Original screenplay by John Milius.
Inspired by Joseph Conrad’s “HEART OF DARKNESS”.
This draft by Francis Ford Coppola.
December 3, 1975.
1 PRIMEVAL SWAMP – EARLY DAWN
It is very early in the dawn – blue light filters through
the jungle and across a foul swamp. A mist clings to the
trees. This could be the jungle of a million years ago.
Our VIEW MOVES CLOSER, through the mist, TILTING DOWN to
the tepid water. A small bubble rises to the surface;
then another. Suddenly, but quietly, a form begins to
emerge; a helmet. Water and mud pour off revealing a set
of beady eyes just above the mud. Printed on a helmet,
in a psychedelic hand, are the words: “Gook Killer.”
The head emerges revealing that the tough-looking soldier
beneath has exceptionally long hair and beard; he has no
shirt on, only bandoliers of ammunition – his body is
painted in an odd camouflage pattern. He looks to the
right; he looks to the left; he looks INTO CAMERA, and
slowly sinks back into the swamp, disapperaring completely.
Our VIEW HOLDS, We begin to HEAR natural, though
unrecognizable JUNGLE SOUNDS, far off in the distance.
We PAN TO REVEAL a clump of logs half submerged in the
swamp; and part of what seems to be a Falstaff beer can
in the mud. A hand reaches out, and the beer can disappears.
As we TILT UP, we NOTICE that the log is hollow
and houses the rear of a M-60 machine gun, hand painted
in a paisley design.
Now the VIEW MOVES AWAY, ACROSS the ancient growth, PAST
the glimmer of what seems to be another soldier hiding in
ambush, wearing an exotic hat made from birds and bushes.
ACROSS to a dark trail where the legs of those in black
pajamas move silently across our ever TIGHTENING VIEW.
Their feet, boots and sandals leave no impression; make
no sound. A slight flicker of light reveals a pair of
eyes in the foliage across the path, waiting and watching.
The VIEW PUSHES ALONG WITH the Vietnamese, MOVING FASTER
AND FASTER WITH them, until suddenly, directly in front
about ten feet away, an enormous AMERICAN clad in rags
and bushes and holding a 12 gauge automatic shotgun
casually at his side, steps in front of them. He smiles
laconically, and BLASTS OUT FIVE SHOTS that rip THROUGH
- By the second shot, the whole jungle blazes out
with AUTOMATIC FIRE.
Out VIEW TURNS as the men around us are thrown and torn,
screaming and scattering into the jungle. More AMERICANS
appear; unexplainably, out of the growth. It is now that
we fully SEE the bizarre manner in which they are dressed.
Some wear helmets, others wear strange hats made from
feathers and parts of animals. Some of them have long
savage-looking hair; other crew-cut or completely shaved;
they wear bandoliers, flak jackets, shorts and little else.
They wear Montagnard sandals or no shoes at all, and their
bodies and faces are painted in bizarre camouflage patterns.
They appear one with the jungle and mist, FIRING INTO US
as they move.
The soldier we saw earlier emerges from the swamp, dripping
mud, his MACHINE GUN BLASTING FIRE.
We begin to move quickly with one Vietnamese, breathlessly
running for his life; we MOVE INTO the jungle with him,
only to be impaled on a large spear of a smiling AMERICAN
painted and wearing feathers like an Indian. OUR VIEW
FALLS WITH him to the ground, STARING UPWARDS, as FLAME
and EXPLODING MUD scatter above us. Men scream and die
around us. The screams amid the GUNFIRE and EXPLOSIONS
are piercing and terrible, as though the jungle itself is
An AMERICAN wearing a jungle hat with a large Peace Sign
on it, wearing war paint, bends TOWARD US, reaching down
TOWARD US with a large knife, preparing to scalp the
OUR VIEW MOVES AWAY, along with the running sandals of a
Vietnamese soldier, MOVING FASTER AND FASTER, only to be
stopped by still another of the savage-looking AMERICANS
with primitive ornamentation, wearing only a loin-cloth
and green beret. He opens his flame-thrower directly ON US
and the NVA soldier and we are incinerated in flame,
bright psychedelic orange-red flame. Outrageous, loud,
electric ROCK MUSIC OVERWHELMS the SOUNDTRACK :
MAIN TITLE : APOCALYPSE NOW
2 TITLE SEQUENCE
The CREDIT TITLES proceed as the FLANE CONSUME US,
growing more intense, brighter, more vivid, purifying;
transforming into an intense white heat that we can barely
look at, like the sun itself.
Then it EXPLODES, breking apart, and shattering once
again. It begins to cool, as the TITLES CONTINUE. It
is as though WE ARE MOVING through the white center of
cooling flame, forming a spinning web, and becoming more
distant. The TITLES CONTINUE.
We are MOVING TOWARD planetary nebulae; MOVING through the
stars; MOVING closer to the Earth. We can BARELY HEAR the
We MOVE CLOSER to the earth; beautiful, covered in clouds,
as though SEEN from a satellite. The TITLES CONTINUE.
We are MOVING CLOSER to the earth; through the soft clouds,
close enough that we can MAKE OUT the Western Hemisphere;
CLOSER to North America; CLOSER, to America, then California;
Los Angeles, STILL CLOSER to the odd, finger-like
shapes of :
3 EXT. MARINA DEL REY
The VIEW finally SETTLES ON a partically luxury cabin
cruiser harbored at a particular dock late in the day.
It is large, pleasure boat: The people are relaxing in
bathing suits and towels and robes. They are drinking
cocktails, and snapping pictures. The boat belongs to the
head of a large American Corporation, and this is his
party. This man, CHARLIE, is sitting, his shirt off to
catch some of the late sun. Others have their faces
smeared with white suntan oil that reminds us of war
paint. Charlie is going on and on :
… It’s crazy — sugar is up to
200 dollars a ton — sugar !
What about oil ?
Food, oil –look, let me show you
something. This is the economy of
the United States in two years —
He takes a newspaper, draws a circle.
This is West Germany.
(he draws another,
This is Japan.
(another , bigger)
This is Italy.
This is Iran.
(a very big circle)
And this is Saudi Arabia… In
two years ?
(a gigantic circle)
Do you understand ?
What’s to prevent it ?
Maybe nothing. But I’ll tell you,
I didn’t build a two-billion-dollar
company in the last twenty years
by doing nothing. We can protect
(pause, for a drink)
We are still the most powerful
nation in the world. Militarily.
He leans to his associates, in a half-whisper.
You know bodyguard; he was a
captain in Viet Nam. You talk to
him, except he won’t talk. This
kind of man can kill you with his
pinky. A nice quiet fella, though.
The VIEW BEGINS TO PULL AWAY from this group.
Carries a attache case at all
times. You know what’s in it ?
An Ingram Machine pistol.
Gradually, Charlie’s voice softens as we MOVE AWAY, and a
NEW VOICE, the voice of someone thinking, COMES IN OVER it :
CHARLIE WILLARD (V.O.)
I don’t tahe chances, and Bullshit. You can kill
neither should this country. with the ridge of your
If we’re strong, we should hand to the throat; you
protect our interests, and can crush a skull with
we should have the respect your knee… but you
of the world, even if it can’t kill anybody with
takes another war. your pinky.
The VIEW MOVE ALONG the guests of this small party :
Pictures being taken, some people are swimming. It is the
good life. Now WILLARD’S VOICE TRACK DOMINATES.
The attache case has been empty
for three years, but it makes him
safe to think there’s a machine
pistol in it.
I don’t like automatic weapons.
I saw a friend of mine get
ripped open because he flicked his
M-16 to automatic, and it jammed.
How much money did the contractors
make on the M-16 ?
Our VIEW IS MOVING through the people on the boat; some
reading, flirting, drinking.
He likes to hear stories about Nam.
I tell him I can’t; they’re not
cleared. The truth is he wouldn’t
We can now SEE A MAN with his BACK TO US, looking the
opposite way. An attache case resting near to him. We
There’s no way I can tell them…
what really happened over there.
I wouldn’t’ve believed it if
someone’d told me.
We are now RESTING on his back. Occasionally, he sips
from a beer, but we cannot see his face.
There was only one part that
mattered — for me, anyway. I
don’t even know if I remember
all of it. I can’t remember
how it ended, exactly — because
when it ended I was insane.
DISSOLVE TO :
4 EXT. A STREET IN SAIGON – DAY
A Saigon boom street in late 1968. There are bars and
shops for servicemen; the rickshaws, the motorbikes.
Our VIEW MOVES TOWARD one particular officer; B.L.
WILLARD , in uniform, a Captain of the Airborne, followed
by four or five Vietnamese kids trying to shine his
shoes and sell him things.
But I know how it started
for me — I was on R. and R.
in Saigon; my first time south
of the DMZ in three months. I
wasn’t sure, but I thought this
guy was following me.
Willard looks back.
5 HIS VIEW
an American CIVILIAN.
6 MED. VIEW
Willard ducks into a bar.
7 INT. THE SAIGON BAR – DAY
Not much in this place — a bar, linoleum flooring, a few
tables and chairs, and a juke box. The lounge is fairly
crowded. Willard takes off his cap and walks quietly
past the soldiers at the bar. Some of them, catching
sight of his ribbons, stop talking as he moves by.
An INFANTRY CAPTAIN enters the bar, buys a couple of
drinks and approaches Willard’s table.
How about a drink ?
He sits down at the table with the drinks.
Winning the war by yourself.
(he calls for the waiter)
Which part is that ?
(TO THE WAITER)
Beer, with ice and water.
That’s good gin.
I’m sure it is, but I had hepatitis.
Yeah. Way north.
What unit were you with ?
The JUKE BOX starts BLARING. Annoyed , Willard looks over
Were you Longe Range Recon —
No — I worked too far north for
He reaches into his shirt pocket for a cigarette, and the
Captain leans over the table to light it for him. Willard
notices the CIVILIAN on the street has glanced in the bar,
then enters and sits down at a table by the doorway.
That’s quite an array of ribbons…
Let’s talk about you.
I was an FO for the 25th.
Fat. That’s real fat.
At least you always have enough
water. How many gallons does
each one of those damn things
Thirty — sometimes fifty.
You know, I can remember once,
getting back below the DMZ — and
the first Americans we ran into
were a track squadron. I just
couldn’t believe how much water
they had. We’d been chewing
bamboo shoots for almost a week,
and before that, for two weeks,
we’d been drinking anything —
rain water, river shit, stuff
right out of the paddies. And
there were these guys standing
by their trucks spilling water
all over. I could’ve killed them.
I swear to God I would have, too,
I didn’t know we had units up
there in North Vietnam.
How long were you up there ?
A long time.
A year ? Waiter another beer.
I go up on missions. Listen
Captain, buy me all the beer
you want, but you better tell
that asshole over there you’re
not going to find out anymore
Willard glances over his shoulder and indicates the
Civilian. The Civilian is given a sign by the Captain.
He rises and comes over to the bar.
What do you want ?
(indicating the Army jeep)
If you’re B.L. Willard, 4th Recon
Group, we’d like you to come with
Whose orders ?
Headquarters 11 Corps — 405th
A.S.A Battalion — S-2 —
Com-Sec — Intelligence —
Who are you ?
Willard looks at the Civilian a moment, and then walks
roght out toward the jeep without saying another word.
The Civilian follows.
8 EXT. HELICOPTER – DUSK
A darkly painted “HUEY” ROARS over low paddies and jungle
before emerging onto an open plain. It crosses a barbed
wire and sand-bagged perimeter and lands in a heavily
fortified, concealed compound.
They took me to some place outside
Nha Trang… Intelligence Headquarters
for all operations in South East Asia.
I’d worked for Intelligence before —
Armed men jump from the Huey — among them Willard. A
large camouflaged cover is moved, revealing an underground
corridor — they enter.
9 FULL SHOT – UNDERGROUND PLOTTING ROOM
A door swings wide — Willard steps through and comes to
attention, blocking the view of the room. A strange
reddish light pervades. The room is covered with plastic
maps and filled with smoke.
The whole place has been hewn out of the ground itself
and there is a sense of the cut-back jungle growth slowly
Captain B.L. Willard, G-4 Headquarters,
reporting as ordered, sir.
Okay, Willard, sit down.
Willard sits in a chair that is set in a center of a
bare concrete floor. Across from him, around steel desks
and tables sit several men. The nearest one, a COLONEL
puts his cigar out on the bottom of his shoe — behind
him sits a MAJOR and a seedy-looking CIVILIAN.
Have you ever seen this officer
before, Captain Willard ?
He points to the Major.
This gentleman or myself ?
I believe on your last job you
executed a tax collector in Kontum,
is that right ?
I am not presently disposed to
discuss that, sir.
He turns to the Colonel and nods his approval. The
Colonel gets up and goes to a large plastic map.
You know much about about Special Forces;
Green Berets, Captain ?
I’ve worked with them on occasions
and I saw the movie , sir.
The officer smiles at this.
Then you can appreciate Command’s
concern over their — shall we say
‘erratic’ methods of operation.
I have never favored elite units,
Captain, including your paratroopers
or whatever. Just because a man
jumps out of an airplane or wears
a silly hat doesn’t give him any
priviliges in my book — not in
this man’s army.
We didn’t need ’em in Korea —
no sir, give me an Ohio farm boy
and an M-1 Garand, none of this
fancy crap — no sir.
We have Special Forces A
detachments all along the
Cambodian border. Two here and
another one here — twelve or
fourteen Americans — pretty
much on their own; they train
and motivate Montagnard natives;
pick their own operations. If
they need something, they call
for it, and get it within
reason. What we’re concerned
with is here.
10 CLOSE VIEW – ON THE MAP
The A detachment at Nu Mung Ba.
It was originally a larger base,
built up along the river in an
old Cambodian fortress.
The area has been relatively
quiet for the past two years —
11 MED VIEW
… Captain, we know something’s
going on up there — Major —
The Major looks at some papers in front of him.
Communications naturally dwindled
with the lack of V.C. activity,
this is routine, expected … but
six months ago communication
About the same time — large numbers
of Montagnards of the M’Nong descent
began leaving the area — this in
itself is not unusual since these
people have fought with the Rhade
Tribe that lived in the area for
centuries. But what is unusual is
that we began to find Rhade refugees
too — in the same sampans as the
M’Nongs. These people aren’t afraid
of V.C. They’ve put up with war
for twenty years — but something
is driving them out.
We communicate with the base
infrequently. What they call for
are air strikes, immediate —
always at night. And we don’t
know what or who the air strikes
are called on.
You see, no one has really gone
into this area and come back alive.
Why me ?
Walter Kurtz, Lieutenant Colonel,
Special Forces. We understand
you knew him.
He puts Kurtz’ dossier in Willard’s hand.
He’s commanding the detachment
at Nu Mung Ba.
The Colonel gets up and walks over to a tape recorder,
flicks it on. The recording is first STATIC — the
AIR CONTROLLER then asks for more information on target
coordinates — it all sounds very routine, military.
Then a frantic VOICE comes on, talking slurred, like
someone dumb, except very fast.
VOICE (ON TAPE)
Up 2 — 0 — give it to me quick —
Mark flare — affirmative damn —
Immediate receive — hearing
automatic weapons fire man …
GUNFIRE is HEARD and a lower, slower VOICE in background.
Blue Delta five
This Big Rhine — three
Need that ordinance immediately
Goddamn give it to me immediate
Christ — Big Rhino —
Blue God — Delta damn — goddamn.
A heavy BURST of AUTOMATIC WEAPONS FIRE — INSANE LAUGHTER
— STATIC, and faintly, very faintly we HEAR HARD ROCK
MUSIC — more STATIC — suddenly a low, clear VOICE
peaceful and serene, almost tasting the words.
This is Big Rhino six — Blue Delta.
That’s Colonel Kurtz.
I want that napalm dropped in the
trees — spread it among the
We’ll give you a flare — an
orange one — bright orange.
We’d also like some white phosporous,
Blue Delta. White phosporous, give
it to me.
STATIC interrupts — the Major turns the machine off.
I only met Kurtz once.
Would he remember you ?
What was your impression of him ?
You didn’t like him.
Anyone got a cigarette.
The Major offers him one; they wait as he lights up, thinks.
I thought he was a lame.
A lame ?
This is years ago, before he
joined Special Forces, I guess.
We had an argument.
About what ?
I don’t know. He was a lame,
But why ?
He couldn’t get through a
sentence without all these
big words; about why we kill.
Well, he’s killing now.
What does that mean ?
Maybe it’s not Kurtz. I don’t
believe he’s capable of that.
I just don’t believe it.
It’s got to be Kurtz.
The point is that Kurtz or
somebody attacked a South
Vietnamese Ranger Platoon three
days ago. Last week a Recon
helicopter was lost in the area —
another took heavy damage —
direct fire from their base
Our Recon flight ?
You can see, of course, the
implications, if any of this —
even rumours leaked out.
You want me to clean it up —
simple and quiet.
Exactly — you’ll go up the
Nung River in a Navy P.B.R. —
appear at Nu Mung Ba as if by
accident, re-establish your
acquintance with Colonel Kurtz,
find out what’s happened — and
why. Then terminate his command.
Terminate with extreme prejudice.
12 FULL VIEW – ON THE DELTA
A waterway leading out to the ocean — it is broken and
divided into hundreds of channels, islands, water farms.
A Navy patrol boat (P.B.R.) is waiting by a dock area.
This is small, light craft, very fast, and heavily
armed. Its men stand at attention in a small and simple
military ceremony. Willard approaches them in battle-
dress: Tiger suit, full field pack, forty-five, helmet,
M-16. The boat commander salutes Willard.
13 MED. VIEW
We hear the introductions faintly, UNDER Willard’s VOICE.
I met the P.B.R. crew; they were
pretty much all kids, except for
Phillips, the Chief — Gunner’s
Mate Third Class L. Johnson —
Lance Johnson; Gunner’s Mate
Third Class J. Hicks — The Chef —
Radio Operator Second Class T.
Miller; they called him Mr. Clean.
Chief, try to keep out of where
we’re going — Why we’re goin’ and
what’s gonna be the big surprise.
All right with me, I used to drive
The Chief nods. They all break formation and jump aboard
and otherwise go about their work.
The twin diesels kick up — and t he boat moves away from
the dock. The Chef jumps aboard; Lance mans the forward
twin fifty-caliber machine guns — they wave to the guards
on the dock and move away into the complexity that leads
to the ocean.
DISSOLVE TO :
14 FULL VIEW – STORMY SEA
The boat slams through the heavy sea ; hurtling off the
top of a wave and crashing full into the trough of another.
15 MED. SHOT – BOAT COCKPIT – WILLARD AND CHIEF
Willard holds on to whatever he can — he looks very pale.
