Continuity mistake: After the rocket attack Chief Phillips looks back and says, "Chef, Chef check out Clean. Captain, he's hit". Look closely at the blood spatter on that the piece of metal that was behind him during the attack. Later as Lance takes over the helm of the boat there's less blood dripping on it. (01:52:30)
Continuity mistake: There's no indication that Captain Willard didn't leave for his mission immediately after having dinner with the General, being that his R&R was over. That nasty cut on his thumb is all healed without any band-aid on it by the time we see him in the next scene on the PBR. There was also a dark scab on his middle finger that was there as he smoked a cigarette in the end of the scene with the general that has also disappeared. (00:20:30)
Continuity mistake: In the scene where the Boat captain gets speared, a poor job was done with the whole thing. First, the spear that the native throws is much bigger than the one that is actually stuck in the captain. Second, the spear that is in the captain would have been too small to throw with any accuracy, let alone that distance. Third, a spear of that size would not have had enough velocity to penetrate the captain all the way through his body. (02:22:31)
Continuity mistake: In a close-up after he burns the picture of his wife with his cigarette, Captain Willard says to himself, "When I was there all I could think of was getting back into the jungle". Look closely at his left cheek and note a red scratch missing from previous shots and not visible in later shots during his drunken dance. (00:05:20)
Continuity mistake: In the close-up of Chief Phillips piloting the boat up to the French plantation dock look closely at the pair of boots hanging evenly by their shoe laces over the 50 BMG that Chef is pointing towards the dock. He hasn't taken his fingers off that machine gun but when Chef gets ready to leave the boat the boot on the right is now higher than the one on the left. (01:56:10)
Continuity mistake: After Lance and Captain Willard return to the boat Chief Phillips says, "which way captain". As the captain sits on the front of the boat look closely at his tee shirt, he has something underneath resembling a large newspaper or package. When he takes his tee shirt off there's nothing under there except his dog tags. (01:47:55)
Continuity mistake: As Jerry takes a piece of roast beef from the tray we get a close-up of the captain's table setting. Just about everything has been moved from the previous shot but his bread dish and napkin are the most notable as they have both moved to the right of where they were before. (00:12:10)
Revealing mistake: In the celebration scene in the Buddhist Temple, a boy asks one of the characters for money. This would be fine, except he's speaking in Filipino and the film is set in Vietnam.
Other mistake: The comment about covert missions into Laos where everyone had foreign weapons and uniforms, etc., is bull. Many, many men went into Laos, fully equipped on UH-1A choppers with American gear. The recon teams were outfitted with American gear. I haven't found anyone that could accurately estimate how many, but a lot. A friend that came back from there said they had maps, radios, uniforms, sidearms, fully equipped choppers with rocket rounds, and so many spare barrels and boxes of ammo for the 60s they could barely get off the ground with 4 crew members. No foreign anything in choppers or teams going in or out for any trip. Not saying it didn't happen somewhere during the war, but it was not something that happened in Laos from dozens of combat vets I've talked to.
Continuity mistake: The entire French plantation dinner scene is beautifully lit. It looks as though it's sunset until Hubert walks over to the window in middle of the scene. As he stands by the window we can see outside and it's not sunset but midafternoon. Then as he walks to his seat he passes back into the yellow stage lighting again which makes it look as if it's sunset. (02:08:50)
Revealing mistake: A Medevac helicopter lands in the courtyard and later explodes when a Vietnamese woman throws a grenade into it. The copter that lands is not the one that explodes. The front of the helicopter that blows up is older and beat up and the window on the pilot's door does not have any green sun shade on top as the other chopper had when it landed. The one that explodes is also on a platform that collapses as it blows up. (00:44:15)
Audio problem: When the natives start shooting arrows at the boat, Chief is imploring his crew to "fire...fire...FIRE.". Then if you listen to the scenes at Do Lung Bridge, they have reused the sound of this battle as a background sound. Its just after Willard says he needs some information, and to pick him up on the other side of the bridge. It's very clear on the Apocalypse Now (2 CD version) soundtrack, track 1 at 3:06. (01:42:14)