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Drama, Action, History, War
IMDB rating:
Francis Ford Coppola


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Marlon Brando as Kurtz
Martin Sheen as Marlow
Robert Duvall as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore
Frederic Forrest as Jay 'Chef' Hicks
Sam Bottoms as Lance B. Johnson
Laurence Fishburne as Tyrone 'Clean' Miller
Albert Hall as Chief Phillips
Harrison Ford as Colonel Lucas
Dennis Hopper as Photojournalist
G.D. Spradlin as General Corman
Jerry Ziesmer as Jerry, Civilian
Scott Glenn as Lieutenant Richard M. Colby
Bo Byers as MP Sergeant #1
James Keane as Kilgore's Gunner
Apocalypse Now Storyline: It is the height of the war in Vietnam, and U.S. Army Captain Willard is sent by Colonel Lucas and a General to carry out a mission that, officially, 'does not exist - nor will it ever exist'. The mission: To seek out a mysterious Green Beret Colonel, Walter Kurtz, whose army has crossed the border into Cambodia and is conducting hit-and-run missions against the Viet Cong and NVA. The army believes Kurtz has gone completely insane and Willard's job is to eliminate him! Willard, sent up the Nung River on a U.S. Navy patrol boat, discovers that his target is one of the most decorated officers in the U.S. Army. His crew meets up with surfer-type Lt-Colonel Kilgore, head of a U.S Army helicopter cavalry group which eliminates a Viet Cong outpost to provide an entry point into the Nung River. After some hair-raising encounters, in which some of his crew are killed, Willard, Lance and Chef reach Colonel Kurtz's outpost, beyond the Do Lung Bridge. Now, after becoming prisoners of Kurtz, will...
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Redux adds something(s),
Many of the added scenes explain certain parts of the older edit in a more natural and complete way.

For Example in the Original the bit where for whatever reason, previously holing him aloof, the crew at least makes a formal attempt to include Willard by offering him marijuana. He, of course refuses and shuts the curtain so he can get drunk (emphasizing his SpecOps/Officer Status) Disassociating himself from the crew and perhaps alleviating an awkward situation, by not fraternizing to much with the men.

It was exactly that the inclusion of Willard (by the crew) was unanticipated and unexplained that had always bugged me when I watched the original.

Now in Redux the conditions above are preceded by the "Flight of the Surfboard". Kilgore's attitude just begs Willard to flashback to his cadet days, and "misappropriate" Kilgores board. (Juvenile Pranks being of the finest military traditions) In short, stealing the surfboard is not at all out of character for Willard and the scene adds a logical progression of slightly greater camaraderie leading up to the scene where he rebuffs them.

Also the scene where they are all hiding under the trees with the helicopters overhead. All great stuff for male military type-bonding.

The addition of the scenes gives the crew a reason to be more inclusive and more positive about Willard. They think mebbe hes not such a bad officer. But Willard remembers his position, and that the crew are expendable tools that he may have to use to accomplish his mission, and remains aloof and gets drunk alone.

Best Vietnam movie of all time. Even if it has almost nothing to do with the war in specifics dealing almost exclusively with a single fictitious CovertOps mission and a few intersecting actions (both probable fiction(Kilgore) and potentially historically accurate(the Bridge)) As to the other extra scenes I found the Playboy scene's racist comments and connotations to be important enough to include. Also continues the classist regime. Chief, the middle-class black man wants a sista(Racist or Pride? Is there a difference?) Lance is lowerclass, but hes a cute white kid. Chef is lowerclass, but hes got a certain kind of charm. Clean, the lowerclass black man is shut out. Meanwhile, Willard is off in some private quarters with the third bunny as his right as officer and procurer (I think it was his deal)

Best Line of the Film:

