 to 2006.He is considered one of the best actors never to be...

     as Captain Benjamin L. Willard
    Benjamin L. Willard
    Captain Benjamin L. Willard is a fictional character and the main protagonist in Francis Ford Coppola's film Apocalypse Now, and is portrayed by American actor Martin Sheen. His character is loosely based on the character Charles Marlow from Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness. He is a...

    . Willard is a veteran officer
    Officer (armed forces)
    An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

     who has been serving in Vietnam for three years. The soldier who escorts him at the start of the film recites that Willard is from 505th Battalion, of the elite 173rd Airborne Brigade, assigned to MACV-SOG. It is later stated that he worked intelligence/counterintelligence for COMSEC
    Communications security
    Communications security is the discipline of preventing unauthorized interceptors from accessing telecommunications in an intelligible form, while still delivering content to the intended recipients. In the United States Department of Defense culture, it is often referred to by the abbreviation...

     and the CIA, carrying out secret operations and assassinations. An attempt to re-integrate into home-front society had apparently failed prior to the time at which the movie is set, and so he returns to the war-torn jungles of Vietnam, where he seems to feel more at home.
  • Marlon Brando
    Marlon Brando
    Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American movie star and political activist. "Unchallenged as the most important actor in modern American Cinema" according to the St...

     as Colonel Walter E. Kurtz
    Walter E. Kurtz
    Colonel Walter E. Kurtz is a fictional character and the main antagonist of the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, portrayed by Marlon Brando. Colonel Kurtz is based on the character of a 19th century ivory trader, also called Kurtz, from the novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.-Biography:Walter...

    , a highly decorated American Army Green Beret officer with the 5th Special Forces Group who goes renegade. He runs his own operations out of Cambodia and is feared by the US military as much as the North Vietnamese and Vietcong.
  • Frederic Forrest
    Frederic Forrest
    -Life:Forrest was born in Waxahachie, Texas, the son of Virginia Allie and Frederic Fenimore Forrest, a furniture store owner. He is known for his roles as Chef in Apocalypse Now, When The Legends Die, It Lives Again, the neo-Nazi surplus store owner in Falling Down, Right to Kill? and for playing...

     as Engineman
    Engineman
    Engineman is a United States Navy occupational rating.-Scope of Rating:Enginemen operate, service and repair internal combustion engines used to power some of the Navy's ships and most of the Navy's small craft. Most Enginemen work with diesel engines...

     3rd Class Jay "Chef" Hicks, a tightly wound former chef from New Orleans who is horrified by his surroundings.
  • Sam Bottoms
    Sam Bottoms
    Samuel John "Sam" Bottoms was an American actor and producer.-Personal life:Bottoms was born in Santa Barbara, California, the third son of James "Bud" Bottoms and Betty , both of whom survive him...

     as Gunner's Mate
    Gunner's Mate
    The United States Navy occupational rating of gunner's mate also known as gunsmens mate is a designation given by the Bureau of Naval Personnel to enlisted sailors who either satisfactorily complete initial Gunner's Mate "A" school training, or who "strike" for the rating as a deck seaman by...

     3rd Class Lance B. Johnson, a former professional surfer from California who spends the majority of the journey on a drug binge.
  • Laurence Fishburne
    Laurence Fishburne
    Laurence John Fishburne III is an American film and stage actor, playwright, director, and producer. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Morpheus in the Matrix science fiction film trilogy, as Cowboy Curtis on the 1980's television show Pee-wee's Playhouse, and as singer-musician Ike Turner...

     (credited as "Larry Fishburne") as Gunner's Mate 3rd Class Tyrone "Mr. Clean" Miller, the 17 year-old cocky South Bronx-born crewmember. He resents the inward nature of Willard.
  • Albert Hall as Chief Quartermaster
    Quartermaster
    Quartermaster refers to two different military occupations depending on if the assigned unit is land based or naval.In land armies, especially US units, it is a term referring to either an individual soldier or a unit who specializes in distributing supplies and provisions to troops. The senior...

     George Phillips. The chief runs a tight ship and frequently clashes with Willard over authority. Has a father-son relationship with Clean.
  • Robert Duvall
    Robert Duvall
    Robert Selden Duvall is an American actor and director. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and a BAFTA over the course of his career....

     as Lieutenant Colonel William "Bill" Kilgore, 1st Squadron, 9th Air Cavalry Regiment commander and surfing fanatic. Kilgore is a strong leader who loves his men dearly but has methods that appear out-of-tune with the setting of the war. His character is a composite of several characters including Colonel John B. Stockton, General James F. Hollingsworth (featured in The General Goes Zapping Charlie Cong by Nicholas Tomalin
    Nicholas Tomalin
    Nicholas Osborne Tomalin was an English journalist and writer.Tomalin was the son of Miles Tomalin, a Communist poet and veteran of the Spanish Civil War. He studied English literature at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. As a student he was President of the Cambridge Union and editor of the prestigious...

    ), George Patton IV
    George Patton IV
    George Smith Patton, IV was a Major General in the United States Army and the son of World War II General George Patton.-Military biography:...

    , also a West Point officer whom Robert Duvall knew and possibly Col. David Hackworth.
  • Dennis Hopper
    Dennis Hopper
    Dennis Lee Hopper was an American actor, filmmaker and artist. As a young man, Hopper became interested in acting and eventually became a student of the Actors' Studio. He made his first television appearance in 1954 and appeared in two films featuring James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant...

     as an American photojournalist
    American Photojournalist
    The American Photojournalist is a fictional character in Apocalypse Now, portrayed by Dennis Hopper, himself a skilled photographer. His character was inspired by a number of real-life American photojournalists who worked in Vietnam and Laos during the 1970s, especially including Sean Flynn...

    , a crazed photographer who intercuts poetry with obscene cynicism. Stranded in Kurtz's camp. Takes pictures from a camera that may or may not contain film. According to the DVD commentary of Redux, the journalist is supposed to be a real life photographer who went missing in Vietnam in 1966. Coppola stated that Hopper's character is supposed to be the real life journalist Sean Flynn
    Sean Flynn
    Sean Leslie Flynn was an American actor and freelance photojournalist best known for his coverage of the Vietnam War. He started a news service in Saigon with John Steinbeck IV, son of the American author.Flynn was the only child of the marriage of Errol Flynn and Lili Damita...

     years later; the real Flynn was also a character in Herr's Dispatches
    Dispatches (book)
    Dispatches is a New Journalism book by Michael Herr that describes the author's experiences in Vietnam as a war correspondent for Esquire magazine. First published in 1977, Dispatches was one of the first pieces of American literature that allowed Americans to understand the experiences of soldiers...

    . The Hopper part was also based in part on the "harlequin" (patchwork) figure in Heart of Darkness that greets Marlow; Hopper repeats the harlequin's "the man's enlarged my mind" soliloquy.
  • G.D. Spradlin as Lieutenant General
    Lieutenant General
    Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

     Corman, military intelligence (G-2)
    Military intelligence
    Military intelligence is a military discipline that exploits a number of information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to commanders in support of their decisions....

     an authoritarian officer who fears Kurtz and wants him removed.
  • Jerry Ziesmer
    Jerry Ziesmer
    Jerry Ziesmer is a career assistant director for major Hollywood films, best recognized for the line "terminate with extreme prejudice" in his acting role as a CIA operative in the 1979 film Apocalypse Now.-Early life:...

     as a mysterious man in civilian attire who sits in on Willard's initial briefing, is the only one calm enough to eat during the briefing, and whose only line in the movie is the famous "Terminate with extreme prejudice
    Terminate with extreme prejudice
    In military and other covert operations, terminate with extreme prejudice is a euphemism for execution . In a military intelligence context, it is generally understood as an order to assassinate...

    ".
  • Harrison Ford
    Harrison Ford
    Harrison Ford is an American film actor and producer. He is famous for his performances as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy and as the title character of the Indiana Jones film series. Ford is also known for his roles as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, John Book in Witness and Jack Ryan in...

     as Colonel Lucas, aide to Corman and general information specialist. Despite his rank, he often appears nervous and jittery regarding Kurtz and the mission.
  • Scott Glenn
    Scott Glenn
    Theodore Scott Glenn is an American actor. His roles have included Wes Hightower in Urban Cowboy , astronaut Alan Shepard in The Right Stuff ,Emmett in Silverado , Commander Bart Mancuso in The Hunt for Red October , Jack Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs and The Wise Man in Sucker Punch -Early...

     as Captain Richard M. Colby, previously assigned Willard's current mission before he defected to Kurtz's private army and sent a message to his wife telling her to sell everything they owned (but he goes on to tell her to sell their children, as well).
  • Bill Graham
    Bill Graham (promoter)
    Bill Graham was an American impresario and rock concert promoter from the 1960s until his death.-Early life:...

     as Agent (announcer and in charge of Playmate's show)
  • Cynthia Wood
    Cynthia Wood
    Cynthia Lynn Wood is an American model and actress. She is the daughter of Harold and Erma Wood. She was chosen as Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month in February 1973, and the 1974 Playmate of the Year. Her centerfold was photographed by Pompeo Posar.- Filmography :* Apocalypse Now ......

