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Apocalypse Now Redux


Year: 2001 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

In the midst of the Vietnam War, Captain Benjamin Willard (Martin Sheen) is sent on a special mission, namely to "terminate with extreme prejudice" Colonel Walter Kurtz, a renegade US soldier hiding somewhere in the jungle. That's it. No subplots, no token love interest, just one of the greatest films ever made.

To describe the film any more would be an injustice for those who haven't seen it (and if you haven't seen it, you absolutely must), and if you have seen it, you'll know what it feels like: each little thing that blows you away a little bit more than the last, when you didn't think that was possible. This version has an extra 49 minutes of footage. But far from being one of those "Director's Cuts" that just adds an extra scene or two to make more profit from a "Special Edition DVD", this is an entirely re-edited version - apparently, one of many. Francis Ford Coppola's perfectionism is nearly as legendary as Stanley Kubrick's: since the film's original release, he has been tinkering with the editing, so that Redux is not really the second version, but more like the eleventh!

Somebody once said, "Apocalypse Now wasn't about Vietnam; it was Vietnam." Crazy anecdotes surround the film. The shooting was meant to last six weeks, but ran over: to sixteen months. When Martin Sheen had a heart attack, Coppola is reputed to have screamed in best megalomaniac temper, "He's not having a heart attack until I say he's having a heart attack!" There are plenty of in-jokes as well. Harrison Ford's character is G. Lucas - George Lucas being the original intended director; and Coppola himself has a cameo as a documentary filmmaker, who appears on the beach as the helicopters land at "Charlie's Point."

The greatest tribute to Apocalypse Now Redux is that it can't be encapsulated in a couple of neat sentences. But if anyone is allowed to try, it should be Coppola himself... "My aim with Apocalypse Now Redux was to achieve a richer, fuller and more textured film experience that, as with the original, lets audiences feel what Vietnam was like: the immediacy, the insanity, the exhilaration, the horror, the sensuousness and the moral dilemma of America's most surreal and nightmarish war."

Fletcher Reede

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Screenings of this film:

2001/2002 Summer Term (35mm)