The Academy Award winning movie Platoon, which was directed by Oliver Stone (a Vietnam War veteran), provides an incredibly realistic portrayal of the brutal lifestyle, danger, and cruelty of the Vietnam War. After watching the movie, I gained a tremendous amount of respect for veterans of the Vietnam War as the movie depicted the tough conditions and danger the soldiers had to endure while fighting in Vietnam.
In one of the opening scenes of Platoon, Chris Taylor, a former college student who enlisted in the Vietnam War, reveals the difficult lifestyle that soldiers had to deal with while serving in Vietnam. While digging a hole in a very hot jungle in Vietnam, Chris states that “this place feels like hell,” and that he “hates it already and it has only been a week.” Upon his arrival, Chris questions his ability to survive his entire year long service in Vietnam and admits that he thinks he “made a big mistake coming here.” Chris’ thoughts are representative of many soldiers in Vietnam as many soldiers were deployed without actually wanting to serve in the war. After witnessing the harsh lifestyles of soldiers in Vietnam in Platoon, I now can understand why so many soldiers returned from the war deeply traumatized by experiences.
In another scene of the movie, King reveals to Chris the soldiers underlying motivations to keep fighting in the Vietnam War. Before King boards the helicopter to leave Vietnam to go back home, he explains to Chris that, “all you gotta do is make it out of here,” and then “every day of the rest of your life is gravy.” Based on King’s statement it is evident that all the soldiers in the Vietnam War were motivated to stay alive and endure the arduous conditions of Vietnam in hopes of one day making it back to their families in the United States and living in comfort again.
Overall, I was very impressed with Platoon and believe Oliver Stone did an outstanding job of realistically capturing the events that occurred in the Vietnam War.