Apocalypse Now

Continuity mistake: Note the boat position as Chef starts to mouth the words to "Satisfaction", by tree line they are close to shore. After less than a two second pause in action, we see that the boat is no longer near the shore or any trees. (01:14:55)


Continuity mistake: When Captain Willard looks out his window at the streets of Saigon you can tell by the shadows that the sun is overhead. But in the next shot the sun is coming directly through the window and shining on his face. (00:04:20)


Continuity mistake: As the helicopters approached Vin Din Dop Colonel Kilgore said to Lance, "We'll come in low, out of the rising sun," but when the helicopters fly over the beach their shadows are directly below them. (00:39:40)


Continuity mistake: After the woman tries to feed Captain Willard some rice he looks to his left and sees Colonel Kurtz standing there with one thin ray of sunlight coming down on his head. We saw this spot in the wide shot when the three soldiers placed the captain near the window and it's in the shade, plus the sun is not coming into the room from above but sideways from the right. (02:54:10)


Continuity mistake: Three soldiers carry Captain Willard into a room by a window where a woman gives him some water from a ladle. As first the sunlight falls across his waist then in the next shot as she gives him the water the sunlight is now on his face and chest. (02:53:35)


Continuity mistake: In a shot from behind his head Captain Willard sits and looks at Roxanne as the man in the tan jacket to the left of her says, "Look, Captain". In the next shot the captain's right hand is raised shielding his eyes from the sunlight. (02:07:15)


Continuity mistake: When the soldiers carry Clean's flag draped body to its final resting place there's no sunlight from behind falling on the flag. The next time we see it it's bathed in sunlight coming from the opposite direction. (02:00:30)


Character mistake: When Martin Sheen is on the boat, looking over Col. Kurtz's school papers, there is a dissertation by Kurtz on the history of the Philippines until 1905. The word Philippines is spelled "Phillipines"

Continuity mistake: When Chief throws the binoculars to Captain Willard, Clean puts on his flak vest. 7 seconds later, Clean is not wearing the flak vest, then he puts it on again. (00:24:37)


Apocalypse Now mistake picture

Continuity mistake: As Lieutenant General Corman walks to the table, all of the hutch cabinet doors are closed. 17 seconds later, the left end and right end hutch cabinet doors are open. (00:11:40)


Continuity mistake: Kilgore is talking about how he wants to surf the beach. The lighting changes significantly in the space of seconds from the shots of the surf to the shots of the fighting. The shots of the surf are later in the day while the angle of the sun in the fighting shots is higher indicating afternoon.

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Continuity mistake: When Willard has a severed head dropped on his lap, the stump is clean and flat like it was sliced by a samurai sword. When the head falls to the ground, the stump is bumpy and ragged like it was hacked with an ax.


Continuity mistake: As Colonel Kurtz reads his poetry out loud we see Dennis Hopper gesturing with both hands as he speaks with the captain. When the colonel gets mad and throws the bowl of bananas at them Dennis Hopper is holding his camera in his left hand. His bandana is also rolled up differently with the corner sticking up in one shot and down in the other. (02:56:20)


Continuity mistake: As Captain Willard tries to get Lance away from Colonel Kilgore the band-aid on his right cheek angles upward as it nears his eye. Later we see it up close as they pull him into the boat with the surfboard and it does not angle upward but goes straight across his face. (00:50:40 - 00:51:45)


Continuity mistake: As they all read their mail from home Lance ignites a canister of purple smoke and it's sunset. In the next shot of Clean grabbing his tape recorder it's the afternoon and the sun isn't even shining. (01:50:55)


Chef: Why do all you guys sit on your helmets?
Soldier: So we don't get our balls blown off.

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Trivia: Harvey Keitel was originally cast as Captain Willard. Two weeks into filming, director Francis Ford Coppola felt Keitel wasn't taking the role seriously enough, so he fired him and reshot scenes with Martin Sheen as his replacement.

More trivia for Apocalypse Now

Question: Why was only one officer (Captain Willard) sent to assassinate Colonel Kurtz? Isn't it very unlikely for a captain like Willard to be able to kill a powerful and influential and "insane" colonel like Kurtz?


Chosen answer: Kurtz was protected by political connections and his military record from being relieved of command, and the Montagnard people whose village he was in were considered American allies, so they couldn't just send a force in to kill him or relieve him of command, but an individual assassin. (The US Government's "official" policy is that they do not engage in assassination, which is why "this mission does not exist, nor will it ever exist").

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