A soldier in Vietnam is tasked with assassinating a
renegade army colonel whose subjects worship him as a god.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Written by John Milius and Francis Ford Coppola
Starring Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall,
Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne,
Albert Hall, Dennis Hopper, Harrison Ford
Based on the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Oscar Wins - Best Cinematography, Best Sound
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor
(Robert Duvall), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay,
Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing
Apocalypse Now is one of the most iconic American films of all time. To many, it's the film that defines the Vietnam War, as well as Francis Ford Coppola's entire career. Keep in mind, this is the same guy who gave us all three Godfathers. No arguments here for any of that. This film is a brilliant war epic that utilizes an incredible cast and a psychologically intense screenplay to deliver one of the most brutally honest depictions of the Vietnam War ever. It's hard to believe that with the rampant production problems, Martin Sheen's heart attack, and Marlon Brando's refusal to diet or say the lines, Coppola even managed to finish this one, let alone craft a masterpiece.
Sheen plays Capt. Benjamin Willard, a disillusioned army officer who is tasked with a top secret mission: Find and assassinate renegade Col. Walter E. Kurtz (Brando). Kurtz has abandoned his position and set himself up as a god in the Cambodian jungle, and he represents a threat to America's position in 'Nam. Willard hops a ride with a U.S. Navy riverboat squad to get upriver and find Kurtz, and along the way, through narration, he shares his feelings and thoughts about the war and Kurtz. Having seen both the original cut and the Redux, I do prefer the original. It's tighter and shorter. This is one of those films everyone should see at least once. We get a great little bit with Robert Duvall as surf-obsessed Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore, and once Brando shows up, this thing turns from war epic to almost psychological horror.
Apocalypse Now is synonymous with cinematic achievement. It's a brilliant, engaging watch that continuously evolves to fit the situation. Every actor gives it their all, and the more you find out about production, the tougher it becomes to believe that this thing was ever completed. It's a miracle movie, where everything that could go wrong did, but we still got to see it. There's not much else I can say about Apocalypse Now that hasn't been said already. Watch it!