     (1974 Playmate of the Year) as "Playmate of the Year"
  • Linda (Beatty) Carpenter (August 1976 Playmate
    Playmate
    A Playmate is a female model featured in the centerfold/gatefold of Playboy magazine as Playmate of the Month . The PMOM's pictorial includes nude photographs and a centerfold poster, as well as a short biography and the "Playmate Data Sheet", which lists her birthdate, measurements, turn-ons, and...

    ) as Playmate "Miss August"
  • Colleen Camp
    Colleen Camp
    Colleen Celeste Camp is an American actress and film producer, known for her performances in two installments of the Police Academy series and as Yvette the Maid in the 1985 black comedy Clue. She was also the first actress to play Kristin Shepard in U.S. prime time soap opera Dallas in 1979.Camp...

     as Playmate "Miss May"
  • R. Lee Ermey
    R. Lee Ermey
    Ronald Lee Ermey is a retired United States Marine Corps drill instructor and actor.Ermey has often played the roles of authority figures, such as his breakout performance as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, Mayor Tilman in the Alan Parker film Mississippi Burning, Bill Bowerman in...

     as Helicopter Pilot
  • Christian Marquand
    Christian Marquand
    Christian Marquand was a French director, actor and screenwriter working in French cinema. A native of Marseille, he was born to a Spanish father and an Arabic mother his sister was film director Nadine Trintignant, and he can be seen as a heartthrob in French movies of the 1950s.His first film...

     as Hubert de Marais (redux version), the surrogate leader of the French residents and strong vocal opponent of American action.
  • Aurore Clément
    Aurore Clément
    Aurore Clément is a French actress. She has performed in a number of motion pictures in both the French language and the English language as well as in television films and miniseries.-Early life:...

     as Roxanne Sarraut-de Marais (redux version), a widow and influential figure at the plantation.
  • Roman Coppola
    Roman Coppola
    Roman Coppola is an American film director and music video director.-Early life:Coppola was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, the son of set decorator/artist Eleanor Coppola and Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola was born in the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine while his father was in Paris...

     as Francis de Marais (redux version)
  • Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

     (cameo
    Cameo appearance
    A cameo role or cameo appearance is a brief appearance of a known person in a work of the performing arts, such as plays, films, video games and television...

    ) as a director filming beach combat; he shouts "Don't look at the camera, keep on fighting!" DP Vittorio Storaro plays the cameraman by Coppola's side.


Several actors who were, or later became, prominent stars have minor roles in the movie including Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford is an American film actor and producer. He is famous for his performances as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy and as the title character of the Indiana Jones film series. Ford is also known for his roles as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, John Book in Witness and Jack Ryan in...

, G. D. Spradlin
G. D. Spradlin
Gervase Duan "G.D." Spradlin was an American actor. He often played devious authority figures. He is credited in over 70 television and film productions, and performed alongside actors including Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, and George C. Scott.-Early life:Spradlin was born in Pauls...

, Scott Glenn
Scott Glenn
Theodore Scott Glenn is an American actor. His roles have included Wes Hightower in Urban Cowboy , astronaut Alan Shepard in The Right Stuff ,Emmett in Silverado , Commander Bart Mancuso in The Hunt for Red October , Jack Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs and The Wise Man in Sucker Punch -Early...

, R. Lee Ermey
R. Lee Ermey
Ronald Lee Ermey is a retired United States Marine Corps drill instructor and actor.Ermey has often played the roles of authority figures, such as his breakout performance as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, Mayor Tilman in the Alan Parker film Mississippi Burning, Bill Bowerman in...

 and Laurence Fishburne
Laurence Fishburne
Laurence John Fishburne III is an American film and stage actor, playwright, director, and producer. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Morpheus in the Matrix science fiction film trilogy, as Cowboy Curtis on the 1980's television show Pee-wee's Playhouse, and as singer-musician Ike Turner...

. Fishburne was only fourteen years old when shooting began in March 1976, and he lied about his age in order to get cast in his role. Apocalypse Now took so long to finish that Fishburne was seventeen (the same age as his character) by the time of its release.

Adaptation

Although inspired by Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad was a Polish-born English novelist.Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, although he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties...

's Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Joseph Conrad. Before its 1903 publication, it appeared as a three-part series in Blackwood's Magazine. It was classified by the Modern Library website editors as one of the "100 best novels" and part of the Western canon.The story centres on Charles...

, the film deviates extensively from its source material. The novella, based on Conrad's real experiences as a steam paddleboat captain in Africa, is set in the Congo Free State
Congo Free State
The Congo Free State was a large area in Central Africa which was privately controlled by Leopold II, King of the Belgians. Its origins lay in Leopold's attracting scientific, and humanitarian backing for a non-governmental organization, the Association internationale africaine...

 during the 19th century. Kurtz and Marlow (who is named Willard in the movie) both work for a Belgian trading company that brutally exploits its native African workers.

When Marlow arrives at Kurtz's outpost, he discovers that Kurtz has gone insane and is lording over a small tribe as a god. The novella ends with Kurtz dying on the trip back and the narrator musing about the darkness of the human psyche: "the heart of an immense darkness".

In the novella, Marlow is the pilot of a river boat sent to collect ivory from Kurtz's outpost, only gradually becoming infatuated with Kurtz. In fact, when he discovers Kurtz in terrible health, Marlow makes an effort to bring him home safely. In the movie, Willard is an assassin dispatched to kill Kurtz. Nevertheless, the depiction of Kurtz as a god-like leader of a tribe of natives and his malarial fever, Kurtz's written exclamation "Exterminate the brutes!" (which appears in the film as "Drop the bomb. Exterminate them All!") and his last words "The horror! The horror!" are taken from Conrad's novella.

Coppola argues that many episodes in the film—the spear and arrow attack on the boat, for example—respect the spirit of the novella and in particular its critique of the concepts of civilization and progress. Other episodes adapted by Coppola, the Playboy Playmates' (Sirens) exit, the lost souls, "taking me home" attempting to reach the boat and Kurtz' tribe of (white-faced) natives parting the canoes (gates of Hell) for Willard, (with Chef and Lance) to enter the camp are likened to Virgil and "The Inferno" (Divine Comedy) by Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

. While Coppola replaced Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an colonialism
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

 with American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 interventionism
Interventionism (politics)
Interventionism is a term for a policy of non-defensive activity undertaken by a nation-state, or other geo-political jurisdiction of a lesser or greater nature, to manipulate an economy or society...

, the message of Conrad's book is still clear.

Coppola's interpretation of the iconic Kurtz
Kurtz (Heart of Darkness)
Mr. Kurtz is a central fictional character in Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness. A trader of ivory in Africa and commander of a trading post, he monopolises his position as a demigod among native Africans. Kurtz meets with the protagonist, Marlow, who returns him to the coast via steamboat...

 character is often speculated to have been modeled after Tony Poe, a highly decorated Vietnam-era paramilitary officer from the CIA's Special Activities Division
Special Activities Division
The Special Activities Division is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency's National Clandestine Service responsible for covert operations known as "special activities"...

. Poe's actions in Vietnam and in the 'Secret War' in neighbouring Laos, in particular his highly unorthodox and often savage methods of waging war show many similarities to those of the fictional Kurtz; for example, Poe was known to drop severed heads into enemy-controlled villages as a form of psychological warfare
Psychological warfare
Psychological warfare , or the basic aspects of modern psychological operations , have been known by many other names or terms, including Psy Ops, Political Warfare, “Hearts and Minds,” and Propaganda...

 and use human ears to record the number of enemies his indigenous troops had killed. He would send these ears back to his superiors as proof of the efficacy of his operations deep inside Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

. Coppola, however, denies that Poe was a primary influence and instead says the character was loosely based on Special Forces Colonel Robert B. Rheault
Robert B. Rheault
Robert B. Rheault is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Special Forces who served as commander of the First Special Forces Group in Okinawa, and the Fifth Special Forces Group in Vietnam from May to July 1969...

, whose 1969 arrest over the murder of a suspected double agent Thai Khac Chuyen in Nha Trang
Nha Trang
Nha Trang is a coastal city and capital of Khanh Hoa province, on the South Central Coast of Vietnam. It is bounded on the North by Ninh Hoà district, on the East by the South China Sea, on the South by Cam Ranh town and on the West by Diên Khánh district...

 generated substantial contemporary news coverage.

Use of T.S. Eliot's poetry

In the film, shortly before his death, Colonel Kurtz recites most of T.S. Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men
The Hollow Men
The Hollow Men is a major poem by T. S. Eliot. Its themes are, like many of Eliot's poems, overlapping and fragmentary, but it is recognised to be concerned most with post-World War I Europe under the Treaty of Versailles , the difficulty of hope and religious conversion, and, as some critics...

". Not only is Kurtz in the novel characterized as "hollow at the core", the poem is preceded in printed editions by the epigraph "Mistah Kurtz - he dead", a quotation from Conrad's Heart of Darkness which inspired the film.