Water crashes over the bow and drenches everyone. The
Chief mans the wheel and the ENGINES WHINE. Lance climbs
back from his position. He looks at Willard, who just
stares ahead into space, swallowing.
DISSOLVE TO :
16 LONG SHOT – BOAT DUSK
The dusk is spectacular through the broken storm clouds —
the sea is calm again.
DISSOLVE TO :
17 VIEW ON THE BOAT – PROCEEDING UP THE COAST
The Chief is at the helm — Willard approaches him.
The Delta closes off to us about
ten miles out of Hau Fat. We’ll
be able to pick up some supplies —
bit I think there are only two
points we can draw enough water
to get into the Nung River. It’s
all Charlie’s turf from there on
We’re gonna have some help to
get in the river. You know
these waters, Chief ?
‘Bout six months ago I took a man
up to Lo Mung Bridge. He was
regular Army too. Shot himself
in the head. I brought his body
Shot himself. What for ?
Beats me — the sun was too much
for him, or the mud. Who knows ?
Pause, looking at Willard.
18 CLOSE SHOT – ON WILLARD
Suddenly, his attention is diverted — there is a slow
buffeting, as if the air around them is being sucked out
and replaced quickly. The boat shakes slightly. There
is a distant ROLLING NOISE like interrupted thunder. All
the men have stopped whatever they’re doing — stand up
and look out toward the shore and the green jungle hills
beyond. The buffeting and NOISE CONTINUES — they all
stand silently — suddenly it stops.
I hate that — Every time I hear
that noise something terrible
Anybody see some smoke ?
Too far inland.
There they are.
He points up to the sky.
19 FULL SHOT – ON THE SKY
Way up — past any clouds and barely discernible, we SEE
the black silhouttes of four B-52 bombers, their vapor
trails streaming white against the dark blue sky.
Charlie don’t ever hear ’em. Not
till it’s too late — don’t have
to hit you neither, concussion’ll
do it for a quarter mile or better.
Burst your ears — suck the air
outta your lungs.
20 FULL SHOT – BOAT – CREW
They are looking up. Willard sits down, unconcerned.
He takes out the dossier given him by ComSec. He
flips through the letters and other documents.
The dossier on A detachment had
letters from Kurtz’ wife and the
wives and families of his men.
All asking where to send future
mail, understanding the necessery
silence due to the nature of
their work — None of the men had
written home in half a year.
Occasionally, in the b.g., we FEEL the terrifying buffeting
of the distant B-52 BOMBING.
21 CLOSE – ON WILLARD
studying, examining a report.
22 MONTAGE – PICTURES OF KURTZ
Kurtz’ face evolves through the various stages of his
career as represented in the pictures in the dossier,
as Willard reads :
Lieutenant Kurtz has shown a
dedicated and well-disciplined
spirit. He is a fine officer,
combining military efficiency —
with a broad background in the
Humanities, the Arts and Sciences …
Another picture of Kurtz in Germany, standing next to the
161st Petroleum Supply Group sign.
… He views his military career
as the dedication of his talents
to bringing our values and way of
life to those darker, less
fortunate areas in the world.
A SHOT of Kurtz at jump school.
… I feel Captain Kurtz’ request
for Special Forces training is
highly unusual in regard to his
past humanitarian concerns, and
his somewhat liberal politics,
though I can see no reason to
A CLOSE SHOT of Kurtz with Green Beret on in the Vietnam
jungle. His face is blank and vacant.
… We feel Major Kurtz’ need to
bring a sense of Western culture
to the backward peoples of these
areas will be of use in
accordance with our ‘Vietnamization’
MOVE IN TO Kurtz’ empty eyes until the photograph is just
a BLURRED MASS OF DOTS.
DISSOLVE TO :
23 EXT. HAU FAT – AN ADVANCE STAGING AREA
One day later we came to an
advanced staging area along the
coast. This was our last chance
to pick up supplies before
approaching the mouth of the
The VIEW OF THE COASTLINE leading up along the long load-
ing docks at Hau Fat, an advance staging area for opera-
tions “Brute Force” and “Mailed Fist.”
Everywhere are tents — oil drums — sandbagged bunkers —
helicopters — tanks — guns — men. Nobody builds
advanced staging areas like the Americans.
As the P.B.R. approaches the docking area, Lance notices
They look as a Chris-craft speeds by pulling a fancy water-
skier who waves as he slaloms by. The men just look at
24 VIEW ON THE DOCK
The P.B.R. pulls in — the men scan the busy surroundings.
Lance — I want you to go with the
Captain an’ get three extra drums
of fuel and maybe scrounge some
more 50 caliber.
Yeah — look at those uniforms.
25 FULL SHOT – PARADE GROUNDS – TROOPS
A platoon drills in the hot, lazy sun; they are clean and
pale, in contrast to Lance and the others, just off the
Poor bastards, have a long year
The troops turn and march TOWARD US with six weeks of
Advanced Infantry Training to back them up.
26 FULL SHOT – DOCK – P.B.R. – CREW
They are tying up at the dock — a young SERGEANT is fill-
ing cut papers concerning them and talking with Willard.
I don’t know anything about these
They’re in order — it’s perfectly
clean — just check with ComSec-
Intel like I said.
Well, you know I don’t have the
priority to do that, sir. It
says here not to contact Com-Sec-
Int. Who’s your commanding
Right now — I am.
Well who the hell verifies that ?
He signs it quickly, leaving the Sergeant totally confused.
No shit — what’s all the activity
for around here ?
The show —
What show ?
Big show in the parade grounds
this noon — some boss stuff —
This — Bob Hope or the like —
No sir, I think — this’ll be a
little bit different —
Where’s it gonna be ?
He points —
27 FULL SHOT – PARADE GROUNDS – PEDESTAL
A large, well-built pedestal has been erected — this is
surrounded by a deep moat filled with punji stakes and
garnished with concertina wire. It is empty —
DISSOLVE TO :
28 FULL SHOT – PARADE GROUNDS – TROOPS
The entire area around the pedestal and right up to the
wire is mobbed with seething American fighting men. Some
of these boys have just gotten here — others have been in
the jungle for months. All have one thing in common, to
see and if possible grab an American girl. Their need far
surpasses that of the run-of-the-mill rapist, pervert,
or child-molester. To counter their need of course are
the moat, punji stakes and barbed wire — but implementing
this are seven “riot control positions” equipped with the
lastest in teargas launchers, attack-trained German shep-
herds and assorted psychological warfare aides. Even so
armed, the great mass of wild men are right up to the wire.
29 FORWARD AREA
jammed in the crowd
It’s really too much — I mean
I’ve collected every picture of
her since she was Miss December.
Yeah — you can really get hung
up on them like the cat in the
What cat ?
One that went up for murder — he
was an Army Sergeant.
I never heard about that.
Yeah — he really dug his Playboy
mag, man — I mean like he was there
when it arrived — He just knew.
So what happened ?
He was working A.R.V.N. patrols
and had one a them little cocky
gook asshole Lieutenants — anyhow,
the Lieutenant took his new Playboy
one day, sat on the end of the dock,
and wouldn’t give it back.
Yeah — typical A.R.V.N.
Then went too far — he sat
there and starts mutilating the
centerfold. Poking pins in her an’
all that. Sergeant says, don’t do
her like that. You leave your
shitty little hands off that girl.
Gook Lieutenant says Fuck you in
Vietnamese — Sergeant says, don’t
do that again. You’ll wish you
hadn’t. Then he stood up, flicked
his iron to rock and roll and gave
the little zero a long burst
through the Playboy mag. Man, it
blew him clean off the dock —
Hell, just the magazine was floatin’
there all full of holes.
They nail him for it bad ?
He’s in the L.B.J. — didn’t
give him no medals or nothing —
In the b.g., we begin to HEAR a SWELL of TWO THOUSAND
MALE VOICES; the ENGINES of four helicopters approaching.
All heads turn skywards while one descends onto the
pedestal kicking up a lot of dust and general resentment.
On the nose amd doors of the black Huey are painted large
Playboy rabbits. Finally the blades are trimmed and a
strange silence descends over the men. The door of the
copter slides partially open — two young Green Berets
step out with M-16’s to varied catcalls. When this
abates a young, extremelly well-dressed man emerges. He
is the epitome of a Hollywood AGENT. Hair is combed
impeccably and free of dandruff — clothes are formal
but hip — shoes are shined — Quite some dude — his
presence causes some stirring but seems to strangely
quiet the man.
He walks over to the microphone.
I’d like to say hello from all of
us up here, to all of you out there.
All of you who’ve worked so hard
during Operation Brute Force —
Paratroopers — Infantry — Airmen
— Medics — Marines — and Sailors.
And I want you to know that we feel
proud of you and know how hard your
job is. To prove it — we’ve brought
some entertainment we think you’re
gonna like: The Playmate of the Year
and her two runners up !
He pulls open the door and three unbelieveably beautiful
sex playmates in fringed go-go outfits leap out and start
dancing to the Creedence Clearwater Revival singing
30 MONTAGE ON THE GIRLS AND MEN
VARIOUS SHOTS as the girls dance in an incredibly erotic
manner — smiling.
The faces of the G.I.’s pass — their jaws drop — some
look almost horrified. Chef is hypnotized — Mr. Clean
cries. Chief mouths unspoken obscenities with sentimental
Others grab the air in front of them. With each movement
their need increases by the square.
31 FULL SHOT – PEDESTAL – GIRLS – MEN
They crush forward starting to scream — men fall on the
wire — the guards in the “riot control positions” forget
— the attack dogs are trampled. The mob as one surges
forward onto the wire. Men scream and fall into the moat,
which is filling up fast. The Agent sees this all as he
has seen it before. He casually pulls the pin of a smoke
grenade; the girls retreat into the copter — he follows,
then the two Green Berets. The ROTARS WHINE — the black
Playboy Huey lifts off just as the first crazed men reach
- They grab frantically for the wheels, but miss. The
Huey wheels up into the blue sky, leaving them all below.
Such are the ways of war.
32 EXT. FULL VIEW – DAY
The P.B.R. moving further up the primitive coastline.
There are few signs of civilization; no villages, no
boats — just the overwhelming presence of the jungle.
Two days out of Hau Fat, there was
nothing but us and the coastline.
I felt like I had set off for
the center of the earth…
Suddenly, Chief looks out, ahead.
They all turn. Chief points up the coast.
33 FULL SHOT – THE COASTLINE
A thick train of black smoke rises from the green jungle.
Black smoke … secondary burning.
The Chief grabs field glasses.
Yeah — fishing village —
helicopters over there. Hueys,
lots of ’em.
First Air Cavalry. They’re the
ones gonna get us into the River.
34 FULL SHOT – THE BEACH AND VILLAGE
A vast field of devastation — smashed and smoking palm
trees — deep, ragged craters — gutted and burning huts
— shattered sampans and bodies washing around in the
35 MED. SHOT – BEACH – WILLARD AND CREW
They wade through the water to the beach where they are
met by a heavily armed group of men.
Overhead jets swoop by FIRING ROCKETS, the NOISE drowning
out Willard’s attempt at conversation with some of the men.
We can’t hear any of the talk, but we notice that the
Sergeant turns up to a particular Huey, and points to it.
36 FULL SHOT – HELICOPTERS
Three Hueys swoop in low — they are heavily laden with
machine guns — rockets and loudspeakers. The two out-
side copters hover, while the center copter lands, raising
a lot of dust. It cuts its rotors and the other copters
pull up and off to the side. Two armed soldiers jump
from the doors and stand with guns ready. Then a tall,
strong looking man emerges. He wears a well-cut and
neatly-stretched tiger suit. It is COLONEL WILLIAM KILGORE
— tough looking, well-tanned, with a black mustache.
He crouches over, holding his hat in the rotor wash. It
is no ordinary hat but a L.A. Dodgers baseball hat. He
walks out, and then stards to his full immense height and
with his hands on his hips he surveys the field of battle.
His eyes are obscured by mirror-fronted sunglasses.
Lieutenant: Bomb that tree line
back about a hundred yards — give
me some room to breathe.
A Lieutenant and radio man nod and rush off.
37 CLOSE VIEW ON WILLARD
He was not quite prepared for this.
38 VIEW ON KILGORE
turning to his GUARDS
Bring me some cards.
Body cards, you damn fool —
The soldier rushes over and hands him two brand new
packages of playing cards wrapped in plastic. Two other
soldiers get out of the copter and walk over. They are
well-tanned and carry no weapons. They seem more casual
about the Colonel than anyone else. The Sergeant walks
up, leading Willard, the Chief and Lance.
Captain B-L. Willard, sir — 4th
Recon Group — I carry priority
papers from Com-Sec Intelligence
11 Corp — I believe you understand
the nature of my mission.
(not looking up)
Yeah — Na Trang told me to
expect you — we’ll see what we
can do. Just stay out of my way
till this is done, Captain.
He cracks the plastic wrapping sharply — takes out the
deck of new cards and fans them. The Colonel strides
right past Willard with no further acknowledgement. The
39 TRACKING VIEW
The Colonel walks through the shell-pocked field of
devastation. Soldiers gather around smiling; as Kilgore
comes to each V.C. corpse he drops a playing card on
it — carefully picking out which card he uses.
Six a spades — eight a hearts —
Isn’t one worth a Jack in this
The Colonel goes on about this business.
40 TRACKING ON KILGORE
moving through the corpses, dropping the cards.
On of the two tanned soldiers rushes up and whispers
something to him. He stops.
What ? Here. You sure?
The soldier points to Lance, who immediately puts down
the card he was holding. Kilgore strides over to the
young man, who almost instinctively moves closer t
What’s your name, sailor ?
Gunner’s Mate, Third Class —
- Johnson, sir.
Lance Johnson? The surfer?
That’s right, sir.
Kilgore smiles — sticks out his hand.
It’s an honor to meet you Lance.
I’ve admired your nose-riding for
years — I like your cutback, too.
I think you have the best cutback
Thank you, sir.
You can cut out the sir, Lance —
I’m Bill kilgore — I’m a goofy
41 VIEW ON WILLARD
His entire, top priority mission has been put in the
This is Mike from San Diego and
Johnny from Malibu — they’re good
solid surfers — none of us are
anywhere near your class, though.
Lance blushes, sort of mumbling thanks.
My orders are from Com-Sec
Intel — B.L. Willard, 4th Recon —
Just hold up a second, Captain —
I’ll get to you soon enough —
We’ve got things to do here.
Willard eats it, for now. Kilgore puts his hand on
Lance’s shoulder, and continues flipping the cards in-
discriminately on the bodies as they talk.
… we do a lot of surfing around
here. Like to finish up operations
early and fly down to Vung Tau for
the evening glass. Have you ever
surfed the point at Vung Tau? I
liked the beach breaks around Na
Trang a lot — good lefts.
He passes a twisted gun emplacement with about five
bodies — sprinkles cards all over them.
… we keep three boards in my
Command Huey at all times. You
never can tell when you’re gonna
run into something good. I got a
guy in Cam Rau Bay that can predict
a swell two days in advance. We
try to work it in.
He stops at a particularly wild-looking Viet Cong who
has died with his mouth agape — staring wild-eyed in
horror at the sky. Kilgore pauses.
(continuing; to himself)
Hell, that’s an Ace if I ever saw
He puts the card in the gaping mouth.
42 CLOSE VIEW OVER THE VIET CONG
We SEE the Colonel and the others walk off — the dead
Viet Cong and card are in the immediate f.g. The card
has the shield of the CAV printed bautifully, and above
it the motto: DEATH FROM ABOVE.
Where’ve you been riding, Lance?
I haven’t surfed since I got here.
That’s terrible — we’ll change
that — I’d like to see you work —
I’ve always liked your cutback;
got a hell of a left turn, too.
DISSOLVE TO :
43 EXT. THE HELICOPTER – MED. SHOT
Willard is sitting with Kilgore on acouple of chairs by
a table set up in front of the command copter.
Everywhere we SEE armed men, sandbags, barbed wire, oil
drums etc. Hueys are constantly ROARING over. ARTILLERY
BOOMS in the far distance. Kilgore looks at the map.
Why the hell you wanna go up
to Nu Mung Ba for?
I got bored in Saigon.
What’s the furthest you been
Haiphong? Shit, you jump in ?
What’d you do for supplies?
Mercenaries — agents, traitors —
they put out caches.
Can you trust them?
No. They put out two or three
for every one I needed. When
you get to the one you’ll use,
you just stake it out. If
something feels wrong, you just
pass it up. On one mission, I
had to pass up three and ended
up living on rats and chocolate
Nu Mung Ba. Last I heard, Walter
Kurtz commanded a Green Beret
detachment at Nu Mung Ba.
When did you hear?
‘Bout a year ago? Is Kurtz
Seems to me he got himself
fragged. i heard some grunt
rolled a grenade in his tent.
Maybe a rumor. Helluva man —
remarkable officer. Walter
Kurtz woulda been a General
some day. General of the Army.
Shit, Head of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff. Did you knew Kurtz?
I met him.
Don’t you agree?
He musta changed !
(pointing to the map)
I got to get into the Nung
River, here or here.
That village you’re pointing at
is kinda hairy.
I mean it’s hairy — they got some
pretty heavy ordnance, boy —
I’ve lost a few recon ships in
there now and again.
So? I heard you had a good bunch
of killers here.
And I don’t intend to get some of
them chewed up just to get your
tub put in the mouth of the
goddman Nung River. You say you
don’t know Kurtz?
I met him.
You talk like him. I don’t
mind taking casualties,
Captain, but I like to keep
my ratio ten to one in this
unit — ten Cong to one.
You’ll find enough Cong up there.
What about this point here?
He puts his finger on the map.
What’s the name of that goddamn
village — Vin Drin Dop or Lop; damn gook
names all sound the same.
He motions to one of his surfers.
Mike, you know anything about
the point at Vin Drip Drop?
What do you mean?
It’s really long left slide,
breaks on the short side of the
point — catches a south swell.
Willard looks at Lance — then at Kilgore.
Why the hell didn’t you tell me
about that place — a good left.
There aren’t any good left slides
in this whole, shitty country.
It’s all goddamn beach break.
It’s hairy ,though. That’s
where we lost McDonnel — they
shot the hell out of us. It’s
How big it is?
Six to eight feet.
Kilgore gazes out across the parked helicopters.
A six-foot left.
Willard nudges Lance — who gets the idea.
Boss. What’s the wind like.
Light off shore — really hollow.
We could go in tomorrow at dawn
— there’s always off-shore wind
in the morning.
The draft of that river might be
too shallow on the point.
Hell, we’ll pick your boat up and
lay it down like a baby, right
where you want it. This is the
Cav boy — airmobile. I can
take that point and hold it as
long as I like — and you can
get anywhere you want up that
river that suits you, Captain.
Hell, a six foot left.
