The theatrical and Redux DVDs released by Paramount Pictures and Lions Gate Studios in the United States, as well as the earlier letterbox VHS and LaserDisc releases, were re-framed in DP Vittorio Storaro's preferred 2.00:1 "Univision" format. The Lions Gate US Blu-ray release, however, restores the film's original 2.39:1 aspect ratio (although the packaging reads 2.35:1).
"Apocalypse Now: Final Cut" is a 4K restoration from original negatives and a new cut by Francis Ford Coppola. This version runs at 183 minutes and was released theatrically and on Blu-ray in August 2019.
A longer director's cut, titled "Apocalypse Now Redux", debuted on 11 May 2001 at the Cannes film festival. This cut was re-edited by Coppola and Walter Murch and features a new Technicolor dye prints with additional footage originally left out of the theatrical release. The new version is 197 minutes long (53 minutes longer than the original version). The restored footage also includes the French plantation scenes with Aurore Clement and Christian Marquand, as well as scenes from the crew meeting the Playmates later on.
- There are additional scenes when the crew is with Kilgore. During the napalm strike, he helps a wounded Vietnamese child. The napalm strike has ruined the favorable surfing conditions, so Lance and the others leave, much to Kilgore's dismay. Before they leave, Willard steals Kilgore's surfboard. Finally, just before Willard and Chef leave the boat to search for mangoes, a helicopter files by with Kilgore on loudspeaker, asking for his surfboard back. For the Final Cut version, an exchange between Willard and Chef is removed ("How am I going to shoot him next time he comes around? / Hey Chef, make some for the surfboard at the back"), avoiding the jump cut that comes directly after.
- In the Playmate scenes, Willard trades two drums of oil in exchange for spending two hours with the Bunnies. We see Chef with Miss May in a helicopter, and Lance with the Playmate of the Year in a ransacked house. Miss May was once a bird trainer at Busch Gardens and tries to talk about birds with Chef while he is busy trying to get her to re-enact her photo that he showed the crew. They end up kissing and Miss May gets excited because Chef kisses like a bird. The Playmate of the Year is talking to Lance about her troubles and insecurities about being a Playmate. Clean is seen trying to barge in on both men, and when he barges in on Lance, the Playmates open a chest (in which to hide) and discovers a dead Vietnamese. Lance comforts her. Chef finds out afterwards that Clean is a virgin and starts calling him names on the boat. Willard told Chief that the whole crew can spend time with the Bunnies, but Chief refuses. This sequence was removed from the 40th Anniversary Final Cut version.
- At the plantation, Chef figures that they are French first and tells them in French that they are Americans and are friends. They bury Clean with his tape player there, and eat dinner with the French. The crew eats with the staff, and Willard eats with the family. Chef wants to speak to the chef but is informed he only speaks Vietnamese. Willard is lectured about France's colonial history in Indochine as well as their military blunders. There also is a scene with Willard and Roxanne, one of the French women, smoking opium. In the Final Cut version, all of the political-related dialogue have been relegated to the background (removed), as well the earlier introduction of De Marais and some of the boat shots earlier (including an early glimpse of the Reporter) so that the focus is more on Willard and Roxanne.
- At the Kurtz compound, Willard is imprisoned in an oven-like box. Kurtz appears, accompanied by a group of children. He reads to Willard from Time magazine articles about the Vietnam War. This scene was removed from the 40th Anniversary Final Cut version.
There are four different treatments of the end credits, all four are available in different VHS, laserdisc, DVD and TV prints of the film......
- When the film premiered in a limited 70mm format, it had no beginning or end credits, nothing but a one-line Omni Zoetrope copyright notice at the end. Programs were passed out to theatre goers in lieu of any credits (this ending was used for the theatrical cut featured on the 2011 Blu-Ray release).
- When the film went into its wide release its format was 35mm. This version included end credits rolling over surrealistic explosions and burning jungle, showing the Kurtz compound being destroyed (included as a deleted scene on the 2011 Blu-Ray release, with optional commentary from Coppola).
- When Coppola heard that people were assuming that the explosions during the end credits of the 35mm version meant that an air strike had been called in on the Kurtz compound (which is not what he wanted audiences to think) he quickly re-edited the 35mm version to have the end credits rolling over a simple black background and a slightly altered musical score.
- The "Redux" version also has the end credits over a black background but in different screen fonts and including additional "Redux" inserted cast members.
A 289min long workprint version exists. It has never been officially released but circulates as a video bootleg. The bootleg contains the following extra material not included in either the original theatrical release or the "redux" version.
