Five Times a Movie – Apocalypse Now



  • For being an epic movie — from the standpoint of storyline, how the director develops the characters, the epic boat journey cutting across the innumerable waterways and maneuvering a plethora of events, and of course the operatic and often haunting background scores. In Apocalypse Now, its Vietnam War bearing its bloody viscera. Coppola de-romanticizes and dehumanizes Vietnam, its gruesomeness, cold manipulations, horror, irrationality and human beings being reduced to killing robots, bereft of emotions. This is Apocalypse Now.


  • The scene at the beginning when Captain Gillard (Martin Sheen)is forced out of from his coop and sent to meet Colonel Killgore (Robert Duvall), as he arrives near the shoreline to team up with the platoon, the camera captures an authentic slice of Vietnam War – all hell has broken loose, as soldiers scamper and choppers shake the sky and forests. In the midst there’s a camera crew (Coppola makes a cameo here) trying to keep pace with the helter-skelter, to beam a news which is rigged. And this panoramic commotion is what no other director except Coppola could capture – this scene sets the tone for the film.apocalypse-now_


  • The boat journey through the mystic waterways and estuaries of Vietnam which takes Sheen and his mates to neighboring Cambodia. All along the mammoth three hour journey, the director never fails to keep the tension palpable and razer edge, and each of the events credible and impactful. As the boat crew with a bunch of immature freshers along with the sensible Chief Philips (Albert Hall) tries to figure out the objective of the journey, Gillard gets increasingly dazed with dilemma. The journey transforms them all, rapes their sanity and leaves them all as zombies, killing civilians along their way without a cause.

    • Martin Sheen for his spellbinding and understated portrayal of a hapless soldier, slaying his values and sensitivity and following orders. Sheen as Gillard brings a tinge of vulnerability and helplessness which glues the audience through the end of the three hour classic. As Colonel Walter Kurtz puts it ‘Are you an assassin’ to which Gillard replies ‘Im a soldier’. Kurtz responds ‘You’re neither, you’re an errand boy’.


    • Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando) for the most powerful and awe inspiring performance at the very end of the film. Brando combines the essence of greatness and madness, and they eat up each other, mesmerizing the audience.p

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