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77 Amazing Apocalypse Now Facts For A Movie Buff

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Apocalypse Now is an epic psychological war film.

The movie was directed by the American director Francis Ford Coppola. It was released in the United States of America on August 15, 1979.

This movie has become a must-watch for movie buff people throughout the world. But did you know that the movie's plot was actually inspired by a novel published in 1899? How did the movie get its name? Was Apocalypse Now a blockbuster? Get to know more facts about Apocalypse Now with this article.

Story Lineup Of Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is considered one of the greatest movies of the century. The plot is about the Vietnam War. But what was the inspiration behind the movie? Let's get to know more about this movie now.

  • The story of Apocalypse Now is loosely influenced by the novel 'Heart of Darkness,' which was published in 1899.
  • 'Heart of Darkness' was written by the Polish-English writer Joseph Conrad.
  • The story in Joseph Conrad's novel 'Heart of Darkness' has a different war setting.
  • The 'Heart of Darkness' has a setting in the 19th century Congo war.
  • Whereas the story setting in Apocalypse Now is of the Vietnam war, which took place in the late '60s.
  • As per the movie plot, Captain Willard (played by Martin Sheen) takes an upriver journey from the southern part of Vietnam to Cambodia.
  • Martin Sheen, who plays Captain Willard, is shown on a secret operation to kill Kurtz (played by Marlon Brando).
  • As per the movie, Walter E. Kurtz is a Colonel in the U.S. Army Special Forces.
  • Colonel Kurtz has gone rogue during the Vietnam War and has started a guerilla war against the forces of NVA and PLAF.
  • Marlon Brando, who plays Colonel Kurtz, is the leader of the American and Montagnard troops. And the members of these troops see him as a demigod.
  • Captain Willard is called up to the headquarters in Nha Trang by the Field Forces and is directed to terminate Colonel Kurtz, who went rogue.
  • Captain Willard takes Chief Petty Officer Phillips with him to start their journey on a U.S. Navy river patrol boat.
  • The crew in the river patrol boat consisted of Captain Phillips, Lance, 'The Chef'(played by Frederic Forrest), and 'Mr. Clean'(played by Laurence Fishburne).
  • While they go up the river Nung in Vietnam, they meet Colonel Kilgore.
  • Colonel Kilgore is the leader of the helicopter-borne air assault unit.
  • At first, Colonel Kilgore is reluctant to help them as he has not received any official order about the mission, but he starts helping once he gets to know that Lance is a surfer just like him.
  • They get their hands on official documents and emails kept in a U.S. Army outpost as they continue their journey.
  • Later on, they learn that another MACV-SOG operative was sent before Captain Benjamin Willard to assassinate Kurtz, but he joined Kurtz.
  • Under the influence of drugs, Lance accidentally triggers a smoke grenade.
  • This attracted the enemy's attention, and the enemy started to ambush the team of Captain Benjamin Willard.
  • Mr. Clean is killed in this ambush, and also further up the river, the enemies also kill Chief Phillips.
  • Captain Benjamin Willard, Lance, and The Chef are left as they continue this mission.
  • They reach the deserted Angkor Empire temple, which is the outpost of Colonel Kurtz.
  • Later on, The Chef is killed by Kurtz, while Willard is arrested and taken to Kurtz.
  • Kurtz tells Willard about the merciless Vietnamese Cong. and educates Willard with the theories of war he made.
  • Kurtz also tells Willard about his family and requests Willard to tell Kurtz's son about him after Kurtz is dead.
  • After doing so, Kurtz releases Willard and lets him go.
  • But that night, Willard kills Colonel Kurtz with a machete and departs away; carrying some writings of Kurtz, Willard bows down to Kurtz.
  • After that, Lance and Willard are seen sailing away in the boat.

Star Cast Of Apocalypse Now

This prominent movie was a blockbuster, and all the actors present in it were highly appreciated for their performance. In this section, get to know the detailed information about the star cast and some unknown facts about Apocalypse Now.

