main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Nightmare Fuel: Apocalypse Now
  • Where to begin? A wounded Vietcong begging for water, as he struggles to keep his entrails inside him with a pot lid. The over-the-top raid on a village where schoolchildren flee from the sound of approaching helicopters, which is then spectacularly napalmed. Hysterical "civilians" grenading MediVacs. A tiger out of friggin' nowhere. An abandoned MASH with corpses left to rot in lockers. The massacre of the sampan. A remote outpost with no apparent leadership (presumably being the victim of an apparently well executed VC ambush), the unlucky men stationed there being slowly driven insane by fireworks, flashing lights and haunting music. Kurtz's compound. Kurtz placing Chef's recently severed (and still-twitching) head on Willard's lap and of course the Montagnard ceremony. The film seems to be trying to show the entire Vietnam War as being this trope, and it does a pretty good job of it.
  • The movie can be summed up with a single, nightmare-fueled quote: "I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That's my dream; that's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor... and surviving."
  • Kurtz himself is something of this. The way he's almost always shown in the dark, and only ever partially visible, is particularly creepy, and one can only imagine how Willard must feel in his presence. Even worse still he's more than willing to decapitate an innocent man and casually drop his head in front of his commanding officer.
  • The worst part of it all might be that many veterans and witnesses have said that this film is one of the truest representations of what the war was like.
  • "There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms."
  • The collective conclusion of all the terrible things Kurtz had faced in his life and what it turned him into, summarized by his final words, "The horror.......the horror". He doesn't even say it as dramatically as people would think, he's so shell shocked he's gone way past that.
AntichristNightmareFuel/FilmApollo 13

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy