Apocalypse Now is a bizarre adaptation of "Hearts of Darkness". Willard (Martin Sheen) goes on a journey to look for the missing Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) and exterminate him with extreme prejudice (as opposed to plain old prejudice). Along the journey into the deep dark jungle, Willard not only learns more about the mythical and dangerous Kurtz, but a lot about himself. Along for the ride are Chief (Albert Hall), Lance (Sam Bottoms), Clean (Laurence Fishburne) and Chef (Frederic Forrest). The small boat crew encounters a surf crazy Lt. Colonel (Robert Duvall), Playboy Bunnies (Cynthia Wood, Collen Camp and Linda Carpenter) and a family of French hold overs from the French Indochina days before encountering a nearly abandoned firebase occupied by scared soldiers who have no chain of command before entering Kurtz's compound.
A highly underrated film that has unfairly been labeled as a straight forward Vietnam War film. The movie is not, the War is just a metaphor for the madness of War and the journey is a trip into one's soul and searching for answers that we sometimes look inside our selves. Willard is a man who's life is shattered by PTD and he looks at the mission to terminate Kurtz as a way to not only redeem himself in the eyes of the government but to discover why a man like Kurtz would abandon everything to become a bizarro leader deep in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Willard's obsession with him puts not only his fragile sanity in danger but the lives of his river boat guides.
Francis Ford Coppola put a lot of himself, health and reputation on the line whilst making this movie. He also in some ways became like the two characters in the film in real life. Too much stroke in Hollywood made him into a megalomaniac and it nearly drove him over the edge during the film's troubled production. Martin Sheen had a heart attack on the set and was replaced by his brother Joe Estevez in several scenes. For more information on this film's interesting production history check out the documentary "Hearts of Darkness". Cocaine and ego made and nearly destroyed Hollywood at the same time during the 70's and this film was one of it's products of the chaotic times.
“Captain_Couth” has written an excellent review and plot summary of Apocalypse Now. Therefore, because I am a history prof., my review will emphasize the important literary influences on the writers Francis Ford Copolla, (director as well), John Milius and Michael Herr. The movie is a seminal work because it was influenced by four important works of the twentieth century: Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, T. S. Elliott’s poem the WasteLand, Sir James George … more
Hopper is great in this movie, especially since he really had only a cameo apperance! He was given great lines. By the way he is quoting T.S. Elliot's "The Waste Land" when he says: "I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas... "
Pros: Even with its faults it was a decent production Cons: ..... The Bottom Line: ___________ ..."I love the smell of napalm in the morning...."... Duvall I graduated from high school in 1964, that was not a good time for young men and women to be starting out on their own. Back then, like now, it was cool to be serving your country on the battle front. Many of my classmates signed on the … more