Apocalypse Now Essay Questions



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Apocalypse Now Essay Questions

Answer all ten of the following questions in no less than four sentences, failure to do so will result in a drop in your grade. Please answer all questions on a separate sheet of paper. Turn in the answers to your sub by the end of the period Friday. Please don’t view your answers as right or wrong, put down what you think and feel for each question.



  1. Willard comments that he had been back home, only to find that it doesn't exist anymore. What does this say about his character? Why is he back in Vietnam?

  2. After meeting the roguish Kilgore, Willard wonders what the US Army has against Kurtz. Compare the characters of Kurtz and Kilgore and the roles they play in the war. Why does one pose a threat to the American efforts in Vietnam?

  3. Describe Coppola's use of darkness and shadows, especially in Kurtz's compound. How does the extreme lighting enhance the story? How?

  4. Why does Chief try to strangle Willard before his death? What does this say about both of their characters and how they are choosing to fight this war?

  5. Examine Coppola's depiction of the psychedelic drug culture in Apocalypse Now, especially in the characters of Lance and Chef.

  6. Why do you think Mr. Clean kills the people on the sampan before knowing whether or not they are dangerous? What does this scene say about the American effort in Vietnam?

  7. Describe the different journeys in Apocalypse Now, both literal and figurative. (Literal meaning it is actually happening, figuratively meaning, it’s a state of mind.)

  8. The sequence at the Do Lung Bridge embodies, in many ways, Coppola and Milius' ideology about the war. Describe how this point in Willard's journey is a microcosm (anything that is regarded as a world in miniature. Human beings, humanity, society, viewed as an epitome or miniature of the world or universe) of the war at large.

  9. There are very few Vietnamese characters in Apocalypse Now who are distinct or actually have speaking roles. What does this say about Coppola's point of view about the war?

  10. Do you think that Mr. Coppola created a film that was a good or bad depiction of the Vietnam War? Explain.


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