A young recruit in Viet Nam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.

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Cast

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David Neidorf ...
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Storyline

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 Jeremy Thomson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The first casualty of war is innocence.

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

6 February 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Platoon  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$137,963,328 (USA)
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Company Credits

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(CFI)

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sergeant Barnes threatens Junior with a court-martial. To which Junior responds: "Send me to f*cking Long Binh". Long Binh Jail was a U.S. military stockade in Vietnam, established in 1966, for soldiers guilty of military offenses. It was located about 33 kilometers from Saigon (modern day Ho Chi Minh city). See more »

Goofs

Several of the actors (Tom Berenger, Keith David, Forrest Whittaker and Willem Dafoe) are clearly far too old to be portraying the characters who they are portraying. The majority of the characters would be in their late teens or early twenties, while the most senior NCOs would be in their late 20 to mid 30s.

Berenger was 37, Dafoe was 30 and the others were in their late 20s and early 30s. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Pvt. Gardner: [seeing body bags] Oh, man. Is that what I think it is?
Sergeant: All right, you cheese-dicks, welcome to the Nam. Follow me!
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Connections

Referenced in Finding Nemo (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE
Composed and Performed by Merle Haggard
Published by Tree Publishing Co., Inc.
Courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Uncomfortable but very worthy view of war's impact on the young
3 July 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews



At the height of the Vietnam War, America's teens are drafted into the war effort to find themselves in the middle of hell. One such young man is Chris Taylor. He is placed in a squadron where two sergeants have different approaches to the war – Elias is more about surviving without being brutal or cruel, whereas Barnes is crueller, more ruthless and more violent. During the course of his term, Taylor's very soul is torn between the two men as he deals with what he must do.

The first film in Oliver Stone's unofficial trilogy is arguably the best of the three. The basic story not only shows us what the war was like for those serving but also how the different personalities come out of those involved in it. As we follow Taylor we see him change as he is influenced by those around him and by his situation. It makes for an uncomfortable film but one that's worth watching. It's certainly a better war movie than things like Wild Geese or The Dirty Dozen, simply because it's a little more real to what happens than those ones.

Charlie Sheen has never been better than when he's acting for Stone. Here he gives one of his best ever performances as the innocent who is changed. Willem Dafoe is a great actor and here is no different – he also gives us one of the film's most enduring images so I'm a little biased. Berenger is another one for whom it's hard to think of a higher point reached than when he did this film. He is brutal and ruthless but he makes us support him in a strange way. The support cast are all good and contains a few famous faces (John C McGinley, Whitaker, Depp) however this is really a three man show.

Overall this is brutal and violent with no happy ending. At the end of the day isn't that what a war film should be?


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