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Hearts of Darkness - A Filmmaker's Apocalypse

58 customer reviews

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(Nov 20, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse is an engrossing, unwavering look back at Francis Ford Coppola’s chaotic, catastrophe-plagued Vietnam production, Apocalypse Now. Filled with juicy gossip and a wonderful behind-the-scenes look at the stressful world of moviemaking, the documentary mixes on-location home movies shot in the Philippines by Eleanor Coppola, the director’s wife, with revealing interviews with the cast and crew, shot 10 years later.

Special Features

  • Coda: Thirty Years Later - A brand new documentary seen here for the first time

Product Details

  • Actors: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: November 20, 2007
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,799 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hearts of Darkness - A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Christopher B. Murray on March 5, 2010
Format: DVD
HEARTS OF DARKNESS is not only a great documentary, it is perhaps one of the best ever made. It is up there with CRUMB, THE THIN BLUE LINE, WOODSTOCK, MY BEST FIEND, and GREY GARDENS. However, a few changes have been made to the DVD version of the film. The songs "Suzie Q" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" have been replaced with some corny, cheap imitations--to save money, I suppose. Likewise, in one scene in the original version of the film, Francis Ford Coppola serenades a little girl sitting on his lap--the song? "Anything Goes." In the DVD version of the film, Coppola's singing has been removed, which makes the footage pointless. I don't know if the song was removed because of the potentially immoral implications, or due to more fees for the rights to the song "Anything Goes." Either way, I feel that someone has messed with a masterpiece. Of course the film is still great and should not be missed. Perhaps you have to have seen the original as many times as I have to notice these changes. I only hope I encounter no more changes as I resume watching the film. (I hope someone has not removed The Doors' "The End" and replaced it with something "similar.")
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By The Rocketman on November 24, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
HEARTS OF DARKNESS is one of the few documentaries on film making where you get to see a true artistic process. After watching this, you will find nearly all "Making of..." pieces found on DVDs for what they really are: marketing fluff. As a result, I eagerly watched HEARTS OF DARKNESS on DVD after last seeing it more than 10 years ago. I was very nervous that Coppola would be releasing a butchered form of the documentary. After all, he bares his soul in a way that few real artists do in public -- the picture of him holding a gun to his head (and not all in fun) is pretty intense stuff.

I am happy to report that the whole film is here, there doesn't appear to any cuts and the run time (96 minutes) matches that of the official times listed on the Internet. Thank you, Francis!

Now to the DVD extra, an hour-long documentary called CODA: THIRTY YEARS LATER. It's this new documentary (40% of the total DVD content!) which explains why Coppola is finally re-releasing HOD. The title "CODA" it misleading (especially in this context) because CODA has nothing to do with Apocalypse Now. Rather it is a documentary on Coppola's newest film YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH. Perhaps because YWY looks to be an essential parlor piece with lots of dialog, CODA is, unfortunately, tedious. In fact, YWY has not yet been given a wide release in the US, so what we really have here is a (you guessed it) "Making of..." film for marketing purposes. Sure, it would have made a great extra on the YWY DVD, but it is a huge letdown after HEARTS OF DARKNESS. In fact, CODA didn't leave me wanting to see YWY and initial professional reviews reveal that the film itself is a letdown.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Don Eldredge on October 24, 2007
Format: DVD
It took a lot of guts on the part of the Coppola family to release this documentary in the first place. Not many people would make public filmed footage of a family's patriarch losing his mind and coming dangerously close to total mental meltdown while making a movie. And in this case we are talking about a highly respected and honored director.

Francis Ford Coppola's descent into madness during the plagued filming of "Apocalypse Now" wasn't entirely the fault of the Philippines Army, horrific weather, Martin Sheen's heart attack during filming, or Marlon Brando's prima donna attitude. It wasn't just the rampant use of pop drugs on the set. Much of the trouble, including the lack of a cohesive script, falls directly on the shoulders of the director. And "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse," shot by the director's wife, Eleanor Coppola, and released 12 years after the original movie, never turns away from the truth. It is a fascinating account of how everything went wrong and still a remarkable film ascended from the madness.

Anyone who believes FF Coppola either botched or somehow missed great opportunity with the compound segment of the film can upon viewing this begin to understand how chaos during those dark days on the set in the late 1970s led to the final outcome. The director said, his film isn't about Vietnam; it is Vietnam. That statement is somewhat validated with this documentary.

It is amazing that such a powerful piece of filmmaking could come out of such a calamity. But, flaws and all, it is among the best films produced out of Hollywood. And this companion piece is a vital part of the story. It is a MUST SEE for fans of "Apocalypse Now." It is engrossing for all.

The late coming DVD release (November 2007) reportedly includes an update piece ("CODA: Thirty Years Later") that is most welcome. It's icing. Buy this one.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mike Liddell on April 20, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Destroying professionalism and making it an art form. This is some of the wisdom from Francis Ford Coppola on this documentary made by his wife Eleanor on the making of his film, the godfather of Coppola films in my opinion, Apocalypse Now - The Complete Dossier (Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition)

The interesting thing about Apocalypse Now is that with probably over 1,000 reviews here on Amazon counting the different versions you could probably get a different interpretation for each review. It's so good and so deep and has so many metaphors that it could mean any number of different things for viewers and nobody would be wrong.

I'm not going to try to analyze this documentary however because you have the people involved with this masterpiece giving their own perspectives on the doc. What I will do is list some things I found interesting in hopes of generating some curiosity for people to see this fascinating work. It made me want to see the film again and read the book Heart of Darkness (Norton Critical Editions) and if you haven't seen Apocalypse Now, as a film lover I envy you.

- Harvey Keitel was originally cast to play Capt. Willard and was fired and replaced for Martin Sheen.

- The part in the hotel room where Capt. Willard is spiraling out of control was just as much Sheen. It was his 36th birthday he was drunk and actually punched and broke the glass mirror and broke down.

- Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack while filming and was actually given his last rights, halting filming for a couple of months.
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