Apocalypse Now (1979 movie)

Apocalypse Now (1979) trailer starring Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall.

December 9, 2019 by Jessie Mendoza

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Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic war film about the Vietnam War, directed, produced and co-written by Francis Ford Coppola. It stars Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne, and Dennis Hopper. Harrison Ford also makes an appearance in a small role. The screenplay, co-written by Coppola and John Milius and narration written by Michael Herr, was loosely based on the 1899 novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

The setting was changed from late 19th-century Congo to the Vietnam War. The film follows a river journey from South Vietnam into Cambodia undertaken by Captain Benjamin L. Willard (a character based on Conrad’s Marlow and played by Sheen), who is on a secret mission to assassinate Colonel Kurtz (Brando, with the character being based on Conrad’s Mr. Kurtz), a renegade Army Special Forces officer accused of murder and who is presumed insane.

  • Starring : Marlon Brando / Robert Duvall
  • Genre : Drama / Mystery / War
  • Country : United States
  • Language : English / French / Vietnamese
  • Director : Francis Ford Coppola
  • Production : Zoetrope / Zoetrope Studios
  • Distributor : A-Film Distribution / AMLF / Adams Filmi / Buena Vista International / Cinema International Corporation (CIC) / Columbia-EMI-Warner / Condor Filmes / Europa Film / Falcon / Filmes Lusomundo / Gravel Road Distribution Group / Hoyts Distribution / Miramax / Nagra Kudelski Group / Nippon Herald Films / Norsk Filmdistribusjon AS / Producciones Cinematográficas Españolas Falcó & Cía. (PROCINES) / Sandrew Metronome Distribution Sverige AB / Sandrew Metronome Distribution / Shapira Films / Titanus / Triangelfilm / Tuschinski Film Distribution / United Artists / United King Films / myCinema / A-Film Home Entertainment / American Broadcasting Company (ABC) / Argentina Video Home / Arthaus / Audio Visual Enterprises / Best Hollywood / Buena Vista Home Entertainment / CIC Vídeo / CIC-Taft Home Video / Divisa Home Video / Esselte Video / Future Film / Gativideo / Home Video Hellas (HVH) / IPA Asia Pacific / Iris / Leader Music / Lionsgate / Midas Filmes / Paramount Home Entertainment / Paramount Home Video / Paramount Pictures / Pathé / Philips / Pioneer / RCA VideoDiscs / Sandrew Metronome Norge / Spike / StudioCanal / Universal Pictures Finland / Universal Pictures / Universum Film (UFA) / Yleisradio (YLE) / marketing-film

Apocalypse Now movie

Apocalypse Now release date

  • May 19, 1979 : France (Cannes Film Festival)
  • August 15, 1979 : USA
  • September 26, 1979 : France
  • October 26, 1979 : Sweden
  • November 7, 1979 : Spain
  • November 15, 1979 : Australia
  • December 18, 1979 : UK (London) (premiere)
  • December 19, 1979 : UK
  • December 21, 1979 : Ireland
  • February 23, 1980 : Japan
  • April 8, 1980 : Philippines (Davao)
  • October 27, 1983 : Australia (re-release)
  • August 28, 1987 : USA (re-release)
  • April 3, 1992 : UK (re-release)
  • April 30, 1992 : Australia (re-release)
  • May 11, 2001 : France (Redux version) (Cannes Film Festival)
  • May 16, 2001 : Switzerland (French speaking region) (Redux version)
  • May 31, 2001 : Switzerland (German speaking region) (Redux version)
  • August 3, 2001 : USA (Redux version) (limited)
  • August 10, 2001 : Canada (Redux version)
  • August 31, 2001 : Sweden (Redux version)
  • October 4, 2001 : Israel (Redux version)
  • October 18, 2001 : Germany (Redux version)
  • October 29, 2001 : Japan (Redux version) (Tokyo International Film Festival)
  • November 15, 2001 : Australia (Redux version)
  • November 19, 2001 : UK (Redux version) (London Film Festival)
  • November 23, 2001 : UK (Redux version)
  • September 20, 2002 : Spain (Redux version)
  • September 1, 2004 : France (Redux version) (Deauville Film Festival)
  • January 31, 2010 : Sweden (Redux version) (Göteborg International Film Festival)
  • May 27, 2011 : UK (re-release)
  • August 29, 2014 : USA (Telluride Film Festival)
  • September 19, 2015 : Japan (Miyazaki Film Festival)
  • October 23, 2015 : Philippines (QCinema International Film Festival)
  • September 3, 2016 : Japan (Gokujo Onkyo Film Festival)
  • September 25, 2016 : Japan (Kanazawa Film Fest)
  • November 11, 2016 : Sweden (Stockholm International Film Festival)
  • April 28, 2019 : USA (Final Cut) (Tribeca Film Festival)
  • June 30, 2019 : UK (Final Cut) (Edinburgh International Film Festival)
  • July 4, 2019 : Germany (final cut) (Munich Film Festival)
  • July 15, 2019 : Germany (Freiburg)
  • August 13, 2019 : UK (re-release) (Final Cut)
  • August 13, 2019 : Ireland (re-release) (Final Cut)
  • August 15, 2019 : USA (re-release)

