* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: It can be argued that Barnes did care for the men in his command, but used extreme tactics to do so. All he wanted was for them all to survive, and to hell with anybody else.
* {{Anvilicious}}: Just in case we didn't get the subtle subtext involved in Stone placing an evil sergeant and a good sergeant in charge of plastic-faced Charlie Sheen's raw recruit as the devil and angel on his shoulder, Stone has Sheen provide a wildly anvilicious voiceover monologue at the end of the movie. "I felt like a child born of these two fathers fighting over my soul." Alternatively counts as SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped.
* SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic: ''Adagio for Strings'', used during and after the more intense moments in the film.
** The unused Georges Delerue-composed soundtrack, which gets replaced by ''Adagio for Strings''.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: The fat soldier in the FinalBattle who appears for a few seconds before dying.
* CompleteMonster: There are two {{Sociopathic Soldier}}s:
** [[ColonelKilgore Staff Sergeant Robert "Bob" Barnes]] is a sociopathic brute who believes himself to be the ideal that all American soldiers should strive to be. Already showing himself to be an unforgiving fanatic by [[DrillSergeantNasty regularly degrading his own troops]], even as they die all around him, Barnes shows his truly vicious personality when, while leading a raid onto a small Vietnamese village, he kills numerous villages who are too slow in complying with his orders, before shooting an innocent woman in the head for irritating him. Holding an [[WouldHurtAChild innocent child at gunpoint]] in an attempt to force her father to answer his questions, Barnes develops a seething hatred toward [[OpposingCombatPhilosophies Sergeant]] [[OpposedMentors Elias]] for halting his crimes, and later guns him down to eliminate the only one who would incriminate him for his murders. In the end, Barnes ruthlessly attempts to murder the only other man willing to stand up to him, Charlie Taylor, and goads Taylor into killing him to prove his point that [[BloodKnight war and conflict is the true state of humankind]].
** [[ObligatoryWarCrimeScene Bunny]] is a psychopathic scumbag who quickly graduates from a particularly [[{{Jerkass}} nasty prick]] to a full-blown monster. When he and his squad invade a Vietnamese village, Bunny happily beats a disabled teenage boy to death, before doing the same to the boy's mother. Following this, Bunny leads the gang-rape of two [[WouldHurtAChild young girls]], mocking Taylor for not joining in. By the end of the film, Bunny giddily mows down enemy soldiers with a smile on his face, proclaiming that he feels as if he's done nothing wrong and that war is true freedom, [[ForTheEvulz enabling people like him in to indulge in whatever wicked acts their hearts desire]].
* EpilepticTrees[=/=]EveryoneIsJesusInPurgatory: Some have interpreted the Elias-like guy who asks Taylor for a light from a DeletedScene as Death himself.
* FauxSymbolism:
** The snakes Chris keeps seeing.
** '''Chris T'''aylor. One of the soldiers even makes a joke about him dying and being resurrected.
* MemeticMutation: The CrucifiedHeroShot is parodied to [[IncrediblyLamePun death]] in Website/{{Pixiv}}.
* MoralEventHorizon: The village scene, to the point of NightmareFuel. The only ones who come out of this scene with audience sympathies entirely intact are Chris, Elias, and the few men the latter took offscreen with him, including King.
** Barnes crosses it firmly by [[spoiler: shooting the village chief's unarmed wife and taking their child hostage]].
** Bunny sails right over the line by [[spoiler: beating a mentally handicapped boy to death, despite orders to leave, and then doing the same to the boy's mother]]. He, and the group of soldiers he takes with him to do the deed, promptly rockets magnitudes further by [[spoiler: gang-raping a teenage village girl]].
** The rest of the platoon are also left in murky territory after they [[spoiler: shoot the village animals for fun]].
* {{Narm}}:
** Even though the film's usage of Adagio for Strings is effective, it was used rather inappropriately just before [[spoiler:Lerner]] gets wounded, where it is abruptly cut by gunfire.
** The face [[spoiler:Junior]] makes when he gets [[spoiler:bayoneted to death]].
* NightmareFuel: The village scene. Also the deleted scene where Taylor has a dream where the platoon stands in front of a Buddha statue. One by one the soldiers disappear until there's only Barnes.
** Barnes himself is made of Nightmare Fuel. His overall appearance is unnerving and those facial scars are the stuff of nightmares. His actions in the film make him more terrifying then the Vietcong.
* SignatureScene: See DyingMomentOfAwesome.
* TrueArtIsAngsty: Edged out just barely by ''Film/ApocalypseNow''.
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