Apocalypse Now: 10 Mistakes You Missed In The Movie

Willard’s Camouflaged Make-Up

In the climactic scene of the film, Captain Willard seizes the opportunity to execute his mission. Sneaking into Kurtz’s chamber amidst the chaos of the Montagnards slaughtering a water buffalo, Willard confronts and kills Kurtz with a machete, then retrieves his writings.

However, a noticeable discrepancy occurs in Willard’s appearance. When he is initially shown entering the water before the attack, his face lacks camouflage makeup. Yet, moments later, as he emerges from the water, his face is suddenly adorned with camouflage makeup.

Incorrect NATO Alphabet

Despite being regarded as one of the finest military films ever made, Apocalypse Now occasionally misrepresents certain aspects of the military world. This is evident in a scene where Willard listens to transmissions related to Kurtz.

During one of these transmissions, sectors are identified using the NATO alphabet, with “Peter” and “King” representing “P” and “K” respectively. However, it’s worth noting that the NATO alphabet underwent a change in 1956, prior to the events depicted in the movie, replacing “Peter” and “King” with “Papa” and “Kilo.” This standardization of the NATO alphabet has remained consistent since its revision in 1956.

Kilgore’s Hat

Despite his relatively brief presence in the expansive narrative, Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore remains one of the most captivating characters in the film. Oscillating between the portrayal of a shrewd military tactician with a degree of admiration for his adversaries and that of a war enthusiast verging on insanity, Kilgore commands attention whenever he appears on screen.

One distinguishing feature of Kilgore’s appearance is his distinctive headgear, which serves to further accentuate his persona. Initially, the hat prominently displays an insignia denoting his rank, adding to his imposing presence. However, in subsequent scenes, the insignia inexplicably disappears, subtly altering his visual representation.

Audio-Visual Synchronization When Willard Gets Briefed

During the initial stages of the film, Captain Benjamin L. Willard is summoned to the I Field Force headquarters in Nha Trang by two military commanders and a CIA agent. Here, he receives a briefing regarding the rogue colonel known as Kurtz and is assigned the mission to eliminate him, thus putting an end to his erratic leadership.

However, an intriguing discrepancy arises during this pivotal scene. While the high-ranking officers discuss Kurtz throughout the briefing, their lip movements indicate they are mouthing a different name, “Lieghley.” This anomaly stems from the original script, where Kurtz was initially named “Lieghley.”

Additionally, when Willard is presented with a photograph of Kurtz, the name tag clearly displays “Lieghley,” contradicting the character’s established identity as Kurtz. Such a notable error in a film renowned for its meticulous craftsmanship, like Apocalypse Now, is indeed surprising.

Surfboards On The Helicopter

Adding to Kilgore’s eccentric persona is his passion for surfing, a characteristic that stands out even amidst the turmoil of battle. Kilgore eagerly seeks opportunities to ride the waves alongside his comrades.

This unconventional trait injects a surreal quality into his scenes, notably captured in a shot where surfboards are visibly secured to the side of Kilgore’s helicopter. However, upon subsequent viewing of the helicopter, the surfboards have been replaced by standard missile barrels, showcasing the unexpected juxtaposition of leisure and warfare in Kilgore’s world.

Kilgore’s First Scene Is Problematic

The first encounter between Colonel Kilgore and Captain Willard presents both visual and factual inconsistencies. As Kilgore disembarks from the chopper, he sports sunglasses, revealing a reflection that exposes a boom mic and a member of the film crew.

Furthermore, a salute exchange between Willard and Kilgore occurs, a practice uncommon in real combat scenarios. Typically, soldiers are cautioned against saluting in combat zones to avoid revealing the commanding officer’s identity to potential enemy snipers. This deviation from reality is exemplified in films like Forrest Gump, where Lt. Dan advises against saluting even within the base.

An Invincible Chopper’s Shadow?

Following Captain Benjamin Willard’s briefing from the two generals and a CIA agent, a helicopter is depicted flying over the hills as he readies himself to pursue Kurtz. However, despite the absence of any other visible helicopters, the shadow of an additional chopper appears at the bottom, adjacent to Willard’s.

This shadow likely corresponds to the helicopter transporting the cameramen. While the film’s editing team made efforts to conceal the actual helicopter from view, they seemingly overlooked the presence of its shadow.

Digging Up Unrelated Information

Following his briefing on Kurtz, Willard invests time in researching further information about the rogue commander. He peruses several newspaper articles purportedly related to Kurtz, yet upon closer inspection, none of the articles actually pertain to him.

Instead, the articles focus on topics such as negotiations concerning nuclear weapons involving Iran, West Germany, and the United States. This error persisted even in the subsequent release of the director’s cut, failing to rectify the inclusion of irrelevant content in Willard’s investigative materials.

Playmates Of The Year

Yet another notable scene involves the characters attending a USO show featuring Playmate Cynthia Wood. Intended as a brief interlude of relaxation for the characters, it quickly transforms into yet another bizarre escapade.

However, a discrepancy arises regarding the choice of Playmates featured in the show. Despite Cynthia Wood being crowned Playmate of the Year in 1974, which occurred years after the events depicted in the movie, the various pinups displayed on the wall behind the quartermaster depict centerfolds from the 1970s.

Mouth Movement With No Words

The USO show sequence offers yet another chaotic and lively moment in the film. Amidst the frenzy, it’s easy for viewers to overlook a peculiar instance where dialogue appears to have been removed from a scene.

During one interaction, a soldier named Clean is seen conversing with one of the playmates. He begins his dialogue with the line: “Well, I’m next ma’am,” followed by a few additional remarks. However, these additional lines of dialogue have been edited out, resulting in a prolonged period of silence despite Clean’s continued mouth movements.

While not a deliberate act of censorship, the editing team decided to excise these lines as they were deemed unnecessary. Consequently, the scene presents an awkward moment where Clean’s mouth moves without corresponding dialogue, highlighting a missed opportunity to edit out the mouth movements as well.

Leave a Reply