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Plot: 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 Willard & the others be able to fulfill their mission? Runtime: 153 mins Release Date: 14 Aug 1979
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 <more>
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
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 <more>
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 novelMy all time favourite movie and it's very fitting that I chose this movie to be my one thousandth review at the IMDb
As I peruse through the hundreds of comments that loyal readers of the IMDB have posted on this film, I find it very interesting how few ,"middle of the road" comments there are. Everyone either loves it, or they hate it. Having seen Apocalypse Now approximately 30 times, and having recently dissected it on DVD how did we ever live without those magical digital machines????? , I can say without hesitation that I am one of those who have a very special place in my heart for this film. "Why would you like a film that's so confusing?" ask many of my associates. The <more>
answer is this: Forget the war, forget the brutality....This is a classic story of society protecting itself from those that refuse to fall in line with the status quo. Brando represents the individual that has his own way of getting the job done. They Big Brother sent him out to do the job, he does it too well, without adhering to the accepted "standards" of death and destruction Am I the only one who's troubled by the fact that we have 'standards' for death and destruction???? , so they send the "Conformity Police" out to eliminate the individual. Hmmmmmm....Draw any parallels between this and things you see every day? With the deepest respect to Mr. Coppola, whom I believe is one of the best directors of all time, I think he transcended his original intent of the movie, and probably didn't even realize it until after the movie was released. The subtle sub-text that permeates the entire movie has way too much to it to have been planned and portrayed; instead, it seems to have 'grown' itself, like some wild flower in the middle of a vegetable garden. Again I must reiterate: I think FF Coppola did a bang-up job on this entire production, as did the cast and crew, but the sum of the movie exceeds the individual efforts ten-fold. So if you haven't seen the movie, rent it, watch it, then watch it again, and maybe a few more times, and look for all the generic parallels to everyday life. Only then make a judgment on the quality of the film. Those of you that have seen it, watch it again with the mindset previously described. I think you may just have a whole new appreciation for the film. Or maybe not! No matter whether you love it or hate it, be sure and give credit to Coppola for his masterful story-telling style!
Coppola conveyed the drama and spectacle of this truly outstanding film (by Nazi_Fighter_David)
After the success of the first two 'Godfather' films in 1972 and 1974 respectively, Francis Ford Coppola embarked on an ambitious attempt to bring home the reality of the war in Vietnam, which had concluded with the fall of Saigon to the Vietcong in 1975 The plot was loosely based on the book 'Heart of Darkness,' a story by Joseph Conrad about Kurtz, a trading company agent in the African jungle who has acquired mysterious powers over the natives Coppola retains much of this, including such details as the severed heads outside Kurtz's headquarters and his final words, <more>
"The horror the horror " In the film, Sheen plays an army captain given the mission to penetrate into Cambodia, and eliminate, with "extreme prejudice," a decorated officer who has become an embarrassment to the authorities On his journey up the river to the renegade's camp he experiences the demoralization of the US forces, high on dope or drunk with power Although, as a result of cuts forced on Coppola, the film was accused of incoherence when first released, it was by the most serious attempt to get to grips with the experience of Vietnam and a victorious reinvention of the war film genre In 1980 the film won an Oscar for Best Cinematography and Best Sound "Apocalypse Now" was re-released in 2001 with fifty minutes restored As a result, the motion picture can now be seen as the epic masterpiece it is
Sheen Shines In This Unique Classic (by ccthemovieman-1)
Well, I've watched this movie for over 25 years now and it's still almost as interesting as when I first saw it. It is definitely one of the most unique films ever made.I still think Martin Sheen got "dissed" big-time in the billing, too. He dominates the film yet gets lesser billing than Marlon Brando, who only appears in the last 30 minutes of this 2 hours, 17 minutes film theatrical version . How unfair is that?Sheen is fantastic in here, especially his narration, which runs throughout. It's one of the best narrations, if not THE best, I have ever heard in a movie. <more>
His voice is just haunting as he relates his thoughts on this incredible, nightmare-like adventure. I never fail to appreciate his work in this movie.The other thing that strikes me about the film over the years are the number of memorable scenes, ones I have never forgotten, such as......Sheen losing it in his hotel room in the movie's first scene; Robert Duvall and the totally out-of-place surfing scenes and then the ensuing attack with Wagner's dramatic classical music blaring out of the helicopters; The Playboy bunny entertaining the troops; Frederic Forrest being freaked out seeing a tiger close up in the jungle; the weird scenes on the long riverboat ride; the appearance of hippie journalist Dennis Hopper greeting the crew in Cambodia and then Brando's bizarre character. It goes on and on with strange scenes.That's not to say I enjoyed everything. No, there are a few very unpleasant scenes, such as the one in which an ox is sliced in half can't watch that anymore , an innocent family is slaughtered on a small boat by Sheen's young stoned-out crew, and the crew is a little too goofy at times. Then, there is the huge amount of profanity, led by way too many f-words.So, there is a lot of good and a lot of bad things in this movie for almost anyone who watches this One thing for sure: it is a film you WILL remember!
