Platoon (film)

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German title Platoon
Original title Platoon
Logo platoon.png
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1986
length 115 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Oliver Stone
script Oliver Stone
production Arnold Kopelson
John Daly
music Georges Delerue
Samuel Barber (cover story)
camera Robert Richardson
cut Claire Simpson

Platoon is a war film directed by Oliver Stone from the year 1986 . It shows the excesses of the Vietnam War and its effect on infantry soldiers . To date, Platoon is the third most successful film to deal with the Vietnam War with box office profits of more than 138 million US dollars [after the completely different kind of Rambo II - The Order , which grossed more than 190 million US dollars in the USA alone , and Born July 4th (also Stone), over $ 161 million].


The action begins in September 1967 near the Cambodian border. The protagonist of the film, the infantry soldier Chris Taylor, volunteers for a military mission in Vietnam . The naive college dropout soon realizes that the life of a soldier is different from what he had imagined. At first there is no sign of comradeship, instead there is a strong kick down.

Already on his first assignment, Taylor learns that a newcomer in Vietnam doesn't count. The value of the person is calculated based on the number of days left in the field. If you are a newbie and still have your 365 days ahead of you, you count towards cannon fodder . Soldiers under 100 days are old hands and are allowed to go to the very back of the rifle line.

Taylor is in the jungle with a small group to prepare an ambush for the Viet Cong as an outpost . Taylor takes over the watch and is then to be replaced by Junior. But this is overwhelmed. This is how the enemy troops sneak up on the platoon unnoticed . Two soldiers die, including the second newcomer. Taylor is injured in the neck by a grazing shot. Finally, the attackers can be repulsed. Junior tries to blame Taylor, which is not accepted by all members of the group. Taylor is evacuated and taken to the hospital.

After returning to his platoon with the 25th Infantry Division , he is assigned to base dirty work. He befriends some of his African American comrades, who can't understand why Taylor volunteered. Taylor is invited to the Rhah bunker that evening. Various drugs are used there. Taylor gets a drag from the opium pipe . He also meets Sergeant Elias, who has served in Vietnam for three years and is considered an experienced veteran. After his debut, a marijuana shot of Elias through the barrel of a pump gun , Taylor joins the group of Potheads . This group spends their free time living a hippie- like lifestyle of drugs, music, and parties to help forget the horrors of war. They fight to survive and to get home safe.

At the same time, another group around Sergeant Barnes is shown in the large barrack, consuming large amounts of alcohol in the form of canned beer and whiskey while playing cards . Veteran Barnes uses brutal means in the war, as do his followers, who have no scruples.

During one of the next patrols there is an incident that further divides the two camps. A group comes across an abandoned bunker over a tunnel system that Sergeant Elias, a tunnel rat, is cleaning up. During the search of the camp, two soldiers are killed by a booby trap. In addition, the soldier Manny, who was supposed to cover the left flank, cannot be found. Elias and four other men stay behind to explore the tunnels. Barnes heads off to a nearby village with the rest of the platoon.

On the way to the village they find Manny dead tied to a tree. In the village the soldiers find hidden people, an arsenal and large quantities of rice. The suspicion arises that the village supports the Viet Cong. During a purge, the soldiers vent their displeasure over Manny's death on the civilian population. Taylor brings a disabled young man and an old woman out of their hiding place. Feeling provoked by the boy's incessant grin, Taylor tortures him with shots under his foot. Bunny finally hits the head of the young Vietnamese.

Another murder ensues during the interrogation of the village chief, who claims that the Viet Cong forced him to store weapons and rice for them. Because the man cannot or does not want to say where the enemy is, Barnes shoots his wife and threatens his daughter with a pistol. Elias appears with his men and ends the interrogation, which leads to a fight between Elias and Barnes. The lieutenant announced that the captain had given orders to destroy the weapons and cremate the village. Taylor stops his comrades from raping a young girl. Those suspected of being Viet Cong are being taken away and the rest of the villagers are evacuated.

Elias reports the incident to Captain Harris after returning to base. Harris cannot release Barnes for the duration of the investigation due to a lack of staff. He orders the sergeants to "cease firing" and announces a court martial if illegal killings should have taken place. Now the platoon is finally split, one half is with Barnes, the other with Elias.

