Apocalypse Now vs. Heart of Darkness

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  • Topic: Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola, Heart of Darkness
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  • Published : August 31, 2005
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Heart of Darkness
Apocalypse Now
A Comparison

Francis Ford Coppola is an innovative, successful, and ingenious filmmaker. These qualities are well-represented in the film Apocalypse Now. The basic story of Apocalypse Now is about a Vietnam soldier who is sent on a classified mission to kill Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, a man who has made himself a personal Jesus in his surroundings. Widely known, but hardly accepted, the movie was indeed, based off of a book. That book was called Heart of Darkness.

In the movie, Willard travels down a river from Vietnam to Cambodia to kill a man named Kurtz, an American soldier that makes a depravity of the native surroundings. He makes himself appear like god before the local natives, and makes him like a fatherly figure before his soldiers. In the book, A man named Marlow recounts the time when he made a trip down a river in the African Congo to meet a Belgian Ivory trader by the name of Kurtz.

In the book, Marlow is remembering and telling some friends about his experience over a dinner, as the experience in the book becomes a first person story. In the film, Willard has several narration parts which played as thoughts in his mind as he goes down the river with the rest of his crew.
There are several sequences between the book and the film where they also can be found as similar. The reoccurring themes of darkness in several manners has shown itself both in the literature and the film. There is darkness of the mind, which is simply the point of disturbing, hazed thoughts, like Kurtz's recording and the opening montage. There is also the reference of darkness meaning being put into the unknown, as both boats follow a scary and unfamiliar path deep into the jungle.

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