(he turns to an advisor)
You take a gunship back to division
— Mike, take Lance with you — let
him pick out a board, and bring me
my Yater Spoon — the eight six.
I don’t know, sir — it’s — it’s —
What is it?
Well, I mean it’s hairy in there
— it’s Charlie’s point.
Kilgore turns and looks to Willard, exasperated.
Charlie don’t surf.
44 FULL SHOT – HELICOPTERS – DAWN
What seems like hundreds of Hueys standing, their rotors
churning a great wind — Inside, the men of the 1st
Cavalry Airmobile — toughest unit in Vietnam.
Kilgore’s helicopter is being loaded with ammunition and
has surfboards strapped underneath.
45 MED. VIEW
Kilgore strides up to the side door, dressed for battle.
He looks out, around. He turns to his door GUNNER.
How do you feel, boy?
Like a mean motherfucker, sir.
He turns to his R.T. man.
46 FULL VIEW
Helicopter rotors build up speed — gas turbines
belching fire from their jet pipes — dust flying
as fifty helicopters rise; ROAR OVER CAMERA and
deploy into attack formation.
47 NEW VIEW
Helicopters moving THROUGH the FRAME: almost a dance of
48 INT. COMMAND COPTER – MED. SHOT – KILGORE, WILLARD,
Willard looks ahead — Kilgore sits near the door.
Below they see the jungle whisk by and they are
suddenly over the ocean, low and fast.
CLOSE SHOTS of rocket pods — mini-guns in bizarre
CLOSE SHOTS of the three surfboards strapped below the
command helicopter, next to the fearsome weaponry.
And finally, CLOSE SHOTS of the men — nervous, excited
very few of them really scared — they fondle their
rifles, grenade launchers, anti-personnel grenades,
claymore mines; plastic explosives cord; flame-throwers;
M-60 machine guns; expandable rocket launchers; mortars
50 INT. COMMAND COPTER
Kilgore cranes his neck and almost leans out to watch
the waves — then he sits back relaxed.
We’ll come in low out of the rising
sun — We’ll put on the music about
a mile out.
Yeah. Classical stuff — scares
the hell out of the slopes — the
boys love it.
51 MED. SHOT
POV behind the PILOT and CO-PILOT — the ocean rushes
Big Duke six to Eagle Thrust —
turn on coordinates 1-0 — niner,
assume attack formation.
The helicopter banks into a tight turn and bears
toward the coast.
Eagle Thrust formation target
2800 yards — begin psch-war
52 CLOSE SHOT – LOUDSPEAKERS
The ocean rushes below as suddenly the LOUDSPEAKERS
BLARE out Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.”
53 FULL SHOT – HELICOPTERS
From the water we SEE the massive grouping of Hueys — gun-
ships — troop carriers — medevac and recon — ROAR over
low in battle formation BLARING out “Ride of the Valkyries.”
54 INT. HELICOPTER – MED. SHOT -CREW
POV behind pilot —
700 — 600 yards — 500 —
The whole copter shakes.
55 EXT. VIET CONG FISHING VILLAGE – FULL SHOT
A Vietnamese coastal fishing village built along the
beach and palm trees — with rice paddies behind. This
village commands a delta where ocean and river merge.
Sampans are pulled into a cover where they are being
unloaded. We SEE bunkers with N.V.A. regulars ambling
Suddenly we HEAR the distant MUSIC — Everyone stops;
they stare out to see. Men scream orders — women run
from huts bearing ammunition and rifles — Everywhere
there is activity to prepare for the defense of the
Camouflage is removed from anti-aircraft emplacements.
People feverishly unlimber weapons of all types and run
to tunnels and trenches.
The MUSIC GROWS LOUDER with the FAINT SOUND of ROTORS
56 EXT. THE HELICOPTER FORMATION – AERIAL VIEW
coming directly at us; WAGNER BLARING.
57 HIGH ANGLE
looking down through the helicopters as they approach
58 INT. HELICOPTER – MED. SHOT – CREW
POV behind pilot
700 yards — 600 — 500 —
The whole copter shakes.
59 EXT. HELICOPTERS – MONTAGE
We SEE rockets ROAR from pods — MACHINE GUNS RATTLE —
grenade launchers POUND away — and MINI-GUNS pour
streams of lead and tracers with the SOUND of a DIESEL
60 FULL SHOT – HELICOPTERS
POV behind lead gunship. They ROAR in over the beach
streaming FIRE from doors, pods and nose — The ground
is alive with smoke and fire — a hut EXPLODES. The
leads ship banks sharply up over the trees — men run
below SHOOTING back.
61 MED. SHOT – ANTI-AIRCRAFT EMPLACEMENT
EXPLOSIONS crash around — the MUSIC and SOUND of the
COPTERS almost drown them out. The gunner FIRES
frantically — COPTERS are ROARING over — GUNFIRE
rips around. The gunner is blown away.
62 MED. CLOSE ON WILLARD
as the ship he is in swoops down, its MACHINE GUNS
FIRING into the village.
63 MED. SHOT – SWOOPING COPTER
The Pilot leans out and SHOOTS a charging V.C. in the
head with his .38, then ducks back in.
We’re down, Eagle Thrust — we’re
hit. We got a hot L.Z. here.
BULLETS RIP through the plexiglass. The Pilot FIRES
Hell of a hot L.Z. Need immediate
air strike on the tree line, Eagle
64 INT. COMMAND COPTER – MED. SHOT – WILLARD, KILGORE,
Kilgore has R.T. equipment — he leans out near the
Big Duke Six to Hell’s Angels Four
— bring it in on along tree line
Hell’s Angels Four to Big Duke
Six — we’ll need green smoke —
suggest you have the FAC mark it.
Haven’t got time, Hell’s Angels —
lay it right up the tree line.
65 FULL SHOT – JET SQUADRON
Four F-4H Phantoms peel off and streak toward the
66 INT. COMMAND COPTER – VIEW ON WILLARD AND KILGORE
The enemy. Who else?
67 HELICOPTER’S POV – THE JETS
The jets streak by below laying in huge gobs of orange
napalm along the trees.
Very good, Hell’s Angels — suggest
you follow with cannon fire.
68 INT. COMMAND COPTER – MED. SHOT
They circle the battle.
This is Baker Delta Four —
Captain hit bad — need dust-off.
Receiving heavy automatic weapons
fire from huts about thirty yards
to our left.
Big Duke Six to Baker Delta Four
— hold — we’re right over you.
He turns to door gunner.
Right along the doors, boy.
The gunner FIRES leaning out —
Fine… fine… little higher.
Through the roof; yeah, that’s
He leans back in.
Didn’t anybody bring me any
bombs, grenades, claymores or
You didn’t tell me to, sir.
You shoulda known.
Suddenly, BULLETS SMASH through the copter — Plexiglass
SHATTERS; the copter vibrates and turns sharply. Kilgore
is thrown down where he hangs on.
Sonuvabitch — anybody hurt?
Automatic weapons flashes along
those trees — probably eleven
millimeter guns and AK-47’s.
The trees, eh…
He grabs the R.T.
Eagle Thrust Four — Big Duke
Six. Join me in sparaying some
Affirmative, Big Duke Six — We’re
even got some rockets left.
Take her in low, Lieutenant.
69 FULL SHOT – THE TREES, HELICOPTERS
The two helicopters swoop up out of the smoke and blast
the trees with ROCKETS, MACHINE GUNS and GRENADE LAUNCHERS.
Other copters join — The V.C. break and run through
the rice paddies in the f.g. — BULLETS EXPLODING around
them — they scream and fall FIRING back.
70 INT. COMMAND COPTER – MED. SHOT – KILGORE, WILLARD
Kilgore looks out as three V.C. break and run through
the rice paddies — the helicopter turns and follows
them — the door gunner swings out and BLASTS two of
them into the mud. He takes a bead on the third.
Hold it, boy.
He puts his arms across the sights — the gunner swings
Take her up to 300 feet,
They rise above the paddy — the man below runs for
all he’s worth. Kilgore motions to the door gunner who
steps aside. Kilgore buckles himself into the gunner’s
A hand passes him a M-16.
My rifle, soldier.
There is some fumbling and then a hand passes him a 300
Weatherby Magnum with a zebra wood stock — mother of pearl
inlays and a variable power scope. Kilgore takes it and
opens the bolt.
71 VIEW ON WILLARD
Amazed at these proceedings.
72 VIEW ON KILGORE
as he loads the rifle with huge cartridges. He gets
into the sling and slams the bolt shut.
73 MOVING POV. ON THE V.C.
He is running hard, but starting to sink into the mud.
The Huey DRONES overhead, its huge shadow behind him
on the mud. He turns and FIRES with a pistol.
74 INT. COPTER – MED. SHOT – KILGORE, WILLARD
Kilgore leans out; pulls the gun in tight — takes
careful aim and the Cong is BLASTED flat into the paddy.
Kilgore leans back, opens the bolt, ejecting the spent
cartridge out the door. He hands Weatherby back
into the copter.
75 VIEW ON WILLARD
The gaudy rifle passed by him.
That’s 27, sir.
Anyone got a card?
Somebody hands Willard the deck. He takes a card and
flips it out of the copter, never lifting his gaze from
DISSOLVE TO :
76 FULL SHOT – BATTLEFIELD – THE CAV, V.C.
Americans run through the hooches FIRING and throwing
GRENADES. Helicopters swoop overhead — JETS ROAR by
— Uniformed N.V.A. regulars burst from a tunnel en-
trance and charge the Americans. The SHOOTING is at
point blank range — automatic, as the V.C. are cut
77 INT. COMMAND COPTER – KILGORE, WILLARD, LANCE, ETC.
Kilgore leans out carefully, looking over the battle-
field. He has the R.T.
He leans back, deliberately avoiding Willard to speak
The L.Z.’s cooling off fast —
we’ll move in another company
an’ then we’ll own it.
(he laughs to himself)
He looks out toward the ocean.
I said it’s a good swell — hell
of a good swell ’bout six feet.
Let’s get a look at it.
Lance looks at Willard and then agrees.
78 FULL SHOT – COPTER, SURF
The pilots are used to this — they bank sharply
and swoop in on the lineup of waves, coming in low
over the point and streaking down a long, lined-up
green wall as if surfing it. They tip up over and up
at the last minute as the wave breaks.
DISSOLVE TO :
79 FULL SHOT – BEACH HUTS, SOLDIERS
Americans line up blindfolded Viet Cong and N.V.A.
regular troops outside a burning hut. GUNFIRE is
DISTANT and sporadic — an occasional MORTAR round
SCREAMS in. A soldier yells in Vietnamese in a
southern accent and the prisoners are marched away.
Other soldiers are already setting up heavy weapons
emplacements — 50 cal machine guns etc. Three
Hueys ROAR in, fanning the smoke with their wind.
The center one, the command ship, lands. JETS SCREAM
over and the two gunships pull up at 200 feet. Another
Huey zooms in low and lands behind the Colonel’s. The
doors open, guards jump out, check the situation, and
out steps Kilgore and Lance. From the other copter
are more guards, Kilgore’s surfers and others of the
P.B.R. crew. Willard follows.
80 FULL SHOT – THE POINT
They stride out across the debris-strewn beach. Kilgore
stands majestically on the point watching the waves. A
SHELL SCREAMS overhead.
They all dive, except Kilgore. He is watching a big set
— the SHELL EXPLODES in the water about a hundred yards
away, sending up a huge geyser of spray. Kilgore is
Look at that.
This L.Z. is still pretty hot,
sir, maybe we oughta stand
Kilgore pays him no mention.
I’m waiting for the fucking boat,
It’ll get here, soldier.
He turns to Mike and Johnny who have their faces in the
Wh — what?
Change — get out there — I
want’a see if it’s ridable —
It’s still pretty hairy, sir.
You want’a surf, soldier?
He nods yes meakly.
That’s good, boy, because it’s
either surf or fight.
They turn and hurry off — Kilgore grabs an M-1 from
one of the guards. They all think he’s going to
shoot the surfers or someone. They move back uneasy.
I’m gonna cover for ’em — that’s
He cocks thye weapon. Lance looks around uneasily. The
Colonel walks over.
You think that section on the
point is ridable, Lance?
I think we ought to wait for
the tide to come in.
A SHELL SCREAMS OVER — they all hit the dirt except
for Kilgore. It EXPLODES throwing sand through the
air. Kilgore leans down yelling over the NOISE.
Doesn’t happen for six hours.
Lance looks up at him terrified, holding onto
The tide — doesn’t come in for
DISSOLVE TO :
81 FULL SHOT – SURF – MIKE AND JOHNNY
They walk through shallows carrying brightly
colored boards. They look very scared. JETS SCREAM
overhead, FIRING CANNONS. Helicopters wheel by
carrying out wounded.
They wear olive drab surfing trunks with the Cav’s
shield on the left leg. The same shield is emblazoned
on the boards along the word “Airmobile”. They edge
into the water and paddle through the mild shorebreak.
82 FULL SHOT – THE POINT – SURFERS
They paddle up the point in the calm channel — the
beautiful waves breaking beyond them.
83 CLOSE SHOT ON JOHNNY, MIKE
They paddle on their stomachs, keeping low — breathing
hard and constantly looking around scared out of their
84 MED. SHOT – KILGORE AND LANCE
Kilgore looks at them with his field glasses. Lance
kind of sits below taking cover in a shell hole.
They far enough?
Sure — fine —
Kilgore turns and takes a giant electric megaphone from
a waiting lackey.
That’s far enough — pick one
up and come on in —
85 FULL SHOT – THE POINT, SURFERS
They line themselves up on the point. A good set is
building. Mike turns strokes into it — takes off
— drops to the bottom and turns — trims up into a
tight section — everything right except he keeps looking
86 CLOSE SHOT ON LANCE AND KILGORE
Another SHELL SCREAMS over and EXPLODES down the beach.
Lance looks over at Willard.
Maybe he’ll get tubed.
Maybe he’ll get inside the tube —
where — where they can’t see him.
A SERIES of SHELLS ROAR in.
Lance ducks — puts his hands over his head. The SHELLS
SCREAM over Kilgore and out towards the point. Kilgore
looks through his glasses — two EXPLOSIONS in the water
Son of a bitch.
Lance looks up and out toward the point in horror.
87 FULL SHOT – THE POINT
Two surfboards float in the channel bobbing up and down
on the waves.
88 MED. SHOT – LANCE AND KILGORE
The tragedy of this war is a
Willard looks over, beginning to think Lance is crazy,
Just something I read in the
They just missed a good set —
the chicken shits !
Lance looks up.
89 FULL SHOT – THE POINT , SURFERS
They come up near their boards and climb on — smoke
hangs over the water.
Try it again, you little bastards.
90 BACK TO SCENE
He turns to Willard.
I´m not afraid to surf this place.
I’ll surf this place.
91 CLOSE SHOT ON KILGORE
He turns, glowering to his lackeys.
Bring that R.T., soldier.
He grabs it.
Big Duke Six to Hell’s Angels —
Goddamit, I want that treeline
bombed — yeah — napalm —
gimme some napalm — son of a
bitch — yeah, I’ll take H.Z.
or C.B.U.’s if you got any of
them — just bomb ’em into the
Stone Age, boy.
He throws the R.T. back to a soldier — another SALVO
WHISTLES over — everyone drops.
(continuing; to himself)
Son of a bitch.
As the SHELLS EXPLODES on the beach behind him, KIlgore
raises his M-16 and EMPTIES it full automatic in the
general direction of the trees. He mumbles a few un-
intelligible swear words and jams a new clip into his
rifle turning to Lance —
We’ll have this place cleaned up
and ready for us in a jiffy, boy.
Don’t you worry.
He FIRES another clip as the JETS SCREAM overhead.
92 FULL SHOT – RIVER – COPTERS
A sky-crane without pod descends slowly toward us —
The P.B.R. hangs below it.
The Chief, mr. Clean and Chef stand watching this sight
alomg with other soldiers. A man guides the descending
copter till the boat settles carefully in the shallows.
The Chief and others leap aboard; unshackle the hoists
— load on ammunition and fuel. The battle is still
going on around them. They all look up as a wadge
of PHANTOMS streak over low and peel off one by one to
begin their bombing run.
93 FULL SHOT – PHANTOMS – MONTAGE
Phantoms RAKE the trees with 20 mm CANNONS — FIRE five
inch ROCKETS in salvo — “Bull Pup” MISSILES — drop
H.E. (high explosives) and C.B.U’s (Cluster Bomb Units)
and finally an immense amount of NAPALM.
94 FULL SHOT ON THE P.B.R.
The Chief is at the helm –the engine starts; Clean
and Chef work feverishly, ducking for cover every-so-
often when an EXPLOSION hits nearby. The boat begins
to back out of the shallows. The EXPLOSIONS of NAPALM
are reflected on their faces; the ROAR of the FIRE drowns
out almost everything.
Forget that extra drum — it’s
too damn hot.
Clear on starboard — Where’s
Lance an’ the Captain?
I saw that Colonel’s Huey on the
Two HELICOPTERS SCREAM over FIRING ROCKETS.
Let’s just get outta here.
95 FULL SHOT – THE POINT – KILGORE, WILLARD , LANCE,
Kilgore watches the waves with his field glasses —
smoke drifts over.
Lance crouches below. Willard is up looking off in another
direction. SHELLS SCREAM over, but even their noise is
drowned out by the fierce SHRIEK of the PHANTOMS and the
deafening BLAST of HIGH EXPLOSIVES. Willard stares at the
tree line where it comes down to the river. The JETS are
making a hell of the tree line; a hell of fire and bust-
ling steam thet nothing could live in. Willard’s glance
goes further downriver through the black smoke and there
merging in the river — small and vulnerable, is his boat.
Look. There it is; the boat.
Lance looks over — a tremendous relief on his face. But
still there remains the threat of Kilgore, standing stark
against the sky. Willard silently motions Lance toward
He’ll kill us.
He can’t kill us.
(realizing as he says it)
We’re on his side.
Kilgore FIRES another clip at the tree line, and then
strides back without looking at them.
(almost to himself)
You smell that.
You smell that?
Napalm, boy — nothing else in
the world smells like that —
They reflect the glow from the burning trees.
I love the smell of napalm in
One time we had a hill bombed
for 12 hours. I walked up it
when it was all over; we didn’t
find one of ’em … not one
stinking gook body. They
slipped out in the night — but
the smell — that gasoline smell
— the whole hill — it smelled
He looks off nostalgically.
You know, some day this war’s
Yes, I know.
Suddenly he senses something — he stops — lifts his
hand — then frantically licks his fingers and puts
them up in the air.
The wind —
Sure enough there is a rushing breeze that increases.
Feel it — it’s the wind — it’s
blowing on shore — It’s on shore !
He leans down and practically grabs Lance.
It’s gonna blow this place out.
