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Abstract

For all of the aesthetic flaws focused on by critics at its release in 1979, there is little question that Apocalypse Now is a pivotal American film, certainly in its description of the gradual transformation of mainstream cinematic narrative. If only by virtue of its use as a reference point for describing other films and cultural phenomena, Coppola's film is a remarkable cultural artifact. Intertextual analysis of this film is necessary as it leaps the boundaries of genre categorization on an on-going basis, discovers new audiences, separates itself from the specific issue it addresses (Vietnam) to become important to other types of discourse, and enters into a wide-ranging discussion of the nature of apocalyptic consciousness in mass society and postmodern art.

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