While metaphorical battles often occur during the act of creation, the making of Apocalypse Now was about as close to a real war as any movie should ever get. Inspired by the exploits of some real-life soldiers, the film examines the horrors and mental damage brought on by the Vietnam War, and was released to critical acclaim in 1979. At the time, few were likely aware that the violence and insanity on the screen eerily mirrored the stories from behind the scenes of Apocalypse Now.
When filming began in the Philippines in 1976, Francis Ford Coppola was hot off the success of The Godfather Part II. Apocalypse Now was his passion project, and he fully intended to maintain complete creative control. However, myriad production problems caused the cast and crew to feel like they really were camping behind enemy lines. As the six-week shoot turned into 68, the budget exploded, and not even Marlon Brando was above the madness. The set of Apocalypse Now felt so much like surviving a literal war that an entire documentary was made about the experience. From typhoons, to dysentery, to a heap of stolen corpses, the horrors of the Apocalypse Now shoot are realer than anything Hollywood could dream up.
Set Designers Planned To Use Real, Stolen Corpses As Props
Martin Sheen Almost Died From A Heart Attack Early In The ShootPhoto: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
The Movie Didn't Have A Real Script, So Progress Was Slow
The Scene Where Martin Sheen Freaks Out In A Hotel Is Real
Marlon Brando Showed Up Without Having Read The Script
The Crew Was Infamous For Their Drug-Fueled Roof-Diving Parties