Apocalypse Now – Ride of the Valkyries (“Setup” Scene Count & Analysis) (1979, Coppola)
Below is a camera setup scene analysis of the above 4 minute 10 second clip from the cinematic war masterpiece “Ride of the Valkyrie” Scene from Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War masterpiece. There is talking and dialog throughout the film clip along with a range of footage conveying the intensity of the war engagement and the pscyhological irony of those “above” ground (the hunting Vakyrie) and those on ground (the Vietnamese Cong / Prey).
SETUP ANALYSIS (FOCUS ON FIRST AND SECOND SETUPS — FIRST 1 MINUTE AND 21 SECONDS)
CAMERA SETUP #1. INT. COMMAND COPTER – DAY
VIEW ON KILGORE
Eagle Thrust, put on psy war op.
Make it loud. This is a Romeo Fox
Trot. Shall we dance?
A HAND switches on the tape deck. MUSIC COMES UP, Wagner’s
“Ride of the Valkyrie”, blaring through the external
speakers of the choppers, as they make their decent into
From the above first shot Coppola has a total of 26 separate camera setup shots prior to the Vietcong Village Scene (1:21 mark).
It is at the 1:03 mark that we have the first exterior ‘Valkyrie’ shots (i.e. the helicopters) .
The vast majority of the shots are closeups on the combat soldier’s faces.
CAMERA SETUP STAGE #2. EXT. THE COMMAND HELICOPTER – DAY
With enormous twelve-driver loudspeakers BLASTING out the
CAMERA STAGING #3. INT. PBR CREW’S COPTER – DAY
Out crew is silent, nervous.
CAMERA STAGING #4. EXT. COPTERS – DAY
We SEE the bombs and surfboard attached to the bottom of
CAMERA STAGING #5. EXT. VIETCONG VILLAGE – FULL-SHOT – DAY (“CALM BEFORE THE STORM”)
A typical very quiet Vietnamese coastal village, rather large,
built along the beach and trees with rice paddies behind.
The contrast with the preceding incoming invasion (Valkyrie music accompanying) is very stark.
The audience is pulled into a cove where there are various things being unloaded.
We SEE different aspects of the life of the village, the
people working there.
CAMERA STAGING #6. MEDIUM SHOT – SCHOOLYARD
A teacher and little girl come out into the courtyard,
quickly followed by other students pouring from the
schoolhouse in the background. A North Vietnamese soldier
runs in to the teacher, who then turns back to the children.
The soldier waves to the children to get out of the area.
CAMERA STAGING #7. CLOSER ON THE TEACHER
gathering children together. Peasants run through as the
teacher starts the children running out. One small boy
remains, an older girl runs back to get him and run after
the others .
Soon the village is buzzing with activity. Trenches are
used to pass weapons and ammunitions, young V.C. – both
men and women. N.V.A. regulars rush along the trenches to
take their positions.
CAMERA STAGING #8. NEW VIEW – N.V.A. AND V.C.
rushing along the trenches and taking the camouflage
covering off a large automatic antiaircraft weapon.
CAMERA STAGING #9. EXT. THE SKY – NEW VIEW – DAY
Moving behind an assault column of helicopters.
CAMERA STAGING #10. INT. COMMAND COPTER – DAY
Kilgore monitoring the transmission.
CAMERA STAGING #11. CLOSE VIEW ON WILLARD
watching the spectacle.
CAMERA STAGING #12. CLOSE VIEW ON KILGORE
calm and very effective. Seems almost like an astronaut.
Willard looks down at this incredible battle.
CAMERA STAGING #13. WILLARD’S POV – AERIAL VIEW – THE VILLAGE
The village under attack. The invincible cavalry charges
in, hurling all its fearful weaponry, blasting out the
CAMERA STAGING #14. INT. POV BEHIND PILOT – DAY
CAMERA STAGING #15. PILOT
We’ve spotted a large weapon down
below. We’re gonna go down and
check it out.
The helicopter shakes as we SEE the smoke of the rocket
shoot ahead of us.
CAMERA STAGING #16. REVERSE ANGLE
A Vietnamese house goes up in flames.
CAMERA STAGING #17. MEDIUM CLOSE UP – GUN SHIP
sweeping down, its mini-guns FIRING. V.C. scatter.
CAMERA STAGING #18. INT. COMMAND COPTER – DAY
CAMERA STAGING #19. KILGORE
Outstanding, Red Team.
Get you a case of beer for that
CAMERA STAGING #20. COPTER’S POV ON SQUARE – HIGH ANGLE
Watching Vietnamese loading ammunition into an old Citroën
car. The copter circles over them.
CAMERA STAGING #21. PILOT #1
We’re over the village right now.
I think I see a vehicle down in
the courtyard. I’m gonna check it
CAMERA STAGING #22. KILGORE
Well done, Hawks. Well done.
Want some twenty-Mike-Mike-Vulcan
right along those tree-lines.
Ripple the shit out of them.
CAMERA STAGING #23. PILOT #2
Got a vehicle on the bridge, fifty
caliber on-board. He’s moving
across to resupply weapon.
CAMERA STAGING #24. KILGORE
Big Duke Six. Clear the area.
I’m coming down myself.
Don’t these people ever give up?