The Vietnam War – which was not a declared war at all, according to Congress – cost over 58,000 American lives. The war ran from 1955 until 1975, as South Vietnam and North Vietnam vied to dominate the country as a whole. The first U.S. involvement came in 1956, with a handful of military advisors, and America entered the war in earnest in 1964.
Over 2.7 million Americans eventually served in the war, and dozens of films have been made about America’s role in the war. The best of these is “Apocalypse Now,” made in 1979 while the wounds of the war were still raw for some people in the U.S. – particularly those who had served there.
Director Francis Ford Coppola’s hallucinatory adaptation of a Joseph Conrad novella reimagines the source material within a Vietnam War setting. Follow Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen) and a small boat crew as they snake through the Nung River on the trail of a rogue Colonel (Marlon Brando). (See this list of all Francis Ford Coppola movies ranked worst to best.)
Multiple versions exist, including a bootleg workprint cut that clocks in at 289 minutes. The movie’s Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score is 98%.
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