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03 Sep 2019

Home Video Review: Francis Ford Coppola Has Messed Around Again With 'Apocalypse Now'—and This Version Is the Best One Available

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A scene from Apocalypse Now: Final Cut. A scene from Apocalypse Now: Final Cut.

Every now and then, Francis Ford Coppola goes back to his 1979 masterpiece, Apocalypse Now, and gives it another go.

In 2001, he did the Redux version, which featured the clumsy French plantation scene, and an additional scene with the Playboy playmates that should have remained on the cutting-room floor. There was also a scene in which Martin Sheen’s Willard steals the surfboard owned by Kilgore (Robert Duvall) … and subsequent scenes of Willard and his crew hiding from an angry Kilgore as he tried to find his board. The additional footage added up to 53 minutes, making the movie nearly 200 minutes long.

The new Final Cut keeps the surfboard stuff, but loses the playmates scene. Unfortunately, most of the plantation scene remains. (The dinner conversation is tedious, although the opium den is kind of cool.) The Final Cut clocks in at 181 minutes, keeping some of the interesting footage from Redux, but trimming the fat.

Yes, the version works better. It’s also fully restored visually and sonically, making this the best-looking and best-sounding version of Coppola’s masterpiece available on home video.

Apocalypse Now: Final Cut is available via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.

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