The platoon is sent back on combat patrol the following day and gets into a heavy gun battle. During the attack by the Vietnamese People's Army , Elias and Taylor and two other soldiers sit down on the left flank in order to secure the arrival of the 3rd platoon. Elias positions the three men at a tactically important point; he takes off his equipment and anti-splinter vest himself in order to be able to operate faster behind the enemy lines. Taylor and his comrades succeed in preventing the Vietnamese from invading on the left flank. Elias kills several Viet Cong in close combat. Barnes gives the order to withdraw and states that he will look for Elias himself. When he hits this, he shoots Elias and injures him badly. To Taylor, who followed Barnes, Barnes claims that Elias was shot and dead by the Vietnamese. The survivors then gather and are flown out in helicopters. When the Hueys want to leave the combat zone with the soldiers on board, Elias is suddenly discovered on the ground. Wounded, unarmed and with the last of his strength, he flees from a large group of enemy infantry. The helicopters turn around and the crews open fire on Elias' pursuers from the air. Although they immediately take out several enemy soldiers, they cannot prevent Elias from being hit again shortly afterwards and collapsing. He is left to his fate.

At the base, Taylor talks about the alleged act of Barnes, but nobody dares to confront Barnes with the suspicion. Barnes listens in and calls on Taylor's group to fight him. Only Taylor attacks the drunk Barnes, who overpowers him. Eventually Rhah is able to stop Barnes from killing Taylor.

A major attack by the Vietnamese People's Army is expected in the subsequent period. The soldiers are flown to a point near the border with Cambodia where they dig trenches and holes. Shortly before the expected fight, King, who has only a few days left to serve, is flown out due to an administrative error. The otherwise loudmouthed O'Neill also begs to be flown out, but Barnes makes no further exceptions. Junior, who wounded himself to evade the mission, is made compliant by threats from Barnes.

During the night there is a major offensive. The widely spread positions of the US Army are overrun, with Bunny, Junior and Wolfe, among others, being killed while O'Neill hides in a foxhole among corpses. The North Vietnamese storm the last lines of defense and invade the base. In an officer's bunker, attempts are still being made to coordinate the defense of the base. Loaded with explosives, a North Vietnamese soldier runs straight into the bunker and blows himself up along with the US soldiers inside. Captain Harris observes this and in the hopeless situation decides to order an air strike on his own position. The Air Force is bombing the entire area with napalm on Harris' orders . During the battle, Taylor meets Barnes, who tries to kill him in a bloodlust while bombs are falling all around.

The next morning the ground in the jungle and in the base is covered with countless dead bodies and wounded. Taylor survived and picks up a Type 56 assault rifle . A few meters further on he finds Barnes. The latter orders Taylor to get a paramedic, but Taylor points his rifle at him. Barnes understands the situation and mocks Taylor before he shoots him and avenges Elias. Reinforcements arrive shortly afterwards. Sgt. O'Neill crawls out of hiding unharmed and claims he was left alone. Francis, who also survived the night, injures himself with the bayonet .

For Taylor, the war is over now. Wounded, he is loaded into a helicopter and flown to the hospital, accompanied by an internal monologue: "We did not fight the enemy, we fought against ourselves, the enemy was within us ..."


The German dubbing was carried out on behalf of Interopa Film GmbH in Berlin ; Horst Balzer was responsible for the dialogue direction and the German dialogue book.

role actor speaker
Chris Taylor Charlie Sheen Ulrich Matthes
Staff Sgt. Robert E. Lee Barnes Tom Berenger Uwe Friedrichsen
Sgt. Elias Grodin Willem Dafoe Christian Brückner
Sgt. O'Neill John C. McGinley Hans-Werner Bussinger
Big Harold Forest Whitaker Helmut Krauss
King Keith David Joachim Tennstedt
Bunny Kevin Dillon Sylvester Groth
Lt. Wolfe Mark Moses Hans-Jürgen Dittberner
learner Johnny Depp Helmut Gauss
Warren Tony Todd Kurt Goldstein
Capt. Harris Dale dye Lothar Blumhagen
Rhah Francesco Quinn Wolfgang Kühne
Junior Reggie Johnson Wolfgang Condrus
Francis Corey Glover Uwe Paulsen
Crawford Chris Pedersen Oliver Rohrbeck
Gardner Bob Orwig Tobias Master
Tex David Neidorf Axel Lutter
Battalion commander in the bunker Oliver Stone Gerd Holtenau


Stone processed his own experiences from his time in Vietnam in the film. Platoon is the beginning of a trilogy about the Vietnam War. The second film is Born on July 4th, ending with Between Heaven and Hell .

