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Apocalypse Now Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    The film now seems both mellowed and --thanks in part to the most vibrant-looking prints in its 22-year history -- revitalized.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    One of the great films of all time. It shames modern Hollywood's timidity. To watch it is to feel yourself lifted up to the heights where the cinema can take you, but so rarely does.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    Magnificent to look at, thrilling, ingenious, spellbinding and superbly done on every level, this is not just one of the best films of the year or the decade, but of all time.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Whatever thematic clarity the added footage may confer is prosaic or didactic and intrusive; this stuff hit the cutting-room floor the first time around for good reason.

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Remains a majestic explosion of pure cinema. It's a hallucinatory poem of fear, projecting, in its scale and spirit, a messianic vision of human warfare stretched to the flashpoint of technological and moral breakdown.

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  • See all Apocalypse Now reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

Disturbing tale of war horrors isn't for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film has dark and violent overtones. It is not recommended for kids. This is not a historical piece that glorifies the moral journeys of American soldiers. It includes excessive swearing, violence, and drug use. The film also presents American soldiers as overall hostile and excessively violent.

  • Families can talk about moral and cinematic issues. The film portrays Vietnam soldiers in various ways: cold-blooded murderers, drug addicts, kids, etc. Does Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore's obsession with battleground surfing present any ideological problems? How does the film draw on Lance's drug use to comment on the overall experience and psyche of the Vietnam soldier? How do Willard's and Kurtz's horrific visions and acts comment on the murkiness of war? How does this film add to the existing historical and journalistic discourse regarding Vietnam veterans? What liberties does the film take with its source material, Heart of Darkness?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The film does not include positive role models. The main goal of the protagonist is to assassinate a rogue American Green Beret. American soldiers appear out of control, violent, and overall heartless. They do not seem to be fighting for a greater cause. It appears to be an immoral quest undertaken by unethical individuals.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Animals are put in jeopardy. Somewhat graphic images of injured/dead soldiers, a lot of generalized images of bombings of Vietnamese villages. Soldiers callously kill civilians who they see as inconveniences. Mangled and tortured bodies. Decapitation. Major characters die. VERY graphic conclusion.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Male nudity, brief images of centerfolds, locker-room talk.

  • language false3

    Language: A lot of swearing by the soldiers and using of ethnic slurs.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Winston cigarettes, Budweiser, Marlboro.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Excessive drinking and pot smoking. Use of other illegal drugs and extended drug trips.