the Roach "Yeah"
Saigon Sh*t!!
On first viewing of this film I found the story so awful it was painful to watch. I wanted to forget it; but once seen this film lives on in one's memory. Clearly it is a highly allegorical work as is the novel it is derived from : "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad. It says much about the human condition in general not only within the context of war. Strictly speaking the film charts Willard's path through hell and ultimately to redemption. In reality Martin Sheen, who plays Willard, did practically the same thing. Reputedly smoking and drinking just a shade too much until half way through the filming he suffered a heart attack. Coppola's own path through this jungle of a film was equally harassing (watch "Hearts of Darkness" to get a better perspective on the making of the movie) resulting on the shoot taking far longer than originally planned. It's difficult now not to elide fact with fiction when discussing this film. Even before it was released I can remember newspaper headlines asking "Apocalypse When?" In the event the film was at last completed with the result that it is probably the most searing war film or any other kind of film you are likely to see. The acting throughout is brilliant from Sheen and Duvall, and fascinatingly quirky from Brando and Hopper. The cinematography is breathtaking and the use of music inspired. I cannot count the number of times I have seen it and it still thrills and enlightens me. A must for any DVD collection. P.S. Don't see the REDUX version.
The best Vietnam movie ever
I have seen this movie 4 times in 5 months and i never get tired of it just because it is perfect. And it has also got the best film music ever and the best supporting roles ever written for a movie. I mean you just have to love Robert Duval , Marlon Brando , Martin Sheen and Lauerence Fishburne in this movie but specially Duval. I can not believe that Kramer vs. Kramer did win an Oscar in stead of this amazing war movie. So this is my conclusion if you take the director of the worlds greatest movie ( The Godfather ) and the best of Hollywood actors you can only succeed. Now I just have to writhe something to get this preview so do not read this except the last line. This movie rules !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Greatest American Movie I Have Seen
The performances of the entire cast are only one aspect of the greatness of this film. The cinematography, the investment of time, people and ordinance, the color, the light!!!!! Who has ever produced the color and light on FILM of scenes such as the ones where Kurtz is partially illuminated in the darkness of his compound? The stunning combination of visuals, sound, and music; the hypnotic quality of the story with the heat and wet of the jungle; the profligate use of alcohol and drugs, and the indecent horror of the madness of the Vietnam conflict create a surreal, moving, and larger than life fable with example after example of archetypal dialog. "Never get off the boat!" "They were going to make me a Major for this. And I wasn't even in their . . . Army any more." "A little fishing accident on R&R." Thank you, Francis Ford Coppola. Thank you Writers, Cinematographer, Producers, Cast and Crew for this mind-bending and terribly beautiful meditation on the madness of war.
"The horror...the horror" is the reality of war and its effects...
Spoilers. This review has been edited due to word limit.

`The horror. The horror.' Marlon Brando, Apocalypse Now (1979) and Apocalypse Now Redux (2001)

The sentence which is as famous as `Here's looking at you, kid,' or `Are you talkin' to me?' or `May the Force be with you,' or `I'll be back,' means a little more than some one-liners. When it is spoken it lingers in the air with an importance and meaning that does not go unnoticed. What might drive some viewers nuts is that they may never find an answer to the horror unless they re-watch the film and try to pay close observation to every single frame.

What, exactly, does this line of dialogue mean? The horror spoken of is the reality of war. The reality of moral men being so easily corrupted that they turn on their inborn instincts and kill fellow beings without any sign of guilt. When Capt. Willard (Martin Sheen) stands before the dying Col. Kurtz (Marlon Brando) at the end of the film, `The horror.the horror.' is the realization of Willard's corruptness. He has mercilessly killed a man in cold blood as part of his assignment. This isn't a typical Hollywood ending. In most cases a character gains something, whether it be emotionally, physically, mentally or all three. But Willard both gains and loses. He gains the knowledge that he has lost his morals. And that is a shocking ending.

`Apocalypse Now' is Francis Ford Coppola's tribute to the artistic side of filmmaking. This film is wholly different from `The Godfather.' It is hallucinogenic, visually dazzling, and an ode to the guilty side of human nature. At first it seems realistic, and then it becomes strange, and then symbolic, and, by the end, original in its own unique perspective of the spiritual side of warfare. This is not as much a film about the Vietnam War as it is a film about the war within us.

At first it does appear to be another war film. Captain Willard (Sheen) is assigned by an Army Lieutenant (a young Harrison Ford) to assassinate a renegade American Colonel named Kurtz (Brando), who is hiding out somewhere in Vietnam with a hoard of troops who more or less act as his slaves.

Willard carries out his mission `with extreme prejudice,' heading out on a boat along with four soldiers, including the boat captain, Chief (Albert Hall), Chef (Frederic Forest), and a very young `Larry' Fishburne (who later went on to appear as Morpheus in `The Matrix').

