|Leepson,"Platoon: The Praise, The Backlash, The Message."
VVA Veteran, March 1987 pg 10-12
In "Platoon: The Praise, The Backlash, The Message," Leepson
speaks about the movie in the gory, fighting sense. Platoon
is the type of movie that “provokes discussion.” The movie is successful
in the sense that it did cause discussion, leaving one with a feeling of
disbelief and shock. The things that take place throughout the movie
are very graphic and heart-wrenching. It is as full of passion as
it is of redeeming, scary irony. Leepson feels that this was Stone’s
intent, and therefore he created “possibly the best work of any kind about
the Vietnam War.”
Platoon is not the type of film that hides the bad sides of war.
It portrays soldiers at their best as well as at their worst. Among
the latter scenes are ones of smoking dope, killing innocent villagers,
and killing each other. Stone wants the audience to be fully aware
of all that went on during the Vietnam War. Stone did cut out some
of the long, everyday uneventful happenings. Leepson feels that this
aided in the exciting script of the film. According to Leepson, “Platoon
forces us to see the most brutal aspects of the war.” The article gives
the reader an accurate description of what Stone’s intention is and explains
different controversial topics.
Riordan, James, Stone. New York: Hyperion P, 1995.
Platoon was filmed back to back with Salvador in the Philippines
in 54 days with a budget of $6.5 million. “We felt we couldn’t do
any worse than we did with Salvador,” said John Daly, in charge of collecting
the money necessary for the production. The crew consisted largely
of the same crew used in Salvador. Filming took place during
and just after a Philippine revolution. Stone hired Marine Corps
captain and Vietnam veteran Dale Dye to help the actors get into the proper
state of mind necessary to make the film. He did so by placing them
in a two-week long training camp; any failure meant they were off the movie.
At first the crew argued and was divided (as in the movie) but then came
to share a close friendship. Actor Tom Berenger said, “The training gave
me a sense of how awful the war must have been.” Platoon is
modeled on real people and events that Oliver Stone encountered during
his own service in Vietnam. Platoon is a good metaphor for
Stone’s development as a director.
Kagan, Norman, The Cinema of Oliver Stone. New York:
The Continuum Publishing Company, 1995.
The first script for Platoon was written the summer of
1976 but was rejected everywhere. Stone then revised it in 1984,
editing out %15 before the movie was finished. Stone reflects of
Sheen, “I saw myself as a young man…and it was so sad…you find out if someone
is moral or not. That’s what the film’s about.” The article
includes a number of pictures as well as quotes and summaries from significant
parts of the movie. In addition, there are several criticisms, both
positive and negative. The movie’s intent was to show young people
what war is really like; it was a movie that people longed for but dreaded.
was in February of 1987 the top grossing film in the country, making $136
million in the box office. It won the Directors’ Guild of America
Best Director Award, had 8 Academy Award nominations, and won four Oscars
including 1986 Best Picture.