In addition, two books seen opened on Kurtz' desk in the film are From Ritual to Romance
From Ritual to Romance
From Ritual to Romance is a 1920 book written by Jessie L. Weston. The work is notable for being mentioned by T. S. Eliot in the notes to his poem, The Waste Land:...

by Jessie Weston
Jessie Weston
Jessie Laidlay Weston was an independent scholar and folklorist, working mainly on mediaeval Arthurian texts.Her best-known work is From Ritual to Romance ; this book is now available as an online text, as are others of hers...

 and The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer . It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes...

by Sir James Frazer, the two books that Eliot cited as the chief sources and inspiration for his poem "The Waste Land
The Waste Land
The Waste Land[A] is a 434-line[B] modernist poem by T. S. Eliot published in 1922. It has been called "one of the most important poems of the 20th century." Despite the poem's obscurity—its shifts between satire and prophecy, its abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location and time, its...

".

When Willard is first introduced to Dennis Hopper's character, the photojournalist describes his own worth in relation to that of Kurtz with: "I should have been a pair of ragged claws/Scuttling across the floors of silent seas", from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, commonly known as Prufrock, is a poem by T. S. Eliot, begun in February 1910 and published in Chicago in June 1915. Described as a "drama of literary anguish," it presents a stream of consciousness in the form of a dramatic monologue, and marked the beginning of...

".

Development

While working as an assistant for Francis Ford Coppola on The Rain People
The Rain People
The Rain People is a 1969 film by Francis Ford Coppola. Alongside Shirley Knight, leading players are James Caan and Robert Duvall, both of whom would later work with Coppola in The Godfather. Future film director and Coppola friend George Lucas worked as an aide on this film, and made a short...

, George Lucas
George Lucas
George Walton Lucas, Jr. is an American film producer, screenwriter, and director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones...

 and Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

 encouraged their friend and filmmaker John Milius
John Milius
John Frederick Milius is an American screenwriter, director, and producer of motion pictures.-Early life:Milius was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Elizabeth and William Styx Milius, who was a shoe manufacturer. Milius attempted to join the Marine Corps in the late 1960s, but was rejected...

 to write a Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 film. Milius came up with the idea for adapting the plot of Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad was a Polish-born English novelist.Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, although he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties...

's Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Joseph Conrad. Before its 1903 publication, it appeared as a three-part series in Blackwood's Magazine. It was classified by the Modern Library website editors as one of the "100 best novels" and part of the Western canon.The story centres on Charles...

to the Vietnam War setting. He had no desire to direct the film and felt that George Lucas
George Lucas
George Walton Lucas, Jr. is an American film producer, screenwriter, and director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones...

 was the right person for the job. However, filmmaker Carroll Ballard
Carroll Ballard
-Biography:Carroll Ballard started out making documentaries for the U.S. Information Agency, Beyond This Winter's Wheat and Harvest ; the latter was nominated for an Academy Award...

 claims that Apocalypse Now was his idea in 1967 before Milius had written his screenplay. Ballard had a deal with producer Joel Landon and they tried to get the rights to Conrad's book but were unsuccessful. Lucas acquired the rights but failed to tell Ballard and Landon.

Screenplay

Coppola gave Milius $15,000 to write the screenplay with the promise of an additional $10,000 if it were green-lit. Milius claims that he wrote the screenplay in 1969 and originally called it The Psychedelic Soldier. He wanted to use Conrad's novel as "a sort of allegory. It would have been too simple to have followed the book completely". He based the character of Willard and some of Kurtz's on a friend of his, Fred Rexer, who had experienced, first-hand, the scene related by Marlon Brando's character wherein the arms of villagers are hacked off by the Viet Cong. At one point, Coppola told Milius, "Write every scene you ever wanted to go into that movie", and he wrote ten drafts, amounting to over a thousand pages. Milius changed the film's title to Apocalypse Now after being inspired by a button badge popular with hippies during the 1960s that said "Nirvana Now". He was also influenced by an article written by Michael Herr
Michael Herr
Michael Herr is a writer and former war correspondent, best known as the author of Dispatches , a memoir of his time as a correspondent for Esquire magazine during the Vietnam War...

 titled, "The Battle for Khe Sanh", which referred to drugs, rock 'n' roll, and people calling airstrike
Airstrike
An air strike is an attack on a specific objective by military aircraft during an offensive mission. Air strikes are commonly delivered from aircraft such as fighters, bombers, ground attack aircraft, attack helicopters, and others...

s down on themselves.

Pre-production

Coppola was drawn to Milius' script, which he described as "a comedy and a terrifying psychological horror story". George Lucas was originally interested in directing and planned to shoot it after making THX 1138
THX 1138
THX 1138 is a 1971 science fiction film directed by George Lucas in his directorial debut. The film is based on a screenplay by Lucas and Walter Murch...

with principal photography to start in 1971. He planned to shoot the film in the rice fields between Stockton
Stockton, California
Stockton, California, the seat of San Joaquin County, is the fourth-largest city in the Central Valley of the U.S. state of California. With a population of 291,707 at the 2010 census, Stockton ranks as this state's 13th largest city...

 and Sacramento, California
Sacramento, California
Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the county seat of Sacramento County. It is located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in the northern portion of California's expansive Central Valley. With a population of 466,488 at the 2010 census,...

. His friend and producer Gary Kurtz
Gary Kurtz
Gary Kurtz is an American film producer whose list of credits include American Graffiti, Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. He later produced The Dark Crystal and Return to Oz after departing from the Star Wars series...

 traveled to the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, scouting suitable locations. They intended to shoot the film on a $2 million budget, documentary
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

 style, using 16 mm
16 mm film
16 mm film refers to a popular, economical gauge of film used for motion pictures and non-theatrical film making. 16 mm refers to the width of the film...

 cameras, and real soldiers. However, Lucas became involved with American Graffiti
American Graffiti
American Graffiti is a 1973 coming of age film co-written/directed by George Lucas starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips and Harrison Ford...

and this delayed the production of Apocalypse Now. In the spring of 1974, Coppola discussed with friends and co-producers Fred Roos
Fred Roos
-Life and career:Roos was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of Florence Mary and Victor Otto Roos. Beginning in television as a casting director for The Andy Griffith Show, Roos went on to produce most of Francis Ford Coppola's films subsequent to The Godfather, including Apocalypse Now...

 and Gary Frederickson the idea of producing the film.

While making The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II is a 1974 American gangster film directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a script co-written with Mario Puzo. The film is both a sequel and a prequel to The Godfather, chronicling the story of the Corleone family following the events of the first film while also depicting the...

, Coppola asked Lucas and then Milius to direct Apocalypse Now, but both men were involved with other projects; in Lucas' case, he got the go-ahead to make his pet project, Star Wars
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American epic space opera film, written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the...

, and declined the offer to direct Apocalypse Now. Coppola was determined to make the film and pressed ahead himself. He envisioned the film as a definitive statement on the nature of modern war, the difference between good and evil, and the impact of American society on the rest of the world. The director said that he wanted to take the audience "through an unprecedented experience of war and have them react as much as those who had gone through the war".

In 1975, while promoting The Godfather Part II in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Coppola and his producers scouted possible locations for Apocalypse Now in Cairns in northern Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

, that had jungle resembling Vietnam. He decided to make his film in the Philippines for its access to American equipment and cheap labor. Production coordinator Fred Roos had already made two low-budget films there for Monte Hellman
Monte Hellman
Monte Hellman is an American film director, producer, and film editor.Hellman is among a group of directing talent mentored by Roger Corman, who produced several of the director's early films...

, and had friends and contacts in the country. Coppola spent the last few months of 1975 revising Milius' script and negotiating with United Artists
United Artists
United Artists Corporation is an American film studio. The original studio of that name was founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks....

 to secure financing for the production. According to Frederickson, the budget was estimated between $12–14 million. Coppola's American Zoetrope
American Zoetrope
American Zoetrope is a studio founded by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. Founded on December 12, 1969, American Zoetrope was an early adopter of digital filmmaking, including some of the earliest uses of HDTV...

 assembled $8 million from distributors outside the United States and $7.5 million from United Artists who assumed that the film would star Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen
Terrence Steven "Steve" McQueen was an American movie actor. He was nicknamed "The King of Cool." His "anti-hero" persona, which he developed at the height of the Vietnam counterculture, made him one of the top box-office draws of the 1960s and 1970s. McQueen received an Academy Award nomination...

, and Gene Hackman
Gene Hackman
Eugene Allen "Gene" Hackman is an American actor and novelist.Nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two, Hackman has also won three Golden Globes and two BAFTAs in a career that spanned five decades. He first came to fame in 1967 with his performance as Buck Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde...

. Frederickson went to the Philippines and had dinner with President Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

 to formalize support for the production and to allow them to use some of the country's military equipment.

