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on 12 June 2011
Normally I start with a review of the movie itself, but Apocalypse Now has been reviewed a million times and I imagine the majority of people reading this already know if they like it or not. For me, it is my favourite war movie that just got better with the Redux version, and this is the icing on the cake.

Anyway, onto what most people will be interested in, the Bluray stuff.

The original and the Redux versions are both included on disc 1, and both look very good, not perfect, but probably as good as they can get. Colours are vibrant and blacks are solid - which is exactly what you want when you think of the infamous/famous Brando scene. At times the image is a bit soft, but that is a trait many films made in the 70's share and in no way does it reflect a lazy or poor transfer. There is some minor print damage here and there which you'll see as black and white flecks. It's a minor trifle to be honest though, the detail in the film is very good, with just the right amount of grain. The Master Audio track also deserves a mention as it is superb, a standout bluray soundtrack if ever I heard it.

Spread over the other 2 discs we have everything we could ask for really. The Heart of darkness documentary, new video interviews with Coppola and Sheen, original screen tests, additional deleted scenes, 200 storyboard drawings, a look at Apocalypse Nows then revolutionary 5.1 soundtrack, and loads more.

The boxset includes 5 exclusive artcards, a collectible booklet and a copy of the original 1979 theatrical program, very cool. The discs have their own fold out cardboard case, and it's all held together in a hard cardboard box (like the Alien anthology), so it feels feels well made, and looks great.

Without a doubt, this is the best version of Apocalypse Now available. Both versions of the film, the best extras with the best picture and sound quality. If you have any interest in this film then make your purhcase as soon as you can.
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on 20 June 2013
This film is an experience. Spectacular in parts, thought provoking in others, but always entertaining. The single disc Blu-ray features the 1979 theatrical version (which I watched first) plus the redux. On balance I personally preferred the redux version which apparently is contrary to the majority view. The French plantation cut was relevant to the context of the Vietnam war and provides a welcome break from all the violence preceding it. Later, the scene where Kurtz reads from 'Time' magazine and then effectively releases Willard from his incarceration made more sense than the theatrical version which left us wondering how he was suddenly free. The Blu-ray presentation is first class. Although the video tends to be largely shot in subdued light it is still very clear. The sound track is stunning at times. The only time I felt it necessary to switch on the subtitles, to better follow the conversation, was during the broken English dialogue at the French plantation. Generally recommended.
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on 29 April 2013
This was the release that made me get a blu-ray player. For the first time, Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece can be seen at home in its intended 2.35:1 aspect ratio - all previous home video releases had been cropped to 2.00:1 at the insistence of cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, who had an axe to grind in promoting his now-defunct Univisium film format. The wider framing is a revelation - finally the film can be seen in its full glory. The studio has done a great HD remastering job - argue all you like about the colour balance (there have been bitter arguments on some AV forums about a supposed yellow tint and the colour of the peas in the plantation sequence... get a life people) but this is the best that AN has ever looked outside a cinema. The DTS-MA track does the soundtrack justice - from the opening scene when synthesized helicopters napalm your living room, you know you're in for a treat. The film is given a suitably lavish treatment in this 3-disc boxset, which includes the famed "Hearts of Darkness" documentary, the original 1979 and extended Redux versions of the movie, and a booklet with press notes and photos. This should be in every film buff's collection, and at under £20 it's a steal. Buy it.
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on 20 June 2011
I would like to concentrate on the audio side of the Movie rather than the movie itself, which has to be fair not gone without positive reviews.

Apocalypse Now
This was the first Blockbuster movie to use separate channels for surround channels and the subwoofer.

This 5.1 format is now the way that virtually all film soundtracks and recorded.
Coppolas' fanatical attention to detail and the huge amount of time put into the editing of the soundtrack ensures it is still one of the best tests for any surround system 30 years after it was released.

Here are some of the details that any quality surround system should reproduce.

The Ghost Helicopter Flyover
At the start of the film before the picture appears the soundtrack makes full use of the stereo rear channels. The helicopter should pan smoothly across the back of the room and then across the full width of the front of the room.

A surround system should reproduce this with smooth, even pans all around the room with no hot spots or gaps - and without making you aware of any speakers.

As the intro builds to a crescendo, listen for the buildup of layers from the synthesized helicopter, the Doors soundtrack and the sounds of Saigon and the ceiling fan.

Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries
This classic piece of film shows the "air cavalry" playing music from their helicopters to terrify their intended victims. On most systems the sound of the orchestra is heard as part of the musical score rather than being clearly audible as a screechy, Public Address system being played from the helicopters.

Meet the Tiger
The use of surround sound is incredibly effective on this clip as the sounds of the jungle completely envelop you. It's critical that you're not aware of any of the speakers in your room or the illusion of "being there" will be shattered.