It’s gonna ruin it …
The kid can’t ride sloppy waves.
They turn and stare out to sea.
96 FULL SHOT – THE POINT – SURFERS
The wind has changed. Instead of blowing spray back
over the waves and hollowing them out, this strange
wind is causing white caps and cross chop.. reducing
the swell to slop. Mike and Johnny lay low on their
The kid can’t stand sloppy waves.
97 MED. SHOT – THE BEACH – LANCE, KILGORE, WILLARD
You don’t expect this kid to
ride that crap, do you? He’s
a goddamn artist, he needs
something to work with…
Slapping Lance on the shoulder.
Yeah, I’m an artist, goddamit !
Yeah — yeah, I can understand
how you feel.
He turns toward the trees.
It’s the napalm — it’s causing
the wind — ruining my perfect
He staggers off toward the trees followed by his
guards and other lackeys.
The napalm — ruin — napalm
my perfect left — my perfect
left point break — napalm —
Lance motions with his eyes to Willard.
98 FULL SHOT ON THE P.B.R.
The P.B.R. along the river shallows — The Chief and
crew waiting and yelling.
99 MED. VIEW ON WILLARD AND LANCE
Are you finished surfing?
Want to say goodbye to the
Then let’s get the hell out of
They break and run like hell toward the boat in the
distance. OUR VIEW TRACKS with them. They are
cheered by the crew — suddenly, Willard sees some-
thing and stops… Lance continuing. In a pile of
equipment that the Hueys have left are two surfboards
— Willard looks at them.
No — no, Captain.
Which one’s the Colonel’s?
The Yater — the clear one
with the thin stringer.
Willard glances over to it with determination. There
is still MORTAR FIRE coming in between him and the
board. Suddenly, Willard makes a run for it.
Incoming ! Incoming — son of
The ROUNDS bracket the P.B.R. and line up the beach
toward Willard. He stands there and doesn’t move, the
surfboard under his arm. The shells kick up sand.
Lance has dropped. Fragments whistle by, one rips
a chunk of foam and fibreglass from the rain of the
This one , Lance?
Yeah, Jesus Christ !
Once again, Willard takes off fast as hell with the
board under his arm. Lance follows toward the boat,
through the water. Willard hands the board up to Mr.
Clean, and they both scamper abroad, exhausted and
What’d you that for?
When I was a kid I, never had
a Yater spoon.
Mr. Clean stuffs the board in the stern 50 Cal. mount.
The boat turns — ENGINES RUNNING HARD and ROARS OFF
toward the deeper water of the river — the board
clearly visible on the stern.
DISSOLVE TO :
100 FULL SHOT ON THE RIVER – P.B.R
The P.B.R. ROARS BY going down the river at full speed.
It is swerving and zig-zagging to avoid potential enemy
101 MED. SHOT ON THE CREW
They all are in full battle positions — their twin
fifty Cal. guns turning; warily covering the jungled
banks. The Chief is at helm — Willard crouches
against some armor plate, huddled with his M-16 ready.
Chef is behind him at the radio. Lance leans back
from his forward turret.
Maybe we better stay in under
the trees till dark — we got
He didn’t look like he’d take
that sitting down.
They all look up into the sky — expecting the worst.
Let’s put some distance between
us and Charlie.
The Chief nods.
Why don’t you roll us a big
joint? I think the Captain’d
They all look at Willard uneasily. After a suspensful
pause, Willard smiles:
Take one a mine —
He fishes into his breast pocket — pulls out a huge
cigar-sized joint. They all smile — Willard lights
DISSOLVE TO :
102 FULL SHOT – THE P.B.R.
It zig-zags away from us down the river at high speed.
DISSOLVE TO :
103 FULL SHOT – THE TREES, BOAT, CREW – NIGHT
The boat is hidden under some trees along the river
bank. The men wait tensely listening —
You hear it again?
No — I don’t think so. But
it’ll be back. They were
circling. It’ll be back.
You think he’d of shot us?
Any time — us — Americans.
Lance looks over at Willard.
I don’t think he´d of shot us on
the beach but — he’d of shot us
if he saw me taking the board —
A Yater spoon is hard to get —
He’s a man who knows what he
wants — he does know what he wants.
Can I go get those mangos now?
I’ll go with you in a while —
judt hold tight awhile —
Captain — that was all true
about the rats and chocolate
And you could just tell when
the supplies were booby trapped?
It’s a feeling you get in the
jungle. When you get good, you
can find a track and tell not
only how many they are, but
their morale, how far they’re
going, whether they’re near
their camp, the weapons they’re
How can you tell their weapons..
an’ how far they’re going?
Mostly from the imprints when they
put them down to rest. their morale
from the way they drag their feet,
or the joints that may be lying
around. If they’re near a base
camp, they wouldn’t be conserving
food; they’ll be throwing it away
half-eaten. If the branches aren’t
broken, their weapons are slung.
But all this is just technique..
There’s a feeling you get after a
while, that’s what’s important.
I was going through a village once.
I was looking for a certain party.
I took off my boots, and walked
into each hut. It was midnight.
I went into three like that and
suddenly I realized I´d gone into
each hut the same way — standing
up — so the next one I went in on
my belly. An RPD burst took out
the door a bit above my head.
Things like that.
A pause, and then suddenly his attention is diverted —
They all are silent — It is pitch dark — we HEAR the
distant SOUND of ROTOR-BLADES and indistinguishable
language on a loudspeaker — The talk stops — the
ROTORS grow LOUDER until almost overhead.
(over a loudspeaker)
I’m not gonna hurt or harm you,
boy — I just want the board
back — You can understand —
It was one of my best — You
know how hard it is to get a
board you like, boy. I’m not
gonna hurt or harm you —
Just leave it where I can find
The HELICOPTER DRONES on into the night — the same
speech starts again further off — Finally the noise
Jesus — that guy’s too damn
I wonder if that was the same
He’s probably got ’em all over
the river with that recording.
We better move now while it’s
Chef steps forward with a plastic basket.
Yeah, Chef — go ahead — take
Lance with you —
I’ll go with him —
They all look at him.
I wanta get my feet on solid land
once in awhile —
He grabs an M-16 and follows Chef over the side.
104 MED. SHOT – THE JUNGLE – CHEF, WILLARD – NIGHT
They cautiously walk through the underbrush.
Yes, sir —
Why they call you that?
Call me what, sir?
Chef — is that ’cause you like
mangoes an’ stuff?
No, sir — I’m a real chef, sir
— I’m a sauciere —
A sauciere —
That’s right, sir — I come from
New Orleans — I was raised to
be a sauciere.. a great sauciere.
We specialize in sauces; my whole
family. It’s what we do. I was
supposed to go to Paris and study
at the Escoffier School; I was
saving the money. They called
me for my physical so I figured
the Navy had better food.
What are you doing out here?
Cook school — that did it.
They lined us all up in front of
a hundred yards of prime rib —
magnificent meat, beautifully
marbled.. Then they started
throwing it in these big
cauldrons, all of it — boiling.
I looked in, an’ it was turning
gray. I couldn’t stand it. I
went into radio school.
They move into a slight clearing.
— quiet —
Chef crouches close — redies his M-16. Willard ges-
tures that he heard something; he points.
105 MED. SHOT – DIFFERENT ANGLE
PAN SLOWLY over jungle — END REVEALING Willard and Chef.
He points — motions Chef to move away — they cover
the spot. A few yards from them they hear something
move. It is obviously no small jungle creature. They
walk toward a patch of black elephant grass; their guns
at the ready. They look at each other. Willard is
cold, methodical, doing something he knows well. There
is a noise again — some of the growth rustles. He
and Chef move a distance apart, and join in stalking
the probable V.C. Willard directs the Chef with hand
gestures, and bird and cricket sounds. They move
stealthily, closing the apex of their triangle on the
hunted. The two men drop low into the elephant grass,
and remain motionless. Then Willard makes the cricket
noise, and they move closer. Willard’s left hand edges
out along the M-16’s far end, so that he only has to
point the finger of that hand and he will hit what he
wants. He makes another command and they rush the
106 MED. SHOT – THE ELEPHANT GRASS – WILLARD AND CHEF
Suddenly there is a RUSHING SOUND — The grass folds
down quickly toward them — willard plants his feet and
from the hip lets go FULL AUTOMATIC. The Chef retreats
FIRING short BURSTS into the grass — the grass folds
almost to Willard — then a huge tiger leaps out at
them; snarling magnificently. They FIRE wildly,
emptying their clips.
It’s a motherfucking tiger —
He turns and bolts through the jungle, as scared as a
man can be.
Goddamn — Jesus Christ tiger —
motherfucking tiger — ohhhhhhhhh —
Willard jams another clip in his gun and backs out of
the clearing, covering the bushes and runs, scared
out of his head as well.
107 FULL SHOT – THE BOAT – THE CREW
They all are armed — Lance has the twin 50’s pointed into
the jungle. Chef comes screaming out of the brush, throws
his rifle into the boat and dives headfirst after it.
Ohhhh — tiger ! Oh goddamn !
It’s a tiger ! Jesus Christ !
Goddamn, a tiger ! Ohhhhhhhh.
The Chief tries to grab him; takes his gun away, but is
unable to take a hold of the Chef, as he slithers around
the boat, trying to find safety. willard follows from the
jungle — The Chef is moaning and stares off into the night.
What’s this tiger shit?
No shit… I think I shot the
hell out of him.
I wasn´t looking.. I was running.
Was a big tiger — no shit?
Who stopped to measure him — let’s
get the hell out of here.
A motherfucking tiger — I could’ve
The ENGINE ROARS to life — the P.B.R. pulls away with great
You forgot the mangoes, didn’t
Mangoes? There as a fucking
tiger in the woods — I could’ve
been eaten alive. I’m never
going into that jungle again.
I gotta remember never get out of
the boat; never get outta the boat.
They move off; swallowed by the darkness. The JUNGLE
NOISES remain, as OUR VIEW BEGINS a MOVE INTO the jungle.
He was right, the Chef — never
go into the jungle, unless you’re
ready to go all the way.
DISSOLVE TO :
108 EXT. THE BOAT IN MARINA DEL RAY – NIGHT
Willard, thinking, his BACK TO US. Suddenly, he turns
around, and we SEE his face.
What was in the jungle? What was
there, waiting for me?
He lights the cigarette; the light of his match illuminating
his face momentarily. There is something different about
him; a maturity, a cool inner peace.
… Kurtz was in there. Or was he;
was it Kurtz? He was just a name
to me now; I couldn’t remember a
face, a voice — he just didn’t
add up to me. all his liberal
bullshit about the end of savagery
— and the role of our culture,
our way of life…
Willard looks toward the group of people on the boat —
there is still some MUSIC. They talk and drink and laugh.
Our way of life — I really
started to look forward to
meeting Kurtz again.
DISSOLVE TO :
109 WATERWAY – MOVING FORWARD – DAY
— must remember that we owe
our thanks for these to the
wonderful services of the U.S.O.
— here’s another oldie — this
110 VIEW ON CHEF
by himself on the P.B.R.; he has wiped mud under his
eyes to kill the glare; it is incredibly hot. He is
barechested, wearing a hat made of a banana palm.
… to the fire team at An Khe
from their groovy C.O. Fred the
111 VIEW ON THE GROUP
The Rolling Stones and “Satisfaction…”
The SONG BLARES ON — they all dig it.
PAN TO Willard, sitting alone in the rear, reading from
his file on Kurtz. We REVEAL Lance in the b.g., water-
skiing behind the P.B.R., slaloming back and forth on
his single ski to the MUSIC — jumping the wake occasion-
112 NEW VIEW – ON THE P.B.R.
Lance waterskiing to “Satisfaction.”
113 VIEW ON CLEAN
alert, at the rear of the boat — his M-16 ready, just
114 VIEW ON WILLARD
Willard opens a letter from the packet.
We can SEE it is a private correspondence — feminine
writing on the envelope.
The dossier of A Dtachment
contained letters from the families
and wives of Kurtz’ men There
were letters from Kurtz’ wife as
115 CLOSE SHOT – ON THE LETTER
It is addressed to Colonel Walter Kurtz — in the corner
is the return addess of Mrs. Colonel Walter Kurtz —
Willard’s hand fushes through the packet and comes up
with apicture of a very attractive, thirty-five year
old American Beauty… She is classically American.
116 CLOSE SHOT – ON WILLARD
looking at the picture — puts it back, then opens the
letter, straightens it.
Dearest Walt — I have to confess
something. I know how you feel
about this, but I had to ask Bob
to find out what he could — I
just couldn’t stand it anymore,
not knowing where you are, whether
you’re alive or dead. I’m sorry
Walt, I’m sorry I said that. Bob
didn’t tell me anything — he said
he couldn’t — I can’t stand it
anymore, Walt — I just can’t
Willard looks out at the jungle.
Deep imppenetrable jungle — dark and primeval forests
pass by. The Rolling Stones CHANT on in the b.g.
I have to take the kids to school
every morning now — carpools just
never work out.
Jeff came home with a black eye
on Tuesday but said he won anyway.
He wouldn’t tell me what the fight
was about. Jeff keeps asking
where you are — he has maps of
Viet Nam in his room now. He
misses you very much. I can’t
take this much longer, Walt. I
love you and I just can’t stand
117 CLOSE ON WILLARD
He folds the letter up, files through some others quickly
and gets to a peculiar envelope stamped Top Secret with
a stenciled date on it. It is also noted that this was
the last correspondence to leave Nu Mung Ba. It is
addressed to Kurtz’ wife. He opens the letter — it is
written in a scrawled savage hand to no one in partic-
ular. It reads:
Sell the house
Sell the car
Sell the kids
Find someone else
I’m never coming back
Forget it —
He folds up the letter.
118 CLOSE SHOT – WILLARD
He looks out at the ominous jungled mountains.
DISSOLVE TO :
119 FULL SHOT – P.B.R. – RIVER OUTPOST – RAIN
The P.B.R. pulls in towards an American outpost that is
being used as a forward medical evacuation center.
Various helicopters pads are SEEN, but only one heli-
copter — the H-34 painted with Playboy rabbits that
brought the girls to Hau Fat. Several soldiers in rain-
coats come out the dock as the P.B.R. pulls up.
120 MED. SHOT – WILLARD, SOLDIERS
Willard looks into some empty tents — looks around the
dreary muddy camp. Two soldiers pass.
Soldier — where’´s your C.O.?
Stepped on a booby trap, sir —
got blown all to hell —
Well , who’s in command here?
I don’t know — don’t have any
idea — I’m just the night man —
He turns and walks off babbling incoherently —
What about you, soldier?
The soldier he was talking to turns around smiling
idiotically and making animal noises. He stumbles off
after his friend.
121 MED. SHOT – DIFFERENT ANGLE – WILLARD
He looks around disgustedly
Willard turns around looking for where the voice came
Over here, Captain —
He turns to see the Hollywood Agent under the flap of a
large tent so that he won’t get wet. He wears the same
clothes as before, but is much dirtier. He motions
Willard into the tent.
122 INT. TENT – MED. SHOT – WILLARD, AGENT
They duck inside — it is dark and damp.
On cots around astove sit the three playmates and the
pilot. The nearest one, CATHY, a blonde, picks leeches
out of her feet. The other two, TERRI and LYNDA, play
cards with the helicopter pilot. Willard looks over
You came in on that boat, didn’t
Where are you headed?
What’s it matter? Get to the
Look — you know the girls —
Thta’s Terri — she was playmate
Yeah, I caught your show at Hau
They all look over.
Oh — I see — Well, girls, this
is Captain — eh —
Captain Willard — go ahead.
Look — we got in a little trouble
— they rudely took our helicopter
for MedEvac work on this — uh
Operation Brute Force — They just
brought it back this morning.
Well I mean like they also took
our fuel — We’ve been here two
Look — the girls could get
killed — we’re not supposed to
be this close combat, I mean
We could use some fuel — just a
half drum — just enough to get
us out a here.
We need all our fuel.
He turns and starts to leave.
But, Captain, think what these
girls have done for the boys —
think of how they’ve risked —
Willard is almost out of the tent.
He turns around.
It’s really rough here — Captain
— we’re just not built for it —
The Pilot laughs.
That’s rich —
Do us a favor — I’d do one for
you — if I could —
Willard just stares at her — even though she’s in jeans
and field jacket she is something to see — The Agent
takes Willard aside — Terri goes back to the others.
Look — you know who that is,
Captain — you know what she’s
saying — you’ll never see stuff
that good outside of a magazine
for the rest of your life.
I’m not that fond of blondes —
maybe I like brunettes —
Take your pick — they all like
you — I can tell —
I like all of them —
Good — like I said, take your
I said I like all of them.
Now just a second — I’m doing
you a favor, buddy — what’re you
trying to pull?
Willard turns to leave again.
We need all our fuel anyway.
Wait — wait — don’t get up tight
— what I meant was we’d need a
whole drum for that —
Sit down — we’ll talk about it.
Willard sits down on a metal chair — motions the Agent
to do likewise.
What’s there to talk about — this
whole thing disgusts me.
My men —
That’s what there is to talk
about — my man — I take a good
care of my men —
The girls are trying to pretend they’re not listening —
the helicopter Pilot is cackling to himself.
You’re out of your skull —
We have a lot of pride in our
How far do you think you can
push — what kind of people do
you think —
Esprit de corps —
No — absolutely not —
One for all — all for one —
You can keep your fucking fuel —
Willard gets up.
You make some of your closest
friends in the army — war has a
way of bringing men together.
Get out —
Men of all races — nationalities —
He gets up and starts out.
Two drums —
Willard turns around slowly.
Two whole drums —
We can use some fifty caliber and
a 16 too —
I don’t know what you’re talking
about — Get fucked —
I will — I assure you that —
You got a fifty on that H-34 —
leave the ammo in boxes — I’ll
get my men to bring the first drum
with ’em —
He turns to go under the tent flap.
Have the girls freshen up a bit —
comb their hair — put on
something — you know what I mean —
123 FULL SHOT – P.B.R. – CREW
They are all working on patching the boat and cleaning
it up in general. Mr. Clean sits in f.g., cleaning an M-16.
You keep this thing in this
condition an’ it’s gonna jam,
Lance — mark my words.
Why don’t you go pet the water
buffaloes — get off my back.
Behins them on the beach stand several water buffaloes
eating mud or whatever they do. They are painted jungle
brown and green camouflage with grey bottoms — on their
sides the words have been stenciled in black:
1 Each —
Buffalo, Water B-1A
U.S. Army No. 15239
Willard walks through them down to the boat.
Careful, Captain, they’ve been
known to charge.
All right I got a little surprise
for you —
They all look up.
