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107 Apocalypse Now (1979)


This article is from the Movie Trivia, by Murray Chapman muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au with numerous contributions by others.

107 Apocalypse Now (1979)

- Director 'Francis Coppola' (qv) proposed this film ten years before he
was given funds to do it. The studio didn't think he could handle such a
large production, so he went and made "The Godfather (1972)" (qv) and
"The Godfather: Part II (1974)" (qv), becoming extremely famous, rich, and
- Originally scheduled to be shot over six weeks, ended up taking 16 months.
- 'Martin Sheen' (qv)'s scenes in his hotel room were intentionally performed
drunk, and were entirely ad-libbed. Sheen did not mean to smash the mirror
with his hand; this was a result of his drunken stupor.
- 'Harvey Keitel' (qv) originally cast as Captain Willard. Two weeks into
shooting, Coppola replaced him with Sheen, saying Keitel's Willard was too
- A typhoon destroyed sets, causing a delay of several months.
- Filmed in the Philippines, where Ferdinand Marcos agreed to supply the
helicopters and pilots. Marcos's government also needed them for fighting
the rebels, and sometimes withdrew them during filming, sending different
pilots not familiar with the filming.
- A second sequence featuring the Playmates was filmed but cut. The patrol
boat crew encounter the Playmates' helicopter which had run out of fuel.
They swap some gasoline in exchange for a chance to sleep with the three
girls. 'Lynda Carter' (qv) was originally cast as one of the girls, but
was replaced by 'Colleen Camp' (qv) due to the unforseen production delays.
- 'Marlon Brando' (qv) paid $1 million in advance. Threatened to quit and
keep the advance. Coppola told his agent that he didn't care, and if they
couldn't get Brando, they would try 'Jack Nicholson' (qv),
'Robert Redford' (qv), and then 'Al Pacino' (qv). Brando eventually turned
up late, drunk, 40kg overweight, and admitted he hadn't read the script or
even ``Heart of Darkness'', the book it was based on. Read Coppola's
script, and refused to do it. Argued for days over single lines of
dialog. They eventually agreed on an ad-lib style script, and this was shot
according to Brando's stipulations that he appear in shadows.
- Sheen had a heart attack during the filming; some shots of Willard's back
are actually of someone else.
- 'Sam Bottoms' (qv) was on speed, LSD, and marijuana during the shooting
of parts of the movie.
- 'Dennis Hopper' (qv) was originally going to play Willard's predecessor, but
he was too affected by drugs to play a military type, so Coppola wrote him a
part as a crazy photo-journalist. Hopper and Coppola argued over whether it
was possible to forget your lines when you didn't learn them in the first
- The photo journalist quotes two 'T. S. Eliot' (qv) poems. In a late scene
in the film, a slow pan over a table in Kurtz's room shows a copy of ``From
Ritual to Romance'', a book by 'Jessie Weston' that inspired Eliot's poem
``The Wasteland''.
- Kurtz's Montagnards were played by Ifugao people. Coppola's wife Eleanor
saw them performing animal sacrifice, and convinced her husband to use this
in the film.
- Coppola invested several million dollars of his personal wealth after the
film went severely over budget.
- Coppola threatened suicide several times during the making of the film.
- There are three different treatments of the ending and credits. In the 35mm
version, the credits roll over surrealistic explosions and burning jungle
as the air strike occurs. The 70mm version has none of this, no credits,
nothing but a one-line copyright notice at the end. Both versions are
available on video. The 70mm version has been letterboxed. A third version
has the credits rolling over a black background.
- There are no opening credits or titles. The title of the movie appears as
graffiti late in the film.
- Entire set of scenes cut, where Willard and company find a river-side French
colony. Made the ``journey back through time'' symbolism more apparent:
Vietnam War to French Colony to Jungle Culture.
- 'Carmine Coppola' (qv) (director's father) wrote the score for this film.
- 'Harrison Ford' (qv)'s character wears a name badge which reads
``G. Lucas''. 'George Lucas' (qv) directed Ford in
"American Graffiti (1973)" (qv) and "Star Wars (1977)" (qv), two films which
made Ford famous. 'G.D. Spradlin' (qv)'s character is named ``R. Corman'',
after producer 'Roger Corman' (qv).
- DIRCAMEO(Francis Coppola): filming a war documentary.
- Coppola's wife Eleanore filmed and recorded the making of this film, and has
been released as a feature film called
"Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991)" (qv). It includes
clips from the movie, as well as later interviews.


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