In both Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness certain elements of darkness attempt to show how deep one must look inside themselves to discover the truth. Conrad portrays the idea of the darkness of the human heart through things such as the interior of the jungle and it's immensity, the Inner Station, and Kurtz's own twisted deeds. Coppola's heart of darkness is represented by the madness of the Vietnam War and how even to look for a purpose in it all; is itself quite mad.
It was no accident that a documentary was made on Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 film, "Apocalypse Now" entitled "Hearts of Darkness- A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" since the production of the film was something of a horrific journey for those involved. Throughout the production, the cast and crew were plagued by some serious problems. A typhoon that nearly destroyed the set, budget problems, suicide threats from Coppola, and Martin Sheen having a heart attack were just a few things that were faced during the filming. The descent into madness that went along with making "Apocalypse Now" mirrored the film's own themes and also reflected the themes of "Heart of Darkness", the Conrad novella that the film is based on. The theme of a journey into human darkness is something shared by both the film and the book but each tells the story in a different and unique way.
The basic plots of "Apocalypse Now" and "Heart of Darkness" are very similar. Both films have a main character that makes a journey down a long and winding river to find a man name Kurtz. In the film the protagonist is a Special Forces captain named Willard, in the book he is called Marlow. The film seems to have a more dir...
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... Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse [Film]. Showtime/ Paramount.
Chatman, Seymour. "Two and a Half Versions of Heart of Darkness." Conrad on Film. Ed. Gene M. Moore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. Editor Robert Kimbrough. New York: Norton, 1988.
Coppola, Francis Ford (Director, Co-author). 1979. Apocalypse Now [Film]. American Zoetrope/ United Artists.
Ruthven, K. K. 'Elements of Darkness: Conrad and Lawrence,' Critical Quarterly, x, nos 1& 2 (Spring and Summer 1968), pp. 41-6. Ed. C. B. Cox.
Virtanen, Panu S. (1997). Apocalypse Now Tribute Page. Retrieved July 2nd, 1997 from the World Wide Web:
Wilmington, Mike. "Worth the Wait: Apocalypse Now." Heart of Darkness, Norton Critical Edition. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1988.
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