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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Updated: Oct 15, 2022


Plot Summary: In Vietnam in 1970, Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) takes a perilous and increasingly hallucinatory journey upriver to find and terminate Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a once-promising officer who has reportedly gone completely mad. In the company of a Navy patrol boat filled with street-smart kids, a surfing-obsessed Air Cavalry officer (Robert Duvall), and a crazed freelance photographer (Dennis Hopper), Willard travels further and further into the heart of darkness.


Best Performance: Francis Ford Coppola

Best Minor Performance: Robert Duvall

Most Charismatic Award: Robert Duvall


Best Scene: Boat Raid Gone Wrong/Kilgore on the Beach

Favorite Scene: Surfing the Swells in Between Gunfire and Rockets


Best Line:

General: Well, you see Willard . . . In this war, things get confused out there, power, ideals, the old morality, practical military necessity. But out there with these natives, it must be a temptation to be god. Because there's a conflict in every human heart, between the rational and the irrational, between good and evil. And good does not always triumph. Sometimes, the dark side overcomes what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature. Every man has got a breaking point. You and I have one. Walter Kurtz has reached his. And very obviously, he has gone insane.


Honorable Mention:

Colonel Kurtz: You have to have men who are moral... and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling... without passion... without judgment... without judgment! Because it's judgment that defeats us.


Funniest Line:

Lt. Col. Kilgore: I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like [sniffing, pondering] victory.


Most Indelible Moment: "the horror...the horror"

What this movie is about in 10 words or less: Coppola's adaptation of classic novel on madness and true horror.


The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 9

Impact/Significance: 9.5

Novelty: 8.5

Classic-ness: 9

Rewatchability: 5

Audience Score: 9.4

Recognition: Nominated for Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing, and Art Direction; Won for Best Sound and Cinematography; AFI #28/#30

Total: 50.4

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