Apocalypse Now (1979)

benbess

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It was an overwhelming experience in 1979 at the multiplex I saw it in at the age of 14. I left the theater stunned (as did the rest of the audience, I think) after seeing Apocalypse Now with the exploding credits. I'll add some other movies that stunned me in 1979, including Alien, The China Syndrome, And Justice For All, The Champ, The Rose, Norma Rae, Going in Style, and even The Back Stallion. I know I'll never have a movie going year like that again....
 
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Jeff Adkins

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From what I've been able to determine over the years, and of course this is probably "grain of salt" worthy, is that the very first prints went out with just a fade to black, no credits. Then, the next set of prints went out with credits over the destruction of the compound footage, which was then changed when Coppola heard that people were interpreting it to mean something he hadn't intended, and replaced with the standard white credits on a black background. But apparently the prints with the compound destruction weren't replaced, so some theaters had one version while others had another. While all that was going on, United Artists (which distributed the film initially) was bought out by MGM, but they apparently had different storage facilities for prints. So, for a period following the original release, theaters showing the film in repertory could order a print and depending on the location it was shipped from, could get one with no credits, one with the destruction footage, or one with standard credits. It sounds like it wasn't standardized until later in the 1980s.
That sounds right. I don't believe new 70mm prints were ever struck after the initial run, so one could still see it sans-credits in repertory screenings that were 70mm. I saw a 70mm print in the late 90s and it was the fade-to-black with just the "Copyright 1979 Omni Zoetrope" at the end. I remember being surprised by that because I had the laserdisc which had the destruction credits.

Here's a snippet from an interview from 2001 with Stephen Burum (who shot the second unit footage):

Pizzello: Let’s talk a bit about the explosion of the Kurtz compound, which was only shown over the end credits of the initial 35mm release prints. That footage never appeared in the 70mm prints, and Mr. Coppola has acknowledged that its inclusion in the 35mm credits caused some confusion about the film’s ending.

Burum: Everybody tried to make a big deal out of that footage, but the only reason Francis included it in the 35mm prints was because Joe Lombardi got really upset when it was removed from the original cut. Francis arranged this work-in-progress screening for the cast and crew at the Bruin Theater in Westwood, and when it was over, Joe grabbed Francis in the lobby and jumped all over him: “Damnit, I had my effects guys all over the jungle to shoot that scene!” So in order to placate Joe, Francis put the footage over the credits, which led to all of this speculation about the film’s ending.

https://ascmag.com/articles/flashback-apocalypse-now
 

benbess

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"....So in order to placate Joe, Francis put the footage over the credits, which led to all of this speculation about the film’s ending."

https://ascmag.com/articles/flashback-apocalypse-now
Good article with great pix. Thanks.

It seems that the exploding credits cut is a version of the film that FFC put out. In any case, since that's how I experienced Apocalypse Now in 1979 it's my preferred version.
 

English Invader

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It was an overwhelming experience in 1979 at the multiplex I saw it in at the age of 14. I left the theater stunned (as did the rest of the audience, I think) after seeing Apocalypse Now with the exploding credits. I'll add some other movies that stunned me in 1979, including Alien, The China Syndrome, And Justice For All, The Champ, The Rose, Norma Rae, Going in Style, and even The Back Stallion. I know I'll never have a movie going year like that again....
I enjoyed The China Syndrome but I felt it was too short and didn't really do justice to the story it set up. I felt there was another hour there for Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas to prove that Jack Lemmon wasn't crazy - instead it was just tacked on at the last minute to squeeze a three hour film into two hours. Spoils what would otherwise be a great film.

I saw the new cut of Apocalypse Now a couple of days ago completely by accident. I happened to be in London for the day with my partner and the Leicester Square Odeon had a big ad up promoting the film. It was the first I'd heard of it and we decided to go for it on the spur of the moment. I don't know the original film well enough to tell the difference between the new cut and the old one but we both had a great time.
 

benbess

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Stunning audio and picture seeing Apocalypse Now in IMAX. Wow. And the film itself is even better than I remembered it. This new version really is the best imho. This Final Cut works for me.

And I now understand and agree with the "not with a bang but a whimper" ending.
 
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benbess

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1979 like 1939 was a really good year....And Kramer vs. Kramer was not a good pick for Best Picture imho. Good enough movie, but I haven't wanted to watch it again since 1979, which says something. Anyway, here are my favorite movies from this year....


1979

Alien
Apocalypse Now
The China Syndrome
….And Justice for All
The Frisco Kid
The Black Stallion
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Norma Rae
Monty Python’s Life of Brian
The Champ
Going in Style
The Rose
Time After Time
Breaking Away
Being There
Kramer vs. Kramer
Moonraker
Wanda Nevada
Rocky II
The Muppet Movie
The Onion Field
The In-Laws
All That Jazz
Escape from Alcatraz
 
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English Invader

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Also 1979 . . .
The Great Train Robbery
I love this film. One of my favourite Sean Connery movies. I also love the Jerry Goldsmith music.

In an attempt to get this thread back on topic, I purchased the BR for AN yesterday (has both the original and Redux) and plan to get the Final Cut when it's released on BR next month. I've seen the film twice now (once on VHS and the second was in the cinema the other day) and I know it's a film I want to explore more deeply.
 

benbess

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I haven't watched all of it, but this video seems to make some good points about the meaning of the movie....

 

Edwin-S

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I stopped watching when he said that Willard and Kurtz were one and the same competing to see who would obtain the Heart of Darkness. I think that is a fundamental error, especially in Willard's case. To me, it was the exact opposite in Willard's case. As far as the "Heart of Darkness", Kurtz was already there. The river trip was Willard's test toward the same state and whether he would succumb to the stupidity and insanity of the war in the same way as Kurtz or manage to retain the small amount of humanity that he had left.

After all, killing Kurtz was supposed to result in him being the successor to Kurtz's "Kingdom" and Willard rejects it.
 
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benbess

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Saw it yet again today in IMAX. Wow again. What amazing cinematography, editing, and sound design. And the performances are all great as well.

Here's how I rank the Vietnam War movies I'm recalling at the moment....

1. Apocalypse Now "A++"

2. Full Metal Jacket "A"

3. Platoon "A-"

4. The Deer Hunter "B+"
 
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bujaki

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Saw this today in IMAX. Also saw the original cut (the one with no fireworks and no credits at the end) at the Ziegfeld in NYC. This film is a masterpiece regardless of which cut you watch.
 
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Worth

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I also caught an IMAX screening last week and it looked and sounded amazing. The previous, digital version of "Redux" looked a little overly scrubbed.

I still think they got it right the first time around, though. I don't think any of the restored scenes add much to the film, and the French plantation scene is just bad. Not only does it wreck the pacing, it's poorly written, poorly acted, poorly scored. Just way too on-the-nose thematically.
 
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