and American Zoetrope
are releasing “Apocalypse Now Final Cut,” the third version of Francis Coppola’s 1979 war epic, to commemorate the film’s 40th anniversary. While multiple versions of any mainstream movie are unusual, everything about this movie was unorthodox.
On Oct. 14, 1969, Variety
reported that Warner Bros.
bought the script by John Milius
, with Coppola to produce and George Lucas
to direct. They envisioned a scrappy 16mm film for $2 million, to lense in San Francisco, Louisiana and Thailand.
The project remained in limbo until Coppola revived it. He told Variety in February 1976 that filming would begin in a month, on a $12 million budget, with United Artists
aiming for an April 7, 1977 release. The movie finally opened Aug. 15, 1979, after endless shooting in the Philippines, on a budget of $30 million-plus.
At the Cannes world premiere in May 1979, Coppola stunned the press conference by comparing the prolonged production to America’s role in