A young soldier in Vietnam 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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Chris Pedersen ...
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Corkey Ford ...
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Tex
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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)

Opening Weekend:

$241,080 (USA) (21 December 1986)

Gross:

$138,530,565 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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(CFI)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Val Kilmer auditioned for the role of Sergeant Elias. According to Oliver Stone, he gave a bizarre audition, where he portrayed the character as an Indian shaman. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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 South Park: Up the Down Steroid (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

ADAGIO FOR STRINGS
Written by Samuel Barber
Arranged and Conducted by Georges Delerue
Used by arrangement with G. Schirmer, 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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