Francis Ford Coppola initially directed this film with strong anti-war themes as the focal point. This film is very graphic in the portrayal of anti-war imagery and symbolism. However, there seems to be a sway in modern thinking as many people believe that Apocalypse Now glorifies war. This is down to the sensibility of the spectator. I personally saw this film as an anti-war film as it negatively displayed the graphic horror of war. This film like other films provides an access to certain experiences which would not be possible in normal circumstances. This film provides a good indication of the effects of war on the average person.
The clip starts with a call to arms for the invading American soldiers. We get a short view of their modern arsenals of weapons. A bugle instrument is used to signal the start of the attack. This refers to the American attacks on the Native Americans. This, in my opinion, is a good use of symbolism as it compares the Vietnam War with the slaughter of the native settlers of America. Next we see the advancing American helicopters. This is contrasted with shots of a peaceful Vietnamese village. This gives the spectator a sense of the violence about to take place. The musical score, Wagner’s symphony, provides a sense of fear but also depicts a link to Nazi Germany. I feel that this is an almost sarcastic indication of American National Socialism, which would greatly compare to the ideals of the Nazis. Coppola shows to great effect that this is a war of two contrasting ideologies. The brutality of war is greatly depicted in this film. Firstly, the obsolete equipment used by the Vietnamese shows the injustice of war. Also the painful groan of the injured soldier greatly impacts the violence and horror of war. I feel that this is a very effective anti-war protest.