Francis Ford Coppola
Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen
What can we really say about Apocalypse Now? Heralded by many as the greatest war film ever committed to celluloid, it has thrilled some film fans and baffled others for more than 30 years since its release back in 1979.
Director Francis Ford Coppola was on a high in the 70s after the dual successes of The Godfather and it epic sequel. He soon became embroiled in a loose adaptation of a Joseph Conrad novel scripted by John Milius that would eat up five years of his life as budgets spiralled out of control and major talent (chiefly Sheen) teetered on the brink of self destruction.
The result is a mighty Vietnam War parable, using the background of that most photographed conflict to tell an intimate story of one man’s journey into his own personal heart of darkness. The convoluted and excessive production feeds into the feel of the film brilliantly, fuelled by a series of manic performances from stars like Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper. The journey ends with the inscrutable mass of Brando, rambling off script and still commanding the audience’s attention.
For fans, you’ll be able to choose between a fully restored version of either the theatrical cut or the (ponderous) Redux version – both appearing in their correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for the first time. There will likely never be another war film quite like Apocalypse Now – and this is certainly the best it has ever looked on home video.
Extras: The offerings here are suitably epic – from returning favourites like an exhaustive feature length commentary with the director to all new cast and crew interviews and behind the scenes footage. The undoubted highlight of the set is the inclusion of Hearts of Darkness – a 1991 behind the scenes documentary which gives unprecedented access to the production and remains one of the greatest ‘unmaking of’ docs ever produced. Coppola also chimes in for a commentary to defend himself.