Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Movies That Were Supposedly Cursed


5
'Apocalypse Now'
Brando, as Col. Walter E. Kurtz certainly didn't make the production of "Apocalypse Now" any easier. Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Brando, as Col. Walter E. Kurtz certainly didn't make the production of "Apocalypse Now" any easier. Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Francis Ford Coppola's self-financed epic retelling of the book "Heart of Darkness"suffered from one of the more minor forms of film curse. While it was deeply troubled, no one died while it was being made, and its eventual success boosted the careers of many involved. In fact, it's rarely referred to as a curse, which makes you wonder what it takes to get an "official" Hollywood curse. Probably more tragedy.

Set in Vietnam, the film was shot in the Philippines. Typhoon Olga destroyed several large sets, causing expensive shooting delays. The crew's payroll was stolen. Helicopters needed for one scene were diverted to attack Philippine rebels. Then, once filming got back underway, one of the movie's biggest stars, Marlon Brando, arrived extremely overweight and incapable of memorizing his lines. Coppola rewrote the ending extensively to accommodate the limitations imposed by Brando's heft and lack of agility. Meanwhile, Martin Sheen was struggling with alcoholism and had a heart attack during production. One scene in which his character has a nervous breakdown in a hotel room depicted a drunk Sheen accidentally smashing a mirror and cutting his hand open. The visceral footage was used in the film's final cut. The documentary "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" by Eleanor Coppola (Francis Ford Coppola's wife) documents much of the chaos surrounding the production of "Apocalypse Now."

Coppola himself was deeply troubled throughout the production, as the stress of his own bankruptcy if the film failed, the difficult locations and his own personal issues drove him to threaten suicide and consider abandoning the project. In the end, "Apocalypse Now" dominated the Oscars, winning awards for best cinematography and best sound and receiving nominations in six other categories, and is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. Which isn't much of a curse.