MovieChat Forums > Apocalypse Now (1979) Discussion > Why did the Army want Kurtz killed so ba...

Why did the Army want Kurtz killed so badly?


He was just running his little cult somewhere in the jungle, right? Was he really an imminent danger to anyone or anything beyond his little clubhouse in the jungle? They never really offered a rationale as to why it was so important to send a series of men to try to kill him. Clearly he inspired discussions at upper echelons of government about what to do about him. I guess I am just wondering why his existence was so threatening to the government, and threatening to the point of spending great expense to kill him.

reply

Maybe he was becoming so mysterious and powerful with his ever-expanding army that he was becoming a threat to the U.S. Government.

reply

Kurtz didn't care for euphenisms or bother with putting up a civilized veneer to hide his atrocities - which were only a marginal, if grotesque, exaggeration of what was going on allover the place.



"facts are stupid things" Ronald Reagan

reply

Kurtz was an officer who was AWOL and disobeying orders. He was also killing people who were designated as allies. All of those were crimes for which he would be punished. He wasn't going to submit to being arrested without a fight and, as murder was one of the charges, they sent assassins to take him out.

On a broader level, he was pursuing the war in his own way and in a manner that did not conform to the civilian political agenda that the military was tasked with carrying out.

reply

Did yar watch the movie yet? It's pretty well explained at the beginning.

reply

I have never seen the film, no. I have not seen the original or the Redux edition, and know nothing about either film, the stars of the film, or the director or the book it was based on. I just came here to babble really. I am surprised anyone answered at all.

reply

It would have been a publicity nightmare if the atrocities of an American officer were made known to the general public.

reply

The way I saw it he was an embarrassment to the US military not to mention that he was disobeying orders and refused to come back.

"I really wish Gia and Claire had became Tanner" - Honeybeefine

reply

What's interesting is Kilgore also pretty much just does whatever he wants which makes me wonder "if that's how Kilgore fought the war I was beginning to wonder what they had against Kurtz".

reply

This might help with the OP's question:

The trip up the river led by Capt. Willard exposes him to two extreme viewpoints of war represented by the two colonels he encounters on his long journey, both of whose names start with 'K,' which is no accident:

COL. KILGORE (Duvall) is a romantic who embraces war as a lifestyle and even feeds off it, i.e. glorifies it. The fact that he's a romantic can be observed in the air-raid on the village where he literally plays Wagner as a prologue. He feeds off the war to the extent that he "loves the smell of napalm in the morning." War is just another day to him so why not go surfing? Since he lives off of the war there's no way it can kill him or even give him a scratch. Kilgore naturally has the support of the top brass because he's part of the system and plays the game of war.

COL. KURTZ (Brando), by contrast, sees through this hypocrisy. He realizes that being in a state of war is humanity gone mad. It's horror itself and therefore must be ended through the quickest means possible, whatever cost. He refuses to play the game of war as he expertly takes out double agents, etc. Of course the brass can't have this so they put out a hit on Kurtz via Willard. The existential Kurtz becomes increasingly disillusioned -- even crazy -- after jumping ship from the system and now has no sanctuary. Death is the only way out. His consolation is that Willard will tell his son the truth.

Was Kurtz really insane or just enlightened, even genius? General Corman informs Willard: "He's out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct. And he is still in the field commanding troops." Yet Kurtz was accomplishing what the US military couldn't or wouldn't do because of political complications and niceties.

reply