Chris Taylor, a neophyte recruit in Vietnam, finds himself caught in a battle of wills between two sergeants, one good and the other evil. A shrewd examination of the brutality of war and the duality of man in conflict.

Director:

Oliver Stone

Writer:

Oliver Stone
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541 ( 136)
Top Rated Movies #218 | Won 4 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Keith David ... King
Forest Whitaker ... Big Harold
Francesco Quinn ... Rhah
Kevin Dillon ... Bunny
John C. McGinley ... Sgt. O'Neill
Reggie Johnson ... Junior
Mark Moses ... Lt. Wolfe
Corey Glover ... Francis
Johnny Depp ... Lerner
Chris Pedersen ... Crawford
Bob Orwig ... Gardner
Corkey Ford Corkey Ford ... Manny
David Neidorf ... Tex
Tom Berenger ... Sgt. Barnes
Willem Dafoe ... Sgt. Elias
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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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

The uniformed enemy VC/NVA troops are often depicted wearing Soviet Army steel helmets; steel helmets were only worn by North Vietnamese artillery or anti-aircraft troops protecting base camps in Cambodia, Laos, and areas in North Vietnam. The VC/NVA troops ought to be wearing either floppy "boonie-hats" (for the Viet Cong) or the standard sun helmet (for North Vietnamese troops). 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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Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

References Moby Dick (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

WHITE RABBIT
Composed by Grace Slick
Performed by Jefferson Airplane
Published by Irving Music
Courtesy of RCA Records
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User Reviews

 
Shows the harsh realities of war very effectively
23 January 2006 | by Lt_Coffey_182See all my reviews

The Vietnam War has been one of the controversial wars in history and was an unpleasant experience for everyone involved. Oliver Stone harnessed these experiences to make Platoon; a film where he could illustrate to everyone what Vietnam was like from his perspective.

In my opinion, this is the best war movie ever made. The sheer horror of war is captured so well in everyway. The fear of death, compatriots dying, divisions in the platoon, guilt of killing; it's all there and Stone doesn't try to disguise it. Platoon is very honestly written and it is this honesty that makes the film so great. Platoon isn't an anti war movie and it certainly does not glorify war in anyway, it is simply how war is in its entirety. There are some shocking scenes such as the one in the Vietnamese village but there are also more light hearted moments such as where the troops on Dafoe's side are partying and having a good time. On base camp, there is great contrast with the mood but on the forest, it is just fear, aggression and blood, nothing else.

Taylor's (Charlie Sheen) story is very good as he experiencing war at the same time of the audience. Before the war, he was a rich kid who loved his grandma and it is how war changes him that is truly fascinating. The character story that always receives most praise however is that between Barnes (Tom Berenger) and Elias (Willem Dafoe) is very compelling and leads to some great scenes with them and carves an interesting divide within the camp. This film is big on character and explores many relationships but (take note Jarhead) doesn't sacrifice any action time for these scenes. Stone struck a perfect balance between action and story.

Acting from everyone involved is very good. Sheen as the naïve newcomer is very good and after this, should have done much better for himself than he did. Dafoe and Berenger, once again steal the attention off the lead. Their extreme contrasting personalities is brilliantly done and raises the standard of the film. Berenger is truly terrifying, he didn't hold back in this one. Dafoe is much more sympathetic and will speak his mind to anyone. Johnny Depp makes one of his early film appearances with a small, yet memorable role. The way Sheen is wearing Depp's bandana after Lerner (Depp) gets taken by the chopper is discretely done but touching.

Platoon is the best war movie there's ever been. Stone wrote and directed this film with such passion that it couldn't be anything but good. A great mix of characters, a great cast and such well crafted action scenes are all what you need for an exceptional war movie and they're all here. The film ends perfectly as we are given a chance to reflect and take it in before the credits start rolling. Stone, who often misses the point with his films, hit the nail on the head with this one.


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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | Vietnamese

Release Date:

6 February 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Platoon See more »

Filming Locations:

Luzon, Philippines See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$241,080, 21 December 1986

Gross USA:

$138,530,565

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$138,545,632
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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