Casting

Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen
Terrence Steven "Steve" McQueen was an American movie actor. He was nicknamed "The King of Cool." His "anti-hero" persona, which he developed at the height of the Vietnam counterculture, made him one of the top box-office draws of the 1960s and 1970s. McQueen received an Academy Award nomination...

 was Coppola's first choice to play Willard, but the actor did not accept because he did not want to leave America for 17 weeks. Al Pacino
Al Pacino
Alfredo James "Al" Pacino is an American film and stage actor and director. He is famous for playing mobsters, including Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy, Tony Montana in Scarface, Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice in Dick Tracy and Carlito Brigante in Carlito's Way, though he has also appeared...

 was also offered the role but he too did not want to be away for that long a period of time and was afraid of falling ill in the jungle as he had done in the Dominican Republic during the shooting of The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II is a 1974 American gangster film directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a script co-written with Mario Puzo. The film is both a sequel and a prequel to The Godfather, chronicling the story of the Corleone family following the events of the first film while also depicting the...

. Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
John Joseph "Jack" Nicholson is an American actor, film director, producer and writer. He is renowned for his often dark portrayals of neurotic characters. Nicholson has been nominated for an Academy Award twelve times, and has won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice: for One Flew Over the...

, Robert Redford
Robert Redford
Charles Robert Redford, Jr. , better known as Robert Redford, is an American actor, film director, producer, businessman, environmentalist, philanthropist, and founder of the Sundance Film Festival. He has received two Oscars: one in 1981 for directing Ordinary People, and one for Lifetime...

, and James Caan were approached to play either Kurtz or Willard.

Coppola and Roos had been impressed by Martin Sheen
Martin Sheen
Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez , better known by his stage name Martin Sheen, is an American film actor best known for his performances in the films Badlands and Apocalypse Now , and in the television series The West Wing from 1999 to 2006.He is considered one of the best actors never to be...

's screen test for Michael in The Godfather
The Godfather
The Godfather is a 1972 American epic crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the 1969 novel by Mario Puzo. With a screenplay by Puzo, Coppola and an uncredited Robert Towne, the film stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard...

and he became their top choice to play Willard, but the actor had already accepted another project and Harvey Keitel
Harvey Keitel
Harvey Keitel is an American actor. Some of his most notable starring roles were in Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, Ridley Scott's The Duellists and Thelma and Louise, Ettore Scola's That Night in Varennes, Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, Jane Campion's The...

 was cast in the role based on his work in Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
Martin Charles Scorsese is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. In 1990 he founded The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation, and in 2007 he founded the World Cinema Foundation...

's Mean Streets
Mean Streets
Mean Streets is a 1973 drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Scorsese and Mardik Martin. The film stars Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro. It was released by Warner Bros. on October 2, 1973...

. By early 1976, Coppola had persuaded Marlon Brando to play Kurtz for a then-enormous fee of $3.5 million for a month's work on location in September 1976. Dennis Hopper
Dennis Hopper
Dennis Lee Hopper was an American actor, filmmaker and artist. As a young man, Hopper became interested in acting and eventually became a student of the Actors' Studio. He made his first television appearance in 1954 and appeared in two films featuring James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant...

 was cast as a kind of Green Beret sidekick for Kurtz and when Coppola heard him talking nonstop on location, he remembered putting "the cameras and the Montagnard shirt on him, and we shot the scene where he greets them on the boat".

Principal photography

On March 1, 1976, Coppola and his family flew to Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

 and rented a large house there for the five-month shoot. Sound and photographic equipment had been coming in from California on a regular basis since late 1975. Principal photography began three weeks later. Within a few days, Coppola was not happy with Harvey Keitel's take on Willard, saying that the actor "found it difficult to play him a passive onlooker". After viewing early footage, the director took a plane back to Los Angeles and replaced Keitel with Martin Sheen
Martin Sheen
Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez , better known by his stage name Martin Sheen, is an American film actor best known for his performances in the films Badlands and Apocalypse Now , and in the television series The West Wing from 1999 to 2006.He is considered one of the best actors never to be...

.

Typhoon Olga wrecked the sets at Iba
Iba, Zambales
Iba is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Zambales, Philippines. It is the capital municipality of Zambales. According to the latest census, it has a population of 44,344 people in 7,260 households....

 and on May 26, 1976, production was closed down. Dean Tavoularis remembers that it "started raining harder and harder until finally it was literally white outside, and all the trees were bent at forty-five degrees". One part of the crew was stranded in a hotel and the others were in small houses that were immobilized by the storm. The Playboy Playmate set had been destroyed, ruining a month's shooting that had been scheduled. Most of the cast and crew went back to the United States for six to eight weeks. Tavoularis and his team stayed on to scout new locations and rebuild the Playmate set in a different place. Also, the production had bodyguards watching constantly at night and one day the entire payroll was stolen. According to Coppola's wife, Eleanor
Eleanor Coppola
Eleanor Coppola is the wife of the famed director Francis Ford Coppola.Coppola was born Eleanor Jessie Neil to an Irish-American family in Los Angeles. She met Francis Ford Coppola on the set of his directorial debut, Dementia 13 in 1962, where she was Assistant Art Director. They married a year...

, the film was six weeks behind schedule and $2 million over budget.

Coppola flew back to the U.S. in June 1976. He read a book about Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

 to get a better handle on the character of Kurtz. After filming commenced, Marlon Brando arrived in Manila very overweight and began working with Coppola to rewrite the ending. The director downplayed Brando's weight by dressing him in black, photographing only his face, and having another, taller actor double for him in an attempt to portray Kurtz as an almost mythical character.

In the days after Christmas 1976, Coppola viewed a rough assembly of the footage he had to date but still needed to improvise an ending. He returned to the Philippines in early 1977 and resumed filming. On March 5, 1977, Sheen had a heart attack and struggled for a quarter of a mile to reach help. He was back on the set on April 19. A major sequence in a French plantation cost hundreds of thousands of dollars but was cut from the final film. Rumors began to circulate that Apocalypse Now had several endings but Richard Beggs, who worked on the sound elements, said, "There were never five endings, but just the one, even if there were differently edited versions". These rumors came from Coppola departing frequently from the original screenplay. Coppola admitted that he had no ending because Brando was too fat to play the scenes as written in the original script. With the help of Dennis Jakob, Coppola decided that the ending could be "the classic myth of the murderer who gets up the river, kills the king, and then himself becomes the king — it's the Fisher King
Fisher King
The Fisher King, or the Wounded King, figures in Arthurian legend as the latest in a line charged with keeping the Holy Grail. Versions of his story vary widely, but he is always wounded in the legs or groin, and incapable of moving on his own...

, from The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer . It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes...

".

A water buffalo was slaughtered with a machete for the climactic scene. The scene was inspired by a ritual performed by a local Ifugao
Ifugao
Ifugao is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Covering a total land area of 262,820 hectares, the province of Ifugao is located in a mountainous region characterized by rugged terrain, river valleys, and massive forests...

 tribe which Coppola had witnessed along with his wife (who filmed the ritual later shown in the documentary Hearts of Darkness
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse is a 1991 documentary film about the production of Apocalypse Now.-Synopsis:The title is derived from the source material for Apocalypse Now, the Joseph Conrad novella Heart of Darkness...

) and film crew. Although this was an American production subject to American animal cruelty laws, scenes like this filmed in the Philippines were not policed or monitored, and the American Humane Association
American Humane Association
The American Humane Association is an organization founded in 1877 dedicated to the welfare of animals and children.The AHA's Film and Television Unit has monitored the welfare of animals during the production of films and television programs since 1940. They are the source of the familiar...

 gave the film an "unacceptable" rating. Principal photography ended on May 21, 1977 and everyone headed home.

Post-production

In the summer of 1977, Coppola told Walter Murch
Walter Murch
Walter Scott Murch is an American film editor and sound designer.-Early life:Murch was born in New York City, New York, the son of Katharine and Canadian-born Walter Tandy Murch , a painter. He went to The Collegiate School, a private preparatory school in Manhattan, from 1949 to 1961...

 that he had four months to assemble the sound. Murch realized that the script had been narrated but Coppola abandoned the idea during filming. Murch thought that there was a way to assemble the film without narration but it would take ten months and decided to give it another try. He put it back in, recording it all himself. By September, Coppola told his wife that he felt "there is only about a 20% chance [I] can pull the film off". He convinced United Artists executives to delay the premiere from May to October 1978. Author Michael Herr
Michael Herr
Michael Herr is a writer and former war correspondent, best known as the author of Dispatches , a memoir of his time as a correspondent for Esquire magazine during the Vietnam War...

 received a call from Zoetrope in January 1978 and was asked to work on the film's narration based on his well-received book about Vietnam, Dispatches
Dispatches (book)
Dispatches is a New Journalism book by Michael Herr that describes the author's experiences in Vietnam as a war correspondent for Esquire magazine. First published in 1977, Dispatches was one of the first pieces of American literature that allowed Americans to understand the experiences of soldiers...

. Herr said that the narration already written was "totally useless" and spent a year writing various narrations with Coppola giving him very definite guidelines.

