8. Apocalypse Now - Francis Ford Coppola
The 1970s were a truly radical time for Hollywood, ushering in a new era of American cinema in which bold, challenging material was the order of the day, and the director was king. Arguably the big daddy of them all was Francis Ford Coppola. With the first two Godfather movies and The Conversation, he was responsible for three of the decade's greatest masterpieces.
Surely the only way to go was up, and so Coppola went to major extremes with his next picture, Apocalypse Now, an update of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness set against the dark days of the Vietnam war.
The troubled production of Apocalypse Now is almost as legendary as the final film itself, with cast reshuffles, hazardous conditions, massive overruns on the budget and shooting schedule, leading man Martin Sheen suffering a heart attack, and the notorious eccentricities of Marlon Brando.
Coppola famously declared that the film "is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam," and that "little by little we went insane" during production. The debts Coppola accrued making the film, on top of the commercial failure of his next film One From The Heart, saw the auteur largely reduced to director for hire status in the years ahead.
Still, many would say it was all worth it, given what an earth-shattering all-time classic Apocalypse Now turned out to be.