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Apocalypse Now: The Vietnam War

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In the movie, Apocalypse Now, based on the Vietnam War, the director portrays the reality of war, a very traumatic place, and leads viewers through the painful reality that left many warriors with everlasting nightmares and disturbing memories. As is most great war-related films, the overarching message is pointed towards viewer understanding of the Vietnam War. The director did this by exemplifying the positives and negatives of the war, so that all viewers can learn from these historical events and prevent similar wars in the future. The director uses many literary elements in Apocalypse Now such as setting, characterization, and theme to further the understanding of the message.

Apocalypse Now was released on August 15, 1979, portraying
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Willard and Colonel Walter E. Kurtz are considered main characters. Captain Willard’s mission is to kill Colonel Kurtz, who is running rampant along towns in Cambodia. Captain Willard is best described in military terms as a “salty war-hero”, meaning that he has tremendous experience in war. Captain Willard is initially presented going through a traumatic panic attack where flashbacks from his previous deployments come to haunt him. Personally, Captain Willard’s best quote was spoken during this time in Saigon, “When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle” (Coppola). This quote reigns for many War Veterans to this day. War is horrific, but an individual who has been there likely misses something about it. Throughout most of the film, Captain Willard portrays a quiet, in the shadows demeanor; however, observant and lethal. He eventually completes his mission when he killed Colonel Kurtz near the end of the film. Colonel Kurtz is comparable to a modern-day cowboy, who lives by his own rules. Although he is seen as savage in his duties, most of his soldiers respect him for being genuine. Colonel Kurtz appeared to be an exceptional leader for his men with a tremendous ability to boost his soldier’s morale and motivation. Despite these positive qualities, Colonel Kurtz has the wrong priorities, which led him to be targeted for death. Although the two main characters surround the storyline, each lower-ranked soldier had their own unique characteristics. These soldiers help the audience feel as if they’re experiencing the war themselves alongside this large group of
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