Murch had problems trying to make a stereo soundtrack for Apocalypse Now because sound libraries were devoid of any stereo recordings of any weapons and, specifically, weapons used in Vietnam. In addition, the sound material brought back from the Philippines was inadequate because the small location crew lacked time and resources sufficient to record jungle sounds and ambient noises. Murch and his crew had to fabricate the mood of the jungle on the soundtrack. Apocalypse Now would feature innovative sound technique for movies as Murch insisted on recording the most up-to-date gunfire and employed the Dolby Stereo 70 mm Six Track system for the 70mm release. This used two channels of sound from behind the audience as well as three channels of sound from behind the movie screen. The 35mm release used the then still new Dolby Stereo
Dolby Stereo
Dolby Stereo, is the trade mark that Dolby Laboratories used for the various analogue stereo cinema sound formats that they produced.Two basic systems used this name. The first was the 'Dolby SVA' system used with optical soundtracks on 35mm film...

 optical stereo system that has a single surround channel and three screen channels.

In May 1978, Coppola decided that it would not be possible to finish the film for a December release and postponed the opening until spring of 1979. He screened a "work in progress" for 900 people in April 1979 that was not well-received. That same year, he was invited to screen Apocalypse Now at the Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

. United Artists were not keen on showing an unfinished version in front of so many members of the press but Coppola remembered that The Conversation
The Conversation
The Conversation is a 1974 American psychological thriller film written, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gene Hackman...

won the Palme d'Or
Palme d'Or
The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and is presented to the director of the best feature film of the official competition. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du...

 and agreed to show Apocalypse Now at the festival less than a month before it began. The week prior to Cannes, Coppola arranged three sneak previews that each featured their own slightly different versions. He allowed critics to attend the screenings and believed that they would honor the embargo placed on reviews. On May 14, Rona Barrett
Rona Barrett
Rona Barrett is an American gossip columnist and businesswoman. She currently runs the Rona Barrett Foundation, a non-profit organization in Santa Ynez, California, dedicated to the aid and support of senior citizens in need.-Career and personal life:As a teenager, Barrett overcame a degenerative...

 reviewed the film on television and called it "a disappointing failure". At Cannes, Zoetrope technicians worked during the night before the screening to install additional speakers on the theater walls in order to achieve Murch's 5.1
5.1 surround sound
5.1 is the common name for six channel surround sound multichannel audio systems. 5.1 is now the most commonly used layout in both commercial cinemas and home theaters. It uses five full bandwidth channels and one low frequency enhancement channel . Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS, and...

 soundtrack. On August 15, 1979 Apocalypse Now was released in the U.S. in 15 theaters equipped to play the first Dolby Stereo 70mm film with stereo surround sound
Surround sound
Surround sound encompasses a range of techniques such as for enriching the sound reproduction quality of an audio source with audio channels reproduced via additional, discrete speakers. Surround sound is characterized by a listener location or sweet spot where the audio effects work best, and...

.

Endings

At the time of its release, many rumors surrounded the ending of Apocalypse Now. Coppola stated an ending was written in haste in which Willard and Kurtz joined forces and repelled the air strike on the compound; however, Coppola never fully agreed with the two going out in apocalyptic intensity, preferring to end the film in a more encouraging manner.

When Coppola originally organized the ending of the movie, he had two choices. One involved Willard leading Lance by the hand as everyone in Kurtz's base throws down their weapons, and ends with images of Willard's boat pulling away from Kurtz's compound superimposed over the face of a stone idol which then fades into black. Another option showed an air strike being called and the base being blown to bits in a spectacular display, consequently killing everyone left at the base.

The original 1979 exclusive theatrical release ended with Willard's boat, the stone statue, then fade to black with no credits, save for '"Copyright 1979 Omni Zoetrope"' right after the film ends. This mirrors the lack of any opening titles and supposedly stems from Coppola's original intention to "tour" the film as one would a play: the credits would have appeared on printed programs provided before the screening began.

There have been, to date, many variations of the end credit sequence, beginning with the 35mm general release version, where Coppola elected to show the credits superimposed over shots of Kurtz's base exploding. Rental prints circulated with this ending, and can be found in the hands of a few collectors. Some versions of this had the subtitle "A United Artists
United Artists
United Artists Corporation is an American film studio. The original studio of that name was founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks....

 release", while others had "An Omni Zoetrope release". The network television version of the credits ended with "...from MGM/UA Entertainment Company" (the film made its network debut shortly after the merger of MGM and UA). One variation of the end credits can be seen on both YouTube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

 and as a supplement on the current Lionsgate Blu-ray.

In any case, when Coppola heard that audiences interpreted this as an air strike called by Willard, Coppola pulled the film from its run, and put credits on a black screen. (However, prints with the "air strike" footage continued to circulate to "repertory" theatres well into the 1980s.) In the DVD commentary, Coppola explains that the images of explosions had not been intended to be part of the story; they were intended to be seen as completely separate from the film. He had added them to the credits because he had captured the footage during the demolition of the sets (required by the Philippine government), which was filmed with multiple cameras fitted with different film stocks and lenses to capture the explosions at different speeds.

In the Redux Version, Willard silences the radio as the PBR is pulling away from Kurtz's compound. It is unclear whether Willard then points the boat upstream or downstream. Just before fading to black, Kurtz's last words "the horror" are echoed and there is a brief glimpse of helicopters and napalm that harks back to the beginning of the film.

Extended bootleg version

There is a longer 289 minute version which has never been officially released but circulates as a video bootleg, containing extra material not included in either the original theatrical release or the "redux" version.

Apocalypse Now Redux

In 2001, Coppola released Apocalypse Now Redux in cinemas and subsequently on DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

. This is an extended version that restores 49 minutes of scenes cut from the original film. Coppola has continued to circulate the original version as well: the two versions are packaged together in the Complete Dossier DVD, released on August 15, 2006 and in the Blu-ray edition released on October 19, 2010.

The longest section of added footage in the Redux version is an anticolonialism chapter involving the de Marais family's rubber plantation, a holdover from the colonization of French Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

, featuring Coppola's two sons Gian-Carlo
Gian-Carlo Coppola
-Early life:Coppola was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of set decorator/artist Eleanor Coppola and famed film director Francis Ford Coppola...

 and Roman
Roman Coppola
Roman Coppola is an American film director and music video director.-Early life:Coppola was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, the son of set decorator/artist Eleanor Coppola and Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola was born in the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine while his father was in Paris...

 as children of the family. These scenes were removed from the 1979 cut, which premiered at Cannes. In behind-the-scenes footage in Hearts of Darkness, Coppola expresses his anger, on the set, at the technical aspects of the shot scenes, the result of tight allocation of resources. At the time of the Redux version, it was possible to digitally enhance the footage to accomplish Coppola's vision. In the scenes, the French family patriarchs argue about the positive side of colonialism in Indochina and denounce the betrayal
Betrayal
Betrayal is the breaking or violation of a presumptive contract, trust, or confidence that produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship amongst individuals, between organizations or between individuals and organizations...

 of the military men in the First Indochina War
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

. Hubert de Marais argues that French politicians sacrificed entire battalions at Điện Biên Phủ
Battle of Dien Bien Phu
The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was the climactic confrontation of the First Indochina War between the French Union's French Far East Expeditionary Corps and Viet Minh communist revolutionaries. The battle occurred between March and May 1954 and culminated in a comprehensive French defeat that...

, and tells Willard that the US created the Viet Cong (as the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
Việt Minh was a national independence coalition formed at Pac Bo on May 19, 1941. The Việt Minh initially formed to seek independence for Vietnam from the French Empire. When the Japanese occupation began, the Việt Minh opposed Japan with support from the United States and the Republic of China...

), to fend off Japanese invaders.

Other added material includes extra combat footage before Willard meets Kilgore, a humorous scene in which Willard's team steals Kilgore's surfboard (which sheds some light on the hunt for the mangoes), a follow-up scene to the dance of the Playboy
Playboy
Playboy is an American men's magazine that features photographs of nude women as well as journalism and fiction. It was founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. The magazine has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., with...

playmates, in which Willard's team finds the playmates awaiting evacuation after their helicopter has run out of fuel (trading two barrels of fuel for two hours with the Bunnies), and a scene of Kurtz reading from a Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine article about the war, surrounded by Cambodian children.

There is a deleted scene titled "Monkey Sampan", which was used as a way to represent the whole movie in a three minute scene. The scene shows Willard and the PBR crew suspiciously eyeing an approaching sampan juxtaposed to Montagnard villagers joyfully singing "Light My Fire
Light My Fire
"Light My Fire" is a song by The Doors which was recorded in August 1966 and released the first week of January 1967 on the Doors' debut album. Released as a single in April, it spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and one week on the Cash Box Top 100, nearly a year after...

" by The Doors
The Doors
The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, California, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore, and guitarist Robby Krieger...