"Apocalypse Now" is in a many ways a modern update of Homer's Odyssey. As our main character, Willard, carries on his journey, he meets an array of original and strange characters, including Lt. Col. Kilgore (Robert Duvall), who has a strange fetish for surfing, and a stoned photographer (Dennis Hopper), whose lively gestures and mannerisms can be compared to those of the very much lesser Jeremy Davies in "The Million Dollar Hotel," one of the worst films I have ever seen. Davies failed to make any connection with an audience; Hopper does. He is like the poetic vibe between Willard and Kurtz; he is like an interpreter going back and forth and speaking in foreign languages. In this case, he is translating Kurtz to Willard, although I'm not so sure Kurtz needs a translation of Willard.

Many films are lucky enough to have one or two memorable scenes or lines. "Apocalypse Now" has many. Kilgore descending upon a Vietnam village playing Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" remains one of the most remembered scenes in all of film history. There is sharpness to it, a brutality to it, an ironic tone to it, and also a sense of playfulness. When Kilgore kneels down on that beach and says, `I love the smell of napalm in the smells like victory,' we all crack a smile.

I won't lie to you: `Apocalypse Now' is a strange film. It isn't exactly the easiest thing to analyze. The end may frustrate some viewers if they don't understand Marlon Brando's significant speeches. But what it all comes down to, what really matters, is that this film is about the dark nature of the human psyche. The horror is the realization of war and its effects, not the war itself. Kurtz says, `You have a right to kill me. But you have no right to judge me.' Brando's character, Kurtz, is left to the audience to judge. To many naïve viewers he may appear as a crazy loon whose power got to his head. But that isn't what Francis Ford Coppola is trying to get across. By fighting in Vietnam, Kurtz has realized just how great he had it, and how bad some others had it. By walking through devastated villages he eventually comes to realize that we are the naïve ones, living our lives in a fool's paradise. We are totally naïve to our surroundings and possible misfortunes until they hit. By seeing how unlucky some Vietnamese are, Kurtz realizes just how easily he could be struck by something. Just how easily he could end up like the people around him. And he also realizes that the people who did this are people who have abandoned their morals and left them at the door. Many people think the horror is one thing. It is two. For Kurtz, the horror is the reality of how naïve he was and the reality of the war's impact upon men. And after Willard murders Kurtz, and hears Kurtz's dying words, he realizes it too. He realizes the effects of war. To see so many soldiers with no sense of right or wrong makes him realize the horror of what war can do to a man. And what it has done to him. The horror.

5/5 stars -

An ugly, uncompromisingly brilliant look inside of mankind and the war within themselves...
Apocalypse Now (1979, 2001)

Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne, Albert Hall, Dennis Hopper, Harrison Ford.

Twenty-five years ago, Francis Ford Coppola had created a ground-breaking masterpiece. It was called 'Apocalypse Now'. It was based on the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, which was written in the late 1800's. It obviously wasn't about the Vietnam War, but instead was about a man named Kurtz in the jungles of Cambodia. Now that was a great example of film-making. Three years ago, they released an extended version called 'Apocalypse Now: Redux'.

Captain Benjamin Willard is a man just waiting and urging for a mission. He is assigned one: To terminate (...with extreme prejudice) Kurtz, a former Colonel who is a leader of a tribe in a Cambodian jungle. Willard travels with a group of soldiers: Chef, Chief, Lance, and Clean. He meets surf-crazed Lt. Col. Kilgore, who leads the military during an island attack. When Willard arrives on Kurtz's island, he finds that Kurtz has set up his own army. While learning about why Kurtz despises the war, Willard drifts further and further from reality.

'Apocalypse Now: Redux' gives us a version of the original with more detail. I thought that the original was outstanding, but adding almost an hour (49 minutes to be exact) of more footage made the film drag a bit.

The acting is very good, especially from Sheen and Duvall. Brando gives a good performance. This wasn't his best performance (Last Tango in Paris and The Godfather come to mind),but it was very chilling. Other familiar faces include a very young Laurence Fishburne (18 years old!), Dennis Hopper, a younger Harrison Ford, and a cameo by R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket) as a helicopter pilot. Duvall and Hopper give good comic relief. Coppola's direction is very good. Probably his best.

The picture on 'Redux' is restored and looks better than ever. At times, I don't really consider it a war film because it doesn't focus on the Vietnam War. My favorite is the original, but watching 'Redux' was interesting. Fans of the original won't be disappointed by the film, even though we get no special features on the DVD but a trailer.

'Redux' only has a few scenes added in. But they are long scenes. They don't really add much to the story, and don't have much meaning. However, it is good that they made a new version, to remind us of how good the original version was twenty-two years before.

