I have always enjoyed movies. But at some point I started to think of movies as more than just entertainment. I began to view them as a movie critic would, rather than just a casual viewer. Because of this perspective, I think of "Apocalypse Now" as one of the best American made movies I have ever seen. As a student of and an active participant in the late twentieth century media age, I feel justified in making this statement. In my lifetime of observation of American media, including fourteen months of intense movie watching in conjunction with my employment at a local video store, I have had an opportunity to observe a broad sampling of the films, and feel more than qualified to make this statement. By referring to "Apocalypse Now" as one of the best American movies, I do not want to diminish my praise for the movie, but rather, acknowledge the fact that my knowledge of foreign movies is limited. I first saw Francis Ford Coppula's "Apocalypse Now" in a high school literature class after reading Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, the story from which the movie was derived. After viewing the movie the first time, it was clear to me that "Apocalypse Now" was something special, not only superior to the mindless drivel that permeates much of what is produced by Hollywood, but also better than many of the movies that have come to be regarded as classics.
To me, a good movie presents a well constructed plot combined with skilled cinematography. A great movie incorporates a message into the attributes of a good movie. An excellent movie goes further by adding deeper levels of meaning. When I watch a movie which I judge to be excellent, I feel that it can be viewed from many angles and appear seamless from each direction. I see an excellent movie as being like a well made multi-faceted hologram. One can view it from many directions, each direction forms a complete picture, but by shifting views, you can see where one picture merges with the others. Apocalypse Now is the story of a Green Beret named Willard who journeys through Vietnam by river to confront an officer who left the army in the pursuit of his own private war. Willard's journey is not just a trip down a river, it is a metaphorical journey, and creates the effect of multiple levels of meaning. In addition to a superbly constructed story, Apocalypse Now can be viewed as a social commentary, an exploration of human conscience, or a moral metaphor. I truly enjoy dissecting and analyzing movies, as well as literate, at this level. I try to understand what the author, or film maker is really trying to say.
Looking at the movie from one angle, it can be considered a social commentary of the war in Viet Nam. By including such characters as Lance B. Johnson, who clearly represents President Lyndon B. Johnson, we see him lose his personality and conscientiousness to the war, eventually having to be dragged out of the fire by the soldier, Willard. This is also demonstrated by...