  • Marlon Brando played the role of Colonel Kurtz.
  • The full name of Kurtz was Colonel Walter E. Kurtz.
  • Colonel Kurtz is a high-ranking officer of the U.S. Army Special Forces.
  • He was a part of the Fifth Special Forces Group.
  • After going rogue, Colonel Kurtz started a militant group of his own that operated from Cambodia.
  • The militant group was dreaded by the U.S. military, Viet Cong, and the North Vietnamese Khmer Rouge.
  • Robert Duvall played the role of Colonel Kilgore. The complete name of the part was Lieutenant Colonel William 'Bill' Kilgore.
  • Kilgore was part of the First Squadron, Ninth Cavalry Regiment.
  • He was inspired by some real-life individuals, such as Colonel John Stockton, George Paton IV, and General James F. Hollingsworth.
  • Francis Ford Coppola had cut a scene from the movie in which Colonel Bill Kilgore saved a Vietnamese infant during an assault.
  • Francis Ford Coppola said that it added complexity to the role of Bill Kilgore.
  • Martin Sheen played the role of Captain Benjamin Willard. Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson were also offered the role of Willard, but they rejected it.
  • Captain Willard is shown as a veteran assassin serving his third tour in Vietnam.
  • The character played by Martin Sheen is described to be part of the 505th Battalion hailing from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, who was currently assigned to MACV-SOG.
  • Martin Sheen shot the introductory scene of the movie where he punches the mirror on the day of his 36th birthday.
  • Joe Estevez, brother of Martin Sheen, portrayed some scenes for Sheen in the movie and also gave the character's voiceover.
  • Sheen's son Charlie also appears in Apocalypse Now as an extra and was not credited for it.
  • Frederic Forrest played the role of Engineman Third Class Jay 'Chef' Hicks.
  • Jay Hicks was a chef in New Orleans in his early life and was always paranoid of things that happened around him.
  • Albert Hall played the role of Chief Petty Officer George Phillips. He often argued with Captain Benjamin Willard regarding the authority of the ship.
  • Sam Bottoms played the role of Gunner's Mate Third Class Lance B. Johnson.
  • Lance is a prior professional surfer from California and connects with Kilgore regarding the same topic.
  • The role of Gunner's Mate Third Class Tyrone 'Mr. Clean' Miller was played by Laurence Fishburne.
  • He is shown as an arrogant 17-year-old crewmember of the ship.
  • Christian Marquand portrays hubert Desmarais in the movie.
  • Hubert is a French plantation owner who has settled in Vietnam with his family and is reluctant to leave it.
  • Dennis Hopper played the role of an American photojournalist.
  • He is shown to be an insane follower of Kurtz in the movie.
  • His character is inspired by Sean Flynn, a famous newsperson that vanished in the jungles of Cambodia sometime during 1970.
  • G. D. Spradlin portrays Lieutenant General R. Corman. He is part of the military intelligence (G-2).
  • Jerry Ziesmer played the role of Jerry, a mysterious man, who was shown at the beginning of the movie. He only had one dialogue in the movie, that is, 'terminate with extreme prejudice.'
  • Harrison Ford played Colonel Lucas. Captain George Lucas is the assistant of Corman and provides orders to Willard. Captain George Lucas is a general information specialist.
  • Scott Glenn portrays Captain Richard M. Colby.
  • Colby was assigned the mission before Willard. Colby eventually joined Kurtz and sent a letter to his wife stating that we would not return and that she should sell their property.
  • The role of the various playboy playmates was portrayed by Linda Beatty, Cynthia Wood, and Colleen Camp.
  • Beatty and Wood were the Playmate of the Year 1976 and 1974 respectively.
  • Bill Graham played the role of Agent, who announced the Playmates' show.
  • Francis Ford Coppola had a cameo in the movie. Francis Ford Coppola played the role of a TV news director.

Apocalypse Now Reviews

Apocalypse Now is a war movie that generated an excellent review worldwide.

No doubt the movie received so many positive reviews that it was elevated to the level of being called 'A Classic.' The psychological war film gained attention for most of its features. Let us know some facts about Apocalypse Now's reviews.

  • The movie is considered to be a masterpiece of the current Hollywood era.
  • Roger Ebert included Apocalypse Now in his 2002 list for Sight and Sound poll and regarded it as the best Vietnam war movie.
  • Apocalypse Now stands in the 30th position currently in 100 Years... 100 Films list published by the American Film Institute.
  • The movie has a runtime of two hours and 27 minutes.
  • Apocalypse Now has been rated with 8.4 out of 10 stars in IMDb currently.
  • Rotten Tomatoes shows that Apocalypse Now holds a rating of 98%.
  • Commentators worldwide have argued on the topic 'Is Apocalypse Now an anti-war or pro-war movie?'.
  • The London Film Critics' Circle in 2009 stated that Apocalypse Now is the best film of the past 30 years.
  • Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, was the recipient of the Oscar in 1980 for two categories, 'Best Sound' and 'Best Cinematography.'
  • The Academy Award for 'Best Sound' was collected by Walter Murch, Mark Berger, Richard Beggs, and Nathan Boxer.
  • Vittorio Storaro collected the Academy Award for 'Best Cinematography.'
  • Francis Ford Coppola was nominated for the category of 'Best Picture' and 'Best Director' for the 52nd Academy Awards in 1980.
  • Screenwriter John Milius and Francis Ford Coppola were also nominated for 'Best Writing-Screenplay based on Material from Another Medium' during the 52nd Academy Awards.
  • Robert Duvall was also nominated for the 'Best Actor in Supporting Role.'
  • Walter Murch and Richard Marks were also nominated for the category of 'Best Film Editing.'
  • Apocalypse Now won the Palme d'Or in the 1979 Cannes Film Festival.
  • For the 33rd British Academy Film Awards, Apocalypse Now was nominated for nine categories and won the award for two categories.
  • Robert Duvall was gifted the 'Best Supporting Actor' award in the 33rd British Academy Film Awards.
  • Francis Ford Coppola received the award for the category of 'Best Direction' in the same award ceremony.
  • Francis Ford Coppola was also gifted the 'Best Foreign Director' award for this movie in the David di Donatello Awards.
  • Apocalypse Now won awards for three categories in the 37th Golden Globe Awards, which are 'Best Director' (collected by Francis Ford Coppola), 'Best Supporting Actor' (Duvall), and 'Best Original Score' (collected by Carmine Coppola and Francis Ford Coppola).
  • Frederic Forrest won the 'Best Supporting Actor' for Apocalypse Now in the 1979 National Society of Film Critics Awards.
  • London Film Critic's Awards handed the 'Film of the Year' award to Apocalypse Now, which Francis Ford Coppola collected.
  • Metacritic has provided a rating of 94% to the movie Apocalypse Now.
  • The movie has set a landmark for war movies across the world.
  • Apocalypse Now was also nominated for the Fifth Cesar Awards under the category of 'Best Foreign Film.'
  • The score of Apocalypse Now was nominated for the category of 'Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture' in the 22nd Annual Grammy Awards.
  • Screenwriter John Milius and Francis Ford Coppola were also nominated in the 32nd Writers Guild of America Awards under the category of 'Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen.'

