After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.
Chris Taylor is a young, naive American who gives up college and volunteers for combat in Vietnam. Upon arrival, he quickly discovers that his presence is quite nonessential, and is considered insignificant to the other soldiers, as he has not fought for as long as the rest of them and felt the effects of combat. Chris has two non-commissioned officers, the ill-tempered and indestructible Staff Sergeant Robert Barnes and the more pleasant and cooperative Sergeant Elias Grodin. A line is drawn between the two NCOs and a number of men in the platoon when an illegal killing occurs during a village raid. As the war continues, Chris himself draws towards psychological meltdown. And as he struggles for survival, he soon realizes he is fighting two battles, the conflict with the enemy and the conflict between the men within his platoon. Written by
Oliver Stone originally was looking for a Native American actor to play Sergeant Elias. When he failed to do so, he cast Willem Dafoe instead. Several scenes with Elias reflect Stone's original idea of the Native American spirit embodying Elias. See more »
At one point, a character is warned not to drink from a river because he might get malaria. While drinking the water could cause any number of diseases, malaria is not one of them, as it can only be transmitted by insect bite. See more »
[seeing body bags]
Oh, man. Is that what I think it is?
All right, you cheese-dicks, welcome to the Nam. Follow me!
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This certainly rates as one of the best Vietnam films of all time. What I especially enjoyed was the realistic atmosphere of the film, entrenching the viewer into a world which seems surreal yet believable. Oliver Stone's real-life experience in Vietnam brought a gifted outlook to this film, one drawn by experience, not common Hollywood conventions. While this proved be a lesser film to the equally amazing Full Metal Jacket, it was not by much. The performances by Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Charlie Sheen and John C. McGinley were exceptional, capturing the plight of the tortured soldiers.
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