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Film Essay - Cultural Turmoil in Francis Ford Coppola’s Movie, Apocalypse Now

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Cultural Turmoil in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now

The era of the 1960’s was one of change, just like so many of the enduring songs say. With words like revolution and freedom being used to promote movements that changed our society forever. The most important being the Civil Rights movement, and arguably the most influential: the sexual revolution. While great new ideas and beliefs were starting to take root, morals and social constructs that had been established were endangered of being lost in the mix. The moral code that had endured for so long was suddenly overlooked, or overpowered by a generation that was not interesting in listening to the older, conventional generations. The pressure to find new ways of thinking made it hard to know what was right and what was wrong, to know which beliefs to hold on to and which ones to replace. Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” reflects the cultural turmoil that developed in the 1960’s. Coppola uses the knowledge of a person who lived in that time to magnify musical, cultural icon, Coppola uses Willard to show the content of the film surpasses the content of the meaning. Captain Kilgore is the tyrannical irresponsible leader, and Lance is the youth who is a victim of his time.

Coppola’s portrayal of the Vietnam War could be considered amplified by his artistic imagination. What sets the Vietnam War apart from previous war--the World Wars-- is that this was the first war that was televised. For the first time in history true to life visuals were broadcast into the homes of American civilians as the war was happening. The perspective of war changed forever. When Coppola set out to recreate the events in Vietnam in 1979, he did it with this knowledge th...

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...lings, funneled through the immature emotional matrix of soldiers. This is more than just a movie, it's an exploration of the cultural ramifications that came during the 1960’s, in part because of the Vietnam War.

Works Cited

Brantlinger, Patrick. “Heart of Darkness: Anti-Imperialism, Racism, or Impressionism?”: Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism. Ed. Ross C. Murfin. Boston: Bedford, 1996.

Conrad, Joseph. “Heart of Darkness” Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism. Ed. Ross C. Murfin. Boston: Bedford, 1996.

Coppola, Francis Ford. “Apocalypse Now”. Omni Zoetrope Studios, 1979.

Grieff, Louis K. “Soldier, Sailor, Surfer, Chef”: Conrad’s Ethics and the Margins of Apocalypse Now. Lit-Film-Quarterly. 20.3(1992): 188-98.

Miller, J. Hillis. “Heart of Darkness Revisited.”: Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism. Ed. Ross C. Murfin. Boston: Bedford, 1996.
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