Platoon is a brutally realistic look at a young soldier's tour of duty in Vietnam. Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen
) is a college student who quits school to volunteer for the Army in the late '60s because he considers it his patriotic duty.
Actor Mickey Rooney was so disturbed by the film that he thought they should have a sign outside theaters banning women, a sexist point of-view that may well be merited. Platoon is a paean to the insanity that we call war, neither glorifying nor trivializing it. This is humanity at its lowest element, the animal brain stem in control, the cerebrum somehow on hiatus. The film is frightening and depressing and, yes, superb film-making.
Oliver Stone had a personal interest in doing this film. He had served for 15 months in Vietnam when, at the age of 21, he dropped out of Yale and joined the infantry The experiences of his hero, Chris (Charlie Sheen
), directly parallel Stone's own wartime hell.
The role of Chris was originally offered to Kyle MacLachlan, who turned it down.
turned down the role of Pvt. Chris Taylor.
Oliver Stone considered casting Johnny Depp
for the lead role of Pvt. Chris Taylor but Depp was too young for the part and unknown at the time. Stone said that Depp would someday become a huge star and is thus one of the first filmmakers who introduced Johnny Depp to Hollywood.
Originally Charlie Sheen
was turned down for the main role of Chris because it was felt he was too young for the part. His older brother Emilio Estevez was offered the part but the project fell apart due to financial problems. Two years later the project was given the go-ahead, but Estevez had already committed to other projects. Charlie Sheen again read for the part and won it.
The part of Sergeant Barnes was originally offered to Kevin Costner
Corey Glover was the lead singer for rock group Living Colour.
All of the actors had to endure a harsh 14-day boot camp in the Philippines before the shooting of the film commenced. The actors were given military haircuts, were required to stay in character throughout the camp, ate only military rations, were not allowed to shower, slept in the jungle, and even had rotations for night watch.
Special packs of Marlboro cigarettes were made for the movie on the insistence of Oliver Stone, who wanted the cherry-red color on the pack to more closely match those made during the late 1960s.
Oliver Stone had an actual RPG fired towards the end. This added to the effect's realism.
Prior to the scene where Elias' half of the platoon is smoking dope, the actors actually did smoke marijuana. Unfortunately for them, Willem Dafoe
reported, by the time the stage was set and they actually filmed, everyone had come off their high and felt awful.
The final battle in the movie was a recreation of an actual event that was witnessed by technical advisor Dale Dye, who was a combat correspondent with 2nd Btn, 3rd Marines.
Technical advisor Dale Dye is in a body bag being taken off a truck at the start of the film.
Several of the actors wrote messages on their helmets worn throughout the movie. Charlie Sheen's helmet reads, "When I die, bury me upside-down, so the world can kiss my ass", while Johnny Depp's simply reads, "Sherilyn", a tribute to Sherilyn Fenn, whom Depp was dating at the time. Mark Moses (Lt. Wolfe) had on his helmet a drawing of MAD magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman with the phrase "What, me worry?" and, according to Tom Berenger, this caused Oliver Stone to laugh hysterically once during filming.
Another reference to Sherilyn Fenn can be seen on Johnny Depp's guitar in the scene where they are smoking dope: the carved initials S.F.
In a TV interview, Charlie Sheen credited Keith David with saving his life. While shooting in an open-doored Huey gunship, the helicopter banked too hard and Sheen was thrown towards - and would have gone through - the open door. David grabbed him by the back and pulled him back in.
Tom Berenger's lifelike scar required three hours of makeup work every day of shooting.
Val Kilmer auditioned for the production but was not offered a role.
Banned in Vietnam because of its depiction of the Vietnamese.
Shot in only 54 days.
Director Oliver Stone at one point wanted Mickey Rourke
for Sgt. Barnes and Nick Nolte as the experienced Sgt. Elias. Both were offered the parts, and both turned it down.
Director Cameo: [Oliver Stone] An officer at the bunker that gets destroyed by a suicide runner.
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