Movie Analysis (Platoon)

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English 101
10/27/12
Final Draft Movie
American Perseverance

The Vietnam War is a controversial subject no matter which way you look at it. In 1986, Oliver Stone released a movie that gave a unique perspective of Vietnam. His movie Platoon was written based on his experience in Vietnam as an infantryman. Stone tells a side of the war that only a veteran can tell and he does it without a sugar coating. He tells of the all the great people that fought alongside him as well as things that some might not want to hear about that you never would have known.

The movie is set in 1967 during the peak of American involvement in Vietnam. A young college student named Chris Taylor drops out of school to join the army infantry division. Not long after arriving, Chris’ view on the war and the soldiers who fight begin to change after he witnesses his comrades’ rape and murder innocent Vietnamese villagers. The incident causes the platoon to divide into to groups, one lead by Sgt. Barnes who condoned the incident, and the other by Sgt. Elias who was against it. The groups continue to battle each other despite the fact that they should be focused on the North Vietnamese.

When Chris first arrives in Vietnam the differences between Elias and Barnes emerge very early. On their first patrol, Chris gets too exhausted to walk and collapses on the trail. Sergeant Barnes is harsh with him, even calls him a “pathetic puke”. Sergeant Elias helps him up, gets him some water, and lightens his load for him. That’s the first time you see the upcoming division of the platoon. Barnes is very battle-hardened and does whatever it takes to get things done at any cost. He believes that the Vietnamese don’t need to be treated like people. He has a “If they aren‘t your friend, they are your enemy” approach to the war. Elias is more compassionate and understanding, more of a moral leader rather than a commanding...
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