Sgt. Barnes: Y'all love Elias. Oh, you wanna kick ass. Yeah. Well, here I am, all by my lonesome, and ain't nobody gonna know. Six of you boys against me. Kill me. Huh. I shit on all of you.
"The first casualty of war is innocence."
Platoon, often cited as one of the best and most realistic war films ever made, is a stunning and sobering movie about Vietnam. Oliver Stone brings this film to the screen with an extreme amount of power. He explores the war on many levels. It isn't just us vs. them, but us vs. us. There's senseless killing, drug use, rape, and all of it is viewed from the point of view of the soldiers. The movie is, at times, hard to watch. It's graphic, it's gritty, it's real. It gives you a little taste of the hell that was Vietnam.
Taylor is a new arrival to the war. New arrivals basically get shit upon. You have to earn the respect of your fellow soldiers by putting your time in. Taylor wasn't drafted, but voluntarily went because his grandfather and father both fought in wars. He falls under the guidance of a good leader in Sgt. Elias. There's a lot of inner fighting between the platoon as some side with the vicious Sgt. Barnes, who has no qualms with killing civilians, and some side with Elias. The battle sequences are as intense as you'd expect and we see characters transformed through these battles into killing machines.
The movie looks amazing, but it also sounds equally amazing. There's also an amazing all-star cast bringing everything to life. Willem Dafoe, Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, John C. McGinley, Forest Whitaker, and Johnny Depp are the biggest names, but the rest of the huge cast give great performances as well. Through the great performances, the audience deals with a ranging amount of emotions. The movie is at times terrifying, at times sad, at times infuriating, and even at times funny and heartfelt.
There's a reason this movie is regarded as the classic it is, and after watching it you'll understand. This is one of Stone's very best movies and one that will never lose a touch of its power. Fifty years from now, this movie will still be every bit as powerful. This is a must see for everyone. It doesn't matter if you don't like war films, or you don't like Charlie Sheen, or you don't like Oliver Stone. It should be required viewing.