FILM 1980S/1990S

FILM 1980S/1990S


Platoon is a 1986 American war film and is directed by Oliver Stone. The stars of this film are Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, and William Dafoe. This film is the first in a trilogy of Stone’s Vietnam War films. Stone, in the film, writes a story based on his experiences as a United States infantryman in Vietnam. This film is seen as a counter to the vision painted by an earlier film, John Wayne’s, The Green Berets. Platoon in 1986 won the academy award for Best Picture. Oliver stone has had a breakthrough as a director in this film. The film is brutally realistic as it looks at a young soldier on duty in Vietnam, a role played by Charlie sheen. The young student quits school to enlist in the army in the late 60s (Salewicz 70). The student is then shipped off to Vietnam where he gets the opportunity to serve with a group of a culturally diverse group of fellow soldiers.

This movie is based on the narration of a young solider, done by Charlie Sheen and is based on the life of Stone, the movie’s director. The solider in the movie was a middle-class college student who volunteers in the war because he thinks and sees it as a patriotic duty. The movie does not have any false heroics. The narrator in the film is quick at the point of physical collapse, he does not get enough sleep, is bedeviled by long marches, cuts, snakes, ants, bruises and a constant fear. At the beginning of the film, in one of the scenes, he is on duty when he spots approaching enemy troops freezes. However, gradually he will learn to become a competent solider (Salewicz 86).

The film contains no carefully mapped plot to lead the viewer from point to point. The characters in this film seem to be disoriented where anything is likely to happen with no prior warning. From the large figures, crowded canvas to the veteran, scared face sergeant who is a survivor of multiple hits. This leads his men to believe that the said seargent cannot be killed. William Dafoe plays the role of Elias, in the film, a good solider and fighter. However, he tries to escape the reality through drugs. Kevin Dillon plays bunny in the film, the scared kid who becomes extremely dangerous. He does this as a means to protect himself. The film contains no clear unequivocal shot of the enemy soldier (Stone 36).

In the film, there is a constant fear in the minds of the soldier where any movement offers an equal chance between an exposed place and a safe one. The director has set up his shots and this denies the viewer the feeling that combat makes any sense. The war in Vietnam is the central political and moral issue for Americans, in the last quarter century and here it has inspired this film.

Unlike some of Hollywood’s first releases of Vietnam movies, Platoon gives the viewer a completely different perspective. Some of the early releases include films like, Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter and Coming Home. Most of these films were released in the early 80s. Platoon provides a grunt’s eye view of the Vietnam War (Stone 45). It touches on moral issues and also focuses on the men who fought the battle. This film is similar to older war movies when compared to its Vietnam peers. It mixes small realistic details with familiar elements of onscreen battle. This mix of elements of traditional war movies and a contemporary sensibility has won the film four Oscar Awards. These awards include Best Director and Best Picture. It has become famous as a definitive of modern war films.


Unforgiven is a 1992 film produced by Clint Eastwood and is an American Western Film. This film depicts William Munny, an ageing retired outlaw and killer who decides on taking one more job. This is years after he had turned to farming after quitting his killing escapades. This film is a dark western that deals with the ugly violence aspects and the Old Western Myth where Eastwood stars as the lead role. The co-stars are Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman and Richard Harris. This film has won four Academy awards. Unforgiven, in 2004 was added to the country’s National Film Registry. It was deemed as, “Historically, culturally or aesthetically significant” (Fox 134).

Unforgiven is set at a moment when the Old West was evolving to become new.  The period for the film was chosen by Eastwood because it mirrored his personal life. Eastwood began on TV as a young gunslinger in his early Sergion Leone Films. This film is a reflection of a passing certain its visual style. The opening shot is that of a tree, man at a graveside and a house. The sun sets on the man and the era that this man represents. Most of the film’s exteriors show the vastness of the land through widescreen compositions.

William Munny is a hog farmer but not entirely. At a scene, he chases a hog but fails to capture the animal. He lands face down on the mud after failing terribly. He raises two children following the demise of his wife, Claudia, without enough money. Scofield Kid, a rider, offers Munny a cash money reward for bounty hunting. Munny’s reputation had reached Kid of him being, “cold as snow and did not have no fear or weak nerve” (Fox 134). However, Munny disputes this by saying that he is not that man anymore. He attributed hi earlier character to whiskey drinking. He says his wife cured him of it and has not had a drink for more than 10 years. Munny is a killer, a chastened man and an outlaw civilized by his marriage. The film, therefore, internalizes a classic Western theme. Here, violent men are civilized by preachers, judges and schoolmarms.

Eastwood is clearly a star in the film business as an actor. However, he shows signs that point to him making a good director if this movie is anything to go by. He has done important work in action, western and comedy genres. Some of his films are unique: good example is the film Bird. This film however, was done by Eastwood in the earlier decade, in 1988. Eastwood’s other movies that he has done that can be compared to this one include, A Perfect World in 1993, and The Bridge of Madison County in 1995 (McGilligan 98).

Works Cited

Fox, David J. Weekend Box Office Eastwood Still Tall in the Saddle. The Los Angeles Times. (1992-08-18). Retrieved 2010-12-01.

McGilligan, Patrick. Clint: The Life and Legend. London: Harper Collins. (1999).

Salewicz, Chris. Oliver Stone: The Making of His Movies (New Ed edition ed.). UK: Orion Publishing Group. ISBN0-7528-1820-1. (1999-07-22) [1997]

Stone, Oliver. Platoon DVD commentary (DVD).MGM Home Entertainment 2001