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Apocalypse Now

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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Apocalypse Now (1979)
Apocalypse Now Redux (2001)

Apocalypse Now is the 1979 Vietnam War epic directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The screenplay was co-written by Coppola and John Milius and was based on the Joseph Conrad novel Heart of Darkness. The film stars Martin Sheen as Captain Benjamin Willard , a Special Forces officer sent on a mission upriver to terminate Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a rogue American colonel who is waging an unsanctioned war against the enemy with his own army. Coppola encountered several production problems while making the film, much of which was documented in the acclaimed 1991 documentary Hearts of Darkness. Coppola would release two more versions of the film: an extended cut under the title Apocalypse Now Redux and then in 2019, another version dubbed Apocalypse Now: The Final Cut.

The following weapons were used in the film Apocalypse Now:




An M1911A1 is seen on the nightstand of the Saigon hotel bedroom of Captain Benjamin Willard (Martin Sheen). Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall) is seen carrying one with pearl grips that have a Air Cavalry symbol imprinted as his sidearm throughout the movie. In a deleted scene, Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando) aims Willard's 1911 at him when he's caged.

WWII era Colt M1911A1 - .45 ACP
During the film's opening, the camera pans on Willard's M1911A1 resting on the bed.
His M1911A1 rests next to Willard on the nightstand.
LTC Kilgore of the 1st Cavalry Division carries an M1911A1 with pearl grips in his holster. Note the Cavalry symbols on the grips.
CPT Willard (Martin Sheen) finishes off a gravely wounded Vietnamese civilian with his M1911A1 after Chief's men accidentally open fire on them.
In a deleted scene, Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando) displays Willard's 1911 at him when he's caged.

Smith & Wesson Model 10

Chief Phillips (Albert Hall) draws his Smith & Wesson Model 10 with a 3" barrel while the fisherman's boat is being searched.

Smith & Wesson Model 10 with 3" barrel - .38 Special
Chief Phillips (Albert Hall) draws his Smith & Wesson Model 10.
Chief Phillips with his Smith & Wesson Model 10.

Submachine Guns

Madsen M50

One of Kurtz's men is armed with a Madsen M50 submachine gun.

Madsen M50 - 9x19mm
The guard behind the Photojournalist (Dennis Hopper) is armed with a Madsen M50.


In "Apocalypse Now Redux", a French Colonist is seen armed with a MAT-49 submachine gun.

MAT-49 - 9x19mm
A French Colonist armed with a MAT-49.

Rifles / Carbines


M16A1 rifles fitted with 30-round "curved" magazines are used by various characters throughout the film. The 30-round magazines would technically not be anachronistic (since the film takes place in 1969), but would not be as prevalent as seen in the film.

M16A1 with 30-round magazine - 5.56x45mm
Captain Benjamin Willard (Martin Sheen) and Gunner's Mate Tyrone 'Clean' Miller (Laurence Fishburne) with their M16A1's as a camera crew films.
Gunner's Mate Lance Johnson (Sam Bottoms) with his M16A1.
Clean (Laurence Fishburne) with his M16A1.
One of the Air Cavalry soldiers sets the rounds in his magazine by tapping it against his helmet (note the crimp-nosed blank protruding from the magazine).
Soldier (left) with an M16A1, soldier (right) with an M16 on a Huey.
Kilgore: "Smell that? You smell that?"
Lance: "What?"
Kilgore: "Napalm, son! Nothing else in the world smells like that... I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body! But the smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill! Smelled like... victory!"
Chief Phillips (Albert Hall) fires an M16A1 during a battle with Kurtz's Montagnards.
At the top right, Chief fires his M16A1 as Chef mans the M2. The M16 appears to change to an M60 only a scene later.
Jay 'Chef' Hicks (Frederic Forrest) armed with his M16A1, while speaking French to the colonist.
CPT Willard with his M16A1 before surrendering it to the colonists.

M16 (SP1)

Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) is seen briefly holding an M16 (SP1) rifle noted by its "slickside" upper receiver (lacking a forward assist) after the battle at Vihn Din Drop. The gun notably has an A1-style lower receiver, as evident by the fencing around the magazine, meaning this is likely a "franken-gun". The combination of a slickside upper receiver and a full fence A1 lower receiver is correct for USAF issued version of the M16, the Colt Model 604 (as the movie is set in 1969 Colt would have started producing Model 604s with the full fence lower used in the M16A1) although its use by an Army officer is inaccurate.

