Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse

Watch Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse

"The magic and madness of making Apocalypse Now"
  • R
  • 1991
  • 1 hr 36 min
  • 8.1  (22,775)

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse from 1991 is a documentary detailing the turbulent production of the 1979 war epic Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The documentary is directed by Fax Bahr and George Hickenlooper, and features interviews with the cast and crew of the film, as well as never-before-seen footage of the production process.

The documentary begins by discussing the origins of the film, which was based on Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness. The filmmakers then delve into the difficulties that arose during production, including severe weather conditions, budgetary constraints, and the use of drugs on set.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Hearts of Darkness is the interviews with the film's cast and crew, who provide candid insight into the chaotic production. Martin Sheen, who played the film's protagonist Captain Willard, discusses the emotional toll that the role took on him, while Marlon Brando, who played the enigmatic Colonel Kurtz, reflects on the difficulties he had in understanding his character. Dennis Hopper, who played the frenzied photojournalist in the film, discusses his drug use on set and his often improvised lines.

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of Hearts of Darkness is the behind-the-scenes footage, which captures the frenzied atmosphere of the production. We see Coppola struggling to manage a massive cast and crew, contending with the weather, and dealing with numerous creative and logistical challenges. The documentary also reveals the extraordinary lengths that the production went to in order to secure Brando for the role of Kurtz. The filmmakers recount how they had to convince Brando to read the script, which he did not initially want to do, and how they had to set up a makeshift studio in the Philippines to accommodate Brando's preference for air conditioning.

The documentary also delves into the impact that the production had on some of the cast and crew. Sheen suffered a nervous breakdown during the shoot and had to be hospitalized, while Hopper's drug use became increasingly problematic. Additionally, the documentary suggests that the production led to the dissolution of Coppola's marriage, as the director became fully immersed in the making of the film.

Throughout the documentary, the filmmakers intercut footage from Apocalypse Now itself, providing a vivid juxtaposition between the chaos of the production and the artistry of the finished product. The interviews with the cast and crew provide valuable insights into the themes and symbolism of the film, which was widely regarded as a masterpiece of the 1970s.

Overall, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse is a compelling and often disturbing look at one of the most notoriously difficult film productions in history. The documentary provides a glimpse into the creative process of one of the greatest directors of all time, as well as the human toll that such an ambitious undertaking can take. The interviews and behind-the-scenes footage provide valuable context for the making of one of the most iconic films of the 20th century.

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse is a 1991 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 36 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.1.

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse
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  • Release Date
    1991
  • MPAA Rating
    R
  • Runtime
    1 hr 36 min
  • Language
    English
  • IMDB Rating
    8.1  (22,775)