In this presentation I will discuss the contents of, and considerations involved in, my analysis of the first draft screenplay of Apocalypse Now, due to be published in Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media this summer. My article highlights the thematic distinctiveness of John Milius’ 1969 screenplay, as against the produced film(s) directed by Francis Ford Coppola, finding that the text offers a rich exploration of the Californian counterculture from an alternative, and rather more negative, perspective to that of his contemporaries. Framing the countercultural thinking of hippies as a dangerous deviancy from post-war American values, the writer instead contrasts this attitude with the sanctioned rebellion afforded to the preceding generation of Californian youth, which he aligns with surfers. This intergenerational conflict plays out in the milieu of the Vietnam War, where the savagery of Colonel Kurtz and his cult of psychedelic soldiers functions to reflect contemporary fears around the hippie culture as the sixties would come to a close. Following the outline of these findings I will discuss how this analysis demonstrates that screenplay drafts can function as textual objects worthy of study in their own right. These works of art have been rendered “unseen” by both the broader production process and scholarly attitudes towards the study of screenplays which, historically, underappreciated their autonomy and value independent of the related artworks that emerged on the basis of such writings.