As much as I love rediscovering random movies and seeing how well they hold up, the ones I love revisiting the most are the ones that have achieved almost mythic proportions – the epics, the classics, the award winners whose greatness basically goes undisputed, even though most folks haven't seen them in years. Most of the time, of course, they live up to the legacy of their artistic and commercial achievements, but occasionally they fall short, and seeing not only how but why they do remains one of the more fascinating aspects of film history. The time in which a film is released is often as important as who made it.
'Apocalypse Now' is a film with a particular type of legacy, one which almost overshadows the film itself. Its troubled production, followed by a contentious but ultimately celebrated release, not only signaled the end of a particularly successful time for director Francis Ford Coppola, but heralded the last days of an era of studio filmmaking where control over the film remained in the hands of the filmmakers. While the new Blu-ray looks absolutely gorgeous - a remastering on par with Coppola's high-definition versions of the 'Godfather' films, if not the best transfers in the medium's history – how does 'Apocalypse Now' hold up as a film, set apart from its off screen history?