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Apocalypse Now

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"Apocalypse Now" Movie Review from Movie

by Mike Massie, on 9/29/2007

A dismal, dark and visually stunning masterpiece examining the chaos of war, Apocalypse Now is often considered one of the most realistically shocking Vietnam pictures of all time. Dozens of iconic moments exist throughout, almost as if the film was designed around still images of shocking contrast, jarring violence and awe-inspiring action. Notorious for being one of the most difficult pictures to make, Apocalypse Now faced unprepared cast and crew, natural disasters, and difficulties with equipment and locations. This highly honored and critically acclaimed film marks another important and influential chapter for director Francis Ford Coppola, the mastermind behind The Godfather. Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) is slowly losing his grip on reality in his seedy hotel room, anxious for another mission, realizing that life outside of war will never be the same after the horrors of Vietnam. A new mission does arrive, and he quickly accepts. It involves accompanying a patrol boat up the Nung River to Cambodia where a rogue Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) has become a god amongst the natives and governs his own army in the jungles. Willard must infiltrate the area using whatever means necessary and then assassinate Kurtz. Curious to confront the crazed Colonel, who he studies during the adventure upstream, Willard is also fearful of what he might do as he struggles to make sense of a war that functions on utter discord. Perfectly capturing the miscommunications, turmoil, and general pandemonium of war, (Vietnam in particular) Apocalypse Now builds a fiercely fascinating tale of adventure and madness. The film is loosely based on Joseph Conrad's novel "Heart of Darkness" which sets the mood for discovering the morbidity and delirium of war. Willard struggles with his grip on sanity, alienated from a normal life, and surrounded by surpassing insanity. The irrational, stoic and surf-crazed Lieutenant Kilgore rivals Willard on the opposite end of the spectrum with an outstanding performance by Robert Duvall. Famously enjoying the smell of napalm in the morning and spouting lingering speeches that abruptly cut off, he never flinches at the explosions or bullets that crackle around him. In a powerful scene of irony, Kilgore, intent on preserving a heroic leadership image, offers water to a dying Viet Cong soldier, only to spill it on the ground as he speaks with another officer. In one of the most memorable sequences, the lieutenant orders the classical “Ride of the Valkyries” music to be blasted upon the village he bombards with machinegun fire. He attempts to recreate the luxuries of home with his casual attitude and love of surfing, but essentially furthers himself and the soldiers from those fond memories. Marlon Brando portrays the insane Kurtz, and despite showing up on set completely unprepared having never read the script or the book it was based on, Brando's improvisation turned out to be an impressive display of intense acting, and perfectly embodied the mindset of the genius behind the madness. Filled with iconic moments including the napalm raid on the Vietnamese village, Willard rising up out of oily black water, and Kurtz, sputtering half-poetry half-insanity about his command - Apocalypse Now is a challenging film to watch, and definitely not for everyone. But it is important and powerful with enough ambition and moral conflict to garner 2 Academy Awards, another 6 nominations, and countless other accolades. To fully comprehend Apocalypse now is perhaps as chaotic and undesirable as the events in Vietnam themselves, but to not witness this visually jarring and mind-trip madness of filmmaking for yourself is even worse. The pacing and cogency of the film takes a backseat to the bloody and tragic realizations of war and horror, but the entertainment value and poignancy never falter. - Read the full review at

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Product Overview

During the on-going vietnam war, captain willard is sent on a dangerous mission into cambodia to assassinate a renegade green beret who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe


Studio Paramount
SKU 202641181
UPC 097360706840
UPC 14 00097360706840
Format DVD
Release Date 8/15/2006
Rating Rating
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  1.85:1
Name Brando,Marlon
Link Search Link
Cast & Crew
Carmine Coppola - Original Music By
Dennis Hopper - Actor
Francis Ford Coppola - Original Music By
Francis Ford Coppola - Director
Francis Ford Coppola - Screenplay
Francis Ford Coppola - Producer
Frederic Forrest - Actor
Harrison Ford - Actor
John Milius - Screenplay
Joseph Conrad - Based On Novel By
Laurence Fishburne - Actor
Lisa Fruchtman, et. al. - Editor
Marlon Brando - Actor
Martin Sheen - Actor
Robert Duvall - Actor
Scott Glenn - Actor
Vittorio Storaro - Cinematographer
Winner (1980) British Academy Awards, Francis Ford Coppola, Best Direction,British Academy Awards, Robert Duvall, Best Supporting Actor,Golden Globe, Francis Ford Coppola, Best Director - Motion Picture,Golden Globe, Robert Duvall, Best Motion Picture Actor in a Supporting Role,Golden Globe, Carmine Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola, Best Original Score - Motion Picture,Oscar, Vittorio Storaro, Best Cinematography,Oscar, Walter Murch, et. al., Best Sound
Nominee (1980) Oscar, Robert Duvall, Best Actor in a Supporting Role,Oscar, Francis Ford Coppola, Best Director,Oscar, Richard Marks, et. al., Best Film Editing,Oscar, Francis Ford Coppola, et. al., Best Picture,Oscar, John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
ReviewSource Rolling Stone
Review ...the film is still chaos, and as such it's an apt reflection of the war it depicts. But the journey, laid out in the script by Coppola and John Milius, is much better mapped now... the film moves with less velocity but, oddly, with a greater sense of purpose... With Apocalypse Now Redux--one for the ages when it comes to the moral battles of war--Coppola has reached the finish line at last. It smells like victory.
Reviewer Peter Travers
ReviewRating 9
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review What's great in the film, and what will make it live for many years and speak to many audiences, is what Coppola achieves on the levels Truffaut was discussing: the moments of agony and joy in making cinema. Some of those moments come at the same time; remember again the helicopter assault and its unsettling juxtaposition of horror and exhilaration. Remember the weird beauty of the massed helicopters lifting over the trees in the long shot, and the insane power of Wagner's music, played loudly during the attack, and you feel what Coppola was getting at: Those moments as common in life as art, when the whole huge grand mystery of the world, so terrible, so beautiful, seems to hang in the balance.
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 10
DVD, English, Dolby Digital (5.1), Dolby, Digital Audio, Widescreen, No Longer Produced
Product Attributes
Actor Brando,Marlon
Label Paramount Home Video
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
A.O. Scott, The New York Times Brilliant! A refurbished masterpiece.
Joel Siegel One of the great films of all time.
Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times A bravura piece of filmmaking. It's more impressive and more of a revelation than the original.
Richard Corliss, Time Surely the film to beat in 2001. It's vivid, harrowing and pretty damn cool.

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"Apocalypse Now" Movie Review from Movie by Mike Massie, on Sep 29, 2007