John Milius

Hollywood, 1979

A movie about Vietnam has to have a surfer. It was a California war—all the dope, the peace symbols, the rock and roll.

“Apocalypse Now—Surfing in the Mekong Delta: an Interview with John Milius” ran in the February 1980 issue of SURFER. Two years earlier, Milius had directed the Hollywood surf epic Big Wednesday; this interview was published during the release of Apocalypse Now, for which Milius wrote the screenplay.

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Surfing is used as an expression of the American value system in one of the most important scenes in the movie. Could you talk about what happens in that scene and how you envisioned it ...