I’ve arranged with those people
we saw at Hau Fat to give us some
50 caliber in trade for a couple
a drums of fuel —
Chef — since you’re such a fan
of Miss December’s I think you
should be detailed with Lance and
Clean to take the first drum up
I don’t believe you —
What’re you trying to say, Captain —
You’ll see soon enough — get going,
No shit — hot damn —
124 INT. TENT – MED. SHOT – LYNDA, CHEF
He has followed her into the tent awe-struck — she
casuallu starts unbuttoning her fatigue jacket and taking
off her pants. he just stands there, his arms at his
I’ve got every one of your
pictures — I’ve got the
centerfold — the Playmate’s
review — the Playmate of the
Year run-off — everything, even
the calender —
Well, get undressed and let’s
get it over with —
I can’t believe it — I’d a
never even got to see you if it
wasn’t for this war —
She lies down on the cot in only her panties.
You wouldn’t mind — uh kinda
draping that jacket over you
sort of the way you were in the
calender, would you?
Come on — cut this crap — I
gotta get back to Saigon —
Just let me look awhile — I just
don’t believe —
125 INT. TENT – CLOSE SHOT – LANCE, CATHY
They have just finished making love. cathy looks very
pleased. Lance finishes tying his boots — she draws on
his back. He gets up — starts to leave.
Well — uh thanks — see you around.
He leaves — she pulls herself up and starts combing her
hair — Mr. Clean walks in.
Who are you?
I’m next —
DISSOLVE TO :
126 INT. TENT – MED. SHOT – WILLARD, TERRI
He finishes tying on his boots — pulls on his jacket —
his gun belt and picks up his M-16. She looks up at him —
Ma’am — I’d like to thank you for
what you an’ all your friends have
done for us — I want you to know
that me an’ the men appreciate
you coming all this way — riskin’
your lives — living uncomfortably
an’ doing all you can to entertain
- I want you to know personally,
Miss, that for the past few minutes
you have made me feel at home.
She picks up a shoe to throw at him. he turns, exits f.g.
Just wanted to say that, ma’am.
The SHOE CLANGS off his helmet.
127 EXT. THE P.B.R. APPROACHING DO LUNG BRIDGE – FULL SHOT –
The boat edges in toward the wrecked bridge in the
distance. Along the banks are sandbagged fortificvations
with U.S. soldiers in them. There is a bright fire
burning uncontrolled in the distance; the sparks and white
light from welding on the bridge momentarily lights up the
Two days and nights later, we
approach the Do Lung Bridge.
128 VIEW ON THE FACES OF THE P.B.R. CREW
watching. Everywhere are wrecked boats — parts of trunks
sticking out of the water — smashed helicopters on the
banks. The bridge is in a state of siege. Mortars and
rockets arc through the night indiscriminately and rip
through the nearby jungle. Soldiers are everywhere —
scurrying from trenches, carrying materials for the bridge
or tending to the wounded, the maimed and the dead. Light
automatic WEAPON FIRE is HEARD occasionally. The P.B.R.
edges in under the span of the old bridge. Soldiers run
up through the water. They are obscured in the darkness.
I gotta get out a here — I´ll pay
— I got money.
Get away from this boat.
Who’s your C.O., soldier?
The Soldier ducks back and runs away.
Fuck you, you’ll get what’s coming
Other men approach the boat. A young LIEUTENANT steps
Captain Willard — we got these
from Nha Thrang two days ago —
they expected you here then —
He hands up a plastic bag, maximum security markings,
Willard takes it.
You don’t know how happy that makes
Now I can get out a here — if
I can find a way out.
We’ll be needing some supplies
and fuel — do you know anybody
who can give me a hand?
I’d just clear out as soon as I
could if I were you, sir. They’re
gonna start working on the bridge
with torches again. Charlie will
start throwing it in hard —
What is this bridge?
It’s of strategic importance for
keeping the highway into Bat Shan
open — the generals don’t like to
admit that Bat Shan is surrounded.
He points to the men getting ready to work.
Every night we build it and by
0800 they’ve blown it up — it
and a lot of good men — But the
generals like to say the road is
open — ha ! Nobody uses that
road except Charlie.
He turns and splashes off into the darkness.
This is the cesspool of hell.
SHELLS WHISTLE OVER and CRASH into the bridge — MEN SCREAM
in the distance — the EXPLOSIONS are thunderous.
All right — Lance, go with the
Captain an’ see what you can
Willard climbs out with Lance.
(continuing; to Willard)
Better make it fast, sir — we
don’t really need much anyway.
Willard nods and they scurry off the bank under the
129 MED. SHOT – WILLARD, LANCE
They dash up the embankment and along the barbed wire
on the edge of the road. SHELLS SCREAM overhead, they
don’t know where to run.
Straight ahead, son of a bitch.
They dive towards the voice.
130 CLOSE SHOT – TRENCH
They dive in, a SOLDIER is crounched in f.g. holding his
buddy who is crying uncontrollably.
You came right to it, son of
a bitch —
Son of a bitch, sir.
The Soldier doesn’t respond.
Where’s your chief supply officer?
Beverly Hills —
Straight up the road — a concrete
bunker — Beverly Hills — where
else you think he’d be?
There is an apparent lull and they dash out along the
road. Suddenly to their right an M-60 STARTS OPENING UP
from a sandbagged emplacement.
Get your asses down, buddy.
They drop and crawl to the slit trench and run up to the
emplacement. Several SOLDIERS man a M-60. One has a
sniper rifle — another tries to spot for the Gunner.
Willard and Lance edge up along the trench. Willard
Watch your feet, asshole —
Willard looks down.
You stepped on my face.
We thought you were dead.
The whole world loves a smart ass.
They move ahead more carefully. The Gunner BLASTS away
into the night, there is a pile of brass cases about three
feet high next to him. Finally he stops swearing to
What’re you shooting at, soldier?
He turns and sees it’s an officer.
I´m sorry, sir.
It’s all right, sergeant — what’s
They were tryin’ to cut through
the wire — I got ’em all I think.
Oh yeah — listen.
There is a low moaning SCREAM from out in the wire — it
stops for aminute then continues hideously.
He’s trying to call his friends —
send up a flare.
The Spotter does, it arcs up, then bathes them in eerie
light. The Gunner FIRES a long BURST.
Those are all dead, stupid, he’s
obviously underneath ’em —
They think about this as the flare goes out. The SCREAMING
gets more intense.
Wake up the Roach.
The Spotter moves down to where a tall lanky SOLDIER is
leaned up against the trench. He kicks him hard several
times. Roach wakes and just looks up. On his helmet are
the words: “GOD BLESS DOW.”
Slope in the wire — hear him.
He listens, he does, he nods.
Roach gets up somewhat annoyed but very cool. He saunters
up the machine gun dragging his M-79 which has paisley
designs all over it.
Sure , yeah.
You need a flare —
No, it´s cool.
He opens the breech of his shotgun-like weapon and plunks
the big slug into it. He snaps it closed then rests it
across his forearm over the trench — he listens to the
He’s close — real close.
He adjusts his sights so that the gun is aimed high into
the air. He listens again then FIRES. The GRENADE
WHISTLES off into the night. There is a sharp EXPLOSION
that cuts off the scream. Then the THUD of bodies or
pieces of bodies coming down around them.
Muhhh Fuhhh …
He staggers back down the trench to go to sleep.
131 FULL SHOT – P.B.R. – BRIDGE – CLEAN, CHEF
They stand in the shallows waiting for Willard and Lance.
Clean is nervous, he constantly checks his M-16. SHELLS
WHISTLE by and CRASH in the distance.
Geez, I wish they’d hurry.
A SOLDIER comes up on his way with some others to start
building the bridge.
Hey, buddy, that boat still runs,
Yeah, it still runs.
Do me a favor buddy, please.
What is it?
He takes out a handful of crumpled envelopes.
Send these out when you get back
to the world.
He puts them in Clean’s hand.
It’s to everyone I really knew —
the first girl I screwed — my
brother — best friend — I wanted
to tell ’em how much I enjoyed
knowing ’em — it’s been a great
twenty years. I gotta let ’em
What’re you askin’ me for — put
’em in the first helicopter comes
Nobody comes in here.
He points up at the mountain ridges.
The N.V.A. 312th — over there
the 307th — on that hill we
counted fourteen different guns
in one minute — they got rockets
mortars, snipers in those trees,
there’s a million of those shitty
little bastards out there — we’re
all gonna die.
He grabs Clean and looks at him with a maniacal urgency.
I’m gonna be dead.
Clean takes the letters.
You got a chance in that boat —
by morning you could be five miles
down the river.
We ain’t goin’ down the river.
The Soldier looks at him as if he is joking.
What’s up river from here anyhow —
The Soldier doesn’t answer, just stares dumbfounded.
No, it’d be spooky without the war
— give ’em back.
He takes the letters and leaves, somewhat disappointed and
disgusted. Willard and Lance come back down the beach
carrying some belts of ammunition and a couple of extra
Wow, you must a found the C.O., eh?
We found some bodies — let’s get
out a here.
132 FULL SHOT – DIFFERENT ANGLE – P.B.R.
They edge through the shallows as the men light up their
welding torches to start work on the pontoon bridge —
then pull away and accelerate fast.
133 MED. SHOT – THE P.B.R. CREW
The Chief is at the helm — they all look back in the
distance where the bridge was — the hills flash with
artillery discharges — there is a fiery glow from the
bridge area and the CONCUSSION of heavy EXPLOSIONS.
DISSOLVE TO :
134 EXT. FULL SHOT – P.B.R. – CREW – RAIN
The boat moves uneasily upriver, through this tropical
downpour. Mr. Clean is in thef.g., oiling and cleaning
his 50-cal, his M-11 and M-79 — the rest of the crew are
forward, taking shelter from the rain under the canvas
canopy. Clean works methodically under an umbrella he was
set up by leaning the surfboard against gun mount.
135 EXT. THE RUSHING RIVER – NEW VIEW – RAIN
The river is moving fast against them. all manner of de-
bris; tree trunks, sweeping by the P.B.R.
I can’t see a fucking thing.
There is a loud CRACKING SOUND, as one of the pieces of
tree- trunk whacks the hull, and bounces off. Willard
climbs forward, and looks down.
We hit a big enough one this
hull will shatter like a Corvette.
Fucking plastic boat.
Willard practically hangs off forward with a long pole,
warding off the big debris moving toward the P.B.R. Clean
joins him, helping.
(shouting to Chief)
What about ducking into one of
those tributaries till this river
Who knows what’s up there?
Can’t be any worse than this.
What do you think?
I think this river wants to take
us home fast. I’m practically
goin’ in reverse.
Willard points his pole in the direction of the mouth
of a tributary.
Well, get in there.
This whole area is lousy with
V.C. — We don’t stand a chance.
Lemme turn around and we’ll be
in Hau Fat in six minutes.
There is a really loud WHACK against the hull. willard
really mad, throws the pole at the Chief, who ducks.
Get in there !
This is my crew and my fucking
boat, and I’m the responsible
Get in there now or I’ll bury
you in this river.
It’s clear that Willard will kill the Chief if he doesn’t
do as he says.
turns the helm)
You’re fucking crazy. You’re
going to get us all killed.
The P.B.R. navigates through the rush and into the mouth
of the tributary.
DISSOLVE TO :
136 EXT. THE TRIBUTARY – P.B.R. – RAIN
Rain is pouring down, but the P.B.R. is slowed down to a
snail’s pace by Hyacinths, literally across the
Willard, Chef and Clean in the water, cutting through
them with machetes.
137 VIEW ON LANCE
having climbed to the highest point of the cockpit.
It breaks through in about
138 VIEW ON WILLARD
cutting through. he looks to Chef, who has stopped cut-
ting, and is staring into the jungle.
What do you see?
I don’t know.
He looks out — the jungle at this point is very dark
and high — totally impenetrable.
They work feverishly, knowing something is wrong.
139 VIEW ON CHEF
cutting with all he’s got.
I know it sounds stupid, but I
feel like the goddamn jungle’s
Whatdoya think it thinks.
That we’re dumber than we look.
Chef stops again, looks hard, trying to penetrate the
darkness and from the very depth of it — the darkness of
it, comes a stream of tracers, lazily arching out at them.
It whips between them — the SOUND FOLLOWING much later.
Other BULLETS SMASH through and ricochet off the deck
fittings. GLASS SHATTERS, and a huge hunk of paint is
removed from the armor shield by a 20 mm cannon.
Lance — ’bout twenty meters
Lance leaps down to his position. Willard, Clean and Chef
cut feverishly, as the trapped boat struggles to get free.
There in the trees !
Everything is confusion — yelling — GUNFIRE — the THUD
of heavy BULLETS ripping inti the P.B.R.’s fibreglass hull.
140 VIEW ON LANCE
Lance’s twin guns return the FIRE. The Chief moves to one
of the heavy guns and joins Lance in returning the FIRE.
141 VIEW ON THE MEN IN THE WATER
pushing, cutting. Bullets SMASH and EXPLODE around.
Clean climbs onto the boat, and leaps onto a gun emplace-
142 MED. VIEW
Nobody really knows where the erratic fire is coming from.
(back at the helm)
Elevate Lance, in the tree. No,
I saw another.
Thirty meters up, Lance; I saw
the fucking flash.
Lance grits his teeth, FIRING —
143 CLOSE SHOT ON CLEAN
144 POV BEHIND CLEAN
He BLASTS short bursts of tracers into the jungle, cutting
it to salad. Suddenly more tracers from another direction
— Clean swings around — BULLETS smash against his shield
and rip chunks from the surfboard. He BLASTS a long heavy
burst at the jungle — trees crumble.
I’m ripping ’em, man, son-of-a-
bitch, it’s jammed, oh God,
Clean is riddled by MACHINE GUN FIRE.
Chief runs to Mr. Clean — it is obvious that he is dead.
He looks angrily to Willard.
Willard and Chef are practically through. Willard leaps
up, as Chef finishes the last strokes. He moves toward
Throw me that ordnance.
Chef throws him an M-79 and several shells — Willard
opens it, jams a huge projectile and pulls himself over
the edge of the cockpit.
Give me some kind a field a fire —
BULLETS rip by.
He climbs aboard and collapses.
Oh, God —
I ain’t finished ! I ain’t finished !
Bring that bow ordnance into
He jams his gun up as he sees a flash and FIRES — there
is a low POP and a WHISTLE as the GRENADE arches into the
145 POV. – BEHIND THEM
He FIRES another burst as the GRENADE EXPLODES brightly.
There is another POP and WHISTLE , another BLAST. A large
tree falls, just as the craft speeds up through the thin-
ning growth. We HEAR strange SCREAMING from the trees and
jungle, hideous MOANS and terror-filled CRIES.
146 CLOSE SHOT ON THE CHIEF
He jams the throttle forward — the boat surges ahead.
Willard FIRES another GRENADE from his M-79.
147 FULL SHOT ON THE P.B.R.
The boat slams through the hyacinth growth, moving through
the river, FIRING BACK at unseen enemy in the jungle.
DISSOLVE TO :
148 FULL VIEW ON THE P.B.R. – TWILIGHT
The boat moves ahead at half speed through a wide, flat
area in the river.
149 MED. VIEW
The men sit around, exhausted, brutalized, wounded.
They look like animals, but they are relaxed, be-
cause they know they’re too far from the banks to
be shot at.
They smoke pot and eat silently. Lance smokes a
joint and looks at his gun. Splotches of paint
have been blown away from the armor shield — pieces
of deck are ripped and ragged around the mount.
The boat is a floating wreck.
Clean’s body is being prepared in a plastic sack
by Chief. All of the men are silent.
Chef comes up from below; he has been wounded in the
There’s some bad holes, man,
and the cracks — water’s coming
through the cracks. Food’s shot
How much is left?
Less than half — sure is a
mess down there.
Chief has been silent by the body of Clean in a plastic
And the grass?
Still got a lot of that stuff
from Nha Trang. But we’re
running low on the other.
Chief pushes Clean’s body into the river.
150 VIEW ON WILLARD
He notices something in the distance.
151 WILLARD’S POV
152 MED. VIEW
Willard stands up, pointing up the river.
They all look over.
That’s a light down there —
Yeah, it is.
What the hell is it?
In the middle of the jungle —
a goddamn light.
153 FULL SHOT – THE P.B.R. – THE TWILIGHT
The P.B.R. approaches the distant light — which seems
to be on the dock of an overgrown plantation building.
154 VIEW ON WILLARD, CHIEF
straining to see; he uses field glasses.
155 POV – THROUGH THE GLASSES
Seems to be some figures standing on the dock. The
figures pull back behind some drums.
156 BACK TO SCENE
Watch it !
They duck as SHOTS RING OUT from the dock, stitching the
water across the P.B.R.’s bow. The crew crouches, guns
trained on the dock as the boat still approaches.
They’re not Cong.
(over the loud-hailer)
Another BURST, closer.
Maybe you shouldn’t say we’re
Willard stares at the dock and building, trying to figure
Chef, try your French.
Chief hands the loud-hailer to Chef, who shrugs and shouts:
Nous sommes Americains —
Nous ne voulon pas vous agresser.
157 VIEW ON WILLARD
He looks through the glasses.
158 POV THROUGH THE GLASSES
Gradually, a small group appears from behind the drums
on the dock.
French Nationals — they may not
be too friendly, though.
159 BACK TO SCENE
We drift closer to the dock. The Chef starts enjoying
Nous sommes Americains — nous
sommes des amis —
There is silence as the boat drifts closer. Then:
Vous parlez Francais comme une vache
I thought it was pretty good,
What’d he say?
Said I speak French like a
Laisser tomber vos armes —
Put the guns straight up — stand
away from the mounts.
Vous pouvez approcher mais
Take her in slow.
160 FULL SHOT – DIFFERENT ANGLE – DOCK
The men on the dock move forward, cautiously. They are
a young man, PHILIPPE, about 25, strong and handsome, save
for a scar down on the side of his face and through his left
eye, which is covered by a patch. He is dressed in a
tiger suit and the red beret of the French colonial para-
troops. Also of the red beret are HENRY LeFEVRE, a bear-
ded, dark-looking man of 35, and TRAN VAN KAC, a middle-
aged half-breed slave. They all bear automatic weapons
and suspicious in their eyes. As the boat pulls up to the
dock, another Frenchman joins the group, obviously the
head man, GASTON De MARAIS, about fifty, small and deli-
cate, with a strength about him.
Hands on the heads.
I can’t steer with my goddamn
Hey, they speak American.
Who is the commanding officer?
I am — I’m Captain B.L. Willard.
This is Chief Warrant Officer
Phillips — it’s his boat. We
were shot up bad downriver and
need repairs and food — we can
pay you in gold.
Philippe moves to another position — Kac grabs the rope
from the deck and ties it to the dock.
I’ll help you with —
Do not move —
Gaston looks at the skyward pointed twin fifties admiringly.
