Platoon is an acclaimed war film written and directed by Oliver Stone based on his experiences as an American soldier in the Vietnam War. It was released in 1986 and won the Academy Award for Best Picture.The film follows a new recruit named Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) as he gets thrown into the humid, alien and deadly jungles of war and gives a frank look at the toll the war took on the men that fought, lived and died in the jungle. The main conflict is the murder of innocent civilians causing a rift in the platoon while Chris tries to find the correct thing to do in a war with ambiguous morals.It is generally considered a milestone in war films in that the battles are far from glamorized and it is not afraid of showing just how hellish it can be; this makes it come closer to defeating Do Not Do This Cool Thing than many other films.
Asshole Victim: Most notably Pvt. Bunny and Lt. Thomas Wolfe during the final battle. In general, most, if not all, of the soldiers (excluding Chris and Elias) in the platoon might count. It's hard to root for or to feel sympathy for any of them after they attempted to massacre the Vietnamese villagers.
Booby Trap: Be careful opening that box of documents, guys.
The odd thing is, just before lifting the box, he was telling his comrade to be careful about where he stepped and what he touched because of... well, y'know. Why didn't he just grab the papers from within the box? The Idiot Ball, that's why.
Cassandra Truth: When Junior falls asleep on his watch, blowing an ambush, he immediately tells a bold-faced lie and says it was Chris. The others believe Junior unquestioningly since Chris is the rookie. Chris meekly tries to defend himself ("I didn't fall asleep. It was Junior.") but it falls on deaf ears. "Excuses are like assholes! Everybody has one!"
Chromosome Casting: All of the characters are men (appropriate given the setting and period).
Evil Counterpart/Foil: Elias and Barnes function as this; Chris even compares his conflict between the good and evil inside of him to their conflict.
Evil Versus Evil: The sociopathic American soldiers themselves (with the exception of Taylor and Elias) may not be one of the movies' saintly soldiers, but the NVA who were against them were as bad as them.
Chris earns a classic "good" scar on his cheek from his fight with Barnes. As Chris leaves on the chopper after killing Barnes, he has a deep cut on his face almost identical to Barnes'.
Good Is Not Nice: The platoon fractures into an idealist group loyal to Elias and a survivalist group loyal to Barnes. However, the stoners in Elias' group are far from saints. Elias and Taylor are the most moral of the entire platoon, and they do a lot of drugs, cursing, and starting fights.
One soldier worries about Bunny and morality, judging un-Christian. Rewind a moment earlier: he was among the group of soldiers raping the girls.
Jerkass: A majority of the soldiers (bar Chris and Elias, who look like absolute saints compared to the others, despite their constant swearing) that you might see in this movie were assholes from start to finish, especially Barnes, Bunny and Wolfe. And don't even start about the village scene where they interrogate the civilians.
Karmic Death: Chris frags Barnes with three rounds in the upper-right torso, exactly how Barnes shot Elias.
Licensed Game: A couple of them. Probably some of the least necessary film-to-game adaptations ever, given that the movie was demonizing the war. They at least tried to replicate the film's message in the NES game by giving you a "Morale" gauge which goes down when you kill innocents.
The Neidermeyer: Lieutenant Thomas Wolfe, the leader of the titular platoon. An incompetent coward who is unable to control his own soldiers, he lets Elias and Barnes do as they like (and the only order he gives is to burn down the village). US Army leadership classes have used Wolfe an example of how a junior officer should not behave.
The Obi-Wan: Sgt. Elias Grodin, faster, stronger and more experienced than his student Chris.
Obligatory War Crime Scene: Pretty much everything Bunny does, including beating a crippled Vietnamese civilian and his elderly mother to death just for the hell of it, and nearly raping a young girl.
Opposing Combat Philosophies: Elias (laid-back/tactical) and Barnes (aggressive). Stone based them on two different sergeants he knew while he was in Vietnam. They never met but Stone wondered what would happen if two men of such opposing viewpoints were in the same platoon.
Opposed Mentors: Wide-Eyed Idealist Chris is torn between two Sergeants about how he should conduct himself in Vietnam. As his closing monologue goes" The war is over for me now, but it will always be there, the rest of my days. As I'm sure Elias will be, fighting with Barnes for what Rhah called "possession of my soul".
Old Soldier: Most of the members of the platoon when Chris arrives, and eventually Chris becomes one himself.