5 Little Known Facts About The Director & Cast of APOCALYPSE NOW

Ready for some Reel History? You would NOT believe what went on behind the scenes of Apocalypse Now…


Before Francis Ford Coppola signed on to direct Apocalypse Now, Star Wars mastermind George Lucas expressed interest in the project. It’s already mentally rigorous to watch a movie about what went on during the Vietnam War. I will not allow myself to picture Yoda trekking down the Nung River. May the [script] be with you, Coppola. For the sake of our sanity.

Casting was no easy feat for Coppola. Quite the contrary…


Young Laurence Fishburne lied about his age to receive a part in the film. He was only 14 years old when they began filming! But having a teenager running around Cambodia was not Coppola’s only obstacle that he overcame.

apocalypse now still 60

Marlon Brando, who was cast as Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, showed up to set with a significant weight gain. Coppola had to compensate for Brando’s extra pounds by dressing the actor in black, filming mostly close-ups of his face and using a body double for wide shots. Yet again, Coppola to the rescue!

OH, but there’s more…

apocalypse now still 11

Unknown to Coppola, Martin Sheen could not swim and was always scared when they filmed in the boat on the Nung River. He revealed his fear to Coppola in a much later conversation. Sheen put his brave face on and truly kicked butt as Captain Benjamin L. Willard. We could all learn a thing or two about taking a weakness and turning it into a strength!

apocalypse now still 55

Clearly, Coppola had some obstacles that came his way before he could complete Apocalypse Now. I truly believe that these challenges only made the film more powerful and surpass its potential to become a Hollywood classic.

The Film won the coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film festival and was also nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards! It’s safe to say that Coppola is quite good at what he does and Apocalypse Now is a testament to his brilliance.

Watch Apocalypse Now and Apocalypse Now Redux on EPIX.