- A longer opening montage, the entire 10 minute song "The End" by The Doors is heard.It intercuts longer helicopters/jungle images with Willard in the hotel room in a drunken rage, as well as a scene where he is with a prostitute. There are various shots outside depicting the streets of Saigon.
- When the two soldiers pick up Willard in the hotel room there is a brief conversation while they help him shower and shave. They notify him that his wait for his new mission is now over.
- The scene where Willard is given his assignment is longer and contains much more dialogue. The general informs Willard that the mission is purely voluntary and he can decline it. The general also offers Willard a promotion to major upon completion of the mission. For some reason Colonel Kurtz is referred to in this scene as "Colonel Leevy". There are some external shots of the military base.
- A brief scene where Willard is introduced to the crew of the Navy P.B.R.
- Carmine Coppola's score is not present in this version. Many more songs by The Doors are played throughout the film instead.
- None of the narration or dossier voiceovers are in this version.
- There is no audio dubbing in this version. All the audio is from the sound recorded during the actual filming. Much of Robert Duvall's dialogue is unitelligable due to the sound of the helicopters in his scenes.
- A much longer first cavalry "Ride of Valkyrie" attack scene (30+ mins)showing much unused footage and alternate takes.
- A much longer playboy bunnies performance.
- Various extended scenes on the boat, and alternate takes and shots.
- A scene where a miniature toy boat passes the Navy PBR. Lance tries to grab it out of the water. The Chief yells at him to leave it alone claiming it's a booby trap. To prove it the Chief fires some shots at it to which it explodes.
- When the P.B.R. reaches Do-lung bridge, the soldier that greets them gives a more detailed explanation of the chaos around the bridge.
- When Lance is reading his letters on the boat, he suddenly stops to machine gun a water buffalo on the shore. The Chief yells at him to stop.
- The sequence where Clean is killed is omitted.
- A slightly longer French plantation sequence. After the French woman strips she crawls into the bed with Willard and they begin kissing.
- The sequence where the Chief is killed is omitted.
- More dialogue between Willard and the photojournalist when they first reach the Kurtz compound. The Journalist reveals that it was HE who was able to get the montangnards to break off their attack on the boat in the previous scene. Willard repeatedly asks the Journalists name but he refuses to answer.
- The character of Colby, (the soldier who was sent before Willard to kill Kurtz, played by Scott Glenn) has a much more substantial role in this version. As Willard inspects the compound, Colby tells Willard that the night before, NVA soldiers had attacked (which explains all the bodies laying about the compound). Willard then enters Kurtz's house, much to the dismay of the journalist. Willard sees Kurtz empty bed and his medals, also his journal with the inscription "Drop the bomb, exterminate them all" (many of these scenes were in the final version but re-inserted in different places).
- The scene where Willard talks to Chef about the air strike on the boat is omitted.
- In this version. The first time Kurtz appears is the scene where a mud caked Willard is tied up (seated) to a pole in the rain. Kurtz appears with camouflage face paint, Willard asks...."Why he is being mistreated?" and tries to bluff his way past Kurtz by telling him that he had just completed a secret mission in Cambodia, and only stopped for supplies. Kurtz says nothing to him, but plants Chef's head in his lap. (Only a portion of this scene was in the original version).
- The scene where Willard meets Kurtz in his bed chamber contains more dialogue....as Kurtz makes it clear that he knows why Willard is there.
- A scene where Kurtz talks to Willard in the bamboo cage while two children sit on top of the cage and dangle insects in Willard's face. He tells him that Willard is "like his colleagues in Washington, master liars who want to win the war but don't want to appear as immoral or unethical".
- A lengthy scene where the montangnards in a ritualistic display pick up the bamboo cage (with Willard inside) and poke him with sticks (Lance and Colby participate in this). The natives dance around the bamboo cage, chanting and singing while a squealing pig is tied up and killed.
- A 10 minute version of the scene where Kurtz reads the poem "The Hollow Men", intercutting between his reading and the journalist talking with Willard.
- A scene where the journalist meets Willard to tell him that he thinks Kurtz is about to kill him because he took his picture again. During which Colby comes behind the journalist and shoots him three times, killing him. Willard throws a knife at Colby's stomach to which he falls, but before he dies he asks Willard to talk to his family for him and asks him to kill Kurtz.
- Kurtz speech about the horror and the children vaccination are omitted.
- During the assassination scene at the end, before Willard enters Kurtz' home, one of the guards confronts him. Willard picks up a spear to defend himself as the guard picks up a child to shield himself. Willard runs the spear right through the child and into the guard. The final scene with Willard and the montangnards after Kurtz assasination are omitted.