''Apocalypse Now'' is a 1979 American epic adventure war film set during the Vietnam War. Produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, and Robert Duvall, the film follows the central character, Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Sheen), on a secret mission to assassinate the renegade and presumed insane Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Brando).
The screenplay by John Milius and Coppola updates the setting of Joseph Conrad's novella ''Heart of Darkness'' to that of the Vietnam War era. It also draws from Michael Herr's ''Dispatches'',〔Derek Malcolm (1999) (''Francis Ford Coppola: Apocalypse Now''. ) ''The Guardian''. Thursday November 4, 1999〕 the film version of Conrad's ''Lord Jim'', and Werner Herzog's ''Aguirre, the Wrath of God'' (1972).
The film has been noted for the problems encountered while making it. These problems were chronicled in the documentary ''Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse'', which recounted the stories of Brando arriving on the set overweight and completely unprepared; expensive sets being destroyed by severe weather; and its lead actor (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 thousands of feet of footage.
''Apocalypse Now'' was released to wide acclaim. Many critics now regard it as one of the greatest films ever made.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Apocalypse Now (1979) )〕〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=DVD Pick: Apocalypse Now – The Complete Dossier )〕 It was honored with the Palme d'Or at Cannes, and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama. The film was also ranked No. 14 in the ''Sight and Sound'' greatest films poll.〔http://explore.bfi.org.uk/sightandsoundpolls/2012/critics/〕 In 2000, ''Apocalypse Now'' was deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" and was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress .
In 1970, during the Vietnam War, Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando) has gone insane and now commands his own Montagnard troops inside neutral Cambodia as a demi-god. U.S. Army Captain and special operations veteran Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen) is tasked with terminating the Colonel's command with extreme prejudice.
Ambivalent about the mission, Willard joins a Navy Patrol boat, riverine (PBR) commanded by "Chief" (Albert Hall) and crewmen Lance (Sam Bottoms), "Chef" (Frederic Forrest) and "Mr. Clean" (Laurence Fishburne) to head upriver. They rendezvous with surfing enthusiast Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall), a commander of an attack helicopter squadron, to discuss going up the Nung river. Kilgore initially scoffs at them, but befriends Lance when he discovers he is an expert surfer and agrees to escort them through the Viet Cong-held coastal mouth of the river where surfing conditions are particularly good. At dawn the helicopter raid commences. Amid the attack, Kilgore calls in a napalm sortie on the local cadres and the rivermouth is taken. Willard gathers his men to the PBR, which has been transported via helicopter, and begins the journey up river.
Tension arises between Chief and Willard as Willard believes himself to be in command of the PBR while Chief prioritizes other objectives over Willard's secret mission. Slowly making their way upriver, Willard reveals part of his mission to the Chief to assuage the Chief's concerns about why his mission should take precedence. As night falls, the PBR reaches the chaotic last US outpost on the Nùng river, the Do Long bridge. Willard and Lance enter the base seeking information on what is upriver. Unable to find anyone in command of the base, Willard orders the Chief to continue upriver as an unseen enemy launches a strike on the bridge.
The next day, Willard learns from a dispatch that another Studies and Observation Group (SOG) operative, Captain Colby (Scott Glenn), who was sent on an earlier mission identical to Willard's, had joined Kurtz. (A few days before Willard received this dispatch, Chief had told him that about six months prior to Willard's mission Chief had taken another man north of the Do Long Bridge. Chief had heard this man shot himself in the head.) Meanwhile, as the rest of the crew read letters from home, Lance pops open a purple smoke grenade for fun. It attracts the attention of an unseen enemy in the trees, and Mr. Clean is killed during the firefight. Later, in a separate attack, Chief is killed.
The PBR arrives at Kurtz's outpost, and the surviving crew members are met by an American freelance photographer (Dennis Hopper), who manically praises Kurtz's genius. As they wander through the compound they come across Colby, who stands nearly catatonic along with other US servicemen, now serving in Kurtz's renegade army. After returning to the PBR, Willard later takes Lance with him, leaving Chef behind with orders to call an airstrike on the Kurtz's compound if they do not return.
In the camp, Willard is subdued, bound and brought before Kurtz in a darkened temple. Tortured and imprisoned, Willard screams as Kurtz drops Chef's severed head into his lap. After several days, Willard is released and given the freedom of the compound. Kurtz lectures him on his theories of war, humanity and civilization while praising the ruthlessness and dedication of the Viet Cong. Kurtz discusses his family and asks that Willard tell his son about him in the event of his death.
That night, as the Montagnards ceremonially slaughter a water buffalo, Willard stealthily enters Kurtz's chamber as Kurtz is making a tape recording and attacks him with a machete. Lying mortally wounded on the ground, Kurtz, with his dying breath, whispers "...The horror... the horror...". The compound is now abuzz about something amiss in Kurtz's quarters, and seeing Willard departing the rooms with bloody machete in hand, they bow down and allow Willard to take Lance by the hand and lead him to the boat. The two of them ride away as Kurtz's final words echo eerily as the world fades to black.
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