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Laying Bare the Moral Dilemma of Imperial Politics:

A Narratological and Ideolgical Comparison of Francis Ford Coppola's Film Apocalypse Now with Joseph Conrad's Novella Heart of Darkness


  • Kerstin Nielsen

Summary, in English

Both Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness and Francis Ford Coppola's film Apocalypse Now are regarded as outstanding works in their respective field of art. Their reputation rests partly on their artistic value and partly on their preoccupation with topics which were highly relevant at the time of their publication/release. They are for the most part regarded as independent works of art and the differences in the spatio-temporal setting and in the type of adventure easily hide the fact that Apocalypse Now is based on Heart of Darkness. The fact that both works differ to a very high degree from each other makes them suitable for examining the borderline between adaptation and intertextual reference. By comparing them from a narratological and an ideological point of view this thesis aims however to conclude that the influence of Heart of Darkness on Apocalypse Now classifies the relationship between them as an adaptation.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Languages and Literatures
  • Cultural Sciences


  • Subversion of the Conventional Adventure Story
  • Imperialism
  • Advenure Genre
  • Ideology
  • Intertextuality
  • Adaptation from Literature to Film
  • Narratology
  • Subversion of the Conventional War Film
  • Ambiguity


  • Fiona Björling