#131: Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now (1979) - Dir. Francis Ford Coppola

Part of the Top 150 Films series

Apocalypse Now, despite its inherent hyperbole, may have the most apt film title ever. Even when you know about the horrors of its production, its sheer scale of vision and daring and budget are all right there on the screen. Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography is, like the rest of the film, the stuff of legend, but my favourite element is Walter Murch’s miraculous sound design. War cinema usually requires the pinnacle of sound design in order to be coherent, but Murch et al also do wonders with Kurtz’s compound and the voyage up the Nùng river. It’s those scenes that have remained lodged in my brain for over a year since watching it, and I normally hear the rustling and trampling and speedboating before I see Laurence Fishburne and Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando, as epic as they are. Bonus: Harrison Ford’s most awake performance since the original Star Wars?