Platoon

"There’s the way it ought to be and there’s the way it is.”

Oliver Stone had written his experiences as a soldier in Vietnam shortly after his return to the US but he wouldn’t get a chance to direct it for nearly 20 years. In that time, he wrote other scripts and started his directing career. When Platoon was finally made and released in 1986, it became the first film about the Vietnam War made by an actual veteran of it. The film was received well and set Stone on his career path as a director with a specific vision… and with specific messages. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Oliver Stone in the 80s series with the 1986 film Platoon.

We talk about how the film holds up today and why it works well, even if there are elements in some character depictions that feel very much like tropes now. We chat about Charlie Sheen as the young protagonist and how he balances with Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger as two of his sergeants with very different senses of morality. We look at the rest of the incredible cast and how well everyone did. We discuss Dale Dye and his role in this film and war films afterward. We touch on the cinematography and music and how well it all works in context of the film. And we debate some of the uses of narration and if it is too much or too on the nose.

It’s a strong film that’s worth revisiting and talking about. We have a great conversation about it on this week’s show so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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