The Apocalypse Now Easter Egg In Goodwill Hunting You May Not Have Noticed

Films are filled with obvious explicit messages and more hidden implicit messages that you must look a little deeper to find. Then you have the "Easter egg." The phrase itself is shrouded in mystery as it relates to media. One theory is that it has roots in Atari and the video game world, coined by one of two Atari software developers, either Steven Wright or Warren Robinett. Another is that the actual egg hunt in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" inspired the expression. The term alludes to needing to dig around quite a bit to find a hidden surprise, purposely left there by creators.

The 1997 film "Good Will Hunting" gives viewers the chance to go hunting themselves for a few Easter eggs. One, however, is layered like a Christopher Nolan narrative. The Easter egg is a quote from a documentary about another film. That's three layers of movies we're discussing, for those keeping count.

Here's the scene in question. See if you can spot it.

Brando Swallows a Bug

As a device to leave the scene, Morgan (Casey Affleck) uses the line, "I swallowed a bug." The line is a reference to an outtake from Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 war epic "Apocalypse Now." When Marlon Brando filmed his intense monologue as the deranged Colonel Kurz, a bug flew into his mouth to which he deadpanned, "I swallowed a bug."

The outtake has become a favorite for fans of the documentary about the making of the film, "Hearts of Darkness," and deservedly so. Here's Marlon Brando, one of Time Magazine's Top 100 Persons of the 20th Century, delivering perhaps the most intense set of lines in all of 1970s American cinema, with a response so straight-faced to the moment that it could have remained in the movie.

"Hearts of Darkness" is as intense as the movie it studies. The documentary follows Coppola's own journey into madness in trying to complete the film. As Looper points out here, the 10-year process to make "Apocalypse Now" was plagued with production, budget, and actor issues that nearly bankrupted Coppola. Despite the setbacks, The Guardian anointed "Apocalypse Now" as the greatest action and war film of all time.

You can view the outtake for yourself at the 1:00 mark:

The Film is the Easter Egg

"Good Will Hunting" feels like an Easter egg in and of itself. The Academy Award-winning film was written by two unknowns who would each become Hollywood A-listers. Matt Damon initially conceived the script for a random elective course at Harvard University. He would then ask friend and fellow actor Ben Affleck to develop the screenplay with him. A film written by two unknown actors somehow got discovered and went on to win two Oscars (Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor, Robin Williams), with seven additional nominations.

According to The Easter Egg Archive, additional "Good Will Hunting" eggs include praising the book "A People's History of The United States: 1492 – 1992" which was written by a Damon family friend, and referencing the phone number to an actual construction company that Damon worked for in high school.

A final Easter egg buried in the credits includes a nod to the real-life Skylar who inspired Minnie Driver's character in the film. Damon's girlfriend when he wrote the first draft of the script, also named Skylar and also a medical student, receives a thank you in the closing credits. The real Skylar, as MTV News confirmed, would go on to marry Metallica's Lars Ulrich.