The human race is believed to be at the pinacle of developement. We have reahed the top of the mountain of success and evolution; we have surely surpassed the wild animal. We have evolved past the primal use of insticts to the utilization of reason and intelect. There are times in the course of a human’s life however, in war for instance, where all reason and intelect is compromised and men revert back to instinct, back to animal. War presents a man with more hardship, physical and emotional stress, than any human being should ever have to endure. It is in times of stress, fear, and horror that men will adopt the insticts that have not been forgotten only stored in the receses of the brain. I suggest the 4 “F’s'; of human instict: Food, Fornication, Fight, Fun. It is these four simple actions that show up throughout the majority of Copolas Apocolypse Now, and these instincts that dominate the actions of the soldiers.
Have you ever laughed in the face of danger, snickered at somones missfortune, or go to a party when you’re feeling down? This is a psycological block to bar you against emotional discomort, we do it all the time. It may not be totaly healthy but it certainly won’t make us go crazy. In war time on the other hand, when the four F’s are in full swing is another story.
There are plenty of examples in Apocalypse Now. Capt. KillGore is a fine example, feeding his soldiers steaks and beer the night before a killing rampage, then actually surfing during the raid. This is crazy you might say, but the men have fun, and that keeps them from breaking down. Part of being able to survive a war is loss of emotion. Once you can act on instict you can kill without looking back, without remorse. Killgore does express some compasion though. There is a scene where some of his soldiers would not give a woulded vietnamese soldier water from their canteens. Killgore gives the man water. Of course when he hears that the waves at a the next raid sight are a beutiful with six foot peaks he completely forgets about the man dying at his feet.
Killgore realy plays into the Food and Fun insticts. Killgore’s men can be seen playing football in the background during the first raid too. And when he meets Lance Johnson, the surfer from the patrol boat, he is just tickled pink.