Fifty calibers, eh, Captain —
As I said, we can pay you in
Entirely unnecessary, Captain.
He puts down his gun — the others do likewise —
We share a common enemy — you
are our guests.
(he steps back)
I am Gaston de marais — this is
my family’s plantation. It has
been such for 121 years. It will
be such after I die.
This is my son, Philippe — he
has fought in Algeria and held
the rank of Captain. And Henry
LeFevre — a sergeant; he was
at Dien Bien Phu. My personal
servant, Tran Van Kac —
Then he motions to the trees. A young man in a tiger suit
and three women come forward from different positions —
all wear bush clothing and bear weapons.
My youngest son — Christian —
161 CLOSE SHOT – CHRISTIAN
He carries an M-60 machine gun in his hand — a belt of
ammunition trailing off behind him.
Christian’s wife — Ann-Marie —
A tall girl, goodlooking, but severe — she carries an
And my youngest daughter —
162 CLOSE ON CLAUDINE
an attractive girl about eighteen. She wears a red
paratrooper beret and a well-fitted bush suit. She carries
an M-79 grenade launcher and plenty of ammunition.
163 FULL VIEW – P.B.R. – CREW, GASTON, OTHERS
They stand there, exhausted and amazed. Philippe yells
in Vietnamese — about a dozen native men in tiger suits,
heavily armed, walk out of the trees from all around them.
They look the Americans over warily and assemble at
We took them from the dead.
Now — I assume you want to rest,
to shower. We’ll attend to your
repairs after dinner.
Willard’s men look at one another, dazed.
We don’t want to bother you any,
A man of war is never bothered to
aid an ally — you will follow me,
Willard steps off — then stops, reaches back and picks
up his M-16 by the stock.
A habit of men of war, sir —
Of course, Captain — an
The men are relieved. They pick up their weapons and
What about the boat?
My men will keep it for you —
Yeah — well, I’ll stay with the
Come with us.
They look at each other a moment. The Chief shrugs
164 FULL SHOT – PLANTATION – WILLARD, GASTON, OTHERS
Gaston stops, points to a guest house off the main struc-
ture which is a typical jungle plantation house, save the
many sandbagged gun emplacements and barbed wire.
A suitable accomodation for
your men, captain — you will,
of course, be quartered with us —
He indicates that the men should follow Philippe. The
Chief is hesitant.
Go ahead —
Philippe leads them on, muttering.
Captain, this way.
Willard follows — they walk over past the house and toward
the jungle, approaching a huge crater, 100 feet across and
about thirty feet deep. The bottom is filled with water and
young French and Vietnamese children swim in it. On the
opposite rim, sit two men and a woman with machine guns.
Gaston strides up and looks down at the crater with pride.
Magnificent, eh, Captain?
It is very good — there is no
current — It is very good. I
have never seen one like it in
all Indochina. I was in Paris
when it arrived — do you know
what might have caused —
Looks like a two thousand pound
to me. Yeah, a two thousand
No, I’ve seen those in Normandy.
This is much better.
My country — my country could
never originate this. Magnificent.
Gaston stands in serious admiration for this feat; Willard
looks between him and this big hole in the ground in
165 INT. WORKMEN’S SHOWER – EVENING
A foreman’s shower from the old plantation days. The
Chief steps out of it, refreshed, though still exhausted.
Lance stands there, about to step in, absolutely filthy,
caked with blood. His reaction is odd; rather than just
stepping into the shower, he seems almost frightened,
reluctant to step in. Chef is waiting behind him.
A hot shower, hot damn.
He pushes him forward into the water. The dirt and
caked mud go swirling off his face and shoulders, and
he relaxes as though he suddenly remenbers what a
166 EXT. THE DOCK – P.B.R. – EVENING
battered and torn — a few of Philippe’s Vietnamese
guard at the boat.
167 INT. WILLARD’S QUARTERS – EVENING
A beautiful European room with tall ceilings. Still
elegantly furnished, although old and decaying.
Willard sits in a comfortable chair in the corner of
the room, looking out over the carpet, the bed with
its elegant spread; the wash basin; the bidet. His
battle dress is black with muck, with bloodstaines and
He rises from the chair and steps to a dresser above
which is a large mirror. There is an album on the
marble top of the dresser. He turns to a page at random.
168 VIEW ON WILLARD
haggard, looking down at the album.
I wondered — how long has this room
been like this; how long has the
furniture been standing in these
169 VIEW ON THE ALBUM
Some old photographs of people standing around a car
in the 20’s in front of the plantation. Another picture
shows a child playing by the rubber trees near the
Was it like this sixty years ago?
Eighty years? But here, even
eighty years is nothing.
He turns the page,
The plantation being built. Pictures of the framing,
skeletal against the sky and jungle.
170 VIEW ON WILLARD
It was jungle, once; and it will
be jungle, again…
171 VIEW ON THE ALBUM
Onlu the very beginnings of the house; the first struc-
tures. Then another picture of the jungle site where
it was to be built.
172 CLOSE VIEW ON WILLARD
He looks up and sees his own face, reflected in the garish
mirror. He barely recognizes himself.
173 MED. VIEW
Willard looks at himself in the mirror, in this odd, out-
174 INT. DINING ROOM GROUP – TRACKING SHOT
TRACK DOWN the long table, covered with delicious food.
The P.B.R. crew sits with others of the De Marais group.
The table is headed by St. LeFevre. Chef’s face lights
up as he regards the wonderful European-style food.
This food is wonderful ! I can’t
believe the chef is a slope.
(turning to Clean)
Opposite the table, sitting next to the Chief, Lance
reaches hungrily for bread and other food with his hands.
Hey — Lance.
Huh? Oh. Um, wouldya ..
wouldya pass me the Rice-a-roni,
And then he looks to his friends for approval.
Our VIEW REVEALS that behind a transparent silk curtain
there is another, more elaborate table, where the
De Marais family is dining with Willard. Our VIEW MOVES
through the curtain and settles in a MEDIUM VIEW of the
The men rise as a very attractive woman enters the room.
Willard finally does as well, and she moves to the chair
next to him.
Roxanne, I hope you are feeling
Je vais bien maintenant.
May I present Captain Willard?
He is of a paratroop regiment.
You know the difference between a
paratrooper and a regular soldier,
don’t you , my dear?
(smiling and taking
Yes, they come from the sky.
She sits — there’s an uneasy silence.
Willard is caught with this exotic woman on one side of
him, and the ongoing conversation on the other. He is
forced to face toward Gaston, and drawn to look at Roxanne.
I would like to know more about
the .. uh, plaque…
Philippe turns around, points to an elaborately scripted
wooden plaque with various tallies on it.
Attacks repulsed, as I was saying.
This is only for this war, Captain.
Viet Cong — 54; North Vietnamese
regular forces — 15; South
Vietnamese — 28 — regular
forces and otherwise.
Americain — 6. Of course, they
were, perhaps, mistakes, Captain.
Of course. I — Once we make
our repairs, we could send word,
we could have you evacuated
You’ll get blown outta here some
We will never ‘evacuate’, Captain
— this is our home. Indochina is
ours; it has been so for a hundred
and twenty-one years, there is
something to say for that.
The Vietnamese think it’s theirs
— I guess the Americans do,
But we civilized it. A place
belongs to those who bring light
to it, don’t you agree.
I always thought the French came
here to get the rubber.
Excuse me, I must attend to my
He gets up, and leaves abruptely — followed by his wife.
May I ask where the Captain is
going in his little boat?
We were going upriver when we
got caught in a storm, ma’am.
Upriver? Why upriver? There is
nothing there, only jungle.
Do you know that jungle?
When I was a boy, my father would
take me there, to hunt. There
are a few savages, but no man
can live there, no white man.
What about an American named
There is a pause.
We have never heard of him.
Gaston rises, and takes Roxanne’s hand.
Bon nuit, Roxanne — bon nuit,
Gaston leaves. Willard and Roxanne are left alone. The
servants clear the table.
You must realize, Captain — we
have lost much here — I, my
husband. Gaston — his wife and
I’m sorry to hear that.
I should be checking on the
The war will still be here
She walks out of the room.
I guess so.
175 INT. SITTING ROOM – FULL SHOT – WILLARD AND ROXANNE
Roxanne sits, pouring a brandy, while Willard stands.
Do you miss your home, Captain?
Have you someone there?
No. Not really.
I was discharged from the army
four years ago. I went home,
wasted some time, bought a Mustang
Mach 1, drove it a week. Then
I re-upped for another tour. No,
everything I love is here.
Then you are like us.
She reaches out to him; indicating that he sit.
What will you do after the war?
I just follow my footsteps, one
at a time, trying to answer the
little questions and staying away
from the big ones.
What’s a big question?
I know you’ve heard of him.
What did you hear?
That strange things.. terrible
things have occured around this
Gaston would never tell me. It
was asubject not to be spoken of,
Did you know — deeper in the
jungle, upriver — there are
But Captain, I mean — cannibals.
A long pause. Then she looks at the cognac she poured for
What a pity, you don’t drink.
Since my husband died, there
are so many things I must do
She takes a sip.
Willard moves to the French doors, which have been left
partly open to let a breeze in. He steps onto a terrace
overlooking the river.
176 EXT. THE TERRACE – MED. VIEW – WILLARD – NIGHT
A machine gun emplacement is situated on the terrace cover-
ing the front of house, from the river.
(from the sitting room)
Are you warm, Captain?
The river is beautiful.
In fact, we REALIZE that he is checking the boat.
177 WILLARD’S POV.
The P.B.R. is under guard by a couple of Gaston’s
176 MED. VIEW ON WILLARD, ROXANNE
She, thinking it romantic to talk about the river, comes
up behind him.
I spend hours watching that
river from my bedroom window.
It fascinates me.
She moves her body close to his; and, in a moment, he is
179 CLOSE ON WILLARD, ROXANNE
One eye steals another look at the P.B.R.
180 VIEW ON THE P.B.R.
Two of the guards leave — two remain, getting ready
for the long night.
181 VIEW ON WILLARD, ROXANNE – ON THE TERRACE
His hands wander over her body as she clings to him. Then
she takes his hand, and leads him back into the sitting
room, and up the stairs.
182 INT. ROXANNE’S ROOM – FULL VIEW
It is dark. She leads him into her room and closes the
door. He stands there. In the center of the room is a
large canopied bed with mosquito netting hanging down over
- The windows also have netting and barbed wire —
there is a .30 calibre machine gun mount in the far one.
He look around. she goes over to the bed, and turns
down the sheets. Then she slips out of her dress and
stands there facing him.
He puts down his gun and strips off his shirt. She lays
down on the bed and watches him.
I have been lonely here, Captain.
He moves to her, slipping into the bed. M-16 is
leaning against the wall in his reach.
183 EXT. ROXANNE’S TERRACE – NIGHT
We can VIEW into the room, as Willard has silently
slipped out of her bed, and is a dark sinister figure
kneeling in final preparations for going out in the
Without a sound, he comes out to the terrace, and
scales down the wall of the old building, disappearing
into the darkness.
184 EXT. THE DOCK – P.B.R. – NIGHT
Two Vietnamese guard the P.B.R. — suddenly, feet first,
the first disappears into the thicket.
185 CLOSE VIEW ON WILLARD
in the thicket; we realize he has just killed the man with
a knife. Willard stalks the second guard and makes quick
work of him with his knife. He even enjoys it. Silently,
he drags the body out of sight.
186 MED. VIEW ON THE P.B.R.
The dark figure boards the boat silently. He disappears
into the hold.
187 NEW VIEW
He lifts out several cases of supplies, working quickly,
with a grace that indicates he is a man who has done his
best work alone, and at night.
188 INT. ROXANNE’S ROOM – CLOSE SHOT – WILLARD – MORNING
He sleeps soundly alone in the bed – we HEAR SOMEONE
moving around in the room. He wakes suddenly — PULL
BACK TO REVEAL Roxanne combing her hair and buttoning up
her blouse. She notices he is awake and smiles.
I will fix you breakfast.
He starts to get up.
I’m afraid I won’t have time —
I gotta —
Whe you reach the boat you will
find that half your fifty calibre
stores — a case of grenades, a
mortar and two M-16’s and a
case of clips are being
transfered to us by your order.
He stops — seemingly stunned.
So that’s it.
You may think what you wish,
Captain, but I like you very
She turns to go.
What if I say no.
Then Philippe will have to kill
all of you.
189 EXT. DOCK – FULL SHOT – WILLARD, OTHERS
He walks down onto the dock. Gaston’s men are transferring
Gaston is standing with Philippe, who are covering the
Chief and crew with M-16’s.
Two of my men deserted last
night. It happens from time
to time. I assume my daughter
told you of our conditions.
They taking half our ammo,
Captain — said it was your orders.
He pauses for a second.
That’s right — I did.
The Chief spits in the water disgustedly and starts the
engines. Willard looks hard at Gaston.
I guess this is whAt men of war
do — eh?
We endure, captain — you can
blow up the house and we will
live in the cellar — destroy
that and we’ll dig a hole in the
jungle and sleep on it. Burn
the forest and we’ll hide in
the swamp. all the while, we
do but one thing — clean the
blood off our bayonets.
Au revoir, Captain.
190 LONG SHOT – DOCK – P.B.R.
Willard climbs on board and it pulls away.
191 EXT. P.B.R. – MED. SHOT – WILLARD, CHIEF
The BOAT ROARS out across the river. The Chief looks over
at Willard. They stare at each other for a moment.
Next time we get in a good fire
fight — I’d like to know how
she was, Captain.
Willard just smiles at the Chief. he leans over and pulls
up a floorboard — the men stare in amezement; it contains
the contents of all those ammo boxes. .50 calibre; clips;
What did you put in all those
Rocks, sand — those two men
When’d you do it?
While you were sleeping.
He lets the board drop.
Willard moves to the back of the boat.
192 FULL SHOT – P.B.R. – RIVER , CREW
The river has narrowed and runs swifter — the water dark
and deep. The trees are higher in this area and much of
the river is shaded on one side. There is no undergrowth,
just the tall trees and ferms. They move ahead at half
speed, alert, ready for anything.
We moved deeper and deeper into
the jungle. It was very quiet
there. It was like wandering on
a prehistoric planet, an unknown
world … where the men thought
they crawled to, I don’t know.
For me, we crawled toward Kurtz —
Willard looks out ahead and points.
They all turn their guns in that direction. We PAN TO
REVEAL a small village of huts along the bank.
193 FULL SHOT – DIFFERENT ANGLE – VILLAGE
194 POV. OF THE P.B.R.
They pass in front of the village which is rundown and
completely deserted. The huts are on stilts to avoid the
flooding of the river — they are just skeletons of what
they once were.
No — most of ’em are still
standing — might’ve been
I don’t know — there’d still
be some sign — it’s just like
the one this morning.
DISSOLVE TO :
195 POV BOAT – FULL SHOT – JUNGLE
The canopy of trees grows taller and stretches out across
the river filtering the sun. The forest itself has grown
darker and more twisted with ferns and creepers. Strange
birds fly out of the trees as the boat passes — a huge
snake slips along an overheading limb. The depth of the
jungle is dark, ominous — yet cool and strangely inviting.
196 FULL SHOT – BOAT – JUNGLE
Suddenly the river widens, the trees give way to marsh
and as they emerge into the light a strange shadow falls
upon the boat. It is the shadow cast by an enormous
vertical tail section of a B-52 bomber thrusting out from
the mud. Pieces of aluminum hang loosely from it, oxi-
dizing in the sun. Creepers have already started to grow
up around its heights — the jungle is claiming it. But
once under its shadow, they have passed a gateway. A
gateway to paradise.
The river widens and the trees at its edge are soft and
seductive. The hills beyond are purple and lush. Strange
orange colored water-fowl swim lazily out of their way.
The water itself is glass smooth and black as if there
were no bottom. The sun is warm and the breeze gentle
and laced with wild gardenians. It is indeed the most
peaceful valley in all the world and each man looks upon
it and has never known such a sense of peace and well-
Each man in his heart feels a need to stay — his soul
cries to stop — stop their madness — this spiral into
Here is all that can be had of earth. But no hand moves.
The boat drifts on its own toward a hole at the end of
the clearing. A hole into the jungle from which a
darkness permeats. The boat follows the river into this
DISSOLVE TO :
197 FULL SHOT – P.B.R. – RIVER – DAWN
The skull looms in the f.g. — the P.B.R. is pulled back
about seventy yards — Early morning mist still hangs on
the water — as it clears, we SEE another post and skulls
on the opposite bank, It is strangely quiet.
— All right, Lance —
Lance’s TWIN FIFTIES split the silence as they POUR into
the skulls on the opposite bank — Suddenly there is a
tremendous EXPLOSION and SECONDARY ONES from the jungle
as shrapnel rips into the jungle and water from CLAYMORE
MINES obviously set to cover the mound of skulls. The
The other one —
No — leave it —
Why — Charlie put it there to kill —
Thta’s not Charlie’s work —
There is silence.
Whoever put’em there didn’t do it
to kill people — They put ’em up
as signs —
Yeah — like keep out —
Willard motions — the Chief accelerates — they move ahead
past the smoking mound.
198 EXT. THE RIVER – FOG – DAY
The P.B.R. pushed deeper into this mysterious area. Mist
swells in and around the river, as the boat moves into
an obscure fog. The Chief cuts the engine, and they coast.
Toward the night of the fifth
day out of Do Lung Bridge, we
judged ourselves about eight
miles from Kurtz’ base.
Everything was still, the trees,
the creepers, even the brush
seemed like it had been changed
into some kind of stone. It was
unnatural, like a trance. Not
a sound could be heard. I began
to think I was deaf — then the
fog came suddenly, and I was
The boat disappears in the thick fog.
199 MED. CLOSE ON WILLARD
We catch glimpses of him, even though we are close.
What is it?
They are silent. We can HEAR the most ominous SOUND
COMING FROM THE BANKS. The GROANING, OR WAILING .. of
HUNDREDS OF MEN.
They’re on the banks of the
200 VIEW ON LANCE
Frantically, he swings the twin fifties around.
201 VIEW ON CHIEF
We can barely SEE him — in and out of the fog.
No, Lance. Not while you can’t
202 VIEW ON WILLARD
listening. The SOUND IS TERRIBLE, HORRIFYING.
Will they attack?
If they have boats … or
canoes… they’d get lost in
the fog. We can’t move either —
we’ll end up on the shore.
Sounds like hundreds of them.
The CHORUS OF GROANS in unbearable. But it is not ahostile
cahnt; or a war chant, but rather the SOUND OF HUMAN
It doesn’t sound hostile —
it sounds like they’ve seen us
coming and it sounds like —
I don’t know, a funeral. I
203 VIEW ON LANCE
A glimpse of him, almost in tears. We then SEE glimpses,
fog moving, of all the men on the P.B.R.
