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Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’ Film Analysis Essay


The film is, indeed, a collaborative work where the cast, the director, and many other people work together and affect each other’s choices. In Apocalypse Now, the filmmakers also collaborated and compromised a lot, but the film is still Francis Ford Coppola’s work. First of all, he invested all his money to produce the film, and it could be regarded as an independent film (Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse). Of course, the film is not only a work financed by the director, but it is a reflection of Coppola’s worldview and his aspirations. It is possible to see Coppola himself in the film or rather his inner world.

In the first place, it is important to note that Coppola revealed his views on the Vietnamese war in his film. The director, like many other Americans, did not understand the war, and they did not know why it had taken place. For some people, it was not serious, and this attitude is manifested in the film when soldiers see their task as some sort of fun with no injury to them (Biskind 374). Of course, others (including Coppola) saw that the war was a horrible thing which could never happen. Coppola shows the horrors of the war to show their real face and to make Americans understand that people (including Americans soldiers) died for nothing. The finale of the film emphasizes the director’s standpoint as Willard drops his weapon, and the villagers follow his example (Apocalypse Now). Coppola shows what should be done.

Apart from being a set Coppola’s view’s one the war, the film is also his reflection of his inner struggle. The film depicts the protagonist’s ordeal, and it is possible to see Coppola’s ordeal as well. The film is often seen as a surrealistic representation of a man’s dialogue with God (Giannetti 114). The filmmaking was a hard process with loads of failures. People’s diseases and even one man’s death, natural disaster and social and political unrest in the Philippines where the film was being filmed are all failures Coppola had to face and pull through. Remarkably, he never gives up, and this idea of failures and resistance becomes one of the central ideas of the film. No matter what, the protagonist tries to achieve his aim. Remarkably, the surrealistic nature of the film makes it difficult to see the protagonist’s aims enough, but it is apparent that the major goal is achieved as the man understands that the war should be stopped and he stops his war.

To sum up, it is possible to note that the film Apocalypse Now is a reflection of Coppola’s inner world and his longings. It was his ordeal, and he managed to create something people do not forget. Coppola tells his own story, which can be interpreted in many ways, but it is clear that his view on the war was negative. Coppola wanted to make people see that the war distorted reality. However, the film is also a depiction of any individual’s ordeal, which can take different forms. It is possible to see Francis Ford Coppola in the protagonists, and it is possible to see the way the director see the world where war reigns. People can see a surrealistic world where moral values seem oppressed by intoxication with war.

Works Cited

Apocalypse Now. Ex. Prod. Francis Ford Coppola. San Francisco, CA: Zoetrope Studios. 1979. DVD.

Biskind, Peter. Easy Riders Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And Rock ’n’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1999. Print.

Giannetti, Louis D. Understanding Movies. Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2013. Print.

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. Ex. Prod. Les Mayfield. San Francisco, CA: American Zoetrope. 1991. DVD.

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IvyPanda. (2020, May 13). Francis Ford Coppola’s 'Apocalypse Now' Film Analysis. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/francis-ford-coppolas-apocalypse-now-film-analysis/

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"Francis Ford Coppola’s 'Apocalypse Now' Film Analysis." IvyPanda, 13 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/francis-ford-coppolas-apocalypse-now-film-analysis/.

1. IvyPanda. "Francis Ford Coppola’s 'Apocalypse Now' Film Analysis." May 13, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/francis-ford-coppolas-apocalypse-now-film-analysis/.


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IvyPanda. "Francis Ford Coppola’s 'Apocalypse Now' Film Analysis." May 13, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/francis-ford-coppolas-apocalypse-now-film-analysis/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Francis Ford Coppola’s 'Apocalypse Now' Film Analysis." May 13, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/francis-ford-coppolas-apocalypse-now-film-analysis/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Francis Ford Coppola’s 'Apocalypse Now' Film Analysis'. 13 May.

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