Apocalypse Now Final Cut 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 244, October 2019

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
(Catalog Number):
(MPAA Rating):
(Rating Reason):
Disturbing violent images, language, sexual content and some drug use
(Retail Price):
(Disc Type):
Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
(Widescreen Edition):
(Full Screen Edition):
(Running Time In Minutes):
153 / 202
(Color Type):
(Chaptered/Scene Access):
(Closed Captioned):
(Regional Coding):
(Theatrical Year):
1979 / 2000
(Theatrical Release):
(Direct-To-Video Release):
(Disc Release Date):
(THX® Digitally Mastered):
Francis Ford Coppola
(Screenplay/Written By):
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer):
(Visual Effects):
(Costume Designer):
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(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers):
(Academy Awards):
(Principal Photography):
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio):
(Measured Disc Aspect Ratio):
(Disc Soundtrack):
Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
(Theatrical Sound):
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(DTS Bit Rate):
(Dolby Digital Bit Rate):
(Additional Languages):
(French Language):
(Spanish Language):
(Chinese Language):
(Cantonese Language):
(Mandarin Language):
(Japanese Language):
(Italian Language):
(German Language):
(Portuguese Language):

This is the newly restored 4K Ultra HD "Apocalypse Now Final Cut," Director Francis Ford Coppola's visionary Vietnam War epic. Also included is the 4K Ultra HD remastered original 1979 theatrical version. Nominated for eight Academy Awards® and winner of two, "Apocalypse Now" is the stunning masterpiece of Coppola about the insanities of the Vietnam War. The film chronicles a mission led by Captain Willard (Sheen) during the Vietnam War to assassinate Colonel Kurtz (Brando), who is rumored to have gone insane. Escorted to the mouth of the Nung River by Captain Kilgore (Duvall), Willard's crew must travel up the river deep into the heart of Vietnam to get to Kurtz in Cambodia. On finally reaching their destination, they learn that Kurtz is worshiped by the local villagers. An American photographer (Hopper), who is caught up in the madness, explains the villagers' devotion to Kurtz, which causes Willard to question his orders. Forty years after his initial theatrical cut of "Apocalypse Now," Francis Coppola returned to the material and created his personal expanded and re-edited version. This classic is a powerful and chilling tale, which is also a highlight on the American Film Institute's (AFI) list of 100 Years...100 Movies. Based loosely on Joseph Conrad's novel "Heart Of Darkness." The documentary "Hearts Of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" is a must-see insightful experience with commentary by Eleanor and Francis Ford Coppola. (Gary Reber)

Special features include the following: 4K Ultra HD Disc One features the NEW:Final Cut intro by Director Francis Ford Coppola. 4K Ultra HD Disc Two features commentary by Coppola from "Apolcalypse Now Redux." Blu-ray Discs Three and Four copy that of the 4K Ultra HD discs. Blu-ray Disc Five features an interview with John Milius (HD 49:45); a conversation with Martin Sheen and Coppola (HD 59:26); the original 1938 Mercury Theatre Radio Reading of "Heart Of Darkness" featuring Orson Wells (36:34); "The Hollow Men" video of Marlon Brando reading T.S. Eliot's poem (HD 16:57); the Monkey Sampan "lost scene" (HD 03:03); 12 additional scenes (SD 26:28); "Destruction Of The Kurtz Compound" end credits with commentary by Coppola (HD 06:06); nine featurettes: "Fred Roos: Casting" (HD 11:44), "A Million Feet Of Film: The Editing Of Apocalypse Now" (HD 17:57), "The Music Of Apocalypse Now" (HD 14:46), "The Birth Of 5.1" (HD 05:54), "Heard Any Good Movies Lately?: The Sound Design Of Apocalypse Now" (HD 15:52), "The Final Mix" (HD 03:09), "Apocalypse Then And Now" (HD 03:44), "The Color Palette Of Apocalypse Now" (HD 04:06), and a "Ghost Helicopter Flyover" sound effects demonstration (HD 03:55); and "The Synthesizer Soundtrack" article by music synthesizer inventor Bob Moog and "PBR Streetgang" (HD 04;09). Disc Six features the documentary "Hearts Of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" with optional commentary with Eleanor and Francis Ford Coppola (HD 01:36:00); the Tribeca Film Festival Q&A with Coppola and Steven Soderbergh (HD 47:34); Super 8mm Behind-The-Scenes footage (HD 21:39); four featurettes: "Dutch Angle: Chas Gerresten & Apocalypse Now" (HD 31:44), "Apocalypse Now: Remastering A Legend In Dolby Vision And Dolby Atmos" (HD 02:50), "Apocalypse Now: A Forty-Year Journey" (HD 02:21) and "Sensual Sound Technology From Meyer Sound" (HD 03:52); the John Milius Script With Coppola Notes (still gallery); a storyboard collection; photo archives; marketing archives; trailers and radio spots; and a Movies Anywhere digital code. This special edition contains not only the "Apocalypse Now Final Cut" but the original theatrical version of "Apocalypse Now" (02:27:17) and the "Redux" (revision) (03:16:09).

