Apocalypse Now

Year: 1979
Production Co: Zoetrope Studios
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Producer: Francis Ford Coppola
Writer: Jospeh Conrad/John Milius/Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Harrisson Ford, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne, Scott Glenn
To most, Coppola's Vietnam War treatise is an undisputed classic, usually mentioned alongside Taxi Driver, The Godfather and other luminaries as perhaps being the best. But at the risk of being lynched, it's never had that much of an effect on me. Maybe massive numbers of repeat viewings would help.

Maybe, because of Coppola's intention that it not be a story set in Vietnam, but that it encapsulate the insanity that the American experience in Vietnam descended into, I was expecting a fantastic story or deep message and was disappointed that there wasn't one.

I also think it's achieved the cult status it has by virtue of the story of its production; Sheen's on camera heart attack, Brando's persona of refusing to do what he was told, Coppola's threats of suicide at the delays and cost overruns to the production.

It's slightly episodic in nature, showing us through some of the iconic characters and situations Captain Willard (Sheen) finds himself in as he travels through Vietnam on his mission to assassinate the AWOL Colonel Kurtz (Brando).

Brando had a reputation that hugely preceeded him; for the acting powerhouse most think he was, he appears on shadows (apparently as a result of one of his tantrums) and mumbles incoherently most of the time.

It brought together a lot of big names and helped further cement the brat period of late 1970s Hollywood.

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