After settling his differences with a Japanese P.O.W. 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
Prior to the scene where Elias' half of the platoon is smoking marijuana, the actors actually did smoke marijuana. Unfortunately for them, Willem Dafoe reported, by the time the stage was set and they actually filmed everyone had come off their high and felt awful. See more »
Early in the movie we are informed it is September 1967 (somewhere near the Cambodian Border). Not much later, after Chris returns from his first injury, he is cleaning out the latrines with King and Crawford. King has 39 days left on his tour (unknown end date) and Crawford 92 days (end date April 17 1968). Taylor has 332 days left so he has been there for a little over a month. This means the current date must be somewhere toward the end of October 1967, meaning King's last day should be mid December 1967. And Crawford has a whole lot more than 92 days left. Later on, the bunker and village scene occurs on New Year's Day 1968 (It's important that it occurred at the start of 1968 as this is likely a metaphor for the changing US view of the war both on the home front and at the strategic level. This is the time the platoon clearly begins to disintegrate, and Barnes takes control while the platoon's factions become far more open). In the prelude to the final scene in the movie which occurs during or later than Jan 1968, King exclaims "I'm too short for this s**t" but he gets a lifeline when his home orders come in. Despite being months overdue he is happy when he thinks they have made a mistake in his favour, when in reality he should have been long gone by this point. 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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TV version has much of its dialogue redubbed and shots refilmed, replacing such lines as "He thinks he's Jesus F---in' Christ!" with "He thinks he's George Freakin' Washington!" See more »
Perfection... or as close to it as we're ever likely to see
Its hard to know where to start with such a breathtaking film. Oliver Stone's Platoon is quite simply the best Vietnam war film ever made in my opinion. Everything about it is as close to perfection as we are likely to see. Charlie Sheen plays the lead, and Willem Defoe and Tom Berenger play the two sergeants that form a key part of the plot.
Chris Taylor (Sheen) is torn between the sergeants. Barnes (Berenger) is the battle hardened, brutal murderer, who uses the war as an excuse to tender to his sadistic pleasures. Elias (Defoe) is the other side of the spectrum. We get the sense that he has wrestled with his inner demons, but he has successfully come through to the other side. He has compassion for his fellow man, and he uses drugs as a form of escapism from this brutal war. The two symbolise the struggle that Taylor must face if he is to survive out in Vietnam.
Oliver Stone perfectly captures war. The shooting is frantic and impossible to follow. It perfectly disorientates us, just as the soldiers were. We have no idea who is being shot at, and neither do they. We follow the war at ground level, and see the brutalities first hand. Having served in Vietnam, the film is loosely based on Stone's time out there, and Taylor loosely based on himself.
Full Metal Jacket showcases how inhumane the war was, Apocalypse Now turns it into a story about life in general, and hopelessness, but Platoon has everything. Trying hard to avoid the old cliché, but if you only watch one war film, make sure it is this one. Nothing else can come close.
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