12 user 7 critic

The 317th Platoon (1965)

La 317ème section (original title)
In Vietnam, 1954, a French platoon isolated behind enemy lines tries to come back. It is led by the inexperienced, idealistic sous-lieutenant Torrens, and by adjutant Willsdorf, a WWII veteran of the Werhmacht.
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Cast overview:
Jacques Perrin ... Le sous-lieutenant Torrens
Bruno Cremer ... L'adjudant Willsdorf
Pierre Fabre Pierre Fabre ... Le sergent Roudier
Manuel Zarzo ... Le caporal Perrin
Boramy Tioulong Boramy Tioulong ... Le sergent supplétif Ba Kut


In 1954, the Indochina War begins to come to a close following France's defeat by the Viet Minh at the deadly Battle of Dîen Bîen Phû. French forces are in full retreat and risk being overrun at every turn -- including the 317th Platoon, a unit of French soldiers and Laotian allies who are led by the idealistic but inexperienced sous-lieutenant Torrens and adjutant Willsdorf, a former soldier in the German Wehrmacht during WWII. Their survival depends on completing a trek through the dense, jungle-laden, expanse of enemy territory that stands between them and the safety of the nearest French outpost. Written by Dr. Jay Trotter

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About 30 minutes into the film, part of Macbeth Act 5, Scene 1 (the Lady Macbeth "out, out damned spot" sleep-walking scene) is overheard playing on the radio. See more »


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User Reviews

Disjointed, but very credible
10 May 2012 | by drystyxSee all my reviews

This has the disjointed look of soldiers trying to videotape their own war.

This has been done a few times before, and usually you get a muddled mess like Hamburger Hill, where it only confuses the viewer, because usually these movies are told from the point of view of one mindless junkie.

This, however, has a very intelligent approach. We get most points of view here, which isn't easy to do.

It is about a platoon in Viet Nam, trying to get out of trouble. Hostile forces are closing in. We see some of the mechanics of war, particularly how wounded men in the field usually become dead men in the field. In ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, we have Wrold War I casualties who almost always wind up dead just from the slightest wounds and cuts.

In the field, it is unrealistic to make it cleanly and quickly to medical facilities.

That's just one example of the mechanics shown here. Like I said, the film does a very good job of showing this. It isn't a complete muddled mess.

It does have some disjointed bits, particularly at the beginning. A film should always let the audience know what it going on. The audience knows that a character doesn't always know. That's why it is a movie The "disoriented" approach is a mistake made by poor film makers, because the poor film maker says "I want the audience to know it is chaos". Well, the audience knows it is chaos. The audience wants to see the events as they happen.

To this film's credit, it mildly blends the disorientation with the good film making. Of the "disjointed" look movies, this is easily the best, because it still gives us information. It is a very well directed film. I still would rather see the action from the "explanation" point of view, but for a well done piece like this, I will relent.

Not an entertaining movie, but one that makes you feel you learn something you wanted to know.

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France | Spain


French | Vietnamese

Release Date:

31 March 1965 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

317th Platoon See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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