Apocalypse Now cast

  • Marlon Brando as Colonel Walter E. Kurtz
  • Martin Sheen as Captain Benjamin L. Willard
  • Robert Duvall as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore
  • Frederic Forrest as Jay ‘Chef’ Hicks
  • Sam Bottoms as Lance B. Johnson
  • Laurence Fishburne as Tyrone ‘Clean’ Miller(as Larry Fishburne)
  • Albert Hall as Chief Phillips
  • Harrison Ford as Colonel Lucas
  • Dennis Hopper as Photojournalist
  • G.D. Spradlin as General R. Corman
  • Jerry Ziesmer as Jerry, Civilian
  • Scott Glenn as Lieutenant Richard M. Colby
  • Bo Byers as MP Sergeant #1
  • James Keane as Kilgore’s Gunner
  • Kerry Rossall as Mike from San Diego

Milius became interested in adapting Heart of Darkness for a Vietnam War setting, and initially began developing the film with Coppola as producer and George Lucas as director. After Lucas became unavailable, Coppola took over directoral control, and was influenced by Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) in his approach to the material. Initially set to be a five-month shoot, the film became noted for the problems encountered while making it for over a year, as chronicled in the documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (1991). These problems included Brando arriving on the set overweight and completely unprepared, expensive sets being destroyed by severe weather and Sheen having a breakdown and suffering a near-fatal heart attack while on location. Problems continued after production as the release was postponed several times while Coppola edited over a million feet of film.

Apocalypse Now was honored with the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, where it premiered unfinished before it was finally released on August 15, 1979, by United Artists. The film performed well at the box office, grossing $78 million domestically and going on to gross over $150 million worldwide. Initial reviews were mixed; while Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography was widely acclaimed, several critics found Coppola’s handling of the story’s major themes to be anticlimactic and intellectually disappointing. Apocalypse Now is today considered to be one of the greatest films ever made. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards at the 52nd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Coppola), and Best Supporting Actor for Duvall, and went on to win for Best Cinematography and Best Sound. It ranked No. 14 in Sight & Sound’s greatest films poll in 2012, and No. 6 in the Director’s Poll of greatest films of all time. Roger Ebert also included it in his top 10 list of greatest films ever in 2012. In 2000, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”.

In 1969, during the Vietnam War, a U.S. Army 5th Special Forces soldier, Colonel Walter E. Kurtz has apparently gone insane and is waging a brutal and successful guerilla war against terrified NVA and PLAF forces without permission, directions or resupply from his commanders. At an outpost in Cambodia, he commands American and Montagnard troops who see him as a demigod. Summoned to I Field Force headquarters in Nha Trang, MACV-SOG Captain Benjamin L. Willard is briefed on the situation by two Army commanders and a CIA officer and ordered to “terminate Kurtz’ command…with extreme prejudice.”

Willard, initially ambivalent, joins a U.S. Navy river patrol boat (PBR) commanded by Chief, with crewmen Lance, “Chef”, and “Mr. Clean” to quietly navigate up the Nùng River to Kurtz’ outpost. Before reaching the coastal mouth of the Nùng, they rendezvous with the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, a helicopter-borne air assault unit commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore, to discuss safe passage. Kilgore is initially uncooperative as he has not received word about their mission through normal channels, but he becomes more engaged after discovering that one of the sailors (Lance) is a famous surfer. The commander is an avid surfer himself and agrees to escort them through the Nùng’s Viet Cong-held coastal mouth. The squadron raids at dawn, with Kilgore ordering a napalm strike on the Viet Cong. Before Kilgore can lure Lance out to surf on the newly conquered beach, Willard gathers the sailors to the PBR to continue their mission.

Tension arises as Willard believes himself in command of the PBR while Chief prioritizes routine patrol objectives over Willard’s. Slowly making their way upriver, Willard partially reveals his mission to the Chief to assuage his concerns about why his mission should proceed. As Willard studies Kurtz’ dossier, he is struck by the mid-career sacrifice he made by leaving a prestigious Pentagon assignment to join a special operations branch, which afforded no prospect of advancing in rank past colonel. The third-generation West Point graduate could have pursued more conventional command assignments to eventually rise to four-star general.

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