Francis Coppola had more than his share of production difficulties while shooting his epic-scale Vietnam War drama Apocalypse Now, including disastrous weather conditions, problems with his leading men (Harvey Keitel was fired after less than two weeks on the project and was replaced by Martin Sheen, who suffered a heart attack midway through production), and a schedule and budget that quickly spiraled out of control (originally budgeted at $10 million, the film's final cost was over $30 million). But Coppola's troubles didn't end when he got his footage into the editing room, and he tinkered with a number of different structures and endings before settling on the film's 153-minute final cut in time for its initial theatrical release in 1979. Twenty-two years later, Francis Coppola returned to the material, and created Apocalypse Now Redux, an expanded and re-edited version of the film that adds 53 minutes of footage excised from the film's original release. In addition to adding a number of smaller moments that even out the film's rhythms, Apocalypse Now Redux restores two much-discussed sequences that Coppola chose not to include in his original edition of the film -- an encounter in the jungle between Willard (Martin Sheen), his crewmates Chief (Albert Hall), Clean (Larry Fishburne), Chef (Frederic Forrest), and Lance (Sam Bottoms) and a trio of stranded Playboy models on a U.S.O. tour, as well as a stopover at a plantation operated by French colonists De Marais (Christian Marquand) and Roxanne (Aurore Clement). Apocalypse Now Redux received a limited theatrical release in August of 2001 after a well-received screening at the Cannes Film Festival -- the same month that the film finally reached theaters in 1979, after a rough cut received a Golden Palm award at the Cannes Festival.
by Mark Deming synopsis