There have been many war epics over the past four decades. One that is known for it's realistic filmmaking, Saving Private Ryan, directed by Steven Spielberg, benchmarked the idea of what we view as a perfect war film. Even before that, we've had many films of the genre. But the film that began the standard of contemporary war epics dates back to the year 1979. The film Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is one of the first of its kind, graphic war movies, to portray the horror and reality of warfare. Director of Photography, Vittorio Storaro, showcased these portrayals, with his brilliant use of color, lighting, and composition. .
The colors in the film have a lot to do with saturation. According to an analysis and movie researcher of fastenupyourseatbelts.com, Ms. Swati Srivastava, explains that the film starts off with the deeply saturated colors that remind us that we're still on earth. But as Captain Willard and his crew go further into their journey, the colors become subdue and more absurd. Once he arrives at Kurtz's stomping ground, the palette is redder. Ms. Srivastava explains that this is to imitate the fires of hell. Another significant element is the different colored fogs. In the beginning of the film, we see a lighter yellow fog. And throughout the film, the fog gets denser and unclear. This is a representation of Willard's journey and how unclear it becomes the further he goes. .
The colored fog also indicates destruction. Most of the film takes us through the journey of Captain Willard and his crew on a boat. There are a lot of slow paced scenes where they travel through a river, but whenever a colored fog is displayed, chaos begins. For example, Lance opens up a purple smoke grenade that catches the attention of the enemies, which ends with the death of Mr. Clean. Most of the sequences with colored smokes are during the battleground scenes. The representation of the denser fog, illuminates more destruction.