Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now quotes

79 total quotes (ID: 44)

Captain Benjamin L. Willard
Chief Phillips
Colonel Walter E. Kurtz
Jay "Chef" Hicks
Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore
Multiple Characters
Photojournalist


General Corman: Well, you see Willard... In this war, things get confused out there, power, ideals, the old morality, and practical military necessity. Out there with these natives it must be a temptation to be god. Because there's a conflict in every human heart between the rational and the irrational, between good and evil. The good does not always triumph. Sometimes the dark side overcomes what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature. Every man has got a breaking point. You and I have. Walter Kurtz has reached his. And very obviously, he has gone insane.


Hey, man, you don't talk to the Colonel. You listen to him. The man's enlarged my mind. He's a poet-warrior in the classic sense. I mean, sometimes he'll, uh, well, you'll say "Hello" to him, right? And he'll just walk right by you, and he won't even notice you. And suddenly he'll grab you, and he'll throw you in a corner, and he'll say "Do you know that 'if' is the middle word in life? 'If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you'..." – I mean, I'm no, I can't – I'm a little man, I'm a little man, he's, he's a great man. I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas – I mean –...(Note: This is a variation on T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, with the 'If you can keep your head...' a quote from Rudyard Kipling's If)

Willard: Who's in charge here, soldier?
Infantryman: Ain't you?
...
Willard: Soldier, do you know who's in command here?
The Roach: Yeah. [turns away]

Colonel Lucas: Your mission is to proceed up the Nung River in a Navy patrol boat. Pick up Colonel Kurtz's path at Nu Mung Ba, follow it and learn what you can along the way. When you find the Colonel, infiltrate his team by whatever means available and terminate the Colonel's command.
Willard: Terminate?..... the Colonel?
General Corman: He's out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct. And he is still in the field commanding troops.
Jerry (CIA Civilian): Terminate..... with extreme prejudice.
Colonel Lucas: You understand, Captain, that this mission does not exist, nor will it ever exist.

I went down that river once when I was a kid. There's a place in the river.. I can't remember... Must have been a gardenia plantation at one time. All wild and overgrown now, but for about five miles you'd think that heaven just fell on the earth in the form of gardenias...

We must kill them. We must incinerate them. Pig after pig. Cow after cow. Village after village. Army after army. And they call me an assassin. What do you call it when the assassins accuse the assassin? They lie. They lie, and we have to be merciful, for those who lie. Those nabobs. I hate them. I do hate them.

Chef: How come all you guys sit on your helmets?
Soldier: So we don't get our balls blown off.
[Chef laughs a little, seems to think for a second and then sits on his helmet]

Any man brave enough to fight with his guts strapped on him can drink from my canteen anyday.

Willard: Could we, uh, talk to Colonel Kurtz?
Photojournalist: Hey, man, you don't talk to the Colonel. You listen to him. The man's enlarged my mind. He's a poet-warrior in the classic sense. I mean, sometimes he'll, uh, well, you'll say hello to him, right? And he'll just walk right by you, and he won't even notice you. And suddenly he'll grab you, and he'll throw you in a corner, and he'll say "Do you know that 'if' is the middle word in life? 'If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you'..." I mean, I'm no, I can't – I'm a little man, I'm a little man, he's, he's a great man. I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas ... (Note: The last sentences here reference first Rudyard Kipling's poem If— and then T.S. Eliot's poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.)

How many people had I already killed? There was those six that I know about for sure. Close enough to blow their last breath in my face. But this time it was an American and an officer. That wasn't supposed to make any difference to me, but it did. Shit ... charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500. I took the mission. What the hell else was I gonna do? But, I really didn't know what I'd do when I found him.

Late summer-autumn 1968: Kurtz's patrols in the highlands coming under frequent ambush. The camp started falling apart ... November: Kurtz orders the assassination of three Vietnamese men and one woman. Two of the men were Colonels in the South Vietnamese army. Enemy activity in his old sector dropped off to nothing. Guess he must have hit the right four people. The army tried one last time to bring him back into the fold. And if he pulled over, it all would have been forgotten. But he kept going, and he kept winning it his way, and they called me in. They lost him. He was gone. Nothing but rumors and random intelligence, mostly from captured VC. The VC knew his name by now, and they were scared of him. He and his men were playing hit and run all the way into Cambodia.

Kurtz: Did they say why, Willard, why they want to terminate my command?
Willard: I was sent on a classified mission, sir.
Kurtz: It's no longer classified, is it? Did they tell you?
Willard: They told me that you had gone totally insane, and that your methods were unsound.
Kurtz: Are my methods unsound?
Willard: I don't see any method at all, sir.
Kurtz: I expected someone like you. What did you expect? Are you an assassin?
Willard: I'm a soldier.
Kurtz: You're neither. You're an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill.

Roxanne: Do you know why you can never step into the same river twice?
Willard: Yeah, 'cause it's always moving.

Willard: How long has this kid been on this boat?
Chief Phillips: Seven months.
Willard: He's really specializing in busting my balls.
Chief Phillips: Very possible, Captain, he thinks the same of you ...
Willard: Oh yeah? And what you think, Chief?
Chief Phillips: I don't think! My orders say I'm not supposed to know where I'm taking this boat, so I don't! But one look at you and I know it's gonna be hot, wherever it is. (Brief pause)
Willard: We're going about 70 klicks above the Do Lung bridge.
Chief Phillips: That's Cambodia, Captain.
Willard: That's classified. We're not supposed to be in Cambodia, but that's where I'm going. You just get me close to my destination, and I cut you and the crew loose.
Chief Phillips: All right, Captain.

The crew were mostly just kids. Rock 'n' rollers with one foot in their graves.