. As the sampan gets closer, Willard realizes there are monkeys on it and no helmsman. Finally, just as the two boats pass, the wind turns the sail and exposes a naked dead civilian tied to the sail boom. His body is mutilated and looks as though the man had been whipped. The singing stops. It is assumed the man was tortured by the Viet Cong. As they pass on by, Chief notes out loud, "That's comin' from where we're going, Captain." The boat then slowly passes the giant tail of a shot down B-52 bomber. The scene is ominous and the noise of engines way up in the sky is heard. Coppola said that he made up for cutting this scene by having the PBR pass under an airplane tail in the final cut.

Cannes screening

A three-hour version of Apocalypse Now was screened as a "work in progress" at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival
1979 Cannes Film Festival
- Jury :*Françoise Sagan *Sergio Amidei *Rodolphe-Maurice Arlaud *Luis García Berlanga *Maurice Bessy *Paul Claudon *Jules Dassin *Zsolt Kézdi-Kovács...

 and met with prolonged applause. At the subsequent press conference, Coppola criticized the media for attacking him and the production during their problems filming in the Philippines and uttered the famous quotes, "We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane", and "My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam". The filmmaker upset newspaper critic Rex Reed
Rex Reed
Rex Taylor Reed is an American film critic and former co-host of the syndicated television show At the Movies. He currently writes the column "On the Town with Rex Reed" for The New York Observer.-Life and career:...

 who reportedly stormed out of the conference. Apocalypse Now won the Palme d'Or
Palme d'Or
The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and is presented to the director of the best feature film of the official competition. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du...

 for best film along with Volker Schlöndorff
Volker Schlöndorff
Volker Schlöndorff is a Berlin-based German filmmaker who has worked in Germany, France and the United States...

's The Tin Drum
The Tin Drum (film)
The Tin Drum is a 1979 film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Günter Grass. It was directed and co-written by Volker Schlöndorff...

- a decision that was reportedly greeted with "some boos and jeers from the audience".

Box office

Apocalypse Now performed well at the box office when it opened in August 1979. The film initially opened in one theater in New York City, Toronto, and Hollywood, grossing USD $322,489 in the first five days. It ran exclusively in these three locations for four weeks before opening in an additional 12 theaters on October 3, 1979 and then several hundred the following week. The film grossed over $78 million domestically with a worldwide total of approximately $150 million.

The film was re-released on August 28, 1987 in six cities to capitalize on the success of Platoon
Platoon (film)
Platoon is a 1986 American war film written and directed by Oliver Stone and stars Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe and Charlie Sheen. It is the first of Stone's Vietnam War trilogy, followed by 1989's Born on the Fourth of July and 1993's Heaven & Earth....

, Full Metal Jacket
Full Metal Jacket
Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 war film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. It is an adaptation of the 1979 novel The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford and stars Matthew Modine, Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Arliss Howard and Adam Baldwin. The film follows a platoon of U.S...

and other Vietnam War movies. New 70mm prints were shown in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, St. Louis, and Cincinnati — cities where the film did financially well in 1979. The film was given the same kind of release as the exclusive engagement in 1979 with no logo or credits and audiences were given a printed program.

Critical response

On the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

, Apocalypse Now has a 99% "Certified Fresh" with a Average Rating of an 8.9/10 Rating. The Consensus is "Francis Ford Coppola's haunting, hallucinatory Vietnam war epic is cinema at its most audacious and visionary".
In his original review, Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 wrote, "Apocalypse Now achieves greatness not by analyzing our 'experience in Vietnam', but by re-creating, in characters and images, something of that experience". In his review for the Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

, Charles Champlin wrote, "as a noble use of the medium and as a tireless expression of national anguish, it towers over everything that has been attempted by an American filmmaker in a very long time".

Ebert added Coppola's film to his list of Great Movies, stating: "Apocalypse Now is the best Vietnam film, one of the greatest of all films, because it pushes beyond the others, into the dark places of the soul. It is not about war so much as about how war reveals truths we would be happy never to discover".

Other reviews were less positive; Frank Rich
Frank Rich
Frank Rich is an American essayist and op-ed columnist who wrote for The New York Times from 1980, when he was appointed its chief theatre critic, until 2011...

 in Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

said "while much of the footage is breathtaking, Apocalypse Now is emotionally obtuse and intellectually empty".

In May 2011, a newly restored digital print of Apocalypse Now was released in UK cinemas, distributed by Optimum Releasing
Optimum Releasing
StudioCanal UK is a film distributor company working in the UK and Ireland. The company releases many films, including foreign language films, anime releases such as Studio Ghibli's films and independent British, Irish and American films in the UK and sometimes Ireland.Optimum was acquired by...

. Total Film
Total Film
Total Film is a British film magazine published 13 times a year by Future Publishing. The magazine was launched in 1997 and offers film, DVD and Blu-ray news, reviews and features...

magazine gave the film a five-star review, stating: "This is the original cut rather than the 2001 ‘Redux’ (be gone, jarring French plantation interlude!), digitally restored to such heights you can, indeed, get a nose full of the napalm."

Legacy

Today, the movie is widely regarded by many as a masterpiece of the New Hollywood
New Hollywood
New Hollywood or post-classical Hollywood, sometimes referred to as the "American New Wave", refers to the time from roughly the late-1960s to the early 1980s when a new generation of young filmmakers came to prominence in America, influencing the types of films produced, their production and...

 era, and is frequently cited as one of the greatest films of all time. Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 considers it to be the finest film on the Vietnam war and included it on his list for the 2002 Sight and Sound poll for the greatest movie of all time. It is on the American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

's 100 Years... 100 Movies
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies
The first of the AFI 100 Years… series of cinematic milestones, AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies is a list of the 100 best American movies, as determined by the American Film Institute from a poll of more than 1,500 artists and leaders in the film industry who chose from a list of 400 nominated movies...

list at number 28, but it dropped two spots to number 30 on their 10th anniversary list. Kilgore's quote "I love the smell of napalm
Napalm
Napalm is a thickening/gelling agent generally mixed with gasoline or a similar fuel for use in an incendiary device, primarily as an anti-personnel weapon...

 in the morning" (written by Milius) was number 12 on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes
Part of the AFI 100 Years... series, AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes is a list of the top 100 movie quotations in American cinema. The American Film Institute revealed the list on June 21, 2005, in a three-hour television program on CBS...

list and was also voted the fourth greatest movie speech of all time in a 2004 poll. It is on Empire's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time. Entertainment Weekly ranked Apocalypse Now as having one of the "10 Best Surfing Scenes" in cinema.

In 1981, shortly after introduction of martial law in Poland
Martial law in Poland
Martial law in Poland refers to the period of time from December 13, 1981 to July 22, 1983, when the authoritarian government of the People's Republic of Poland drastically restricted normal life by introducing martial law in an attempt to crush political opposition to it. Thousands of opposition...

, a British-Polish photographer Chris Niedenthal
Chris Niedenthal
Chris Niedenthal is a British-Polish photographer and photojournalist. A member of the Association of Polish Art Photographers, his pictures were published in a number of internationally renowned newspapers and magazines, among them Newsweek, Time, Der Spiegel and Forbes...

 took an iconic photo presenting SKOT APC
OT-64 SKOT
The OT-64 SKOT is an amphibious armored personnel carrier , developed jointly by Poland and Czechoslovakia well into the 1960s.-History:OT-64 was intended to replace the halftrack OT-810, which was nearly...

 in front of Moscow Cinema (Kino Moskwa) with the film's poster behind it.

In 2002, Sight and Sound magazine polled several critics to name the best film of the last 25 years and Apocalypse Now was named number one. It was also listed as the second best war film by viewers on Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

's 100 Greatest War Films and was the second rated war movie of all time based on the Movifone list (after Schindler's List) and the IMDB War movie list (after The Longest Day). It is ranked number 1 on Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

's 50 Films To See Before You Die
50 Films to See Before You Die
50 Films to See Before You Die was a television programme first shown on Channel 4 on Saturday 22 July 2006, to celebrate the relaunch of Film4 as a free-to-air TV channel available to digital terrestrial homes in the United Kingdom. It consisted of a list of 50 films compiled by film critics,...

. In a 2004 poll of UK film fans, Blockbuster listed Kilgore's eulogy to napalm as the best movie speech. The helicopter attack scene with the Ride of the Valkyries
Ride of the Valkyries
The Ride of the Valkyries is the popular term for the beginning of Act III of Die Walküre, the second of the four operas by Richard Wagner that comprise Der Ring des Nibelungen. The main theme of the Ride, the leitmotif labelled Walkürenritt, was first written down by the composer on 23 July 1851...

soundtrack was chosen as the most memorable film scene ever by the Empire magazine (although the same track was used earlier in 1915 to similar effect in The Birth of a Nation
The Birth of a Nation
The Birth of a Nation is a 1915 American silent film directed by D. W. Griffith and based on the novel and play The Clansman, both by Thomas Dixon, Jr. Griffith also co-wrote the screenplay , and co-produced the film . It was released on February 8, 1915...

.

In 2009, the London Film Critics' Circle voted Apocalypse Now the best movie of the last 30 years.

In 2011, actor Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen
Carlos Irwin Estevez , better known by his stage name Charlie Sheen, is an American film and television actor. He is the youngest son of actor Martin Sheen....

