The road trip classic Easy Rider is now available on 4K digital with high dynamic range from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, marking the 50th anniversary of the film.
Starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, directed by Hopper, and co-written by Fonda, Hopper and Terry Southern, the counterculture classic focuses on two bikers who set off on a cross-country road trip. The cast also includes Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Antonio Mendoza and Phil Spector.
The acclaimed Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now has been a saga in more ways than one, plagued by a change of lead actors from Harvey Keitel to Martin Sheen, a typhoon in the Philippines and Sheen’s heart attack during filming, critical and skeptical press, and multiple edits.
But this month for its 40th anniversary director Francis Ford Coppola releases what he considers his “final cut.”
Apocalypse Now Final Cut will be released in select Imax theaters Aug. 15 and 18, followed by regional theaters Aug. 23 from NAGRA myCinema, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (two 4K discs, four Blu-ray discs and a digital copy) and digital 4K Ultra HD (for the first time ever) Aug. 27 featuring new special features from Lionsgate. The release includes Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio. In addition, the film has been enhanced with Meyer Sound Laboratories’ newly developed Sensual Sound, a technology engineered to output audio below the limits of human hearing. It’s all to realize the best version of the film. “A lot of the things that we did to truncate the movie I put back in this version,” said Coppola in a Q&A shot at the Tribeca Film Festival in April with director Steven Soderbergh that is part of the extras.
As for the problems that beset the production, documented in the award-winning Hearts of Darkness (also included in the extras with footage shot during filming by Coppola’s wife, Eleanor), Coppola told Soderbergh, “In filmmaking and in life, extraordinary things happen to you, and it’s up to you to make them be positive.”
Restored from the original negative for the first time ever, Apocalypse Now Final Cut is Coppola’s most realized version of the film, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards, won three Golden Globes and is one of AFI’s top 100 films. Starring Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne and Harrison Ford, the war epic, inspired by Joseph Conrad’s story Heart of Darkness, follows Army Capt. Willard (Sheen), a troubled man sent on a dangerous odyssey into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade American colonel named Kurtz (Brando), who has succumbed to the horrors of war and barricaded himself in a remote outpost.
“I had this idea to do it like The Guns of Navarone, some extraordinary, big World War II movie,” Coppola told Soderbergh. “The irony is that the movie took on its own life, became stranger and more surreal, and in a sense, I think it went in a direction correct for that issue — because the Vietnam War was very strange.”
The very innovative nature of the film made Coppola cautious and worried. He decided to release a “work in progress” of the film at the Cannes Film Festival to allay critics who were calling it a disaster. It ended up winning the Palme d’Or triumph at the festival in 1979 (shared with The Tin Drum).
His caution resulted in a truncated cut of the film that he later expanded in the 2001 release Apocalypse Now Redux. But this is his ultimate cut.
“I realized that I wanted to make a version that I like,” Coppola said in the introduction to Final Cut included in the extras. “It was longer than the 1979 version but shorter than Apocalypse Now Redux, and it’s the one that I recommend to you and it’s the one that is my favorite.”
The 40th anniversary release features multiple archival and new special features, including the film’s theatrical cut and extended cut (Redux), as well as the acclaimed Hearts of Darkness documentary:
4K UHD SPECIAL FEATURES
NEW: Introduction to Final Cut by Francis Ford Coppola
Audio Commentary by Director Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now Redux)
An Interview with screenwriter John Milius
A Conversation with Martin Sheen and Francis Ford Coppola
“Fred Roos: Casting Apocalypse” Featurette
The Mercury Theatre on the Air: Heart of Darkness – November 6, 1938
“The Hollow Men” Featurette
Monkey Sampan “Lost Scene”
“Destruction of the Kurtz Compound” End Credits (with Non-Optional Audio Commentary by Francis Ford Coppola)