'Apocalypse Now' was one of the best films made about war. It is more like an anti-war film. It is like a personal journey to hell. It shows the power of a man, and how it effects others. It is one of the most unusual, brilliant, and yet bizarre films that I have ever seen. 'Redux' gives us a better look through Willard's adventure to keep his sanity. An excellent achievement (for both versions). 5 stars out of 5.
My All Time Favourite Movie
I first saw APOCALYPSE NOW in 1985 when it was broadcast on British television for the first time . I was shell shocked after seeing this masterpiece and despite some close competition from the likes of FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING this movie still remains my all time favourite nearly 20 years after I first saw it

This leads to the problem of how I can even begin to comment on the movie . I could praise the technical aspects especially the sound , editing and cinematography but everyone else seems to have praised ( Rightly too ) these achievements to high heaven while the performances in general and Robert Duvall in particular have also been noted , and everyone else has mentioned the stark imagery of the Dou Long bridge and the montage of the boat traveling upriver after passing through the border

How about the script ? Francis Ford Coppola is best known as a director but he's everyway a genius as a screenwriter as he was as a director , I said " was " in the past tense because making this movie seems to have burned out every creative brain cell in his head , but his sacrifice was worth it . In John Milius original solo draft we have a script that's just as insane and disturbing as the one on screen , but Coppola's involvement in the screenplay has injected a narrative that exactly mirrors that of war . Check how the screenplay starts off all jingoistic and macho with a star turn by Bill Kilgore who wouldn't have looked out of place in THE GREEN BERETS but the more the story progresses the more shocking and insane everything becomes , so much so that by the time reaches Kurtz outpost the audience are watching another film in much the same way as the characters have sailed into another dimension . When Coppola states " This movie isn't about Vietnam - It is Vietnam " he's right . What started off as a patriotic war to defeat communist aggression in the mid 1960s had by the film's setting ( The Manson trial suggests it's 1970 ) had changed America's view of both the world and itself and of the world's view of America

It's the insane beauty of APOCALYPSE NOW that makes it a masterwork of cinema and says more in its running time about the brutality of conflict and the hypocrisy of politicians ( What did you do in the Vietnam War Mr President ? ) than Michael Moore could hope to say in a lifetime . I've not seen the REDUX version but watching the original print I didn't feel there was anything missing from the story which like all truly great films is very basic . In fact the premise can lend itself to many other genres like a western where an army officer has to track down and kill a renegade colonel who's leading an injun war party , or a sci-fi movie where a UN assassin is to eliminate a fellow UN soldier who's leading a resistance movement on Mars , though this is probably down to Joseph Conrad's original source novel

My all time favourite movie and it's very fitting that I chose this movie to be my one thousandth review at the IMDb
Best war movie ever!!!
Brilliant actors and brilliant picture!! I love the chopper scene with the music in the beginning, it is just SO touching and at the same time real but at the same time surrealistic! The Vietnam War was far from human and I believe this movie kind of shows have terrible human beings can act under certain circumstances. Modern war movies are spending so much money on effects. This is just a straight forward smart movie that takes you beyond your imagination. A movie that really pictures evil and hate mixed in fearness and fate. How insane the world is and the power of will and friendship, love and passion. A must seen movie and without any doubts the best war movie ever! Many tried to copy but still there are no movie even close as good as this!!
In my opinion, Coppola's best work
My favourite movie of all time. This was a flawed piece of work by Coppola and seeing the documentary 'Heart of Darkness' made it even more compelling. Coppola at this point was king of Hollywood after making 'the Godfather' and 'GodfatherII' and had developed the ego necessary to even dare try to make a movie like 'Apocalypse Now'. Through sheer arrogance he went to the Phillipines with a partial script and thought he would know what he would do when he got there. Just as Captain Willard thought he would know what to do once he got to Col. Kurtz's compound. And just like Willard, he DIDN'T know what he was going to do once he got there. This is such a masterpiece of American cinema, beautifully photographed and the river is such a perfect metaphor and backdrop for the story. What I like most about 'Apocalypse Now' is that it offers no answers or conclusions. Consequently, because of this open-endedness, it infuriates some viewers who like their movies to be much more obvious.

This movie defies categorization. Some call it a war movie which it isn't at all, really it is more of a personal study of man. The best pic about Vietnam is 'Platoon' in my opinion and if a viewer is seeking a retelling of the Vietnam War go there first for answers.