, son of Martin Sheen, started playing clips from the film on his live tour and played the film in its entirety during post-show parties. One of Charlie Sheen's films, the 1993 comedy Hot Shots! Part Deux
Hot Shots! Part Deux
Hot Shots! Part Deux is a 1993 comedy/parody film, and a sequel to the 1991 comedy Hot Shots!.Directed again by Jim Abrahams, the film stars Charlie Sheen, Lloyd Bridges, Valeria Golino, Richard Crenna, Brenda Bakke, Miguel Ferrer, Rowan Atkinson, and Jerry Haleva...

, includes a brief scene in which Charlie is riding a boat up a river in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 while on a rescue mission and passes Martin, as Captain Willard, going the other way. As they pass, each man shouts to the other "I loved you in Wall Street!", referencing the 1987 film that had featured both of them. Additionally, the promotional material for Hot Shots! Part Deux included a mockumentary
Mockumentary
A mockumentary , is a type of film or television show in which fictitious events are presented in documentary format. These productions are often used to analyze or comment on current events and issues by using a fictitious setting, or to parody the documentary form itself...

 that aired on Home Box Office
Home Box Office
HBO, short for Home Box Office, is an American premium cable television network, owned by Time Warner. , HBO's programming reaches 28.2 million subscribers in the United States, making it the second largest premium network in America . In addition to its U.S...

 titled Hearts of Hot Shots! Part Deux—A Filmmaker's Apology, in parody of the 1991 documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse is a 1991 documentary film about the production of Apocalypse Now.-Synopsis:The title is derived from the source material for Apocalypse Now, the Joseph Conrad novella Heart of Darkness...

, about the making of Apocalypse Now.

Awards and honors

Wins
  • Academy Award for Best Cinematography
    Academy Award for Best Cinematography
    The Academy Award for Best Cinematography is an Academy Award awarded each year to a cinematographer for work in one particular motion picture.-History:...

     (Vittorio Storaro
    Vittorio Storaro
    Vittorio Storaro, A.S.C., A.I.C. is an Italian cinematographer.In 2003, a survey conducted by the International Cinematographers Guild judged Storaro one of history's ten most influential cinematographers.-Biography:...

    )
  • Academy Award for Best Sound (Walter Murch
    Walter Murch
    Walter Scott Murch is an American film editor and sound designer.-Early life:Murch was born in New York City, New York, the son of Katharine and Canadian-born Walter Tandy Murch , a painter. He went to The Collegiate School, a private preparatory school in Manhattan, from 1949 to 1961...

    , Mark Berger
    Mark Berger (sound engineer)
    Mark Berger is an American sound engineer. He has won four Academy Awards for Best Sound. He has worked on over 160 films since 1973.-Selected filmography:* Apocalypse Now * The Right Stuff * Amadeus...

    , Richard Beggs
    Richard Beggs
    Richard Beggs is an American sound engineer. He won an Academy Award for Best Sound for the film Apocalypse Now. He has worked on over 60 films since 1979.-External links:...

    , Nathan Boxer)
  • Cannes Film Festival
    1979 Cannes Film Festival
    - Jury :*Françoise Sagan *Sergio Amidei *Rodolphe-Maurice Arlaud *Luis García Berlanga *Maurice Bessy *Paul Claudon *Jules Dassin *Zsolt Kézdi-Kovács...

    : Palme d'Or
    Palme d'Or
    The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and is presented to the director of the best feature film of the official competition. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du...

  • Golden Globe Award for Best Director (Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

    )
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor (Robert Duvall
    Robert Duvall
    Robert Selden Duvall is an American actor and director. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and a BAFTA over the course of his career....

    )
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score
    Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score
    The Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score is one of several categories presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association , an organization of journalists who cover the United States film industry, but are affiliated with publications outside North America, since its institution in 1947...

     (Carmine Coppola
    Carmine Coppola
    Carmine Coppola was an American composer, flautist, editor, musical director, and songwriter. Coppola was a composer and conductor who contributed to many of the musical scores in The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Godfather Part III, and Apocalypse Now directed by his son Francis Ford...

     and Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

    )
  • National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
    National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
    The National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor is an annual film award given by the National Society of Film Critics.The awards was given for the first time in 1968 .-1960s:-1970s:-1980s:-1990s:...

     (Frederic Forrest
    Frederic Forrest
    -Life:Forrest was born in Waxahachie, Texas, the son of Virginia Allie and Frederic Fenimore Forrest, a furniture store owner. He is known for his roles as Chef in Apocalypse Now, When The Legends Die, It Lives Again, the neo-Nazi surplus store owner in Falling Down, Right to Kill? and for playing...

    )
  • David di Donatello Award for Best Director, Foreign Film
    David di Donatello
    David di Donatello, named after Donatello's David, is a movie award assigned each year for cinematic performances and production by Ente David di Donatello, part of Accademia del Cinema Italiano. It is the Italian equivalent to the Academy Award. There are 24 categories as of 2006.- History :The...

     (Migliore Regista Straniero) (Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

    )
  • American Movie Award for Best Supporting Actor
    American Movie Awards
    The American Movie Awards were awards to honour excellence in film, there were only two ceremonies, one in 1980, and one in 1982.-1980:*Best Film: Rocky II*Best Actor: Alan Alda *Best Actress: Sally Field...

     (Robert Duvall
    Robert Duvall
    Robert Selden Duvall is an American actor and director. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and a BAFTA over the course of his career....

    )
  • BAFTA Award for Best Direction
    BAFTA Award for Best Direction
    Winners of the BAFTA Award for Best Direction presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.-2010s:* 2010 - David Fincher – The Social Network** Tom Hooper – The King's Speech** Danny Boyle – 127 Hours...

     (Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

    )
  • BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor (Robert Duvall
    Robert Duvall
    Robert Selden Duvall is an American actor and director. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and a BAFTA over the course of his career....

    )


In 2000, Apocalypse Now was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry
National Film Registry
The National Film Registry is the United States National Film Preservation Board's selection of films for preservation in the Library of Congress. The Board, established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, was reauthorized by acts of Congress in 1992, 1996, 2005, and again in October 2008...

 by the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

 as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Nominations
  • Academy Award for Best Picture
    Academy Award for Best Picture
    The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to artists working in the motion picture industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only...

     (Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

    , Fred Roos
    Fred Roos
    -Life and career:Roos was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of Florence Mary and Victor Otto Roos. Beginning in television as a casting director for The Andy Griffith Show, Roos went on to produce most of Francis Ford Coppola's films subsequent to The Godfather, including Apocalypse Now...

    , Gray Frederickson and Tom Sternberg)
  • Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
    Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
    Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

      (Robert Duvall
    Robert Duvall
    Robert Selden Duvall is an American actor and director. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and a BAFTA over the course of his career....

    )
  • Academy Award for Best Art Direction — Set Decoration
    Academy Award for Best Art Direction
    The Academy Awards are the oldest awards ceremony for achievements in motion pictures. The Academy Award for Best Art Direction recognizes achievement in art direction on a film. The films below are listed with their production year, so the Oscar 2000 for best art direction went to a film from 1999...

     (Dean Tavoularis
    Dean Tavoularis
    Dean Tavoularis is an American motion picture production designer whose work appeared in numerous box office hits such as The Godfather films, Apocalypse Now, The Brink's Job, One from the Heart and Bonnie and Clyde.-Biography:...

    , Angelo P. Graham
    Angelo P. Graham
    Angelo P. Graham is an American art director. He won an Academy Award and was nominated for three more in the category Best Art Direction.-Selected filmography:Graham won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction and was nominated for three more:Won...

     and George R. Nelson
    George R. Nelson
    George R. Nelson was an American set decorator. He won an Academy Award and was nominated for three more in the category Best Art Direction.-Selected filmography:...

    )
  • Academy Award for Directing
    Academy Award for Directing
    The Academy Award for Achievement in Directing , usually known as the Best Director Oscar, is one of the Awards of Merit presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to directors working in the motion picture industry...

     (Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

    )
  • Academy Award for Film Editing
    Academy Award for Film Editing
    The Academy Award for Film Editing is one of the annual awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Nominations for this award are closely correlated with the Academy Award for Best Picture. Since 1981, every film selected as Best Picture has also been nominated for the Film Editing...

     (Richard Marks
    Richard Marks
    Richard Marks is an American film editor with more than 30 editing credits for feature and television films dating from 1972. In an extended, notable collaboration , he has edited all of director James L...

    , Walter Murch
    Walter Murch
    Walter Scott Murch is an American film editor and sound designer.-Early life:Murch was born in New York City, New York, the son of Katharine and Canadian-born Walter Tandy Murch , a painter. He went to The Collegiate School, a private preparatory school in Manhattan, from 1949 to 1961...

    , Gerald B. Greenberg
    Gerald B. Greenberg
    Gerald B. Greenberg is an American film editor who received both the Academy Award for Film Editing and the BAFTA Award for Best Editing for the film The French Connection ....

     and Lisa Fruchtman)
  • Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
    Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay
    The Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay is one of the Academy Awards, the most prominent film awards in the United States. It is awarded each year to the writer of a screenplay adapted from another source...