After Oliver Stone couldn't find a sponsor for his film project for a good nine years - the disenchanted look back at everyday life during the Vietnam War did not promise good business - "Shirtale", a British-dominated "independent company", was ready in 1986 to finance this production . Production costs were $ 6 million, half the cost of comparable Hollywood films from the mid-1980s. A cinematic reappraisal of the Vietnam War was created in the Philippines within just six weeks under difficult production conditions.

Towards the end of the film, Stone can be seen in a cameo as the battalion commander in a bunker that is being demolished by a North Vietnamese suicide squad with an explosive belt.

Platoon gave actor Charlie Sheen his breakthrough. His father Martin Sheen played the lead role in the 1979 Vietnamese film Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola .

Johnny Depp and the future Oscar winner Forest Whitaker can also be seen in supporting roles .


Theme music : Samuel Barber - Adagio for Strings



Platoon received a very positive response from the critics , earning an 88 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 64 reviews. In summary, it says: "Due to the personal experience of director Oliver Stone in Vietnam, Platoon foregoes a simple sermon in favor of a shocking, down-to-earth view of the war, supported by the uncompromising portrayals of Charlie Sheen and Willem Dafoe." In the IMDb The film has been represented since the list of the top 250 films was created and is currently ranked 187 (as of December 2018).

The Vietnam film, which received four Oscars , was initially received ambivalently in the German press and public . Some American Vietnam veterans went so far as to say that Platoon was the first feature film to show what Vietnam really was.

Die Zeit called Platoon "a fairy tale about Vietnam, padded with the naive insights of the veteran Oliver Stone". The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wondered whether platoon was the zero solution to the Vietnam problem, the ultimate disarmament of indignation in the cinema. The American press, however, celebrated Platoon mostly as the first "realistic" war film. Representing a variety of critics of the Vietnam War reporter who wrote the New York Times , David Halberstam : " Platoon is the first realistic Vietnam movie. A movie like Rambo 2 humiliated the soldiers who fought there: if a Stallone can overpower the enemy, why couldn't they? Platoon understands what the architects of war never saw: How the leaves, the thicket of the jungle swept away the technical superiority of the USA. You can see the forest sucking up the American soldiers; they just go away. I think the film will become an American classic. The other Vietnamese films from Hollywood raped history. Platoon , however, is historically and politically correct. "

“Despite the sometimes overloaded symbolism, Oliver Stone's relentless collage achieved the feat of making the fear of death omnipresent among soldiers visible to the audience. What is missing from the steel thunderstorm, which has won four Oscars, is an indication that it was not the Americans but the Vietnamese who were the main victims of the war, with over a million deaths (US approx. 60,000). "

“Based on autobiographical experiences, director and author Oliver Stone staged an anti-war film that tried to be relentlessly realistic and dealt with the American 'Vietnam trauma' with this directness for the first time. The very successful and influential film tries to combine criticism of the American war policy with a heroization of the fallen victims (of course only the American ones!) - with questionable results. It is precisely because of these contradictions that it is one of the most interesting US productions of the eighties. "

The Wiesbaden film evaluation agency awarded the production the rating of particularly valuable .


Academy Awards 1987
Golden Globe Awards 1987
Berlin International Film Festival 1987
Independent Spirit Awards 1987
  • Best Picture - Arnold Kopelson (Producer)
  • Best Director - Oliver Stone
  • Best Screenplay - Oliver Stone
  • Best Cinematography - Robert Richardson
    • further nomination:
    • Best Actor - Willem Dafoe
National Film Registry
  • Recording 2019

computer game

In 1987 Ocean Software released a computer game of the same name for all systems common at the time.


  • Dale A. Dye: Platoon. A novel . Based on a script by Oliver Stone. 13th edition. Heyne, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-453-00536-8 (American English: Platoon . Translated by Joachim Honnef).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for platoon . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , October 2004 (PDF; test number: 57 611 V / DVD).
  2. ^ Adagio for Strings
  3. Data on the costs and box office earnings of the film
  5. Platoon. In: Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved December 9, 2018 .
  6. Course of the film in the top 250
  7. Jim Beaver: Sense Memory: "Platoon" Through a Veteran's Eyes. In: November 4, 2016, accessed December 9, 2018 .
  8. Andreas Kilb: The beauty of horror . In: The time . May 1, 1987.
  9. TWO WHO WERE THERE VIEW 'PLATOON' . In: New York Times . March 8, 1987
  10. Platoon . In: TV feature film .
  11. Platoon. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  12. Platoon . In: MobyGames .