Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Platoon (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

#83 (1998) and #86 (2007) in AFI's 100 greatest American Movies List
Platoon is a 1986 American war film written and directed by Oliver Stone and stars Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe and Charlie Sheen. It is the first of Stone's Vietnam War trilogy, followed by 1989's Born on the Fourth of July and 1993's Heaven & Earth.

Stone wrote the story based upon his experiences as a U.S. infantryman in Vietnam to counter the vision of the war portrayed in John Wayne's The Green Berets. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1986. In 2007, the American Film Institute placed Platoon at #83 in their "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies" poll. British television channel Channel 4 voted Platoon as the 6th greatest war film ever made, behind Full Metal Jacket and ahead of A Bridge Too Far.

* Charlie Sheen as Chris
* Tom Berenger as Sergeant Barnes
* Willem Dafoe as Sergeant Elias
* Forest Whitaker as Big Harold
* Francesco Quinn as Rhah
* John C. McGinley as Sergeant O'Neill
* Richard Edson as Sal
* Kevin Dillon as Bunny
* Reggie Johnson as Junior
* Keith David as King
* Johnny Depp as Lerner
* David Neidorf as Tex
* Mark Moses as Lieutenant Wolfe
* Chris Pedersen as Crawford
* Corkey Ford as Manny
* Corey Glover as Francis
* Bob Orwig as Gardner
* Tony Todd as Warren
* Kevin Eshelman as Morehouse
* James Terry McIlvain as Ace
* J. Adam Glover as Sanderson
* Ivan Kane as Tony
* Paul Sanchez as Doc
* Dale Dye as Captain Harris
* Peter Hicks as Parker
* Basile Achara as Flash
* Steve Barredo as Fu Sheng
* Chris Castillejo as Rodriquez
* Andrew B. Clark as Tubbs
* Bernardo Manalili as Village Chief
* Than Rogers as Village Chief's Wife
* Li Thi Van as Village Chief's Daughter
* Clarisa Ortacio as Old Woman
* Romy Sevilla as One-Legged Man
* Matthew Westfall as Terrified Soldier
* Nick Nickelson as 1st Mechanized Soldier
* Warren McLean as 2nd Mechanized Soldier
* Li Mai Thao as Rape Victim
* Ron Barracks as Medic
* Oliver Stone as 3/22 Infantry, Battalion Commander in Bunker (uncredited cameo)

After his tour of duty in Vietnam ended in 1968, Oliver Stone wrote a screenplay called Break: a semi-autobiographical account detailing his experiences with his parents and his time in Vietnam. Stone's return from active duty in Vietnam resulted in a "big change" in how he viewed life and the war, and the unproduced screenplay Break was the result, and it eventually provided the basis for Platoon.

In a 2010 interview with the Times, Stone discussed his killing of a Viet Cong soldier and how he blended this experience into his screenplay. It featured several characters who were the seeds of those who would end up in Platoon. The script was set to music from The Doors; Stone sent the script to Jim Morrison in the hope he would play the lead (Morrison never responded but the script was returned to Oliver Stone by Morrison's manager shortly after Morrison's death - Morrison had the script with him when he died in Paris). Though Break went ultimately unproduced, it was the spur for him to attend film school.

After penning several other produced screenplays in the early 1970s, Stone came to work with Robert Bolt on an unproduced screenplay, The Cover-up. Bolt's rigorous approach rubbed off on Stone, and he was inspired to use the characters from his Break screenplay (who in turn were based upon people Stone knew in Vietnam) as the basis for a new screenplay titled The Platoon. Producer Martin Bregman attempted to elicit studio interest in the project, but Hollywood was still apathetic about Vietnam. However, the strength of Stone's writing on The Platoon was enough to get him the job penning Midnight Express in 1978. Despite that film's critical and commercial success, and that of other Stone-penned films at the time, most studios were still reluctant to finance The Platoon, as they feared a film about the Vietnam War would not attract an audience. After the release of The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now, they then cited the perception that these films were considered the pinnacle of the Vietnam War film genre as reasons not to make The Platoon.

Stone instead attempted to break into mainstream direction via the easier-to-finance horror genre, but The Hand failed at the box office, and Stone began to think that The Platoon would never be made. Stone wrote Year of the Dragon for a lower-than-usual fee of $200,000, on the condition from producer Dino De Laurentiis that he would then produce The Platoon. De Laurentiis secured financing for the film, but struggled to find a distributor. Because de Laurentiis had already spent money sending Stone to the Philippines to scout for locations, he decided to keep control of the film's script until he was repaid. Then Stone's script for what would become Salvador was passed to John Daly of British production company Hemdale. Once again, this was a project that Stone had struggled to secure financing for, but Daly loved the script and was prepared to finance both Salvador and The Platoon off the back of it. Stone shot Salvador first, before turning his attention to what was by now called Platoon.

* "Adagio for Strings" by Samuel Barber
* "Ride of the Valkyries" (in reference to Apocalypse Now, an earlier Vietnam War film that had Charlie Sheen's father, Martin Sheen, billed in the starring role)
* "Groovin'" by The Rascals
* "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding
* "The Tracks of My Tears" by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
* "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane
* "Okie From Muskogee" by Merle Haggard


Al Penwasser said...

Really good movie. I even own the soundtrack.
But, the best part about it is that it inspired a commercial which never fails to make me laugh. I think it's for Direct TV or cable TV or something, but it doesn't matter. What makes me laugh is the last line:
"Don't reenact scenes from 'Platoon' with Charlie Sheen."

G said...

one of my top 20 films of all time...classic