Marlon Brando-Colonel Walter E. Kurtz
Robert Duvall-Lt. Colonel Kilgore
Martin Sheen-Cpt. Benjamin L. Willard
Frederic Forrest-Chef (Hicks)
Albert Hall-Chief Phillips
Sam Bottoms-Lance Johnson
Laurence Fishburne-Mr. Clean (Miller)
Dennis Hopper-The Photojournalist
G.D. Spradlin-General Corman
Harrison Ford-Colonel Lucas
Scott Glenn-Captain Colby
Bo Byers-Sergeant MP #1
James Keane-Kilgore's Gunner
Kerry Rossall-Mike from San Diego
This 1979 movie was inspired by Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, a story narrated by Marlow, who represents a company engaged in the ivory trade in the Congo. As he travels upriver to find the elusive company agent, Kurtz, he becomes more and more consumed by the jungle and begins to think more and more like Kurtz. In Apocalypse Now, much the same thing happens to Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) only now it isn't the late eighteen hundreds, it is the twentieth century and the Viet Nam war.
The movie opens with Willard stuck in a hotel room in Saigon, waiting and wishing for a mission. As he narrates the film, he says, "and for my sins they gave me one." He is assigned by General Corman (G. D. Spradlin) a mission in which he is to track down a renegade colonel deep in the jungle and "terminate his command". The colonel has a sanctuary in Cambodia where he has an army of Montagnard tribesmen who both worship and despise him.
Willard's journey upriver begins when he boards a Navy PBR (Patrol Boat River) to carry him toward Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). "The crew were mostly just kids. Rock and rollers with one foot in their graves," he says. Along the way, he studies dossiers on Kurtz and begins to know the man better.
They come upon an attack on a Vietnamese village by the Air Cavalry led by Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) and his unit is supposed to escort them to the mouth of the river. Kilgore seems oblivious to war and seems to look at it as just another job. He only agrees to get the boat into the river after he discovers that the water at the mouth of the river is excellent for surfing. When the helicopters arrive there, they have to destroy another village. This is one of the best attack sequences ever filmed. As the helicopter force nears the village, they play Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries on loudspeakers on one of the helicopters. "Put on psy war ops and make it loud," says Kilgore. In one spectacular scene, he orders the tree line bombed with napalm.
Willard and the boat crew start up the river and you can see Willard's mood change the farther they go. He realizes that Kurtz has discovered the madness and futility of war like he, too, is discovering.
The movie ends with Willard throwing down his machete and then the Montagnard tribesmen throw down their weapons. I suppose this is symbolism for the end of war.
The film was originally scheduled for a sixteen week shoot in the Philippines. This turned into 238 days filming. Sheen, at age 36, suffered a near-fatal heart attack while there. He returned to the filming location five weeks later. Marlon Brando showed up overweight and not prepared to shoot the film.
Apocalypse Now was nominated for many awards including best picture. Kramer vs. Kramer won that year.
This is probably the best war movie ever made. It shows the absurdity and futility of war and, as Kurtz discovered, what it takes to win a war. Francis Ford Coppola has done a magnificent job. Look for him playing the director of a television crew that is filming the war.
Wav Sound Files (11KHz)
(click on green link to download)
Wav Sound Effects From the Movie (11KHz)
click here to download "Ride of the Valkyries".
Movie Script (first draft)
click here to view the draft script for this movie.
CLICK ON MOVIE BELOW FOR A MOVIE REVIEW FROM DESTITUTE GULCH
|Apocalypse Now||(1978) An army Captain searches for a renegade Colonel In Vietnam.|
|Blackboard Jungle||(1955) A story of juvenile delinquency at an inner city school.|
|Bullitt||(1968) A San Francisco police detective searches for gunmen who killed an informant.|
|Cool Hand Luke||(1967) An ex war hero is sentenced to a chain gang for cutting the heads off parking meters.|
|Deliverance||(1972) Four friends go on a canoe trip where they encounter unforeseen terrors.|
|The Day of the Jackal||(1973) A sophisticated assassin is hired by a French group to kill President de Gaulle.|
|Electra Glide in Blue||(1973) An Arizona motorcycle patrolman tries to become a detective.|
|Fahrenheit 451||(1966) Ray Bradbury's futuristic tale of book burning and mind control.|
|Fail-Safe||(1964) Cold War thriller where U.S. bombers are unleashed upon The Soviet Union.|
|Fargo||(1996) Car salesman hires two inept criminals to kidnap his wife.|
|Glory||(1989) Colonel Robert Gould Shaw commands the Civil War's first all volunteer black regiment.|
|In Cold Blood||(1967) Adaptation of Truman Capote's novel about the murder of a farm family in rural Kansas.|
|Inherit the Wind||(1960) Account of trial of John Scopes for teaching The Theory of Evolution in Tennessee.|
|Jeremiah Johnson||(1972) A veteran becomes a hard fighting mountain man.|
|Logan's Run||(1976) A policeman of the future tries to prevent escapes from the city.|
|The Lords of Discipline||(1983) Control of classmates at a southern military school by a group known as "The Ten".|
|The Ox-Bow Incident||(1943) An out of control posse sets out to avenge the death of a local rancher.|
|Patton||(1970) A famous general commands armies during World War II.|
|Platoon||(1986) An idealistic soldier learns that idealism doesn't exist in Vietnam.|
|The Right Stuff||(1983) Story that covers the breaking of the sound barrier through the Mercury space program.|
|Seven Days in May||(1964) Senior military officers plot to take over the government of The United States.|
|Son of the Morning Star||Fairly accurate account of Colonel George A. Custer leading up to the Battle of the Little Big Horn.|
|Southern Comfort||(1981) Louisiana National Guard on maneuvers in a swamp meet up with local opposition.|
|The Taking of Pelham One Two Three||(1974) A gang hijacks a New York subway train and holds the passengers for ransom.|
|Witness||(1985) A Philadelphia detective hides in a rural Amish community from corrupt police .|
CLICK ON MOVIE BELOW FOR A COMEDY MOVIE REVIEW FROM TIGER SWEAT
|Airplane!||(1980) Story of dysfunctional crew and passengers on board a Chicago bound flight.|
|American Graffiti||(1973) One night in the lives of teenagers in 1962|
|Animal House||(1978) A run down fraternity's members cause chaos on campus.|
|Arsenic and Old Lace||(1944) Two elderly matrons poison lonely men and bury the bodies in the basement.|
|Cat Ballou||(1966) An outlaw and her gang rob trains to try to break a town.|
|The Cheyenne Social Club||(1970) A cowboy inherits a brothel called The Cheyenne Social Club.|
|Dr. Strangelove||(1964) Insane base commander sends his B52 bombers into the Soviet Union.|
|Harvey||(1950) Quiet, unassuming man has a giant rabbit for a friend.|
|The Mouse That Roared||(1959) Smallest country in the world declares war on the U.S. and wins.|
|On Golden Pond||(1981) Elderly couple spend a summer at their cottage on a lake.|
|The President's Analyst||(1967) A prominent psychoanalyst becomes the psychiatrist for the president.|
|Raising Arizona||(1987) An ex-con and a policewoman kidnap a baby to raise as their own.|
|Support Your Local Sheriff||(1969) A drifter on his way to Australia takes the post as sheriff of a western boom town.|
|Waking Ned Devine||(1998) Villagers try to collect a dead man's lottery winnings.|