Gen Z Reviews Classic Movies | 'Apocalypse Now' still holds up as one of the darkest war films ever made
Most films when seen again decades after their release tend to lose some of their charms but 'Apocalypse Now' is just as hauntingly brilliant now as it was when it first arrived in theaters in 1979
Francis Ford Coppola's 'Apocalypse Now' is one of the most acclaimed films of all time, generally considered as a masterpiece of cinematography and filmmaking. Most films when seen again decades after their release tend to lose some of their charm but 'Apocalypse Now' is just as hauntingly brilliant now as it was when it first arrived in theaters in 1979.
'Apocalypse Now' is an adaptation of the highly controversial 1899 novella 'Heart of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad, with the setting changed from the Congo to Cambodia during the Vietnam War. The movie's source material has long been accused of being terribly racist but the film doesn't focus much on the racial themes, aiming for a more eerie sense of realistic horror.
If it wasn't for the movie being set during the Vietnam War, one could almost imagine the film as a proper work of psychological horror. Marlon Brando's Colonel Walter E Kurtz could outdo Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) when it comes to the role of a charismatic psychopath and actors like Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall and Frederic Forrest drop brilliant performances of their own.
When you realize how much effort went into creating this movie, you get an even deeper appreciation for how well it turned out. Though the film has been vastly successful and raked in over $78 million domestically with approximately $150 million made in the global box office immediately after the movie was released, it was probably the most difficult production that Coppola has ever undertaken.
From arguments between cast members to trouble with the police, everything that could go wrong did go wrong during the movie's filming. What was meant to be a five-month shoot took over a year to make and cost a bomb.
But after all of that struggle, Coppola somehow managed to put together this movie from the thousands of reels of film that they had used up. It was quite a feat for any filmmaker and Coppola deserves an award just for his perseverance in getting the film to the silver screen.
And in the end, the final result was so worth it. 'Apocalypse Now' practically redefined what a war movie could be, weaving poetry and philosophy in equal measure with depictions of human brutality and a story that's as surreal as it is tragic. Forty-odd years after its release, 'Apocalypse Now' can still claim to be one of the greatest movies ever made, and after all, isn't that the mark of a true classic?
'Apocalypse Now' first premiered in theaters on August 15, 1979.