The 2.35:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed on Eastman film stock in anamorphic Technovision and anamorphic Todd-AO 35 using the Arriflex 35 BL, Arriflex 35-IIC, Mitchell BNCR and Arriflex 16 ST camera systems and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. This is a film that marked a milestone in filmmaking.

Originally released theatrically in anamorphic Technovision at the theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and 70 mm blowup format at 2.20:1, the film was reviewed as a LaserDisc release in Issues 1 and 25, then as an anamorphically enhanced DVD in Issue 36 at 1.97:1, and in the "Redux" version in Issue 56 at an aspect ratio of 2.00:1. Both 1080p AVC versions presented on two previous 1080p Blu-ray™ platters were framed at 2.35:1. These versions, at the time, were said to be true to the filmmakers' creative vision, with an overall darker presentation that perfectly depicts impressive dimensionality and resolution, with exceptional color accuracy. Interestingly, the two previous DVD transfers were supervised by Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, AIC/ASC and framed at the requested 2.00:1 aspect ratio, which he preferred. Nevertheless, the cinematography in either aspect ratio is wonderful.

This new Francis Ford Coppola supervised 4K remastered transfer is the most realized version of the film and exhibits a color palette even more naturally rendered, with full saturation and accurate hues, which effectively reveals the full extent of the wonderful hues depicted in the three-strip dye transfer Technicolor® printing process. Fleshtones no longer exhibit the orange push previously apparent in the LaserDisc and DVD presentations, but instead appear perfectly natural in range. HDR contrast with respect to black levels and shadow delineation are well balanced and exhibit excellent detail in shadows and highlights. Bright aspects are naturally balanced and enhance depth and realism. To optimally experience the visual dynamics, the picture should be reviewed in a darkened environment, preferably a black room, with display equipment capable of an exceptional native contrast ratio. Resolution is impressive, with imagery that is significantly cleaner, sharper, and impressively detailed. Film grain is varied and enhances the artistic use of opticals, yet impressively the imagery overall exhibits a vivid pristine picture experience. WOW! segments are from 24:46 to 28:30, 37:30 to 49:50, 01:06:06 to 01:11:12, 01:29:40 to 01:38:36, 02:14:32 to 02:16:40, 02:23:30 to 02:28:06 and 02:46:12 to 02:48:12.

This is without question the reference definitive presentation of this cinematic classic and is an absolutely wonderfully exciting visual experience to behold. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is impressive as the video element on this new 4K Ultra HD presentation. The soundtrack was one of the first films released in Dolby Stereo 70 mm magnetic six-channel sound with split surrounds. This was also, arguably, the film from which the concept of sound design came about—Walter Murch oversaw all creative aspects of the sound production. What is truly remarkable about this film's sound is that the overall fidelity holds its own with today's digital sound technology. Many films reissued during the same time period sound noticeably dated, but "Apocalypse Now" is definitely the exception. The new DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack faithfully captures every nuance of the master 70 mm soundtrack. The opening sequence of the film, with full-360 seamless panning of a helicopter's whirling blades, clearly delineates the innovative creativity, with sound effects and dimension. The glut of explosions and gunfire punctuate the soundfield with directional sound effects that consistently define a realistic soundscape ambience. The audio can be loud and aggressive, but never strident or overpowering, and in contrast quiet and inward. The dialogue sounds are clear and understandable, and nicely integrated spatially. There is a greater sense of envelopment and spaciousness, with appreciatively more refinement. Martin Sheen's narrative is legendary, sounding close-miked, but never chesty. (The close-miking was actually intentional). The soundfield is always spacious, though, generally biased towards the screen channels, and when appropriate, energized to transport the listener into the intense battles of war. The spaciousness of the soundfield is at times impressive, but at other times questionably absent in scenes that suggest an aggressive surround presence. The music is classic—The Doors, The Rolling Stones, and hauntingly melodic orchestrations and Moog synthesizer instrumentations by the Coppolas, with guitarist Randy Hansen's sinister sounds, as well as improvised primitive percussion interludes by The Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart. Deep bass is powerful and explosive, extending to sub-25 Hz frequencies in the .1 LFE channel. The intelligibility of dialogue in the midst of intense sounds, such as during the attack on the village, is particularly noteworthy. The more quiescent scenes in the jungle are cornerstones in the creative use of ambient surround sound.

The Immersive Sound element is, unfortunately, not fully realized and limitedly consists of about five seconds of close-in helicopter swirling blade sounds during the opening scene, another brief helicopter segment during Captain Kilgore yelling, "give me back my board," the nuanced ambience sounds of the mango insect jungle with a tiger's roar, a helicopter landing on the concert stage, brief and subtle ambience in Colonel Kurtz's jungle compound,a brief storm at night in Kurtz's compound and other minor sonics. Unfortunately, this is a very limited use of the height layer, with opportunities to continuously add the spherical surround sound element to enhance the spatial experience, including the haunting and wonderful music. Interestingly, there is far more height layer enhancement in the special features.

This is one of the all-time classic soundtracks that first achieved a dimensional holosonic® soundfield presence. At times riveting and quiescent, this is an impassively dynamic and spatial soundtrack that still deserves reference-quality stature. (Gary Reber)