Apocalypse Now Movie Review

When I was first introduced to this movie I was a 14 or 15 year old punk. My two brothers and I were visiting my uncle in North Carolina. He said that he had two movies he really though we should see and he had them on laser disk (the premium for of movie watching in those days). He put on Dune (1984) and went off to work or to run errands. I thought this movie was horrifically boring and had bad special effects. It felt like cheesy 80’s schlock. (The 2021 version is awesome though.)

Anyhoo, after we were done with that mess, we moved on to Apocalypse. I have to say that we were intrigued. But we were in a goofy mood after watching Dune and looked for any reason to make fun of any aspect we could. I remember thinking that it had some amazing looking shots. One which stuck out to me was where they get off the boat in the jungle to look for mangos and a tiger jumps out. The deep blues of the trees contrasting with the green leaves still is remarkable all these years later.

Moving on. Maybe 4-5 years later I revisited the movie and realized then what a masterpiece it was. I had grown up a little bit and some of the subtexts of the film made more sense to me. I suddenly realized I had slept on this thing and it was a fantastic film.

There have been two rereleases since those days. The first one was called “redux” where they added 15 minutes or so of film that was cut from the theatrical release. I have to say, that bit should have remained on the cutting room floor. Or maybe stick in in the “cut scenes” section of the DVD or Blu Ray version.

And still years after this was released another version called “The Final Cut” in which they added even more useless scenes that were cut by the director before releasing the film in theaters. Coppola had to have signed off on this so I can only guess that it was a cash grab. If this were the original film released I definitely would not hold this film in such high regard. There is a reason he cut those scenes.

There is a guy who has a great channel on YouTube called CinemaTyler which dissects movie classics piece by piece. He goes the extra mile and gets original scripts and raw unfinished film to show his viewers certain aspects or opinions which may not be glaringly obvious. Anyway, in this video he dissects one of the biggest chunks of the movie which was removed before the theatrical release and then added back in for the “redux”.

You can find all of his Apocalypse Now Videos by clicking or tapping here

Someone Made an Updated Trailer for Apocalypse Now and it’s Awesome

This is a cool project that has been around a few years. They take older movies and make more modern movie trailers for them. This one includes a bit from the “Redux” version of Apocalypse Now, which I think is an inferior version to the theatrical release. FF Coppola himself said while making the movie they would bury the French Scene and it was never to be spoken of again. I guess he didn’t mean what he said because a few decades later they would reincorporate cutting room floor scenes back into the movie and release it as “Redux”. Anyway, this is a pretty cool trailer featuring what I believe to be the best movie ever made.

Conclusion and Rating

Apocalypse Now was based loosely on Robert Konrad’s novel Heart of Darkness and follows it basic structure and uses some of the same character names. It was a brilliant idea to adapt it for Viet Nam and was a pretty bold decision too. When filming of this movie began in 1976, Americans were very angry over that war and wanted to forget about it. This would have been the first major film to broach the subject after war’s end if it had not taken 3 years to complete.

In that space of time, The Deer Hunter began filming in 1977 and beat Apocalypse Now to the box office by six months. The Deer Hunter would win best picture in 1979 and basically ruin Apocalypse Now’s chance to win the following year. There was no way they were going to award back-to-back Best Picture Oscars to Viet Nam movies. Instead it went to Kramer vs Kramer (inert eye roll here).

Apocalypse Now (theatrical release) is the best movie I have seen to date. The story moves along well. The characters  are deep and complex. The acting is superb. Francis Ford Coppola did an outstanding job directing and re-writing scenes. The cinematography is some of the best you will ever see. Vittorio Storaro was the cinematographer for this movie and he won the Oscar that year. (The film was nominated for 8 Oscars and won two (best sound and best cinematography).

I give this movie 99/100 potatoes and certify it as a golden potato to be worshipped by all other potatoes.

After you watch Apocalypse Now (theatrical version) I highly suggest watching “Hearts of Darkness“. Francis’s wife Eleanor filmed behind the scenes footage and created a documentary out of it which was released in 1991. It really is great and worth the watch.

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