If you want to scare the life out of your friends this is also a great clip to use!

The B52 Raid
Arc light was the name given to the use of "strategic" B52 bombing in Vietnam. the sound pans between the rear channels - its coming from above rather than jumbled in with the front soundstage.

This film on Bluray with its DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack should be in every movie buffs collection, and for me to be lucky enough to play this film on our super Steinway Model M cinema system, is just the icing on the cake.
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on 16 May 2007
Like 2001: A Space Odyssey, it's more of an experience than a proper film. It's slow and episodic. Parts are excellent, parts are dull. When it works, it really works well. Many memorable scenes pile up against each other during the first 100 minutes. The last 40 minutes are ponderous and boring.

It's my favourite Vietnam war film as I love it's drugged up, trippy, horrific tone. And the fetishising of the helicopters makes it even better. Coppola's not afraid to make war look exciting and enjoyable (if you're winning). I doubt there's even a shred of real life accuracy to it, but as an impression of hell, it's unbeatable. You should read the book Jarhead to see how much this film means to American soldiers. They want to live it.

The opening is one my favourite bits of film. It's such a strange opening shot as the camera stares motionless at some trees for about a minute. The parts of two helicopters fly by with their sounded muted. Then a giant, but silent, explosion destroys the trees. The weirdest part is that the camera than moves to the right to take in more of the devastation. It's such a strange camera move. Then we're in Martin Sheen's hotel room as he goes crazy waiting to be put back in the jungle. The Doors song The End compliments the opening perfectly.

The first time I tried to watch it I gave up after the helicopter attack on the village. It didn't live up to its reputation as being one of the greatest scenes in film history.

Second attempt, I gave up at the Doolong Bridge scene as it was incredibly dull.

I got to the end of it on my third attempt. And I'm glad I did, even if it was just to be able to say I was there, I've seen it. Since then I've seen it from start to finish about four times in total. I think it gets easier to sit through the more you see it. Scenes that didn't do it for me first time round started to work for me the second time around. I find it hard to imagine I didn't like the Doolong Bridge scene first time I saw it.

I've not seen the Redux version. In my opinion they went the wrong way with it. Instead of adding 45 minutes to it, they should have removed about 30 minutes. No matter how you look at it, the ending is terrible. In the Redux version they made it longer?!

Side note: I have seen the 90 minute Heart of Darkness making of documentary and I have read Notes (Coppola's wife's diary of the making of it). Notes is boring and pales into insignificance when compared to the documentary. Heart of Darkness has lots of on set footage and Coppola gives some interesting interviews. It's a good documentary but I still think Peter Biskind's book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls covers the making of the film better, even if it isn't anywhere near as detailed.

NOTE 14/8/12: ***SPOILERS***

I recently watched Apocalypse Now again (not the Redux version). I think I have a pretty decent solution to the famously fumbled climax.

The compound sequence up to Brando delivering that great line about Willard being an, "errand boy sent by grocery clerks", is all okay. It's from there that it loses all momentum and becomes boring. What they should have done is cut from that line to Willard back on the boat getting ready to kill Kurtz. All they needed to do is put in a Michael Herr scripted voice over that basically says, "He either didn't fear me, or didn't care that I intended to kill him. So he let me go. I was free to roam his man made hell or leave. And I wasn't leaving without finishing my mission". Also they could use it to clarify any resulting poltholes. Then the film just goes straight into Willard creeping into the compound and killing Kurtz.

