Apocalypse Now script
Synopsis: In Vietnam in 1970, Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) takes a perilous and increasingly hallucinatory journey upriver to find and terminate Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a once-promising officer who has reportedly gone completely mad. In the company of a Navy patrol boat filled with street-smart kids, a surfing-obsessed Air Cavalry officer (Robert Duvall), and a crazed freelance photographer (Dennis Hopper), Willard travels further and further into the heart of darkness.

1 PRIMEVAL SWAMP - EARLY DAWN

It is very early in the dawn - blue light filters through

the jungle and across a foul swamp. A mist clings to the

trees. This could be the jungle of a million years ago.

Our VIEW MOVES CLOSER, through the mist, TILTING DOWN to

the tepid water. A small bubble rises to the surface;

then another. Suddenly, but quietly, a form begins to

emerge; a helmet. Water and mud pour off revealing a set

of beady eyes just above the mud. Printed on a helmet,

in a psychedelic hand, are the words: "Gook Killer."

The head emerges revealing that the tough-looking soldier

beneath has exceptionally long hair and beard; he has no

shirt on, only bandoliers of ammunition - his body is

painted in an odd camouflage pattern. He looks to the

right; he looks to the left; he looks INTO CAMERA, and

slowly sinks back into the swamp, disapperaring completely.

Our VIEW HOLDS, We begin to HEAR natural, though

unrecognizable JUNGLE SOUNDS, far off in the distance.

We PAN TO REVEAL a clump of logs half submerged in the

swamp; and part of what seems to be a Falstaff beer can

in the mud. A hand reaches out, and the beer can disappears.

As we TILT UP, we NOTICE that the log is hollow

and houses the rear of a M-60 machine gun, hand painted

in a paisley design.

Now the VIEW MOVES AWAY, ACROSS the ancient growth, PAST

the glimmer of what seems to be another soldier hiding in

ambush, wearing an exotic hat made from birds and bushes.

ACROSS to a dark trail where the legs of those in black

pajamas move silently across our ever TIGHTENING VIEW.

Their feet, boots and sandals leave no impression; make

no sound. A slight flicker of light reveals a pair of

eyes in the foliage across the path, waiting and watching.

The VIEW PUSHES ALONG WITH the Vietnamese, MOVING FASTER

AND FASTER WITH them, until suddenly, directly in front

about ten feet away, an enormous AMERICAN clad in rags

and bushes and holding a 12 gauge automatic shotgun

casually at his side, steps in front of them. He smiles

laconically, and BLASTS OUT FIVE SHOTS that rip THROUGH

US. By the second shot, the whole jungle blazes out

with AUTOMATIC FIRE.

Out VIEW TURNS as the men around us are thrown and torn,

screaming and scattering into the jungle. More AMERICANS

appear; unexplainably, out of the growth. It is now that

we fully SEE the bizarre manner in which they are dressed.

Some wear helmets, others wear strange hats made from

feathers and parts of animals. Some of them have long

savage-looking hair; other crew-cut or completely shaved;

they wear bandoliers, flak jackets, shorts and little else.

They wear Montagnard sandals or no shoes at all, and their

bodies and faces are painted in bizarre camouflage patterns.

They appear one with the jungle and mist, FIRING INTO US

as they move.

The soldier we saw earlier emerges from the swamp, dripping

mud, his MACHINE GUN BLASTING FIRE.

We begin to move quickly with one Vietnamese, breathlessly

running for his life; we MOVE INTO the jungle with him,

only to be impaled on a large spear of a smiling AMERICAN

painted and wearing feathers like an Indian. OUR VIEW

FALLS WITH him to the ground, STARING UPWARDS, as FLAME

and EXPLODING MUD scatter above us. Men scream and die

around us. The screams amid the GUNFIRE and EXPLOSIONS

are piercing and terrible, as though the jungle itself is

frightened.

An AMERICAN wearing a jungle hat with a large Peace Sign

on it, wearing war paint, bends TOWARD US, reaching down

TOWARD US with a large knife, preparing to scalp the

dead.

OUR VIEW MOVES AWAY, along with the running sandals of a

Vietnamese soldier, MOVING FASTER AND FASTER, only to be

stopped by still another of the savage-looking AMERICANS

with primitive ornamentation, wearing only a loin-cloth

and green beret. He opens his flame-thrower directly ON US

and the NVA soldier and we are incinerated in flame,

bright psychedelic orange-red flame. Outrageous, loud,

electric ROCK MUSIC OVERWHELMS the SOUNDTRACK :

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Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He was part of the New Hollywood wave of filmmaking. more…

All Francis Ford Coppola scripts | Francis Ford Coppola Books

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"Apocalypse Now" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 13 Dec. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/apocalypse_now_80>.

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