DISSOLVE TO :
204 MED. VIEW – THE P.B.R.
MOVING THROUGH the thinning mist. The Navy craft proceeds
Two hours after the fog lifted,
we moved slowly to a spot we
thought was roughly a mile and
a half below Kurtz’s camp. We
approached a long sand-bank
stretching down the middle of
Which way? Right or left?
Who knows? Right.
Looks pretty shallow.
The P.B.R. moves toard the right-most channel. Chef
takes a long pole and begins sounding depth.
205 VIEW ON WILLARD
The men are really tense now — Lances swivels his gun from
bank to bank. Chief keeps his fingers on an M-16. Willard
takes out the TOP SECRET packet he received at Do Lung.
Tears it open. We MOVE IN ON him.
Upon reaching objective. Target
key personnel and commence
operation. Should difficulty
arise from which extraction is
impossible, break radio silence
Com-Sec Command code Strong Arm —
indicate purgative air strike —
code — Street Gang.
Purgative air strike ! Purgative !
They’d kill me too !
Suddenly Chef lays out flat on the bow. Hundreds
and hundreds of slender sticks fly onto the P.B.R.
rattling against the boat.
Shit ! Fucking arrows ! They’re
shooting fucking arrows at us.
206 CLOSE ON WILLARD
looking toward the banks.
207 WILLARD’S POV
Frags of men — naked limbs, arms, breasts, glaring eyes
entangled in the dense jungle gloom. And hundreds of
pathetic wooden arrows flying out toward them.
208 VIEW ON THE P.B.R.
crazily zig-zagging up the river in the midst of the
Steer her right.
209 VIEW ON THE P.B.R.
arrows hitting the deck. The men open up everything
they’ve got. Lance is FIRING the two fifties wildly.
Keep going.. keep going.
They’re just fucking sticks !
Chief, stay at the helm.
But Chief seems out of control — he lets the clip of his
M-16 go. Then slowly lets the rifle fall out of his hands,
and falls to Willard’s feet, a primitive spear having
caught him right through the ribs. Willard looks down in
210 VIEW ON CHIEF
laying at Willard’s feet — the long spear through him,
bleeding onto Willard’s boots. He looks up at Willard,
about to say something.
211 MED. VIEW ON THE P.B.R.
The men are still crazily FIRING into the empty jungle
long after those who attacked beat their retreat.
Stop it. Stop it !
Slowly he pulls his boots from under Chief. They are
absolutely soaked in blood. He is stunned — sits down
and begins to unlace the bloody boots, and take them off.
Willard unlaces the other boot, and holds the bloody boot
in his hand.
It was the strangest thing —
I don’t know that I can explain
- Two of my men dead, and all
I could think of was whether
Kurtz was dead too. That’s all
I wanted: to see Kurtz, to hear
He starts to wipe the blood off the boot.
Somehow, in the middle of this …
carnival, Kurtz had grown into
something — a gifted officer;
a great man.
Somehow, he was the only light
in this hopeless, hopeless
And now I was too late —
he was probably gone, disappeared…
by a grenade rolled into his
tent — or by some spear on the head.
Christ, I felt like howling like
those animals in the fog.
212 EXT. THE BOAT AT MARINA DEL REY – NIGHT
The people at Charlie’s cocktail party on the boat.
Some flashbulbs are going off. Some people are dancing
to the MUSIC. OUR VIEW MOVES SLOWLY TOWARD Willard, on
the edge of the party.
Here they are in Los Angeles.
Everything is safe. There’s a
supermarket around the corner,
the police station around the
other. It would seem ridiculous
to them that I was shot to hell
because I had lost the privilege
of listening to the mysterious
Of course I was wrong. He was
waiting for me. Kurtz was alive
and he was waiting for me.
DISSOLVE TO :
213 EXT. THE RIVER – P.B.R. DAY
The P.B.R. moving up the river. The men are practically
in a trance now, looking at the banks of the river. They
don´t even make an effort to touch their weapons.
214 WHAT THEY SEE
Hundreds and hundreds of Montagnard natives — dressed
in the most ornate and primitive manner: feathers, parts
of birds and animals; cod-pieces — all in body and face
paint of the most savage nature. But there is a purity
about them, men and boys, standing passively watching
the small Navy craft flying the strange flag of red,
white and blue.
215 VIEW ON THE P.B.R.
The men of the crew are not the same men who began this
voyage. Their manner is lifeless as though in a trance.
The various decorations and paraphenelia that they have
picked up along the way seem oddly relevant to the
savages that stand before them. The Chef has made a
hat of birdfeathers; Lance’s face has been painted with
mud under the eyes to block the glare of the sun. He
wears certain animal skins; trinkets; some animal teeth.
Their uniforms have been torn and patched throughout the
difficult journey. They start to move to their gun
Just stand here with me where
they can see us. Do nothing.
216 VIEW FROM BEHIND THE P.B.R.
MOVING SLOWLY TOWARD the fantastic human wall of feathers
and war paint, standing on canoes across the river. The
men on the crew stand in a group, their hands visibly
without weapons. The natives standing across the river
make no hostile gestures as they approach. They accept
the small boat moving toward them with a sort of inevi-
tability. The boat moves closer, approaches the wall of
feathers — which slowly and automatically gives away, in
almost a ritual of birth, undulating, allowing the little
boat to penetrate.
217 VIEW ON WILLARD
Mus on his face (to protect it from the sun), the palms
of some jungle vegetation protecting his head, he looks
something like atribal chieftan himself. His intuition
was right. He senses that they would be allowed to pass.
218 FULL VIEW ON THE RIVER
Hundreds of Montagnards who had been lining the river
now run, absolutely silently, along the banks, keeping
pace with the P.B.R. There is no hostility in these
faces, only curiosity and a sort of grief.
219 VIEW ON WILLARD, THE CREW
They look up toward the bank.
220 THEIR POV
The temple at NU MUNG BA, a fortified encampment, built
around the ruins of a former Cambodian civilization.
Stone walls, barbed wire, cracked pyramids and rows and
rows of Escher-like sandbags arranged in an endless maze
around the fortress.
221 VIEW ON WILLARD
He picks up his field glasses and looks through.
222 WILLARD’S POV – THROUGH GLASSES
A sign entangled in the barbed wire — its lettering
strict and military:
FOURTH SPECIAL FORCES
NU MUNG BA
The GLASSES POV MOVES REVEALING another sign written in
a wild psychedelic hand.
OUR MOTTO: APOCALYPSE NOW !
The POV OF THE GLASSES MOVE once again and come upon an
astonished sight, a black man dressed in a tatter of
colored fabrics, feathers, and an Australian bush hat.
He looks something like a multi-colored harlequin waving
frantically to the P.B.R. The POV OF THE GLASSES MOVE
OFF of him.
223 VIEW ON WILLARD
not believing what he’s just seen.
224 THE GLASSES POV
Once again the young black man is now waving his
225 VIEW ON THE P.B.R.
Willard shouts out to the starnge greeter.
We’ve been attacked.
I know, I know, it’s all right.
Come in this way. It’s mined
over there. This way. It’s
Willard look at Chef who is at the helm. He shrugs and
they do as this man says. The P.B.R. moves towards the
water’s edge where there is a dock covered with concertina
wire. The odd Australian stands waving his hat, guiding
them safely in.
A thick greasy smoke hangs from fires that burn near the
fort; fresh shell craters indicate a recent battle. Near
the dock there is a tangled clump of corpses — half sub-
merged in the water. Other piles of bodies lie about, some
of them on fire. Fire literally burns from out of the
ground. Chef nods at the bodies.
Looks that way.
(looking at the Australian)
The boat pulls up. The Australian harlequin hops on
board; the crew regards him with their dark faces splat-
tered with mud and blood.
Who the hell are you?
Moonby. Got any Winstons?
Moonby, 4th battalion, Royal
Australian Regiment, Task Force.
Ex-Corporal Moonby, deserted.
the hundreds of natives)
What is this?
Oh, they’re simple enough people.
It’s good to see you, baby.
Nobody has any Winstons?
Chef automatically offers Moonby a Winston.
This boat’s a mess.
Where’s Kurtz? I want to talk
Oh, you don’t talk to Colonel
(he puffs, then smiles)
You listen to him. God, these
are good. I kept these people
off you, you know. It wasn’t
Why did they attack us?
Simple. They don’t want him to
Pre-Australian, actually. But
I’d dig goin’ to California.
I’m California dreamin’.
(almost to himself)
So Kurtz is alive.
Kurtz. I tell you, that man
has enlarged my mind.
He opens his arms wide, to indicate the breadth of his
But lemme tell you, he is the
most dangerous thing in every
way that I’ve come on so far.
He wanted to shoot me. The
first thing he said is, ‘I’m
going to shoot you because you
are a deserter.’ I said I
didn’t desert from your army,
I deserted from my army. He
said, ‘I’m going to shoot you
just the same.’
Why didn’t he shoot you?
I’ve asked myself that question.
I said to myself, why didn’t he
shoot me? He didn’t shoot me,
because I had a stash like you
wouldn’t believe. I hid it in
the jungle; the wealth of the
Orient: Marijuana — Hashish
— Opium — cocaine — uncut
Heroin; the Gold of the Golden
Triangle. and Acid — I make
Koolaid that makes purple Owsley
come on like piss. Now I’m
Kurtz’ own Disciple — I listen
he talks. About everything !
Everything. I forgot there’s
such a thing as sleep. Everything.
Of love, too.
Oh, no, not what you think…
Cosmic love. He made me see
things — things, you know.
The whole time Moonby is chattering on, Willard has
picked up his field glasses and scans the fortress.
226 WILLARD’S POV – THROUGH THE FIELD GLASSES
Men in small groups, huddled over food.
Now he settles on the entrance in the temple. There
are stakes in front, and on top of them are horrible
227 BACK TO SCENE
Sounds like he’s gone crazy.
No, Colonel Kurtz couldn’t be
crazy — if you heard him talk,
just last week, you’d never think
he was crazy.
Is that where he is? By the
Those heads, yes. Well, the
(to his men)
We’re going ashore. Tie her up
— and leave your guns up, Lance.
Bring your rifles, that’s all.
(looking at Moonby)
Take us to him.
Right on — he’s been waiting
And shut up.
Moonby nods and shrugs, and hops off the P.B.R. willard
and the men follow.
228 MOVING VIEW – WILLARD, MOONBY AND THE CREW
As they proceed closer to the fortress-temple, men appear
where a moment before there was only jungle.
They are mostly Montagnards, but far more savage looking
than any we’ve seen before. They wear only loinclothes
and bandoliers of ammunition. their bodies are painted
in strange patterns. They carry Army M-16’s, Russian
AK-47’s and a wide variety of knives and clubs. Women
emerge from the brush as well. they are armed and
equally primitive looking. Interspersed among them
are a few taller men with paler skins, with the remnants
of Army insignia on them. The paint on their bodies is,
if anything more bizarre. We CONTINUE TO MOVE ACROSS
the entire group up to the stone gates of the fort,
where thirty or so more are seen silhouetted against
the sky. Willard and his men look up at people more
primitive and more savage than any since the time
of Captain Cook.
They encounter, in the center of the group, what once
appears to have been an American. he is tall, gaunt,
wears a flak jacket, but is otherwise naked, save a
loincloth. His face is darkened from dirt, battle smoke,
strange camouflage patterns. His hair and beard are
long, matted with mud and grease. He carries an AK-47
decorated with scalps and human ears. Willard approaches
this beast, who seems shy and retiring.
Who are you?
His name is…
I’m not ever goin’ to tell you
to shut up again.
Moonby shuts up. The MAN tries to speak, but nothing
comes out. He is dumbstrucked at seeing them, as they
are to see him.
Colby. Exec. officer, A-Team…
Special Forces. F-82 — Col.
Walter Kurtz, commanding.
What happened here?
What — happened here.
NVA regulars. They’re coming
again tonight. Tet — their
big — assault.
Willard is the man in the middle — he doesn’t know what
to say to this man, but he understands the forces that
pounded him. He takes his arm.
229 REVERSE ON COLBY
looks at Willard, not understanding.
230 REVERSE ON WILLARD
Six months later, and he and Colby would be identical.
I’m taking you back.
Moonby slaps himself in the head with his hand.
Oh, no, don´t say that.
Take us back. Take us back !
But, the operation — the team.
Colonel Kurtz has such plans for
— the team.
Take me to him, Major.
Colby starts, and then, seeing the shrunken heads on
poles, he turns, agitated, to Willard:
I had nothing to do with these
operations — I did not do the
planning — none of us did.
It was all Colonel Kurtz — he
was the genius. You’ll see —
the genius of our Colonel. He
should be made a General, don’t
you think? A General? It’s…
Suddenly, frightened, he stops. Without looking Willard
knows that Kurtz is standing behind him. He turns.
Kurtz has stepped out from his headquarters: He is
a powerful man, though obviously very ill. He slowly
attempts to pull the remnants of his uniform together,
though it is ripped and bloodied, and now combined with
primitive ornaments designating him a tribal chief, as
well as his U.S.A. Colonel’s insignia. He is feverish,
with long blonde hair and beautiful features. His eyes
almost hypnotize. His midsection is bandaged from what
seems to be a serious wound.
232 VIEW ON WILLARD
This is not what he expected. He is quiet, and then,
automatically, he comes to an attention.
Colonel Kurtz, I guess.
Captain B.L. Willard reporting
his presence, sir.
233 VIEW ON KURTZ
looking at him a long time. Then he returns the salute,
(pause, as he regards him)
234 MED. VIEW
There is, of course, no chair or anything like a chair.
But behind and around him, Kurtz’s men begin to sit on
the ground, cross-legged. Finally, Willard sits as well.
Then Kurtz does.
Moonby lights a joint, and passes it respectfully to
Kurtz — throughout the scene, the joint is passed from
man to man, ritualistically.
Why did you come to … my province.
We were attacked — down river.
We need supplies and medical
You were not coming here, to
(finding it more and
more difficult to go
on with this lie)
No — no, sir.
You came up my river — in that
small boat. So simple. I
always thought the final justice
would come from the sky, like
You are the final justice,
What do you mean, Colonel?
What other reason could you
have come? A Captain. Ranger.
Paratrooper. Graduate of the
Recondo School. Am I right
about these things?
You know you’re right.
There is a clear, incredible intelligence about this man.
Then the Agency approached you.
Maybe in a bar in Quinon or
Pleiku. Simple. A year’s pay
for one life. Perhaps a village
elder, or a tax collector.
Nobody’s orders but your own.
235 CLOSE ON WILLARD
He remains silent.
236 CLOSE ON KURTZ
You’ve spent tome at the Royal
Tracking School of Malaysia.
I can tell from the way the
laces on your boots are tied.
I understand you, Captain. We
understand each other.
There is a long pause, as the two men regard each other.
Then Willard reaches to his holstered .45 — withdraws
it, and places it on the dirt before Kurtz, as an act
assuring Kurtz that he is not an assasin.
Do you know me?
Kurtz reaches down; takes the .45 — and without another
word or gesture, shoots and kills a man.
Do you know me ?
He throws the .45 back on the dirt. Rises, and walks
back into the cavernous headquarters behind the shrunken
heads. Moonby scampers off after him, a respectful
distance behind. Even Willard is stunned.
237 EXT. KURTZ’S OUTPOST – FULL VIEW – TWILIGHT
Dotted with campfires; Montagnard families — it is like
a primitive civilization.
238 VIEW BY THE TEMPLE WALL
Willard is alone by a campfire — his M-16 leans by a wall
next to him. He is exhausted.
Lance sleeps by the fire, a little distance away. Chef
approaches, crouches down.
Captain — they’ve been probed
all this week — Cong and NVA
regulars. There’s gonna be a
big offense any time.
Lance stirs; starts to wake up.
What are we doing here?
Kurtz. I’m supposed to kill him,
just like he said.
Yeah, I can see that. He’s
fuckin nuts —
He killed that guy without feeling
Not a thing.
When you kill Cong, don’t you
Recoil… I feel the recoil of
Willard rises. Chef looks at him, confused and frightened.
239 FULL SHOT – WALL – WILLARD, CHEF , LANCE
Willard walks along the top of a thick wall — sandbagged
and dug out every so often for an M-60 or a mortar
Wild looking savages man these guns, and seem to bow
to Willard as he passes.
This is good — triple overlapping
fields of fire — walls so thick
ordinary artillery just cleans
the moss off their surfaces.
A woman tentatively moves to Willard, bowing, and then
runs off to her bunker.
WE ARE TRACKING with them as they move past the groups
of people, huddled by their fires… men, women and
children. Skulls, shrunken and otherwise hang from
every hut — adorn every sandbagged bunker — dried
scalps hang from barbed wire. A child is chewing on
a big piece of almost raw meat.
I’ve done things, when I was
alone in the jungle — that I
never told anyone about.
They continue past amount where the shattered wreck of
half a helicopter is laying. It has been altered and
fortified with sandbags and concertina wire. The wreck
lays on its side so that a 7.62 mini-gun that was mounted
there sticks up above the sandbags. The emplacement is
built on amound so the gun commands a clear field of
fire into the jungle beyond.
Some Americans, barely recognizible because of their
beards and savage manner, sit near the gun. Several
Montagnard children giggle at their feet and play with
This is evil — evil, Captain.
We’re all gonna die here.
Yeah, I know.
I don’t get it — You said your
mission was to kill him. Let’s
do it, an’ get our asses outta
here. This Kurtz is ruining the
war; I mean, this don’t look
good for America !
(lost in his thoughts)
… he’s an amazing officer.
You got to kill this sonuvabitch
— Lance and me, we don’´t
understand none of this — Jesus,
Captain — I don’t wanna die here
— Do it quick.
Lance just stands there; his eyes vacant.. He sort of
nods, sucking a joint.
Yeah. I know.
240 INT. KURTZ HEADQUARTERS – NIGHT
VIEW FROM INSIDE — Willard approaches the stakes with
the shrunken heads. Chef and Lance with him. Willard
steps in — Lance and the Chef crouch outside, waiting.
241 WILLARD’S VIEW
An austere stone savern in the temple: Kurtz’s head-
quarters. Electric lights hanging in odd contrast to the
ancient stone. We SEE what is left of the maps and other
military charts — they had been tacked up on big boards,
but have now fallen into decayed disuse.
There are other indications of the modern headquarters
this had been. Now all those things are no longer impor-
tant. Kurtz sits alone, slumped back in a wicker chair.
There is a large wooden planning table next to him, with
maps, lamps and apile of debris that is practically
garbage. There are native decorations to ward off evil
spirits; and graffiti on the stone walls, things ranging
fromm “Viet Nam, love it or leave it” to quotes of Nietzsche
“Nothing is true — everything is permitted.”
