Quotes from the Movie Apocalypse Now

Have you ever thought about any real freedoms? Freedom from the opinions of others...even from the opinions of yourself?

Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

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

Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

We must kill them. We must incinerate them. Pig after pig. Cow after cow. Village after village. Army after army, and they call me an assassin! Well, what do you call it when the assassins accuse the assassin?

Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

They lie. They lie, and we have to be merciful, for those who lie. Those nabobs. I hate them. I do hate them.

Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

They lie. They lie, and we have to be merciful, for those who lie. Those nabobs. I hate them. I do hate them.

Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

I've seen horrors horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that but you have no right to judge me. It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies. I remember when I was with Special Forces. Seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate the children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for Polio, and this old man came running after us, and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember I I I cried. I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out. I didn't know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget. And then I realized like I was shot like I was shot with a diamond a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought: My God the genius of that. The genius. The will to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we. Because they could stand that these were not monsters. These were men trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love but they had the strength the strength to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, then our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling without passion without judgment without judgment. Because it's judgment that defeats us.

Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That's my dream. It's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor and surviving.

Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

I worry that my son might not understand what I've tried to be. And if I were to be killed, Willard, I would want someone to go to my home and tell my son everything everything I did, everything you saw because there's nothing that I detest more than the stench of lies. And if you understand me, Willard, you will do this for me.

Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

Saigon shit; I'm still only in Saigon Every time I think I'm gonna wake up back in the jungle. When I was home after my first tour, it was worse. I'd wake up and there'd be nothing. I hardly said a word to my wife, until I said "yes" to a divorce. When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle. I'm here a week now waiting for a mission getting softer; every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats in the bush, he gets stronger. Each time I looked around, the walls moved in a little tighter.

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

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

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

They'd traded in their horses for choppers, and went tear-assing around 'Nam looking for the shit

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

Part of me was afraid of what I would find and what I would do when I got there. I knew the risks, or imagined I knew. But the thing I felt the most, much stronger than fear, was the desire to confront him.

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

He was one of those guys that had that weird light around him. You just knew he wasn't going to get so much as a scratch here.

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

I was going to the worst place in the world, and I didn't even know it yet. Weeks away and hundreds of miles up a river that snaked through the war like a main circuit cable plugged straight into Kurtz. It was no accident that I got to be the caretaker of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz's memory any more than being back in Saigon was an accident. There is no way to tell his story without telling my own. And if his story really is a confession, then so is mine.

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

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

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

If that's how Kilgore fought the war, I began to wonder what they really had against Kurtz. It wasn't just insanity and murder, there was enough of that to go around for everyone.

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

Oh man, the shit piled up so fast in Vietnam you needed wings to stay above it.

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

No wonder Kurtz put a weed up Command's ass. The war was being run by a bunch of four star clowns who were gonna end up giving the whole circus away.

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

It's a way we had over here with living with ourselves. We cut 'em in half with a machine gun and give 'em a Band-Aid. It was a lie. And the more I saw them, the more I hated lies.

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

The machinist, the one they called Chef, was from New Orleans. He was wrapped too tight for Vietnam, probably wrapped too tight for New Orleans. Lance on the forward 50's was a famous surfer from the beaches south of L.A. You look at him and you wouldn't believe he ever fired a weapon in his whole life. Clean, Mr. Clean, was from some South Bronx shithole. The light and space of Vietnam really put the zap on his head. Then there was Phillips, the Chief. It might have been my mission, but it sure as shit was the Chief's boat.

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission, and for my sins, they gave me one. Brought it up to me like room service. It was a real choice mission, and when it was over, I'd never want another.

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

Someday this war's gonna end. That'd be just fine with the boys on the boat. They weren't looking for anything more than a way home. Trouble is, I'd been back there, and I knew that it just didn't exist anymore.

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

Charlie didn't get much USO. He was dug in too deep, or movin' too fast. His idea of R&R was cold rice and a little rat meat. He had only two ways home: death or victory.

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

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

Captain Benjamin L. Willard

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