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 Ö 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 Ö 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 Ö 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 Ö I Ö I Ö 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 Ö like I was shot Ö like I was shot with a diamond Ö a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought: My God Ö 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 Ö trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love Ö but they had the strength Ö the strength Ö 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 Ö and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling Ö without passion Ö without judgment Ö 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 Ö 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 ñ everything I did, everything you saw ñ 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 Ö shit; I'm still only in Saigon Ö 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 Ö waiting for a mission Ö 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 Ö

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 ñ plugged straight into Kurtz. It was no accident that I got to be the caretaker of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz's memory ñ 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 Ö 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

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