full title Apocalypse Now

director Francis Ford Coppola

leading actors Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando

supporting actors Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Albert Hall, Frederic Forrest, Laurence Fishburne (credited Larry Fishburne), Sam Bottoms

type of work Feature film

genre War film (Vietnam)

language  English

time and place produced Shot February 1976 through May 1977 in the Philippines; postproduction took place in California from May 1977 to May 1979


 · 1979 Academy Awards:
 · Winner, Best Cinematography (Vittorio Storaro)
 · Winner, Best Sound (Walter Murch, Mark Berger, Richard Beggs, and Nathan Boxer)
 · Nominated, Best Picture (Francis Ford Coppola, Fred Roos, Gray Frederickson, and Tom Sternberg)
 · Nominated, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Robert Duvall)
 · Nominated, Best Director (Francis Ford Coppola)
 · Nominated, Best Screenplay Based on Another Medium (John Milius and Francis Ford Coppola)
 · Nominated, Best Art Direction (Dean Tavoluaris and Angelo Graham, art direction; Ian Whittaker, set decoration)
 · Nominated, Best Film Editing (Richard Marks, Walter Murch, Gerald B. Greenberg, and Lisa Fruchtman)
 · 1979 Cannes Film Festival
 · Winner, Golden Palm Award
 · Winner, FIPRESCI Prize
 · 1980 American Movie Marquee
 · Winner, Best Supporting Actor (Robert Duvall)
 · 1980 British Academy of Film and Television Award
 · Winner, Best Direction (Francis Ford Coppola)
 · 1980 David Di Donatello Award for Best Director of a Foreign Film (Francis Ford
 · 1980 Golden Globes
 · Winner, Best Director, Motion Picture (Francis Ford Coppola)
 · Winner, Best Motion Picture Actor in a Supporting Role (Robert Duvall)
 · Winner, Best Original Score in a Motion Picture (Carmine Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola)
 · 1980 Germany’s Golden Screen Award
 · 1980 National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor (Frederic Forrest)
 · 1981 London Critics Film Circle award for Film of the Year

date of release 1979


 · Francis Ford Coppola (credited as Francis Coppola)
 · Coproduced by Fred Roos, Gray Frederickson, and Tom Sternberg

setting (time) 1968

setting (place) Vietnam

protagonist U.S. army captain Benjamin Willard

major conflict Willard must struggle against the horrors and hypocrisies of war and the darkness within himself to complete his mission and kill Colonel Kurtz.

rising action As Willard works his way upriver to Kurtz, his target, he faces and participates in several of the war’s atrocities and absurdities, including a preemptive air strike on a Vietnamese village, a seedy USO show, and an attack on innocent Vietnamese peasants in a sampan, leading him to realize fully the futility of war and question whether he will complete his mission and kill Kurtz, a man whom he has come to admire and emulate to a disturbing degree.

climax Willard’s mud-covered emergence from the river cements his Kurtzlike transformation and signals that he has given in to the dark side of his nature and will murder Kurtz in a ruthless, ritualistic fashion.

falling action After murdering Kurtz, Willard is given the opportunity to replace the colonel as a godlike figure. In rejecting this opportunity, he rejects the acceptance of human evil as king.

themes The hypocrisy of Western imperialism; madness as a result of war; the emptiness of American values

motifs Darkness; escape; home

symbols Masks; the river; fog

foreshadowing The film opens with helicopters lurking ominously over the jungle, accompanied by the Doors’ moody song “The End”; Chef and Willard encounter a tiger when they venture off the boat to look for mangoes; Willard murders the Vietnamese peasant woman in the sampan; Lance smears his face with paint like the members of Kurtz’s army