M16 (SP1) fitted with A1-style birdcage flash hider (to imitate the M16A1) and 30-round magazine - 5.56x45mm
Soldier on the right with an M16.
LTC Kilgore talking to Lance about surfing while holding the SP1.
Kilgore (Robert Duvall) looks over the battlefield while holding the M16 (SP1).


When the PBR boat is taking incoming tracer rounds, two MGC M16 replicas are shot up, standing in for real M16s.

MGC M16 replica
Two MGC M16 replicas being shot up.

M1 Carbine

In "Apocalypse Now Redux", most of the colonists are armed with M1 Carbines loaded with 30 round magazines.

Post-war M1 Carbine with 30-round magazine and metal barrel shroud - .30 Carbine
In a scene from Redux, French Colonists with their M1 Carbines.
In a scene from Redux, a distant shot of the Colonists with their M1 Carbines.

Norinco Type 56

NVA are seen using Norinco Type 56 assault rifles throughout the film, and they are also seen in the hands of Kurtz's men. It is noteworthy that this film was released in 1979 and took nearly three years to complete (thus photography started in 1976). During the 1970s, the Norinco Type 56 were not being imported into the U.S., and none were in U.S. Armorer inventories. The only reason Coppola's film had them was because they were supplied by Filipino armorers in Luzon.

Norinco Type 56 with folding "Pig Sticker" bayonet - 7.62x39mm
A Norinco Type 56 lying next to a dead VC, while Kilgore hands out death cards.
VC firing Norinco Type 56's during the battle at Vinh Din Drop.
French Colonists armed with Norinco Type 56's.
One of Kurtz's men armed with a Norinco Type 56. Note the jungle taped magazines.

Remington 700

One of Kurtz's men is armed with a Remington Model 700 bolt-action rifle.

Remington Model 700 - 7.62x51mm (.308 Winchester)
The rifle is held by the soldier on the near left.

Machine Guns


An M60 machine gun is seen carried by one of LTC Kilgore's (Robert Duvall) soldiers that rides in the helicopter with Chef and Clean. Clean (Laurence Fishburne) is the M60 gunner on the Navy PBR. Chef (Frederic Forrest) is seen firing the M60 briefly while taking incoming arrows from natives, but switches to the single mounted M2. During the same sequence, Chief Phillips (Albert Hall) also handles the M60, although he had just been seen handling an M16A1.

M60 machine gun - 7.62x51mm NATO
A soldier with an M60 before the battle at Vinh Din Drop.
The OH-6 gunner fires his M60 at the VC "sapper" after a grenade was thrown into a Medivac Huey.
The gunner continues to pour fire down with his M60.
A clearer shot of the M60.
Clean (Laurence Fishburne) fires the M60 at the fisherman.
"I'm good."
Clean looks in horror at what he just did.
Clean fires the M60 while taking incoming tracer rounds. As was common in Vietnam, a "C-rat" can is attached to the machine gun in order to prevent the rounds from snagging.
Clean with the M60 while on patrol.
Chef (Frederic Forrest) with the M60 before switching to the M2.
Chief Phillips (Albert Hall) in the center with the M60 during the engagement with Kurtz's Montagnards.
At the top right, Chief (Albert Hall) with the M60 during the engagement with the Montagnards, although he had just been seen holding an M16A1.


M60D machine guns are mounted on LTC Kilgore's (Robert Duvall) choppers during the battle at Vinh Din Drop.

M60D machine gun - 7.62x51mm NATO
Kilgore's doorgunner Jimmy (James Keane) prepares his M60D.
As Kilgore's helicopter surveys the area, Jimmy (James Keane) is seen with an M60D.
Another doorgunner lays down fire with an M60D.


One of the UH-1 Huey helicopters mounts M60C machine guns controlled by the pilot.

M60C machine gun - 7.62x51mm NATO
The Huey on the left front is armed with M60Cs.

Browning M2HB

Browning M2HBs are single and double hand mounted on the Navy PBR. Jay 'Chef' Hicks (Frederic Forrest) is the rear gunner with the single mounted M2HB (nicknamed after the band "Canned Heat"). Lance Johnson (Sam Bottoms) is the front gunner with double hand mounted M2's. While traveling on the river through the Do Lung Bridge two soldiers are seen firing an M2 trying to kill a single VC under all the dead VC bodies.

