Platoon put writer-turned-director Oliver Stone on the Hollywood map; it is still his most acclaimed and effective film, probably because it is based on Stone's firsthand experience as an American soldier in Vietnam. Chris... more » (Charlie Sheen) is an infantryman whose loyalty is tested by two superior officers: Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe), a former hippie humanist who really cares about his men (this was a few years before he played Jesus in Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ), and Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger), a moody, macho soldier who may have gone over to the dark side. The personalities of the two sergeants correspond to their combat drugs of choice--pot for Elias and booze for Barnes. Stone has become known for his sledgehammer visual style, but in this film it seems perfectly appropriate. His violent and disorienting images have a terrifying immediacy, a you-are-there quality that gives you a sense of how things may have felt to an infantryman in the jungles of Vietnam. Platoon won Oscars for best picture and director. --Jim Emerson« less
"The reason this movie is no longer for sale is because New Line was bought out a while ago by MGM (or something along those lines, but MGM now owns the video rights). MGM is rumored to be planning a special edition of Platoon in August, which probably means they are just rereleasing the old New Line DVD and calling it a Special Edition. Hope you find that useful!"
D. Mikels | Skunk Holler | 02/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""I think now, looking back, we did not fight the enemy. We fought ourselves. And the enemy was in us."Thus the summation of Private Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) at the end of this film, a film about war, hate, self-realization, and survival. PLATOON tells a powerful story that moves beyond the horror and gore of the Vietnam War, a story that ultimately depicts the demise and disintegration of a dysfunctional combat unit. We see young Chris change before our very eyes, from a green, idealistic "grunt" to an embittered, disillusioned soldier. Chris' platoon is dominated--and subsequently divided--by two strong, yet very different men: Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger) and Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe). Barnes is cold, calculating, brutal, intolerant; Elias is compassionate, humanistic. The battle of wills between these two men is just as challenging as the Viet Cong out in the bush, and just as deadly. The film's climatic ending is powerful, spellbinding.I dismiss naysayers of PLATOON as a soapbox for writer/director Oliver Stone's political agenda just as much as I dismiss Mr. Stone's politics. PLATOON hits you between the eyes with its depictions of warfare and human conflict, again and again. There's nothing to feel good about by watching this movie, just as there is nothing to feel good about by fighting a war. It is a dark, negative film--a negative film that happens to be compelling, thought-provoking, and very riveting."
Conservatives, You Can Come Out of Your Foxholes
Jonathan Hopkins | the Rockies | 04/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First, let me lay my cards on the table: I'm a conservative Republican, am generally pro-military (i.e. U.S.), and distrust Oliver Stone nearly as much as I do Michael Moore. Further, I don't know if I've ever agreed with a thing that the Sheen family has said. Yet even though some of my political pals disdain this movie, I feel differently. I half-expected a heavy dose of lefty propaganda and intentional distortion, but for the most part was pleasantly surprised. I try to evaluate every item I encounter fairly and individually (instead of a knee jerk reaction), and these are my thoughts on Platoon, after viewing it again tonight:
On the 'positive' side, the film rightly shows the awfulness of war. Again and again, liberals seem to think that those on the right somehow deny this. Of course we do not! I give the movie high marks for depicting war as a living nightmare. Personally, I cringe when some of the older movies represent war as little more than a comic book boys' fantasy. I also thought Platoon contained some admirable acting (Sheen, Dafoe, Berenger, David), and combat scenes. It held me throughout.
The one major criticism I would make, and the flaw that keeps it from being an elite film in my opinion, is the way in which it reaches too far to show the dark side and corruption of the soldiers (American). Stone has a crippling weakness for sensationalism (evidence: JFK), and it seeped through some here. For instance, you cannot take the worst atrocities (even if they are all factual, which I question) and then portray them as representative of a typical company of soldiers and their Vietnam experience. Yet this was the impression given. In fact, it was basically the story. This is irresponsible and misleading. One of the film's few faults, but a bad one.
However, when considered as a whole, Platoon has much to commend it. While it is unfortunate that its weaknesses diminish its merit, they do not ruin it. I'd be very surprised if Stone ever makes another movie nearly as good."
Horrors of war
Valerie J. Saturen | Tacoma, WA | 03/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oliver Stone's Platoon transcends the romanticization that so often infuses our thinking about war with a painfully honest portrayal of its dehumanizing effects. Charlie Sheen plays Chris Taylor, whose idealism drives him to leave college for the hellish jungles of Vietnam. He sheds his innocence quickly, however, as the horrors of war take a heavy toll on his body and his sanity. After witnessing acts of barbarity by fellow soldiers--including rape and the deliberate killing of civilians--Taylor becomes aware that he is fighting not only an external enemy, but an inner one as well.
Representing the sides of this internal battle are Sergeant Elias (William Dafoe), who shows compassion towards his men and is outraged by atrocities he witnesses, and Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger), who displays no regard for human life. With their sanity pushed to its limits by the terror of combat, members of the platoon are torn between the two men and begin to turn on each other.
This film is disturbing in its brutal realism, and the painful questions it raises remain relevant decades after the Vietnam War, particularly in light of incidents such as the Haditha massacre and the overwhelming numbers of Iraq veterans struggling with PTSD. Platoon sheds light on the conditions that breed atrocity and the devastating psychological effects of war upon soldiers. It is not an antiwar film, nor one with a political agenda; it is simply a raw, candid film about war's impact."
A DVD set befitting this significant milestone!
Cubist | United States | 05/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The last Platoon DVD had some impressive extras, most notably two audio commentaries and a retrospective making of documentary. These have been included along with several additional featurettes and deleted scenes.
The first disc features an audio commentary by Oliver Stone. He talks about the challenges of making Platoon on a low budget and working in a harsh, unforgiving environment. This track is filled with fascinating personal insights and is essential listening for any fan of the movie.
Also included is a commentary track by the film's military advisor Dale Dye, a retired Marine of 22 years with 30 months in Vietnam. This is a great track that is technical but also accessible and really makes you appreciate the amount of work that went into this movie.
All of the new extras are contained on the second disc, starting with "Deleted and Extended Scenes" with optional commentary by Stone. Most interestingly, is an alternate ending for Barnes which Stone says he now wishes had been used.
"Snapshot in Time: 1967-1968" gives a historical perspective to the time period the film takes place in and puts things into perspective by exploring the origins of the conflict and how the U.S. got involved.
"Creating the `Nam" takes a look at how the filmmakers created the condition of Vietnam in the Philippines on a limited budget. Some highlights include a bit about how they created the village in the movie from scratch and did such a good job that locals moved in with no prompting!
"Raw Wounds: The Legacy of Platoon" examines the film's legacy and how it gave veterans the dignity they deserved and allowed the U.S. to come to terms with the war.
"One War, Many Stories" features a group of vets talking about the movie after a screening and how it relates to their own experiences. These guys tell some fascinating stories that are in turn juxtaposed with Stone talking about his own experiences.
Included from the previous edition is "Tour of the Inferno," an excellent, in-depth retrospective documentary that brought back a lot of the film's cast who talk about their experiences making the film. This is a fantastic doc that manages not to repeat too much of what was said in the two commentary tracks.
"Preparing for the `Nam" examines what basic training was like with vets talking about their experiences. It was tough but also taught them valuable lessons that helped them survive and bonded them with their fellow recruits.
Finally, from the previous edition, there are photo galleries, three T.V. spots and a theatrical trailer."