What does it take to make an apocalypse?

“The first casualty of war is innocence”…Platoon/Oliver Stone

thehistorychair

Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’; first featured on ‘Talking History’, Newstalk 106-108 FM.

The blades of the helicopters audibly slap the air as they fly in low over the open water. The orange sun at their backs sends their shadows racing ahead. Suddenly the sky erupts in Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, the booming tune terrorising those on the ground as the Vietnamese village and surrounding jungle are consumed in waves of napalm, rockets, and gunfire. On the beach American soldiers surf among falling mortar rounds.

Since its release in 1979 Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now has had a massive impact on today’s popular perception of the Vietnam War. This scene in particular informs a great deal of our accepted vision of this conflict with its image of boys who’d rather surf than fight flying into combat for the amusement of an officer who laments that ‘someday this…

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