Is Apocalypse Now Based on a True Story?

Much of Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam War epic "Apocalypse Now" seems too bizarre and disturbing to be true. But is it based on a true story?

Francis Ford Coppola's seminal Vietnam War epic "Apocalypse Now" was set in the midst of a real conflict, but its narrative seemed too bizarre and outrageous to be Based on true stories. After a notoriously troubled production, Apocalypse Now is one of the most ambitious works in film history. Despite mixed initial reviews, Apocalypse Now has since been widely acclaimed as one of the greatest films of all time. To this day, it is still considered a milestone in the war genre. At times, Apocalypse Now feels like a horror movie, which is why it portrays the painful psychological effects of war so poignantly.

Set at the height of the Vietnam War, Apocalypse Now stars Martin Sheen as Captain Willard, who is sent on a black ops mission to assassinate Colonel Kurtz (played by the enigmatic Marlon Brando), Library Colonel Wurtz goes rogue in the jungle. John Milius' screenplay—supported by voice-over narration written by war correspondent Michael Hull—takes an episodic approach to storytelling. On the way to the Kurtz compound, Willard met all kinds of people and witnessed all kinds of horrible events. But the movie keeps the audience in the dark Whether any of these characters or events have any basis in reality.

Apocalypse Now Isn't Based On A True Story

Apocalypse Now is not based on a true story like Dunkirk and Hacksaw Ridge; its characters and storyline are inventions of the filmmakers. However, there are elements of the film that are drawn from reality. Milius told CNN he included surfing in the script because he noticed "how many California surfers went to Vietnam and how many didn't come back." Intelligence agent Anthony Poshepony, who raised a secret army in Laos (via WSJ). However, the story that the U.S. military sent assassins to execute one of its own colonels is pure fiction.

Although Apocalypse Now is not directly based on a true story, Coppola described it as "an anti-lie film" (via The Guardian). "The fact that a culture can lie about what's really going on in war - that people are being brutalized, tortured, maimed and killed - and present it as moral in a way strikes me as Fear." Like the scene where US helicopters fly over Vietnamese villages, blasting Wagner from the speakers The shooting of innocent civilians for fun may not have literally happened, but it symbolizes the disturbing truth that the US government was hiding from the public during the Vietnam War.

Apocalypse Now Is A Reimagining Of Heart Of Darkness

The plot of Apocalypse Now was inspired by Joseph Conrad's acclaimed novella Heart of Darkness. In the book, a sailor named Marlowe is sent up a river in the Congo to meet a mysterious man named Kurtz who is said to have "become a native." John Milius' screenplay takes the basic setting and structure of Conrad's novella and reworks it into the Vietnam War setting. He transforms Kurtz from an ivory merchant to a disgraced colonel, but explores the same themes of power and morality. The book also inspired the movie Star Quest and the video game Far Cry 2, which set their stories in space. ^More: Apocalypse Now: 10 Things That Still Live Today

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