     (John Milius
    John Milius
    John Frederick Milius is an American screenwriter, director, and producer of motion pictures.-Early life:Milius was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Elizabeth and William Styx Milius, who was a shoe manufacturer. Milius attempted to join the Marine Corps in the late 1960s, but was rejected...

     and Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

    )
  • DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

    )
  • WGA Award for Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen
    Writers Guild of America Award
    The Writers Guild of America Award for outstanding achievements in film, television, and radio has been presented annually by the Writers Guild of America, East and Writers Guild of America, West since 1949...

     (John Milius
    John Milius
    John Frederick Milius is an American screenwriter, director, and producer of motion pictures.-Early life:Milius was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Elizabeth and William Styx Milius, who was a shoe manufacturer. Milius attempted to join the Marine Corps in the late 1960s, but was rejected...

     and Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

    )
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama (Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

    , Fred Roos
    Fred Roos
    -Life and career:Roos was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of Florence Mary and Victor Otto Roos. Beginning in television as a casting director for The Andy Griffith Show, Roos went on to produce most of Francis Ford Coppola's films subsequent to The Godfather, including Apocalypse Now...

    , Gray Frederickson and Tom Sternberg)
  • Grammy Award for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture
    Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
    The Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media has been awarded since 1960. Until 2001 the award was presented to the composer of the music alone. From 2001 to 2006, the producer and engineers shared in this award...

     (Carmine Coppola
    Carmine Coppola
    Carmine Coppola was an American composer, flautist, editor, musical director, and songwriter. Coppola was a composer and conductor who contributed to many of the musical scores in The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Godfather Part III, and Apocalypse Now directed by his son Francis Ford...

     and Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

    )
  • César Award
    César Award
    The César Award is the national film award of France, first given out in 1975. The nominations are selected by the members of the Académie des arts et techniques du cinéma....

     for Best Foreign Film (Meilleur film étranger) (Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

    )
  • American Movie Award for Best Actor
    American Movie Awards
    The American Movie Awards were awards to honour excellence in film, there were only two ceremonies, one in 1980, and one in 1982.-1980:*Best Film: Rocky II*Best Actor: Alan Alda *Best Actress: Sally Field...

     (Martin Sheen
    Martin Sheen
    Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez , better known by his stage name Martin Sheen, is an American film actor best known for his performances in the films Badlands and Apocalypse Now , and in the television series The West Wing from 1999 to 2006.He is considered one of the best actors never to be...

    )
  • BAFTA Award for Best Film Music
    BAFTA Award for Best Film Music
    The Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music is an annual award given by British Academy of Film and Television Arts.-1960s:*1968 - The Lion in Winter - John Barry...

     (Carmine Coppola
    Carmine Coppola
    Carmine Coppola was an American composer, flautist, editor, musical director, and songwriter. Coppola was a composer and conductor who contributed to many of the musical scores in The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Godfather Part III, and Apocalypse Now directed by his son Francis Ford...

     and Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

    )
  • BAFTA Award for Best Actor (Martin Sheen
    Martin Sheen
    Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez , better known by his stage name Martin Sheen, is an American film actor best known for his performances in the films Badlands and Apocalypse Now , and in the television series The West Wing from 1999 to 2006.He is considered one of the best actors never to be...

    )


American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

 Lists
  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies
    AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies
    The first of the AFI 100 Years… series of cinematic milestones, AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies is a list of the 100 best American movies, as determined by the American Film Institute from a poll of more than 1,500 artists and leaders in the film industry who chose from a list of 400 nominated movies...

     - #28
  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains
    AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains
    AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains is a list of the 100 greatest screen characters chosen by American Film Institute in June 2003. It is part of the AFI 100 Years… series. The series was first presented in a CBS special hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger...

    :
    • Colonel Walter E. Kurtz - Nominated Villain
  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs
    AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs
    Part of the AFI 100 Years… series, AFI's 100 Years…100 Songs is a list of the top 100 songs in American cinema. The list was unveiled by the American Film Institute June 22, 2004 in a CBS special hosted by John Travolta, who appeared in two films honored by the list, Saturday Night Fever and...

    :
    • The End
      The End (The Doors song)
      "The End" is a song by The Doors. Originally written by Jim Morrison as a song about breaking up with girlfriend Mary Werbelow, it evolved through months of performances at Los Angeles' Whisky a Go Go into a nearly 12-minute opus on their self-titled album. The band would perform the song to close...

       - Nominated
  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes
    AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes
    Part of the AFI 100 Years... series, AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes is a list of the top 100 movie quotations in American cinema. The American Film Institute revealed the list on June 21, 2005, in a three-hour television program on CBS...

    :
    • "I love the smell of napalm in the morning." - #12
  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) - #30
  • AFI's 10 Top 10
    AFI's 10 Top 10
    AFI's 10 Top 10 honors the ten greatest American films in ten classic film genres. Presented by the American Film Institute , the lists were unveiled on a television special broadcast by CBS on June 17, 2008....

     - Nominated Epic film


Marlon Brando was also ranked #4 of the Top 25 American male screen legends
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars
Part of the AFI 100 Years... series, AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars is a list of the top 50 greatest screen legends of American cinema, 25 male and 25 female...

.

Home video release aspect ratio issues

The first home video releases of Apocalypse Now were pan-and-scan versions of the original Technovision anamorphic 2.35:1 print, and the closing credits, white on black background, were presented in compressed 1.33:1 full-frame format to allow all credit information to be seen on standard televisions. The first letterbox
Letterbox
Letterboxing is the practice of transferring film shot in a widescreen aspect ratio to standard-width video formats while preserving the film's original aspect ratio. The resulting videographic image has mattes above and below it; these mattes are part of the image...

ed appearance (on laserdisc
Laserdisc
LaserDisc was a home video format and the first commercial optical disc storage medium. Initially licensed, sold, and marketed as MCA DiscoVision in North America in 1978, the technology was previously referred to interally as Optical Videodisc System, Reflective Optical Videodisc, Laser Optical...

 on December 29, 1991) cropped the film to a 2:1 aspect ratio (conforming to the Univisium
Univisium
Univisium is a proposed universal film format created by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC and his son, Fabrizio, to unify all future theatrical and television movies into one respective aspect ratio of 2.00:1...

 spec created by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro), featuring a small degree of pan-and-scan processing — notably in the opening shots in Willard's hotel room, featuring a composite montage — at the insistence of Coppola and Storaro. The end credits, from a videotape source rather than a film print, were still crushed for 1.33:1 and zoomed to fit the anamorphic video frame. All DVD releases have maintained this aspect ratio in anamorphic widescreen, but present the film without the end credits, which were treated as a separate feature. As a DVD extra, the footage of the explosion of the Kurtz compound was featured without text credits but included a commentary by director Coppola explaining the various endings based on how the film was screened. On the cover of the Redux DVD, Willard is erroneously listed as "Lieutenant Willard". The Blu-ray releases of Apocalypse Now restore the film to its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, making it the first home video release to display the film in its true aspect ratio.

Documentaries

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse is a 1991 documentary film about the production of Apocalypse Now.-Synopsis:The title is derived from the source material for Apocalypse Now, the Joseph Conrad novella Heart of Darkness...

(American Zoetrope
American Zoetrope
American Zoetrope is a studio founded by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. Founded on December 12, 1969, American Zoetrope was an early adopter of digital filmmaking, including some of the earliest uses of HDTV...

/Cineplex-Odeon Films) (1991) Directed by Eleanor Coppola
Eleanor Coppola
Eleanor Coppola is the wife of the famed director Francis Ford Coppola.Coppola was born Eleanor Jessie Neil to an Irish-American family in Los Angeles. She met Francis Ford Coppola on the set of his directorial debut, Dementia 13 in 1962, where she was Assistant Art Director. They married a year...

, George Hickenlooper & Fax Bahr

Apocalypse Now - The Complete Dossier DVD (Paramount Home Entertainment
Paramount Home Entertainment
Paramount Home Entertainment is the division of Paramount Pictures dealing with home video founded in late 1975.-History:...

) (2006)
Disc 2 Extras include:

The Post Production of Apocalypse Now: Documentary (four featurettes covering the editing, music and sound of the film through Coppola and his team)
  • "A Million Feet of Film: The Editing of Apocalypse Now" (18mins)
  • "The Music of Apocalypse Now" (15mins)
  • "Heard Any Good Movies Lately? The Sound Design of Apocalypse Now" (15mins)
  • "The Final Mix" (3mins)

See also

  • Reflections in a Golden Eye
  • Cinema of the United States
    Cinema of the United States
    The cinema of the United States, also known as Hollywood, has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. Its history is sometimes separated into four main periods: the silent film era, classical Hollywood cinema, New Hollywood, and the contemporary period...

  • Anthony Poshepny
    Anthony Poshepny
    Anthony Alexander Poshepny , known as Tony Poe, was a CIA paramilitary officer in what is now called Special Activities Division...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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