Parents' Guide to

Apocalypse Now

By Kelly Kessler, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Disturbing tale of war horrors isn't for kids.

Movie R 1979 153 minutes
Apocalypse Now Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 15 parent reviews

age 14+

Perhaps the greatest film ever made! (Watch the Theatrical Cut First However)

I first saw Apocalypse Now when I was about 16 and ever since it has been a personal favorite of mine. The film is a modern retelling of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Konrad, set in Vietnam during the war. The film follows Captain Willard played by Martin Sheen as he heads upriver from Vietnam into Cambodia on a mission to kill a fellow US soldier named Kurtz played by Marlon Brando. Apparently, Kurtz has gone insane and set himself up as the "God" of a local tribe. The film explores themes of human nature, nihilism, religion and morality in great detail and features some of the best cinematography in film history. I suggest that you watch the 1979 Theatrical Cut of the film before the 2001 Redux version as the pacing is much better.
age 15+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (15 ):
Kids say (31 ):

One of the crown jewels of Zoetrope Studios, this intense, potent film is infamous for its director's over-budget and over-schedule process. The six-week shoot ultimately took 16 months. The project was plagued by problems. Coppola shot nearly 200 hours of film and took almost three years to edit the project. Despite multiple glitches in the process, the final product is a gripping and incredibly disturbing image of the murkiness of war and the depths of human depravity. Despite it being one of the greatest films of all time, parents might want to consider the film's psychological suspense and extreme violence before letting their teens watch it.

Apocalypse features outstanding performances by Sheen, Fishburne and Forrest. Robert Duvall gives a disturbing performance as Lieutenant Kilgore, a man who finds surfing and combat compatible activities and the character credited with one of the films most famous lines, "I love the smell of napalm in the morning." The film went on to garner two Academy Awards, six additional nominations, and won the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival.

Movie Details

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