Browning M2HB - .50 BMG
Chef fires "Canned Heat" while taking incoming tracer rounds. Note Kilgore's surfboard.
Closer shot of Chef firing "Canned Heat".
Trench soldiers firing an M2HB.
Trench soldiers fire an M2HB in an attempt to kill a single VC hiding under dead bodies. Unable to do so, they get the "Roach".
Chef fires "Canned Heat" while taking arrows from the natives.
Dual Browning M2HB in PBR - .50 BMG
Lance with the double mounted M2HBs.
Lance (Sam Bottoms) shows us his war face.
"Where'd the dog go?"

GE M134 Minigun

A GE M134 Minigun is seen door-mounted on one of the UH-1 Huey choppers during the famous raid scene. Being that the movie was filmed in the Philippines, they also supplied the helicopters which were outfitted with real guns. Since the weapons require no blank adaption to fire, all they needed was lots of blank ammunition to get the guns running.

GE M134 Minigun - 7.62x51mm NATO
A door-mounted GE M134 Minigun protruding from the Huey UH-1 helicopter.
The door gunner unleashes the GE M134 Minigun on the NVA.

Fake DShK heavy machine gun (mock up)

What appears to be a DShK heavy machine gun is used by the NVA during the Kilgore's helicopter assault. Pilots over the radio is heard calling the weapon a "50 cal". In reality, the machine appears to be a mocked up Browning M2HB machine gun.

DShKM heavy machine gun - 12.7x108mm
NVA fire a DShK heavy machine gun mockup in the AA position.
The mock DShK is seen in the center in this wide shot.

Browning Automatic Rifle M1918A2

In the "Redux" version of the film, a Browning Automatic Rifle M1918A2 is seen resting on the shoulders of one of the French colonists confronted by Willard and the crew.

Browning Automatic Rifle M1918A2 - .30-06
In the "Redux" version, seen on the left is a French colonist with an M1918A2 BAR rested on his shoulders.


Ithaca 37

Captain Colby (Scott Glenn) carries an Ithaca 37 fitted with a heat shield and bayonet lug. In a deleted scene, he uses it to kill the photojournalist (Dennis Hopper) for taking Kurtz's picture only for Willard to throw his knife hitting him in the gut, killing him.

Ithaca 37 Trench Gun - 12 gauge
Wide shot of CPT Colby with his Ithaca 37 and Kurtz's "children."
Close up shot of CPT Colby (Scott Glenn) with the Ithaca 37. Note the scalp.


M79 grenade launcher

The M79 grenade launcher is primarily seen used in the film by The Roach (Herb Rice) to kill an NVA soldier hiding in the barbed wire during the scene at the Do Lung bridge. This grenade launcher has been customized with a tiger-stripe paint job. A regular M79 is seen in the hands of Willard (Martin Sheen) and one of Kurtz's men.

M79 grenade launcher - 40x46mm
An M79 grenade launcher is used by The Roach (Herb Rice).
"He's Close Man.. Real Close."
Roach tips open his M79 grenade launcher. Note tiger-stripe paint scheme.
Roach loads a 40mm HE round into his M79 grenade launcher.
Roach fires his M79 grenade launcher. Note how in this scene he wraps the sling around his arm, a well known technique to steady aim.
Willard (Martin Sheen) drops a standard M79 grenade launcher while taking incoming tracer rounds.
One of Kurtz's men with the grenade launcher (circled in red).

2.75" rocket launcher

7-round rocket pods for 2.75" (70mm) rockets are mounted on the sides of the UH-1 Hueys in the film. The launchers, which do not match those actually used in Vietnam, probably came with the UH-1s mounting them from the Philippino military.

A soldier pats a rocket launcher.
The right side rockets fire.
Simultaneously, the left side fires.

Pontiac M39

During the helicopter assault, Kilgore calls in an airstrike which is conducted by Air Force F-5A & F-5B Freedom Fighters, complete with Pontiac M39 cannons, though the fighters do not fire their guns during the attack.

Pontiac M39 20mm
Kilgore calls in an airstrike which is conducted by Air Force F-5A & F-5B Freedom Fighters, complete with Pontiac M39 cannons, though the fighters do not fire their guns during the attack.

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