Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is the story of Captain Willard's journey up the Nung River in Cambodia to kill a general, Kurtz, who has lost control of himself. It is set in the Vietnam War and is a very gritty and affecting film. Imagine my surprise when I learned that it was sort of based on Joseph Conrad's famous novella, Heart of Darkness. Conrad's book, the tale of the sailor Marlowe's African adventure, is a study on the evils of colonialism. The two stories at first glance do not seem very similar, but after examining both, it is quite shocking the degree of similarity between the two. Many people have been able to draw comparisons to Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness and Francis Ford Coppola's film Apocalypse Now, but the two are by no means identical; the difference is in the details. As Linda Costanzo Cahir states in her article, "Narratological Parallels in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now," "To tell a story differently is to tell a different story," and I agree. Both deal with similar overall themes and messages, parallel characters, and some similar dialogue; yet each use different mediums and specifics to create their effects on the reader/viewer. In examination of the scene in which Marlowe/Willard and co. are attacked by the natives on their way up their respective rivers, the different ways each craft is manipulated to create similar effects is exposed.
Conrad only has the facets of the English language to transport us to the same height of apprehension that Apocalypse Now does visually. In the scene of the first attack of the natives, there are many similarities in book and movie. In regards to the overall plot, the same elements are key in both works. The steamboat had previously emerged from a thick fog in which disturbing cries had been heard through, and are suspecting an attack, which inevitably happens. In the attack, the helmsman is killed. Conrad uses foreshadowing...
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