Apocalypse Now Is Not Just A Movie About Vietnam

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When Apocalypse Now came out in 1979, director Francis Ford Coppola famously exclaimed: “My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam.”

And while this statement is an exaggeration brought on by months of production hell spent in the jungles of Thailand and while it may feel like dishonoring people who actually fought in Vietnam, it is still somewhat understandable. Very few movies make you experience something instead of just watching it and Apocalypse Now does this with the Vietnam War.

The movie is an epic in the best sense of the word, almost too long and of too large in scope but it never lets go or relents for a single moment. It is a movie that meanders as the river Martin Sheen and his crew push up through, trying to find Marlon Brando and terminate his command, ‘with extreme prejudice’.

Apocalypse Now is a movie that benefits from the insane months of filming; Sheen almost dying from a heart attack; Brando showing up 40 pounds overweight without reading the script; Dennis Hopper being his usual stoned self and Thailand army (the production partners) having to go to fight actual rebels in the middle of shooting. The movie is more than a movie. It is a grand event that will captivate you and remain with you for years to come.

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