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1986 Vietnam War film written and directed by Oliver Stone

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  • May 14, 2006
Twenty years later, after PLATOON was released in 1986 and brought some of the horrors of the Vietnam experience to the public's media-jaundiced eye, at last the film can be seen and discussed critically. 'At last', in this viewer's vocabulary, includes the fact that more time for healing from actually being in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969 has passed, making the response to Oliver Stone's film more rational. Now the film is a film, not a nightmare memory inducer, and that fact in no way diminishes the power of the message.

Oliver Stone wrote and directed this musing on the effect of war on the psyche and emotional crippling that Vietnam produced in those who survived. Stone was there and that makes his cinematic lead Chris (Charlie Sheen), an random kid from a privileged family who volunteers to go to Vietnam for 'patriotic reasons', an exception in the platoon to which he is assigned, the leader of which is the mentally broken and emotionally scarred Staff Sgt. Bob Barnes (Tom Berenger). Chris' positive influence is Sgt. Elias Grodin (Willem Dafoe), and the two are the polar opposites of evil and good. But the main characters of this gripping film are the other kids who daily are subjected to the horrors of life in the Vietnam jungles with the atrocious living conditions of filth, rain, heat, vermin, and the constant threat of the VC hidden in the atmosphere, ready to kill them at any moment. And these conditions along with the destructive effects of the government's insane war result in mankind stooping to its lowest level, such as decimating a village of people in the manner of My Lai.

The combat scenes are viscerally rigorous and well staged, but the odd thing about seeing this film as a veteran of that war is how watered down the atrocities now seem: scenes of dead bodies, both US and VC, lying on the ground or being scooped into mass burials ignores the fact that in reality what would have been seen are strewed body parts, unrecognizably torn by booby traps, mines, and powerful gunfire.

But there is only so much the public can tolerate and so the film must be tidied up a bit. The impact remains in the eyes of the actors called upon to recreate the veterans. Stone does his best to show the insanity of war, a statement as powerful as any that war must not be the answer in today's world. And we haven't learned. And that is what this viewer is remembering. Grady Harp. May 06

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review by . February 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
***1/2 out of ****     Oliver Stone's "Platoon" is a real multi-tasker; it is both a war film and an anti-war film. There are many war films out there, many of them historical for many different reasons, as well as many of them forgettable. "Platoon" is one of the great ones; a film that does not want to promote warfare, but rather wants to show how ugly and brutal it can get. I know that some criticize the film for its violence and depiction of war, although we all have to face …
review by . September 14, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Based upon director and writer Oliver Stone's own experiences in Vietnam, PLATOON was the first major motion picture about that war directed by a veteran from that conflict. The movie revolves around a young American soldier, Pvt. Chris Taylor (a young Charlie Sheen) and the platoon he lives and fights with during his tour of duty. The battle sequences are very gritty, graphic, and realistic. Taylor serves under the direct leadership of Sgt. Elias Grodin (Willem Dafoe), but both men are under the …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #40
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Platoon is a Vietnam war based film released on December 19, 1986 and produced by Orion Pictures.  The film was directed and written by Oliver Stone. Platoon was produced by Arnold Kopelson, and starred Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe.

Platoon is about a young recruit in Vietnamwho faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war.  After its release the film received 9 nominations, and celebrated 18 wins and 4 Academy Awards in 1987 for BestDirector, Best Film Editing, Best Picture, and Best Sound.

The film was shot in Luzon, Philippinesin 1986. It was given an MPAA rating of Rand runs 120  minutes.

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