Disclaimer: I was rather high on cannabis while I watched this, and I may have missed a few bits. However, I feel my intoxication enhanced the experience rather than detracted from it.
No film has freaked me out to the degree that Apocalypse Now has. This, in my opinion, is a good thing. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, I'd like to point out what I consider to be the flaws before talking about what I liked.
I know this is some flame-bait here, but I believe that Marlon Brando's performance was the weakest in the film. I could hardly make out what he was saying at times, though my aforementioned use of marijuana no doubt contributed to this. He was not as terrifying as the build-up seemed to suggest, and I considered Kurtz to be something of a let-down. This was due to the acting rather than the writing, though. To be fair, I've never been a fan of Brando so this may reflect bias on my part.
The ending sequence with Kurtz's cult was probably the second worst part of the movie—not that any part could be called bad—and the worst was the part at the French plantation. The latter segment didn't add much in my view, and seemed to be sort of a non-sequitur. The former was alright, but for me this movie was about the journey, not the destination.
Everything else was pretty fantastic. The brutal, chaotic progression of the film's events reflects the dischord of war itself; one feels uneasy at the lack of order and general human decency as the boat moves further up the river. The helicopter attack on the village was particularly gut-wrenching; the way the villagers took cover from the helicopters reminded me of tornado drills back in elementary school, making me feel for the nameless victims as human beings. Kilgore's condemnation of them as "savages" was one of the most poignantly ironic statements I've heard in a film.
The soundtrack was impeccable as well. The opening scene of the napalm hitting the trees while "This is the End" played in the background told me just how this movie was going to be. It was every bit as trippy, horrifying and philosophical as I'd hoped, and the music was a big part of that. The weed helped, too.
If you haven't seen this classic, I'd recommend watching it. It's probably the best war movie I've seen, and its influence is evident in many later films in the genre. Thank you for reading!