|Oliver Stone Director||previously directed Salvador|
Platoon is one of the most critically well-received movies ever about America's involvement in Vietnam. The film captured the feeling that many of the soldiers felt after they had returned, their loss of innocence and how even the willed and strongest can fall prey to the horrors of war.
Both Oliver Stone, who wrote and directed Platton, and Dale Dey, who was the technical advisor on this film, both served in the US military during the Vietnam War. Oliver Stone served in US Army 25th Infantry Division and then in the First Cavalry Division earning a Bronze Star and a Purple Star during his 15th month service. Dale Dye served as a US Marine Corresponded from 1964-1965 and then from 1967-1670 surviving 31 major combat operations.8 More Trivia
13 More Quotes
The village, which had stood for maybe a thousand years, didn't know we were coming that day. If they had, they would've run. Barnes was the eye of our rage. And through him, our captain Ahab, we would set things right again. That day we loved him
|Charlie Sheen||Chris Taylor|
|Willem Dafoe||Sgt. Elias|
|Tom Berenger||Sgt. Barnes|
|Forest Whitaker||Big Harold|
|John C. McGinley||Sgt. O'Neill|
|Mark Moses||Lt. Wolfe|
|See Full Credits|
A 1986 film based on director Oliver Stone's experiences in Vietnam and begins a trilogy of films Stone would make based off the war in Vietnam. We follow Chris Taylor, played by Charlie Sheen, who is new to Vietnam and has to deal with an entire year being exposed to the worst of both war and what it does to those fighting it. The film garnered great reviews and was received very well including winning the best picture award at the Oscars.
It's 1967 just as the war in Vietnam is just getting to it's worst point and Chris Taylor has just arrived having signed up to be in the infantry to help serve. He joins his unit and instantly hated by the veterans who have been there since new arrivals tend to put themselves and others in more danger than they do help. Taylor is given point as they walk through the jungle which requires him to struggle through dense jungle leading him to exhaustion and several bug bites. They arrive at their temporary operating base where Taylor is forced to dig all day and then is denied sleep when he is assigned to an ambush mission on a unit of the North Vietnamese Army. This group of men are to arm a path with explosives and then wait all night in shifts and trigger the explosion when the NVA show up. Taylor is woken up and handles his three hour shift before finally passing the shift along to a veteran in the platoon who promptly falls asleep. Taylor is woken up by the NVA approaching and chaos ensues but he is able to trigger the explosives just in time.
In all the chaos Taylor is injured, another green recruit is killed, and all the blame falls on Taylor who everyone believes fell asleep on his watch despite his allegations that it was no longer his turn. Despite the mistake Taylor begins to become more comfortable within the unit, he learns that it isn't Lieutenant Wolfe who leads the platoon and makes the decisions but rather Staff Sergeant Barnes, played by Tom Berenger, who has won half the unit's respect sometimes through fear. Taylor is accepted by Sergeant Elias, played by Willem Dafoe, and a small band of drug users who are just trying to survive and cope with their day to day warfare.
On the next patrol the platoon find a small bunker system where the NVA recently occupied but find no evidence of where they might have been. As they prepare to deal with the bunker complex and move on they notice a soldier missing from among them. As they move on they find the missing soldier strung up and killed and lose two more soldiers to booby traps left for the platoon. Tensions boil over when the platoon discover a near by village that seems to have been hiding weapon caches for the NVA. After asking and threatening the villagers Sergeant Barnes kills one of the older woman in the village hoping to force one of the men to confess he was helping the NVA and not forced to stash the weapons like the man claims. Finally Barnes snaps and threatens the man's daughter before finally being stopped by Sergeant Elias who fights Barnes in hopes of stopping him. Finally the fight is broken up and Taylor, who had also been cracking and yelling at villagers, is shocked by the brutality of his fellow soldiers who don't blink before attacking or raping some of the villagers.
When the platoon returns Barnes and Elias give two different accounts about what happened at the village, with Lieutenant Wolfe backing Barnes in hopes of saving himself for allowing it to happen. Their Captain claims no matter what happened the matter would be looked into and anyone found guilty of any wrongdoing would be court-martialed. Some of the soldiers that look up to Barnes want instant retribution against Elias but Barnes says he'll handle it.
The platoon is sent back out on a patrol and are ambushed pinning most of them down. Elias, who is a six year veteran of the war, has seen this kind of attack before and is allowed to swing around the attack from the side knowing another wave of attacks will come. Elias takes a small group of men, including Taylor, around the side before running off on his own to cover their flank. Elias' hunch was right but the attack is too much for the platoon who were bombed by their own ordinance thanks to Wolfe's mistake. Barnes orders a full retreat and removal by helicopter and begins finding the pieces of the platoon that are now somewhat scattered in the woods. Taylor tells Barnes about Elias and Barnes goes off alone to retrieve Elias. Out in the woods alone Elias is able to mow down enemy soldiers easily before finally running into Barnes. Initially happy to see his friend Elias realizes Barnes is there to kill him.
Taylor is running through the woods, having retreated with a wounded soldier and gone back out looking for Barnes and Elias. He finds Barnes who claims Elias was shot and killed by the NVA and takes Taylor back to the extraction point. As they leave in the helicopters Taylor spots an escaping Elias who is alive but badly injured and running for his life from the NVA who are chasing him down. Despite some cover fire from the helicopters they aren't able to land quick enough to rescue him before his is shot up and killed. Taylor turns to Barnes and instinctively knows that is was Barnes who killed Elias.
After they return to their base Taylor discusses with the others about retaliation against Barnes, about killing him. Barnes overhears from the door where he drunkenly taunts the soldiers telling them if they all attacked him there, together, that he wouldn't have a chance. Taylor takes the chance and fights Barnes who pulls a knife and only just stops from killing Taylor before leaving him a gash under his eye before leaving the tent.
After a rest period the platoon is sent back into action along a defensive line where Taylor is put into a foxhole. During the night the NVA attack in overwhelming force which easily decimate the US defensive forces. The HQ housed there become damaged after a suicide bomber rushes through the lines and the Captain gives one final order to drop ordinance on his current position in hopes of destroying the NVA attacking force. The bombing works and it kills nearly 200 NVA but also kills American soldiers. Taylor survives but is injured and as he wakes up and morning dawns he discovers an alive Barnes, who had attacked him in the night. Barnes doesn't think Taylor will kill him and goads Taylor who finally shoots Barnes multiple times. Taylor and the remains of his platoon are rescued soon after and Taylor is whisked away in a helicopter to heal finally ending his tour in Vietnam.