This way the film loses about ten or so minutes of needless waffle. I think it would result in a much better, more watchable ending that doesn't test your patience half as much.
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on 20 December 2001
This is an utterly brilliant, utterly unforgettable film, by some distance my preferred movie of all time and likely to remain so. No other film ive seen has the capacity to probe so deep into the human conscious with its stark imagery, climactic storyline and maddening atmosphere. Duvalls performance is possibly the best ive seen in a supporting role from any actor, perfectly grasping the arrogance of the perceived american presence in Vietnam, whilst also delivering several laugh out loud classic lines flawlessly.The military attack on the Vietnamese village is as exhilarating an experince as you will find in any motion picture, but from here on the film submerges itself in darkness as we travel up river, all the time the myth of colonel kurtz looming over the piece with a heightened sense of impending doom and anticipation.The whole film builds to the meeting of Kurtz, and as we finally approach the truly haunting closing setting we are as intrigued to meet him as Sheen. Whilst Brando is undoubtedly ott, it is a credit to his sheer aura that he is able to live up to this mythical character without us being dissappointed. Cinematically this film is a dream, every shot would make a fine still photo, and the ending will have you gripped to your seat. The images in this film will haunt your mind for days on end i assure you. It is ,of course, the best war movie ever made, but it is far more than that, it is a study in human nature and enthralling psychological viewing. If you dont like this film, you have to ask yourself, do you really like movies at all?
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A marine in Vietnam is given orders to hunt down a rogue officer and to kill him in this war film from director Francis Ford Coppolla. An absolute must see for any serious film fan, this is quite simply a masterpiece that looks stunning on bluray. 2 different versions of the film, the original 1979 theatrical version and the longer extended 2000 redux edition version. Admittedly the original version for me anyway is better the extended redux version does tend to drag a bit in places and easy to see why the scenes were cut from the original film but it's still one of the all time great films with excellent performances from Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Marlon Brando, Laurence Fishbourne, Dennis Hopper and a blink and you'll miss him appearance from Harrison Ford. Stunning battle scenes and a terrific drama/thriller that shows that war is hell. The set includes making of documentary Hearts Of Darkness and several other extras making this quite simply one of the best bluray sets out there an essential buy.
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on 9 May 2009
I wouldn't go so far as to say this is the best film ever made, nor is it the best war film ever made; however it is bloody brilliant! Francis Ford Coppola's big screen adaptation of Joseph Conrad's slow-burning but seminal turn of the century novella, Heart of Darkness, is an anarchic treat. From Martin Sheen's battle-weary but quietly determined Captain Willard to Marlon Brando's bloated and utterly insane Colonel Kurtz; from Robert Duvall's bloodthirsty and appropriately named Lieutenant-Colonel Kilgore to the hazardous journey upriver to find Kurtz, this is gripping, brilliant film-making from Coppola. The action is moved from The Congo to Vietnam, and is set during the war; everything about this movie works, and it remains a timelessly evocative modern classic.

This 'Redux' version adds a few previously edited minor scenes, and extends the cinema release by over fifty minutes. These scenes are a little superfluous, but for the price it's worth getting this version.
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on 17 August 2011
There has been so much written about this movie I will try to keep it short. As someone who didn't like the longer 'redux' that came out ten years ago it is brilliant to now be able to watch the original movie sharpened up so much on blu-ray. This set also gives you the choice to watch the redux version should you wish to. Coppola's Commentary is as good as any for insights into his style of film making, his ideas and how he works with actors. Both versions carry a commentary track - it seems that Francis sat down and gave one full commentary and two have been made from that, with different time cues to run over either version of the movie. Nice.

Disc two has a wealth of new material including an hour long chat between Francis and Martin Sheen also Francis talking with John Milius, the former very good the latter brilliant. Enjoy the moment where Milius points out the Playboy Bunny scene is like that of the Greek (mythology) Sirens, his relief when he finally saw the film that Coppoala had not included the latter scene where the soldiers meet back up with them down river and his grin when he reminds Francis about putting it back into Redux. This movie came out around the time 5.1 audio was being developed and there are two features that really highlight that.

Disc 3 is Eleanor Coppola's brilliant documentary Hearts Of Darkness, certainly one of the best 'making of' documentaries I've ever seen. Unlike the modern day infomercials we get these days, this is a movie that shows the production problems, budget issues and filmmaker approaching breakdown. The commentary from Eleanor and Francis is just as good as the feature.

Apocalypse Now is over thirty years old but looking at this version you wouldn't know it. If you are thinking about picking up a copy of Apocalypse Now then this is the one to get. If you own the Redux DVD (as I do) this is still the one to get.
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on 25 October 2008
I had the original release of Apocalypse Now Redux and it is one of my favourite modern war films. When they release such an important film without extras I am disappointed, but after a six year wait it is finally here and in a steelbook as well. There are a wealth of extras including a commentary by Francis Ford Coppola, deleted scenes and featurettes about the making of the Redux version along with other features about the sound and video and Marlon Brando's full reading of T.S. Eliots poem "The Hollow Men" which featured briefly in the film

I would just like to let you know that the film is split onto two discs unlike previous releases. I don't know how many people are bothered by this. The only reason I mention this is that the previous release of Redux was on one disc, and like the King Kong Deluxe Extended Edition dvd, they split the film on two discs with extras on each to bulk them out. I thought it may have been better to put the film on one disc with the extras on the other. When they re-released the Godfather boxset, part 2 was moved on to one disc rather than two which it used to be on in the previous release

Also the Hearts of Darkness documentary is not included and is not easy to find on it's own, so it would have been a nice feature, perhaps on a third disc, but as I said there are enough other extras so you will have to track it down separately

With this version, you can have an on screen marker to show when the extra footage from the Redux version is on. Thankfully this is optional. If you don't want to watch the extended cut of the film, you can just watch the original instead. I have only received it today so haven't been able to compare if the picture quality is any better, but the sound is still 5.1 so it looks like no change on that front. I only paid £5.99 so a bit of a bargain, even just for the extras alone

I love the smell of napalm in the morning
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