Moonby, who had been crouching in a corner, moves to
He’s asleep — don’t bother him.
Willard steps in closer. Kurtz looks to Moonby.
You. Get out.
Moonby hesitates — not wanting to leave him alone with
I said get the fuck out !
I’m going to kill the little
weirdo myself tomorrow.
(he shows some pain
when moving his
He´s only stayed alive this long
because he’s a good orderly and
medic. He knows how to use a
You’re gonna get hit tonight,
bad — a whole regiment of NVA
That’s right, the little gook-
pricks. But they are noble
little gook-pricks, noble.
Because they fight with their
guts, like animals. And for an
idea ! That’s rich. We fight
with ingenious machines and
fire, like Gods, and for nothing.
But I’ll call in a major blotto
airstrike tonight. We’ll have
ourselves a helluva airstrike
tonight, a lightshow. How do
you like The Doors’: ‘C’mon Baby
Light My Fire…’
Yeah, I like it…
I love it.
He rests back, grinning.
You’ve gone crazy.
No. My thinking is clear.
But my soul has gone mad.
Suddenly Kurtz is seized with a terrible pain from his
stomach wound. He groans horribly, clutching at it. He
literally falls from his chair onto the dirt floor.
My gut — Oh, Christ, my gut !
Willard leans over him; checking the seriousness of the
242 EXT. THE HEADQUARTERS – NIGHT
Lance is crouching by the stone entrance — Chef leans in,
witnessing the proceedings inside.
Kill him — come on, why don’t
you kill him
243 INT. THE HEADQUARTERS – MED, VIEW – KURTZ AND WILLARD –
Willard examining the wound.
Oh shit — on the table; morphine.
Willard moves to the table, opens the medical packet. He
takes out a morphine capsule, leans over the writhing
Kurtz and injects him with the drug.
up in pain)
You see how stupid it would have
been to blow out my brains? I’m
dying from the gut anyway.
Willard quickly prepares another shot. Kurtz, truly
frightened, holds up his hand.
No — I don’t want to sleep.
I want to think. Water. Give
You can’t have water after
Still playing by the rules.
You’re a damn good kiler.
(still holding the
How’s the pain?
I can handle it.
Pain is easy to handle — but
nobility.. the nobility of a
man is judged by how much Truth
he can handle.
The truth that you were sent
here to murder me, ans so far
you haven’t done it. And do
you know why?
(looks at him)
Yes, you know why.
Your mission makes about as much
sense as those idiots who sent
you on it. Asshole ! Schmuck !
How long does it take you to
figure out that nobody knows
what they’re doing here.
He rests back. The drug is beginning to take effect.
You know what you’re doing?
You are interfering with my
He crawls in pain toward the canteen Willard watches
This water’s got Moonby’s acid
in it —
He drinks sloppily from the canteen, water spilling all
over. Then he throws the canteen to Willard.
Drink it — drink it for tonight.
Think of it. A whole regiment
of those shitty little Cong —
War. Total war — war like you’ve
never known it. It’s beautiful
— you’ll love it. Trust me.
244 EXT. THE HEADQUARTERS – MED. VIEW – LANCE AND CHEF – NIGHT
We can SEE into the headquarters: Kurtz offers the canteen
to Willard. Chef is terrified — Lance is stoned out.
Lance — the fucker’s not gonna
Goddamn — You’ve gotta dig
napalm on Speed, too. It’s
spectacular, you’ll see.
Lance stands up holding his M-16, looks into the cavern
245 INT. HEADQUARTERS – NIGHT
Willard stands there, holding the morphine needle in his
Look into the jungle. You can’t —
it’s too terrible. You have to
smear yourself with warpaint to
look at it — you have to be a
That’s why warpaint was invented.
Then it becomes your jungle.
Willard shoots himself in the arm with the morphine.
How did we get here?
Because of all the things we do,
the thing we do best — is lie.
I think think a lie stinks.
Oh Captain, that is so true.
Stinks. I could never figure —
(he drinks from
I could never figure how they
can teach boys how to bomb villages
with napalm — and not let them
write the word ‘fuck’ on their
Willard drinks more of the LSD water.
You could never figure it because
it doesn’t make sense.
I’ll tell you what makes sense !
Air strikes ! White Phosphorus !
Napalm ! We’ll bomb the shit out
of them if they don’t do what
We’ll exterminate the fuckers !
Chef steps into the Headquarters — he is terrified.
He draws his bayonet.
Captain — kill him.
Think of it — for years, millions
of years, savages with pathetic
painted faces were scared shitless
that fire would rain down from
the sky. And goddamn, we made
it happen. God bless Dow !
Kill him !
Chef rushes at Kurtz with his bayonet — instinctively,
Willard GUNS him — then there is additional automatic
FIRE. Chef is being riddled by bullets.
246 VIEW ON LANCE
He has let loose with his M-16 at Chef, like some sort
of mindless, programmed killer.
Hot damn !
Then hes tops — Chef falls to the dirt — there is an
instant of silence, then:
247 EXT. OF THE TEMPLE AT NU MUNG BA – NIGHT
The DOORS begin LIGHT MY FIRE , loud and overwhelming,
as illuminating flares light up the blackness.
248 MED. CLOSE VIEW
of enormous loudspeakers protected behind spirals of
razor-sharp concertina wire. LIGHT MY FIRE is blasted
out to the enemy, poised to attack.
249 ANOTHER LOUDSPEAKER
Cannibal-painted men in savage decorations wait. Bay-
onets are fixed. Men are stoned to acid, injecting
speed, sniffing cocaine, eating grass, smoking hashish
in water pipes. One looks up to the sky.
250 EIS VIEW
A rocket illuminates the sky, strobing, as in a psyche-
251 VIEW ON THE SOLDIER
Another behind him is chanting the word NAPALM softly t
252 MED. VIEW ON THE GATE
Willard strides out of the darkness, into the positions
around the gate. He looks like a magnificent warrior —
Genghis. All the men: Montagnards, fierce Americans,
even the savage men of the P.B.R. crew either bow,
salute or kneel before Willard. The color pulsates
around the edge of the image, red and green, mauve and
We SEE Lance; waiting, with his weapons — garlands of
teeth around his neck, his face painted.
253 FULL VIEW – MONTAGE
Enemy ARTILLERY BLASTING away at the fortress.
254 CLOSE SHOT – A MORTAR
A hand drops a shell and it FIRES.
255 CLOSE SHOT – ROCKET LAUNCHER
It FIRES. EXPLOSIONS around the fort, red and orange
and blue and green. They hit and grow, outward like some
sort of cosmic flower.
256 CLOSE SHOT – A FLAME-THROWER (ON TANK)
Shoots out a stream of burning napalm that looks like a
death ray gun, radiating outward with ice-blue energy.
257 SHOT ON LOUDSPEAKERS
blasting out music.
258 MED. CLOSE VIEW ON YOUNG SOLDIERS
With the MUSIC, like those people you see listening to
radios in their cars.
259 SHOT ON THE COMMAND BUNKER – WILLARD , KURTZ , OTHERS
(In SLOW MOTION) Shells WHISTLE in and EXPLODE on the
walls in the compound. The men behind them are setting
up rocket launcher (missile) . Everywhere metal and rock
and flame fly and it is beautiful to see.
Willard looks through the infra-red sniper scope.
260 WILLARD – INFRA-RED POV
Strange, luminescent images of North Vietnamese approach-
ing the outer perimeters. Thousands of them.
261 FULL SHOT ON KURTZ
Mini-gun. Colby. Sergeant.
262 MED. SHOT – MINI-GUN
A SERGEANT in feathered head-piece and wildly painted
operates the mini-gun with several native helpers. SHELLS
BURST around them. When they FIRE the SOUND is incredibly
loud and steady like a high-pitched foghorn. A solid
stream of molten lead seems to pour into the darkness as
7000 rounds a minute rip into the enemy. The pass of
the lead reaches out in beautiful patterns as the Ser-
geant sweeps the area. The sergeant laughs maniacally
as the GUN resumes FIRING, right up to the moment he is
blown to eternity by an all-engulfing 105mm shell.
263 VIEW ON WILLARD
Exhilarated, and moving with the MUSIC.
Colby pushes a row of plungers: Advancing NVAs il-
luminated by napalm drums, phosphorescent napalm EXPLODES
beautiful, like a magnificent firework.
264 VIEW ON KURTZ
The SOUND DISTORTED of tremendous HOWLING EXPLOSIONS
penetrate the track of LIGHT MY FIRE one after another.
Kurtz’s face is illuminated by each of these. His face
seems to change from one grotesgue primitive face to
another, as though the whole history mankind is evolv-
ing in front of us.
The SCREAMS of maimed and dismembered men almost pene-
trates the INCREDIBLY LOUD MUSIC and we HEAR Kurtz’s men
LAUGHING and SCREAMING in delight.
Kurtz looks out over the field of slaughter.
265 FULL SHOT – NVA CHARGE
through wires and claymore glass, each wilder and more
extreme. They burn in the pools of luminescent napalm
but press relentlessly on. SHELL BURSTS overhead. They
chant to themselves as they advance. NVA have reached
the walls and throw down scaling ladders and start up.
Suddenly the sky is bright with flares which produce
weird psychedelic light. Blared out at tremendous vol-
ume over and above the DIN OF BATTLE is LIGHT MY FIRE.
266 FULL SHOT – WALL – EVERYBODY
The Americans and Montagnards stand up screaming.
Spurred by MUSIC, they charge up. M-16’s in both hands,
blasting, kicking, bayoneting, gouging, splittin throats,
biting necks, both sides collide in the utter and most
267 MED. SHOT – WILLARD
standing on the wall BLASTING as bodies fall around him;
he thrusts his bayonet into one attacker, removes it with
a foot and stabs another. From him he takes his AK47 and
BLASTS more as they come.
268 MED. SHOT – LANCE
The VC rush his position. Willard trips a claymore that
BLASTS most of them to shreads. More fill in. Lance
opens up FULL AUTOMATIC . Willard and Lance move down to
the nest wall, FIRING , bodies tumbling over.
Lance is caught in a CROSSFIRE and hit several times.
He pulls himself up — FIRES a final BURST and then falls
under the enemy’s feet.
269 VIEW ON MOONBY
sees this and scampers off into the jungle, muttering
madly to himself.
270 MED. VIEW – WILLARD AT THE R.T.
shouting into the radio
Code — Street Gang — Street
Gang ! Purgative air strike;
Street Gang !
He turns and runs back through the compound with the
receding Montagnards. SHELLS are EXPLODING everywhere.
The light patterns are fantastic. Men fall, Viets break
over the walls and charge. They crouch and rip into
them FULL AUTOMATIC. They break the charge and continue
cutting their way through the NVA masses like torches
271 FULL SHOT – COMMAND POST – KURTZ
Kurtz watches as invaders swarm through his domain. Women
and children rush upon him now. Kurtz flicks some switch-
es and the whole north wall EXPLODES in overwhelming FIRE.
The gates are uprooted. The stone lions tumble, crushing
men below. Kurtz cocks an M-16 and walks off the bunker.
272 VIEW ON WILLARD
watching this spectacle.
273 MED. SHOT – DIFFERENT ANGLE – KURTZ
He rounds the shadow wall.
Kurtz sees a group of Viets and rushes up and prepares a
machine gun mount. They don’t see him. He braces the gun
at his side and steps out.
They stagger and fall, shattered and bleeding, save one
who’s merely lost his weapon. Kurtz looks at him, his
gun empty. He drops it and flips open the flap of his
holster. The Viet soldier goes for his pistol. Kurtz
beats him to the draw and bloes him into the night. He
moves over to pick up the NVA light machine gun. Holding
it at his hip, he stands atop one of the ruined walls
and FIRES into the masses. His native men see him and
rush for the chance to die beside him. They are quickly
encircled by onrushing Viets and are being overrun. The
machine gun jams and Kurtz grabs a rifle. When it’s empty
and the bayonet is off he wields it as a club.
274 MED. SHOT – LOW ANGLE – KURTZ
taking swings with his rifle, standing atop the
wall and battering the oncoming enemy like Davy Crockett
at the Alamo.
275 FULL VIEW – THE FORTRESS
The air strike hits with all its force. Balls and rain
of fire sweeps down on the temple, the enemy, everything.
It is the biggest firework show in history.
The wall Kurtz was standing on, and he falls with it.
Willard sees this and makes his way toward him as the
air strike continues. All around us is a spectacle of
MUSIC and light and fire and overwhelming color.
276 TRACKING SHOT ON WILLARD
following Kurtz’s trail in the mud. He has crawled on
all fours back into the jungle to die. He stalks Kurtz
into the jungle ; moving around and cutting off the
Go away — hide yourself.
What are you doing?
Going back – to the jungle to
I’m taking you back. You can
I had immense plans.
I’m gonna get you out of here.
I was on threshold of great
Willard slings Kurtz’s bleeding body around his neck,
holding his hand, dragging hom through the jungle. The
spectacle continues in the b.g.
277 EXT. THE P.B.R. – THE RIVER
This wreck of a boat is still afloat. Willard crawls
out of the jungle, carrying the dying Kurtz and manages
to get him onto the boat.
278 EXTREME FULL SHOT
The spectacle of total psychedelic war: the fortress of
Nu Mung Ba.
279 EXT. THE TEMPLE – MORNING
The entire temple is devastation. Vultures by the hundreds
circle overhead. There are a few survivors. Everywhere
is smoke and heaps of bodies. Colby, a Sergeant, and
some Montagnards sit near them.
Their eyes are red and glazed, their jaws hang slack and
they tumble occasionally. They stagger away from the
field of slaughter. Willard looks down and sees something.
Moves over to it, kicks several bodies away and in the
f.g. below is Lance, dead.
Colby stumbles over. Willard holds Lance up by his hair.
Who is he?
He was the tragedy — the tragedy
of this war.
280 THE P.B.R.
battered, moving slowly down the river.
281 TIGHTER VIEW
Colby is at helm. Kurtz lies feverish, delirious.
Willard sits by him. As the boat moves, Montagnards, those
left alive, come and pay their respects by the riverbanks.
Colby takes an automatic weapon and FIRES it into the air.
Some of the natives move in terror, frightened of him.
The battle is not over.
Don’t. Don’t frighten them away.
Willard looks down at him.
So you understand this?
Kurtz looks up at him, past him with fury, longing in his
eyes. There is a slight smile.
Do I not?
282 EXT. RIVER – MED. VIEW
The boat moves as though naturally carried by the river.
My river… my people… my jungle…
my ideas… my country…
(he looks at Willard)
… my death.
You had immense plans… immense plans…
I’m taking you back.
Kurtz looks up to him, then an expression of overwhelming
intense and hopeless terror, hopeless despair. A whisper
at some image, at some vision, he cries out twice, a cry
that is no more than a breath.
The horror, the horror.
We HEAR the distant SOUND of HELICOPTERS approaching.
The SOUND of ROTORS in the distance. They look up,
craning their eyes at the sky. Colby points.
Over the jungle mountains the small formation of MEDEVAC
helicopters hooping toward them.
How did they know?
They must have seen the fire.
The helicopters are closer now but high up. Two of
them breaking off, spiraling in TOWARD US.
They’re coming to rescue us.
283 CLOSE SHOT ON WILLARD
He stares up at the sky.
They’re coming to take us back.
Copters directly overhead.
Colonel Kurtz, he’s dead.
He raises his M-16 and FIRES the entire clip at the ap-
proaching rescue helicopter.
284 FULL SHOT – THE COPTER
It frantically pours on the power and wheels up to the
285 FULL SHOT – WILLARD, COLBY
Colby takes his rifle and joins Willard in FIRING at
the retreating American helicopters.
286 HELICOPTER’S POV – ON THE BOAT
The men in the boat FIRING AT US as we fly further into
the air, the boat getting smaller and smaller.
… Don’t remember a lot about my
rehabilitation… but I was sent
back to the world before the fall
287 EXT. MARINA DEL RAY – EXTREME HIGH ANGLE – NIGHT
MOVING DOWN back to the pleasure boat at the Marina.
Pause. Willard is very silent.
I never answered questions about
Kurtz — I gave them a few of his
unimportant papers — but for the
most part I saved everything.
There were other letters, personal
ones written earlier to his wife.
I brought them to het. I watched
the fall of Saigon on television
in a bar in Alameda…
289 EXT. CALIFORNIA NEIGHBORHOOD – DAY
A bright clear day in a scrubbed-clean California neigh-
borhood. Some kids are playing in the street.
Willard, years later, dressed as a civilian, proceeds past
the lawn to the attractive home, carrying a packet under
his arm. He passes a lanky, young teen-aged boy working
on a motor-scooter. Willard looks at him. The boy
Then the door opens, and KURTZ’S WIFE is standing at the
door. She is still beautiful, blonde, and dressed in
mourning even though she doesn’t wear black. There is a
sense of purity about her, though she is not young.
Come in, Captain Willard.
289 INT. KURTZ’S HOME – DAY
Everything good and secure and desirable about America.
She stands in the center of the room, a little nervous.
Can I get anything for you?
There are pictures of Kurtz, not too many… but he is
there in the various stages of his career.
Then she sits suddenly, and Willard sits by her.
Did you know him very well?
You get to know each other pretty
well out there.
And you admired him?
He was a remarkable man. It was
impossible not to —
Love him… Yes, it is true.
That’s the hard part for me… I
knew him better than anyone … I
knew him best.
You knew him best.
You were his friend… You must
have been, if he had given you
If he sent you to his home. He
was the best this country had —
he was —
Yes, I know…
I’ll never get over it — But
I’ll always remember him…
Both of us…
Men looked up to him…
(she loses herself
in a thought)
He died as he lived…
His death was — yes, he died as
Were you with him, when…
Yes I was… He said his last
words to me.
290 MED. CLOSE SHOT ON WILLARD
A little of the madness is still with him. He knows what
she will ask.
What were they?
291 MED. CLOSE SHOT ON KURTZ’S WIFE
292 MED. CLOSE ON WILLARD
remembering that incredible day moving down the river.
Our VIEW LOOSENS
Tell me what he said.
The horror ! The horror !
He spoke of you, ma’am.
He sits there looking at her.
293 EXT. TIGHT HIGH ANGLE ON THE MARINA DEL REY BOAT
The cocktail party is breaking up. Willard is one of
the few guests left.
We MOVE FROM Willard standing alone on the deck of the
boat. Moving back through the departing guests. Charlie
is getting ready to leave himself. We MOVE CLOSER to
294 EXT. THE RIVER – P.B.R. – DAY
the boat floating down the river. Kurtz’s body; an exhaust-
ed, half-dead Colby. And HOLDING Kurtz, Willard. We HEAR
THE DOORS’ “THE END” as we present the END TITLES.