I like Apocalypse Now, though it is too long.
Dead bodies, heart attacks, wild parties, cocaine binges, Marlon Brando's belly and breakdowns. Thirty years on, Robert Sellers revisits the making of 'Apocalypse Now'
If things had worked out differently, Apocalypse Now would have been directed by George Lucas in 1970, guerrilla-style in Vietnam itself, while the conflict was still raging.
Rightly, no studio would finance such an exploit, for fear that Charlie might dislodge the film-maker's lower intestines with a well-aimed bazooka shell.
Francis Ford Coppola's vision was far greater, far more artistic and far more bonkers. As he later raved during a Cannes press conference, his film wasn't about Vietnam, "It is Vietnam!"
It was expected to be a 14-week shoot in the Philippines, beginning in the spring of 1976, but logistics, weather and general disasters conspired against the film.
Worse, Coppola fired his leading man, Harvey Keitel, after two weeks, replacing him with Martin Sheen, who was then nursing private demons of his own, namely booze.
When Sheen arrived, he found chaos.
Coppola was writing the movie as he went along and firing personnel, people were coming down with varioustropical diseases and the helicopters used in the combat sequences were constantly recalled by President Marcos to fight his own war against anti-government rebels.
The documentary that chronicles the making of the movie is practically better than the movie itself.