Fun Facts About Apocalypse Now

Who had a heart attack on the set of Apocalypse Now? How did the movie get its name? These questions and many more such fascinating facts about Apocalypse Now will be discussed in this section.

  • Screenwriter John Milius and the creator of Star Wars, George Lucas, used to study together. When John Milius got influenced by his English professor to make a movie on the novel 'Heart of Darkness.'
  • George Lucas was supposed to direct Apocalypse Now, but later on, he went forward to make Star Wars, and Apocalypse Now was handed over to Francis Ford Coppola.
  • Screenwriter John Milius jokingly named the movie Apocalypse Now to make fun of the hippies.
  • The title of the movie Apocalypse Now is actually never credited before the movie; instead, it was shown as graffiti on a wall during the movie's opening scene.
  • The role of Captain Willard was first offered to Steve McQueen, and he rejected it.
  • Further on, it was offered to Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, and James Caan. But all of them refused to play the role.
  • Nick Nolte also auditioned for the movie but was then rejected.
  • Eventually, Harvey Keitel agreed to do the role in the movie.
  • But later on, Francis Ford Coppola fired Harvey Keitel because he thought Harvey Keitel was not performing well.
  • Lastly, Martin Sheen was chosen for the role of Benjamin Willard.
  • Francis Ford Coppola invested around $30 million from his own pocket to make the movie.
  • During the movie, Francis Ford Coppola also faced an epileptic seizure and a nervous breakdown.
  • Apocalypse Now took three years to be produced, and the movie went over budget and over schedule.
  • Harrison Ford appeared in Star Wars as Han Solo before appearing in Apocalypse Now.
  • Famous author Michael Herr has contributed massively to the narrative part of Apocalypse Now.
  • Francis Ford Coppola was fascinated by Michael Herr and his work in the book 'Dispatches.'
  • The entire score of Apocalypse Now consists of songs by The Doors (Jim Morrison and his team).
  • Since Francis used to go to UCLA along with Jim Morrison, he agreed to give Francis the records.
  • Tennessee Williams joked about Marlon Brando being paid by the weight he gained. Marlon Brando weighed 300 lbs (136.07 kg) during the movie; that is why most of his scenes were in the dark.
  • It is well known that Marlon Brando only did the movie to collect the fat paycheck of $3 million.
  • Dennis Hopper improvised throughout his role in the movie.
  • Dennis Hopper first auditioned for the role of Colby but later on played the role of the American photojournalist.
  • Martin Sheen had suffered a heart attack during the shooting of Apocalypse Now.
  • Martin Sheen was actually drunk during the opening scene and hit the actual mirror and not a prop.
  • Although blood kept dripping from his hand after that, Martin Sheen insisted on keeping the camera rolling.
  • Martin Sheen said he was facing a difficult time during the movie, and he chose that scene to fight his inner demons.
  • Laurence Fishburne was only 14 years old when he started to act in this movie.
  • He lied about his age to the director to land a role in the movie.
  • Dennis Hopper got a young Laurence Fishburne addicted to heroin during the movie's shoot.
  • The U. S. Military refused to provide any military equipment to be used in the movie.
  • Duvall, who plays the role of Kilgore, was upset that Francis Ford Coppola removed a scene where he saves a baby in the movie.
  • The scene in the movie where a Water Buffalo was killed is real. The movie members had to face a case filed for animal cruelty for this.
  • Walter Murch took almost two years to edit the movie.
  • Jerry Ziesmer, who plays the role of a mysterious man in the movie's opening scene, is actually the assistant director of Apocalypse Now.
  • Laurence Fishburne saved Emilio Estevez from getting sucked in quicksand while the movie was being shot.
  • The movie was preserved in the United States National Film Registry subjected to being 'culturally, historically and aesthetically important' by the Library of Congress in 2002.
Written By
Kidadl Team

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