Captain Willard (Martin Sheen), is drinking himself to death in Saigon out of dispair over his alienation in both Vietnam and America. He finally gets orders and is sent on a secret mission. His task is to find Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a war hero, who has turned unsound and who has established his own reign of terror behind the front lines.
Willard and a small crew of a Navy patrol boat go up river into Cambodia to terminate Kurtz with extreme prejudice. But Willard becomes fascinated by what he learns about Kurtz because Kurtz is someone like himself. But what happens if he confronts his own heart of darkness with the horror of the Vietnam war.
Release date: August 15, 1979
The movie was shot at the island Luzon in the Philippines
Best Cinematography -> Vittorio Storaro
Best Director -> Francis Ford Coppola
Best Picture -> Francis Ford Coppola
Best Actor in a Supporting Role -> Robert Duvall
Best Writing: John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola
Best Film Editing
Best Art Direction
Harvey Keitel was cast as Willard but fired after three weeks
A typhoon on the Philippines destroyed two sets at once, filming ground to a halt for several weeks.
Apocalypse now is based upon the novella Heart of Darkness by Polish writer Joseph Conrad. It’s about Kurtz, an ivory trader sent by a Belgian company into the heart of the Congo.
However, Heart of Darkness does not appear in the screen credits as the literary source of the film because writer Milius complained to the Screen Writers’ Guild, and the reference to the book was removed. Source / More (Book)
Michael Mann, director of Heat and Ali about Apocalypse now: “ Coppola made the ephemeral dynamics of the mass psyche's celebratory nihilism, its self-destructive urges and transience, concrete and operatic. A fabulous picture” Source / More (Web)
Copolla can be seen as a news reporter: filming a war documentary.
Martin Sheen was given the last rites, after a near fatal heart attack. Coppola: “Marty is not dead until I say so ” Source / More (Book)
The picture went so far over schedule that in Hollywood it was known as Apocalypse when? Source / More (Book)
What began in march 1976 with a budget of 13 million dollars and an estimated schedule of four months turned into 16 months and 30 million dollars over budget.
Director Coppola asked the cooperation of the USA army. The request was denied. Army officials pointed to several objectionable episodes such as the fact that Willard was sent to assassinate Colonel Kurtz. The army said that in an actual situation Willard would be directed to bring Kurtz back for medical treatment. Source / More (Book)
The character of Kilgore is based on the real-life colonel Stockton who had inspired writer John Milius to write the script. Source / More (Book)
Marlon Brando was paid $1 million a week for a three week shoot. For that money he didn’t lose weight, he hadn’t read the book and he didn’t cooperate. Source / More (Book)
There’s an illegal five-hour work print of Apocalypse Now available.
The film Hearts of Darkness shows in detail the problems which Francis Coppola had to resolve during the production of Apocalypse now. The movie was shot by his wife Ellie: “I thought that if I shot everything in sight, surely I would get five minutes of usable film” Source / More (Book)
In English, the word apocalypse commonly refers to the end of the world. Many religious faiths teach this will occur at some unknown point in the future and will probably climax with the destruction of civilization.
There is no river leading through the jungle to Cambodia.
Redux means return to health.
Francis Coppola to Dennis Hopper: “For God sakes, we’ve done thirty-seven takes and you’ve done them all your way! Would you just do one for me, Hopper, could you do one for me!” Source / More (Book)
Robert Duvall said in The American 60 minutes show money was the reason he didn’t appear in The Godfather III. “If they paid Pacino twice what they paid me, that’s fine, but not three or four times, which is what they did.”.
January 5, 1931
Robert Selden Duvall
Duvall made a memorable film debut in To kill a mockingbird (1962). In 1970, he appeared in Robert Altmans M*A*S*H, a year after his performance in The Rain People 1969) which marked the beginning of a lengthy association with director Francis Ford Coppola, for whom he starred in The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather, Part II (1974) and Apocalypse Now (1979).
In 1983, he finally took home an Oscar, winning Best Actor for his performance as a washed-up country singer in Tender Mercies . Many years later he produced, directed, wrote, starred and won an Oscar nomination in The apostle (1997).
1999 Nominated Supporting Role for: A Civil Action (1998)
1998 Nominated Leading Role for: The Apostle (1997)
1984 Won Oscar Leading Role for: Tender Mercies (1983)
1981 Nominated Leading Role for: The Great Santini(1979)
1980 Nominated Supporting Role for: Apocalypse Now (1979)
1973 Nominated Supporting Role for: The Godfather (1972)