Avoid the "Redux" version at all costs (by buzzkill99)
It includes added footage that absolutely wreaks havoc with the original story line and, more crucially, character development. That said, the original which I saw in 1979 in what was then a rare widescreen cinema, is still the best Vietnam movie of all time. I've always considered the trip up river, and the way events get more and more surreal and insane the further up the river they go, as a metaphor for the the entire American experience in Southeast Asia. Every performance is a gem -- it's especially cool to see a very young Lawrence Fishburne in his debut role. Coppola was <more>
'Apocalypse Now Redux', Francis Ford Coppola's war opus is probably the most beautiful war film I have ever seen. Capt. Benjamin Willard Martin Sheen is a Vietnam soldier who is tapped to head a very dangerous and highly classified mission into Cambodia to 'terminate the position' of Col. Kurtz Marlon Brando , a highly ranked and highly regarded army man who seemingly has gone completely insane and defected from the army, setting up his own little society and helped by a cultish following of soldiers. Escorting him up the river to Cambodia is a handful of navy men, and <more>
along the way, they encounter several interesting people most notably is Robert Duvall's Kilgore, a badass lieutenant colonel with a few screws loose and some horrifying situations. 'Apocalypse' is less historical war film than a philosophical and psychological study. It is more 'Full Metal Jacket' than 'Platoon'. The running time of 'Apocalypse' is over three hours, but the film is so wonderfully paced and compelling that when the end of the film arrived, I was actually surprised at the amount of time that had passed. The beautiful cinematography is surely what stood out the most for me, however. After seeing this film, I am convinced that Coppola is one of the masters of light and photography in film history. The 'Godfather' films were all tinged with an almost sepia tone, and shadows created the feeling of a Baroque composition. With 'Apocalypse', there is an incredible usage of natural light, and the shadows, particularly in the scenes involving Brando and Sheen, almost become a living character, they are so pervasive and effective. Another gorgeous scene was when Cpt. Willard and Jay Hicks Frederic Forrest were in the jungle looking for mangoes, and come across a tiger. The sheer enormity of the surrounding foliage leaves as big as a house made the characters almost Lilliputian, but the colorization of the scene was incredible. While everything else was almost a muted grey, the leaves were an incredibly vibrant green, an effect that was particularly striking. Another really minor positive moment in the film was the great scene when the helicopters carrying Duvall and company attack the small village while playing Wagner. This could have just been an ultra-dramatic underlying soundtrack to the scene, but instead Coppola turns the song into an actual part of the scene, with Duvall mentioning that he likes to play it while they are approaching to 'scare the hell out of them'. The performances in 'Apocalypse' are first class. Much has been made of the amount of money Brando earned for the film, and the amount of trouble he caused. Regardless of this, he turned out a powerful performance for a relatively short amount of screen time. Sheen is completely outstanding - this is the first time I have seen him really unleash in a film and Duvall is a lot of fun to watch as the loony Kilgore. 'Apocalypse Now' is a film that is so pervasive in pop culture by now most know several choice lines from the film, 'I love the smell of napalm in the morning' et al but I knew little enough about it that there were plenty of surprises left to experience. I have not seen the original cut of 'Apocalypse Now' so I cannot compare it to this newer cut, but this is a film that should most certainly be experienced. 8/10--Shelly
I had seen this critically acclaimed war film maybe once or twice, but maybe I didn't pay the fullest of attention to everything or perhaps didn't get it, but I am glad I gave it another chance and can appreciate it now, from BAFTA winning, and Oscar and Golden Globe nominated director Francis Ford Coppola The Godfather, The Conversation, Bram Stoker's Dracula . Basically the Vietnam war shows no signs of ending, and U.S. Army Captain and special operations veteran Captain Benjamin L. Willard BAFTA nominated Martin Sheen has returned to Saigon and called upon by Lt. General <more>
Corman G. D. Spradlin and Colonel Lucas Harrison Ford , military intelligence officers, for a secret mission into the remote jungle. His orders are to follow the Nung River and find Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz Marlon Brando , who has gone rogue, and apparently insane practising "unsound" methods of dehumanisation, and he may have also developed a cult following from both his troops and the native people, so he is to be terminated for extreme prejudice. Willard heads down the river on a Navy patrol boat, commanded by Chief Phillips Albert Hall with crew members Lance B. Johnson Sam Bottoms , Jay 'Chef' Hicks Frederic Forrest and Tyrone 'Clean' Miller Laurence Fishburne , and on the journey they rendezvous Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore Robert Duvall who commands a squadron of armed helicopters, he agrees to escort them while the napalm airstrike attacks the locals below, while the music "Ride of the Valkyries" plays on loudspeakers. Willard and the crew continue upriver, he looks through files about Kurtz and how was once a promising officer, they encounter Vietnamese civilians on the way, but a snap judgement gets them killed, he and Chief get in each other's faces, and Willard later finds out that another soldier was sent on a similar mission to kill Kurtz, but this soldier defected and joined the cult the rogue commander has created. Lance and Chef are under the influence of drugs are getting