Apocalypse Now  (1979)

IMDB Rating 8.5/10  153 min - Rated 18 War | Drama

Stars:            Martin Sheen,  Marlon Brando,  Robert Duvall Director:      Francis Ford Coppola

Loosely based on Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, it tells the story of Captain Willard (Sheen), a special agent sent into Cambodia to assassinate the renegade American Green Beret Colonel Kurtz (Brando), who has set himself up as a god to the local tribe. Willard is assigned a navy patrol boat operated by Chief (Hall) and three young 'rock 'n' rollers with one foot in the grave' (Forrest, Bottoms, and Fishburne). They are escorted on part of their journey by an air cavalry unit led by Lt. Colonel Kilgore (Duvall), a gung-ho commander, who carries out a helicopter bombing raid on a peasant village. After witnessing a surreal USO show featuring Playboy playmates and an anarchic battle with the Vietcong at a bridge, Willard reaches Colonel Kurtz's compound. A crazed photo journalist (Hopper) welcomes the crew, and Willard begins to question his orders to 'terminate the colonel's command'.  The gruelling making of this film in the Filipino jungles is almost as famous as the film as it led to vast budget overruns and physical and emotional breakdowns. Apocalypse Now assaults the senses with some extraordinary set-pieces. Coppola certainly achieved his aim of wanting to give the audience the sense of the horror, the madness, the sensuousness and the moral dilemma of the Vietnam War'. The opening scene is a perfect illustration of how Coppola combines vision and sound when the sight of helicopter blades dissolves into those of an electric fan on the ceiling above Willard. The combined brilliance of the cinematography, editing and sound montage (Walter Murch) makes the bombing sequence one of the most celebrated in cinema history. After they have blasted the village to the sound of 'The Ride of the Valkyries', Duvall announces, 'I love the smell of napalm in the morning'. In August 2001, Apocalypse Now Redux a restored and updated version of the 1979 film was released, including forty nine minutes of never-before-seen footage, a Technicolor enhancement, and a six-channel soundtrack.


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