Legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola believes his cult classic Apocalypse Now has been wrongly labelled as “anti-war”, when in fact it glorifies war and violence.
The 1979 feature was a modern take on Joseph Conrad’s anti-imperialist novella Heart of Darkness. Set against the backdrop of Vietnam War, the film is considered one of the best of all time.
Coppola believes an ideal anti-war film should be made on the lines of Japanese director Kon Ichikawa’s 1956 movie The Burmese Harp.
“No one wants to make a pro-war film, everyone wants to make an anti-war film. But an anti-war film, I always thought, should be like The Burmese Harp, something filled with love and peace and tranquillity and happiness.
“It shouldn’t have sequences of violence that inspire a lust for violence. ‘Apocalypse Now’ has stirring scenes of helicopters attacking innocent people. That’s not anti-war,” Coppola told The Guardian in an interview.
Sharing his vision for a “perfect anti-war” film, the director said it should not glorify war, something, he believes, Apocalypse Now has not done.
“I always thought the perfect anti-war film would be a story in Iraq about a family who were going to have their daughter be married, and different relatives were going to come to the wedding. The people manage to come, maybe there’d be some dangers, but no one would get blown up, nobody would get hurt. They would dance at the wedding. That would be an anti-war film.
“An anti-war film cannot glorify war, and Apocalypse Now arguably does. Certain sequences have been used to rev up people to be warlike,” Coppola explained.
When asked if he feels guilty about that, the filmmaker replies in the negative.
“I don’t feel guilty, because I know my role in the whole process,” Coppola said.