Apocalypse Now

  • Category: Music & Movies
  • Words: 1079
  • Grade: 100
Francis Ford Coppola directed the film Apocalypse Now. Coppola and John Milius wrote the screenplay. The cost to make the film was 31 million dollars. It was released in 1979. The main actors were Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, and Dennis Hopper. Eleanor Coppola describes her husband Francis Coppola's film, "Apocalypse Now," as being "loosely based" on Joseph Conrad's novel called Heart of Darkness.
The music opens and closes with "The End" by the doors. Choppers, napalm, explosions, singing "this is the end." Music is used throughout the film to try and explain how a solider often tries to reconnect to his world by music. Besides death, the only other escape in Vietnam was through drugs, alcohol, and music. There were always bombs dropping, babies and women crying, choppers flying, and the sound of Charlie's AK rifles, and mortars firing. If you were walking in the jungle on patrol even a snap of a twig, or movement in the bush, suddenly brought hell to earth.
Very few Vietnam veterans can talk about what went on in Vietnam. In Apocalypse Now we have a movie built upon the story off one man's view of his mission. "There is no way to tell his story without telling my own." (Willard) 3350. Captain Willard, played by (Martin Sheen) was given an assignment by the Army to terminate Colonel Kurtz with extreme prejudice. Colonel Kurtz had formed his own army and gone deep into Cambodia fighting the war by his own rules without restraint. Willard is given a crew and boat to travel up river to find Kurtz. This river like a snake takes leads them to Colonel Kurtz.
The Army could not stand the idea that one of their best-groomed officers had gone mad. Coppola updated the foreshadowing scene on the boat when they show the newspaper clippings about Charles Manson. But Colonel Kurtz was not the only one gone mad. You have "a hawkish, lunatic, flamboyant Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Kill-Gore) (Robert Duvall), wearing a black horse soldier's Stetson Calvary hat (a la George A. Custer) with a Calvary sword emblem, sunglasses, and a yellow dickey. The idiosyncratic Kilgore places signature cards ("death cards") over the bodies of the civilian (or VC) dead: "Let's Charlie know who did this."
After the air attack on a village of VC and children, Willard and his crew of green horns start on up the river. The best way to sum it the entire useless killing is Willard's quote, "Shit! Charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500."
The sequence where the patrol boat stops a small fishing boat with a family on it is probably the most realistic one in the movie. One wrong move by the little girl to reach for her puppy and the machine gunner freaks out and everybody starts firing until there was nothing moving. The chief saw that the old woman was not dead, and then Willard finished her off with a bullet. What were they going to say, we are sorry?
Slowly death starts to take those aboard the patrol boat, one shot by ambush, and then the chief dies by a spear in the chest. What is left is Capt. Willard and an acidhead and a wired to tight Lawrence. They finally reach Colonel Kurtz's compound. They are greeted by one crazy American photojournalist played by "Dennis Hopper." He played the fool, the mediator, and brainwashed condition everyone seemed to be in under colonel Kurtz command. He said to Capt. Willard, "The mans enlarged my mind"¦he's a poet warrior"¦we are all his children. You know something man, I know something that you don't know. That's right jack. The man is clear in his mind but his soul is mad."
Willard meets Colonel Kurtz. He told Lawrence to call in an air strike if he did not return to the boat. That impatience cost Lawrence his head. Kurtz served it to Willard in his lap. Willard remained locked up until he was broken. Then Kurtz began to try and explain to Willard why he had become what he had become. He somehow wanted Willard to understand why he did what he did before he would let Willard kill him. Kurtz was ready to die. He was tired off fighting as one man. No one understands his methods and motives. He told Willard, "You do not have the right to judge me, but you have the right to kill me. You do not hand the right to condemn my methods. Horror has a face, and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies. I remember, we were with special forces"¦ it seems a thousand centuries ago"¦we'd been sent in to a camp to inoculate the children for polio"¦ we'd left the camp, and this old man came running"¦ he was crying, he couldn't"¦ we went back there, and THEY had come and hacked off every inoculated arm"¦there they were, in a pile"¦a pile of "¦of little arms"¦and I remember I, I cried, I wept like some"¦grandmother"¦I wanted to tear my teeth out, I didn't know what I wanted to do"¦ because it was then that I realized"¦like I'd been shot"¦like I'd been shot by a diamond bullet"¦right through my forehead"¦and I said to myself "˜My God, the genius"¦the will"¦the WILL to do that"¦.pure, complete, crystalline, genuine"¦'and I recognized that these were not monsters, these were men"¦ trained cadres, these men who had wives and children, who fought with their hearts, who were filled with love"¦that they had the strength, the STRENGTH"¦to do that. Give me ten divisions of men such as that, and our problems here would be over VERY quickly." (Kurtz) 10420
This is the Horror that had driven Colonel Kurtz to return to Vietnam and fight his own war to free the Vietnamese people. The movie ends with Willard slaying Colonel Kurtz and taking his ledger and leaving the compound. The movie showed the terror and horror that man has to face when war brings death. It shows that there are boundaries that civilized man cannot cross without becoming like their enemy in the end. Great movie, but the reality is that many of those men and women who were there still cannot forget the horror they say. Vietnam was not a movie.

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