Coppola should be commended for his take on the bureaucracy of war which he conveys quite effectively with the meeting with Gen.Corman and Lucas (Harrison Ford) and the Playmate review. The sheer audacity of Kilgore makes him an unforgettable character and the dawn attack will always be a Hollywood classic.

It is an almost psychedelic cruise to a very surreal ending which makes it a movie not accessible to everyone. Very challenging to watch but rewarding as well. I could offer my explanations on each scene but that would be totally pointless. This movie is intended for interpretation and contemplation as opposed to immediate gratification.

A little footnote, definitely if your a first-time viewer of Apocalypse Now, watch the original version first, the 'Redux' version is, I think, more intended for the hardcore fan and is more of a curiosity than a 'new and improved' version of the movie
quite possibly the best and most important film in history
Even with all the cinema dealing with the trauma of the Vietnam War (Jacob's Ladder, The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, and Taxi Driver to an extent) one feels that we don't even know the half of what happened. Even contemplating the horror feels inhuman. And a progression - or retreat? - to the inhumanity that it necessitates is a key part of Apocalypse Now, Coppola's greatest and one of the most important films ever made. Loosely based on Joseph Conrad's 1902 classic, "Heart of Darkness" which chronicles the loss of sanity and corruption of morality that comes with distance from civilization - a surfacing of a bestial nature, as it were, a la Lord of the Flies - it brings the story of a physical and psychological journey to Vietnam. The story is of Willard, a general commissioned on a special mission to Cambodia after his first tour of duty in Vietnam is served. Willard at the beginning of the film is stuck in Saigon, psychologically unable to go back home - eerily echoing Nicky in The Deer Hunter. So he is contacted: his mission is to assassinate a renegade Green Beret who has isolated himself in a remote outpost on the Nung River, and who has purportedly gone completely insane - worshiped like a god by the natives, and killing indiscriminately. This man's name is Colonel Kurtz, played by Marlon Brando in the second best role of his career (the best being Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire). As Willard journeys upriver in an army boat with some soldiers accompanying, his witnessing the horrors and the insanity - and the overwhelming pointlessness of it all - leads to an eerie sympathy and identification with Kurtz before they even meet. By the time they do, Kurtz's methods don't really seem as wrong or as they should, and they certainly don't seem too unusual or out-of-place. Apocalypse - a place beyond morality, the outpost on the end of the world. The loss of civilization, the loss of judgement, of self. Kurtz's monologue about an atrocity he witnessed as a Green Beret, and his later revelation, is one of the most chilling and well-delivered speeches in cinema history. The film is about trauma, about the human spirit and its breaking point - here, it's a lot like The Deer Hunter, and just as good. Apocalypse, however, takes the boundaries of what we can endure to a global level - Coppola's sweeping footage of the humid, murky jungles of Cambodia and an opening sequence of helicopters amid exploding forests and an orange sky - set to an oddly fitting Doors soundtrack - as well as chilling scenes on the river and of an air raid on a village with Wagner blasting from speakers (a scene which has gone down as one of the most chilling, darkly humorous, and strikingly pointless war scenes ever) - this all contributes to the sense of Apocalypse - the end of the world - and not at some distant point in the future, but Apocalypse Now and forever. The Deer Hunter is much more up close and personal, you can even tell by the title, and shows the totalling effect trauma has on the individual psyche, the breaking down of the human soul, and its ability to either surrender completely to forces of darkness, or to limp on. This is why both films are equal - they are two parts of the same thing. In "Heart of Darkness", Kurtz is shown as conflicted between morality (civilization) and his inner savage. In Apocalypse Now, Kurtz has left all conflict behind. He is beyond good and evil. He has let go of morality like a drowning man lets go of a saving hand in the moments before his death. Kurtz indeed is only waiting for death, quoting T. S. Eliot in his temple to himself, lost in the jungle. His last words, and the words echoed at the end of the movie, are, "The horror...the horror." He is referring to the infinite void of existence, of the human psyche, and to the pitch black emptiness within his own mind, where atrocities are born again. It is impossible to express in words the experience one goes through watching this film - the experience, in short, that Willard experiences on his journey. The end part, at the outpost, almost in fact comparable to its brother scene in The Deer Hunter, is one of the most deeply, calmly, and seductively disturbing things I've ever seen.
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