Film The original screenplay for 'Apocalypse Now' was the work of Conan director John Milius. A much more overtly gung-ho effort, it was closer to the vision of Joseph Conran's 'Hearts of Darkness'. But as this fascinating article from Creative Screenwriting points out, although he is hardly mentioned in conjunction with the film, and the making of film implies that Copolla wrote the thing on location, many of the classic scenes originated in Milius' first draft:
"(He) extends the introduction of the boat crew, but once Willard joins the boat, Milius's script resembles the film. The film's most famous sequence, the Air Cavalry invasion of the river head village, remains faithful to Milius's screenplay. This scene is Milius's best, violent, dark, absurd, and impossible to not watch. Surfing, Wagner, and a cavalry leader in a plumed hat constitute elements of the Milius pastiche. There is no other scene like it in Coppola films. Milius's most memorable dialogue makes it to the film—"Charlie don't surf!" and the "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" speech—but one line, which deserves attention, did not. As Lance and Colonel Kharnage watch two surfers attempt a ride during the attack, Lance says to himself, "The tragedy of this war is a dead surfer."
Watching Milius in the documentary 'Hearts of Darkness' I can always see a slight disappointment that he wasn't the general out in the reeds directing the action.

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