5.3/10
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Platoon Leader (1988)

R | | War, Drama | October 1988 (USA)
A young officer, just out of West Point is sent to Vietnam, where the men don't respect him until he gets wounded and returns to be a wiser soldier and a better commander

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Raymond Bacera
Jesse Dabson ...
Joshua Parker
...
Sgt. Robert Hayes
Tony Pierce ...
Jan Shultz
...
Duffy
...
Sgt. Roach
...
Pvt. Don Pike
...
Al Karaki ...
Kemp
Evan J. Klisser ...
Larsen
Evan Barker ...
Klinski
A.J. Smith ...
Lt. Riley
...
Medic
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Storyline

West Point graduate lieutenant Jeff Knight meets cynicism when taking command of sergeant Michael McNamara's tour veterans platoon in a Vietnamese trench camp. Unlike his predecessor, who hid till the end of his tour, Jeff takes charge, experiences the manual doesn't allow coping with all realities and gets wounded. He returns, now fully respect by men and superiors. Besides the Vietcong, the platoon wrestles with the inscrutable villagers, which the GIs officially protect, but also fear as some collaborate with them, other covertly with the Cong, either way subject to bloody reprisals. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

War is hell. This was worse...

Genres:

War | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

October 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nam  »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,348,771 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the few films made by Cannon Film Distributors that wasn't produced by either Menahem Golan or Yoram Globus. See more »

Goofs

The M16's used in this movie were not in use until well after the end of American involvement in the Vietnam War. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Jeff Knight: What's it like?
Sgt. Michael McNamara: What's it like?
Sgt. Michael McNamara: You go out on patrol, and you kill a few of them.
Sgt. Michael McNamara: Then they kill a few of yours.
Sgt. Michael McNamara: Then you go back to base.
Sgt. Michael McNamara: Eat.
Sgt. Michael McNamara: Sleep.
Sgt. Michael McNamara: Next day, same thing.
Sgt. Michael McNamara: Before you know it, you're either dead, or you're going home.
Sgt. Michael McNamara: It's good.
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Soundtracks

Out on the Fenceline
Written and Performed by Fontaine Brown
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User Reviews

 
"There's been enough killing for one day".
20 February 2011 | by (the Mad Hatter's tea party.) – See all my reviews

After making his directorial debut with his brother Chuck Norris with "Braddock: Missing in Action III" (1988), his follow-up would be another Vietnam War feature with Cannon productions starring Michael Dudikoff. The man with the poker face. All jokes aside. Norris' presentation might feel like a poor man's version of Stone's "Platoon", but it turned out to be a very solid nitty gritty portrayal of a war that was hard for the soldiers to come to grips with (nothing but pure propaganda). The performances are acceptably creditable (Robert F Lyons, Michael DeLorenzo, Brian Libby and William Smith chew it up in a major role) and a convincing Dudikoff actually brought across some emotional weight to the part. The script really does illustrate the dramas along with the horror in some arresting scenes ("What do you say to a girl with her arm shot off?") --- especially the transformation of Dudikoff's character throughout his duty, where at the beginning he was naïve to how things work but after an incident that sees him hospitalized he returns an improved soldier, better equipped for the experience and from this starts to gain respect. Comradely is formed. Norris' direction moves at a fast clip, if quite clichéd (cue in the patriotic sounding score) but the impulsive action is competently staged and fairly exciting in its tension fuelled fire-fights with glorious slow-motion and graphic violence. Pockets here, pockets there which leads up to the big explosive assault ala "Platoon" style. Filmed in South Africa, Norris gets a real earthy and humid authenticity which has you also caught in the thick of it. Despite the low-budget it's reasonably well-presented.


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