out of control, Mr. Clean is killed when the boat is attacked by an unseen enemy in the trees, Chief turns hostile, but they are ambushed again and he is killed being impaled by a spear, but Willard confides with surviving members Chef and Lance who reluctantly agree to continue on the mission, and upriver they find a bank littered with corpses. While Chef is able to leave and call an airstrike, the other two soldiers end up captured by Montagnard warriors, and they meet an eccentric Photojournalist Dennis Hopper who praises Kurtz as a genius, the soldiers see several heads scattered outside a temple, the cult leader's temple, Willard is taken to see him in the dark lair, he sees him as an errand boy, and Willard screams as Chef's severed head is dropped on his lap. Willard is released and free to explore the compound, Kurtz lectures him on his theories of war, humanity and civilisation, Kurtz wants him to tell his son everything about him in the event of his death, but he kills the cult leader with a machete, his dying words are "The horror... the horror". Covered with dark stuff on his face, and having read the written chilling words of the now dead commander, and taking them, he descends from Kurtz's chamber and drops the blood covered weapon, the villagers kneel like he is their new cult leader, but he and Lance are allowed to leave and get back to the boat, having experienced all this devastation they ride away with the last words of Kurtz eerily echoing. The performances by Sheen, Brando, Duvall and Hopper are all very good for the characters they portray, and the direction by Coppola is masterful, there were loads of problems during the making of the film, such as firing Harvey Keitel from the lead role, and Sheen having a heart attack, but the idea was to create an idea of what being in Vietnam would be like, and indeed you get that sense of surrealism messing with your mind and the danger of the environment, it is a very interesting epic war drama. It won the Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Sound, and it was nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Film Editing, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium and Best Picture, it was nominated the BAFTAs for the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music for Carmine and Francis Ford Coppola, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Sound Track and Best Film, and it won the Golden Globe for Best Original Score, and it was nominated for Best Motion Picture - Drama. Dennis Hopper was number 80, Marlon Brando number 30, and Harrison Ford number 5 on The 100 Greatest Movie Stars, Brando was also number 11 on The 100 Greatest Sex Symbols, he was number 4 on 100 Years, 100 Stars - Men, and Hopper was number 49, and Brando number 1 on The World's Greatest Actor, "I love the smell of Napalm in the morning" was number 12 on 100 Years, 100 Quotes, the film was number 2 on The 100 Greatest War Films, it was number 1 on Film 4's 50 Films To See Before You Die, it was number 28 on 100 Years, 100 Movies, and it was number 13 on The 100 Greatest Films. Very good!
The version Coppola always wanted to make (by eelen-seth)
I'm going to be honest here for a second and let you know, I've never watched the original. Watching Apocalypse Now: Final Cut - the version director Francis Ford Coppola always wanted to make - seemed to be a great opportunity for me to experience this classic on the big screen.This year marks the 40th anniversary of Apocalypse Now. Rereleased in 2001 as 'Redux'-version, 'Final Cut' cuts down to a three hour running time and uses state-of-the-art Dolby Atmos sound and crystal clear 4k restored imagery. Every scene got polished and feels and looks like a new film. <more>
Coppola seems to be saying goodbye to his magnum opus with this final cut, showing us exactly the way he wanted Apocalypse Now to look like in the first place.The opening shot of palm trees turning into ashes, to the sound of The Doors' "The End" is burned into my mind. Just beautiful in every way. This image might not look as hi-def as you'd hope for in the final cut, but this has to do with the way it was shot on celluloid. Nonetheless, gives you an idea what awaits you. Helicopters and motel-room ceiling fans edited in a way that it overlaps, shows how affected Captain Willard Martin Sheen is by this war - PTSD shown in the most artistic way.Where the first two acts are really compelling, the final act really lost me. The first two acts explore post traumatic stress syndrome and the challenges that come with it. The Vietnam war is still roaring in the background, but our main group of characters is put on a side mission upriver, to hunt down a deserter - demented colonel Kurtz Marlon Brando . The Captain reads through Kurtz's files while traveling through Vietnam, danger luring around every corner and trying not to lose focus on his goal. This war changed many men forever. Coppola and his team show the insanity in the jungle and trenches, while these soldiers have nothing else to lose than their minds.The final act starts with a very strange scene at a plantation that has nothing to add to the story. Here we get seated around a dinner table with French colonialists discussing politics, that seems to go on forever. To then move further down the river to introduce Brando's character in a cultish way. This third act feels like a different film and to me was very anti-climactic. That doesn't mean this film isn't a masterpiece, because the work and practical effects put into the making of this is simply astonishing. Watching Robert Duvall act for his life, was jaw-dropping and made me smile every time he appeared on screen.I've never seen anything like Apocalypse Now: Final Cut before, and I don't think I'll ever see anything like this ever again. StudioCanal decided to distribute this new version in Australia. If you get the chance to watch this on the big screen from Thursday July 25 in selected cinemas , please do, you won't regret it!