1917 (Film)

Excellence in War Film: Comparing Mendes’ 1917 with Coppola’s Apocalypse Now 10th Grade

Throughout its long and storied history, the war film has both entertained and informed audiences across the world. Invariably, bad, good, and great war films are released every year. Great war films, though, typically tell an exceptionally simple story that conveys a powerful message. 1917 (2019) and Apocalypse Now (1979) are two such great war films, both of which share an incredibly similar story and similar themes.

Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece Apocalypse Now for example, tells the story of Captain Willard (played by Martin Sheen) journey upriver to assassinate the elusive Colonel Kurtz (played by Marlon Brando) for disobeying direct orders and waging war against the NVA and PLAF. The aforementioned river in Apocalypse Now is integral to understanding the films message: that war, in all of its blood, guts, and glory, is a long and miserable slog which is rarely – if ever – worth it.

Sam Mendes’ 1917 tells a structurally similar story. Two young soldiers (played by George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) are tasked with delivering a message to an army unit who cannot be contacted through normal channels saying that the units has to call of their attack on German lines or swiftly be annihilated. First, though, the two...

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