Platoon

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Platoon (1986)

Platoon is a 1986 Vietnam War film written and directed by Oliver Stone, who based his screenplay upon his own experiences as a combat infantryman in both the 1st Cavalry Division and the 25th Infantry Division. The film follows a rifle platoon in Bravo Company, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, primarily through the eyes of Private Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen), a young idealistic soldier on his first tour of duty. Throughout the film, Taylor experiences the conflict between two competing senior NCOs - the brave and compassionate Staff Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe) and hardened, ruthless Staff Sergeant Robert Barnes (Tom Berenger). The film is notable for its realistic depiction of soldiers fighting the war (up until then, the war had been depicted in a more surrealistic and stylized fashion in such films as Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter) and for being the first movie for which the actors were put through a "boot camp" (organized by technical adviser and Vietnam veteran Dale Dye) to gain experience on proper weapons handling and the day-to-day existence of a soldier fighting in Vietnam. Released to widespread critical acclaim, the film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning four, including Best Picture and Best Director. While the Vietnam War had been portrayed or referenced in several films prior, the success of Platoon helped usher in a new era of more serious and realistic depictions of the conflict. Among the films of this era would include Full Metal Jacket and Hamburger Hill (both released in 1987), BAT*21 (1988) as well as The Iron Triangle and The Siege of Firebase Gloria (both released in 1989). Platoon was also the first in Stone's unofficial "trilogy" of Vietnam War-themed films which included 1989's Born on the Fourth of July and 1993's Heaven & Earth.


The following weapons were used in the film Platoon:

Contents


Rifles / Carbines

M16

Crawford (Chris Pedersen) is briefly seen using what appears to be an original M16. The rifle has an A1 flash hider, but lacks a forward assist. It could also be an AR-15/SP1 rifle, but since he is not seen firing it, it is unknown.

An original M16 (SP1) rifle with a birdcage flash hider and a 20 round magazine. M16s like this were common substitutes for M16A1s in Vietnam War movies in the 1970s and 1980s - 5.56x45mm
In the center, Crawford (Chris Pedersen) holds an M16.
Crawford (Chris Pedersen) with his M16 at the ready. Note the lack of a forward assist.

M16A1

Soldiers of the 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 25th Infantry Division "Tropic Lightning" carry M16A1s, most commonly seen in the hands of PVT Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen). M16A1s are also carried by Big Harold (Forest Whitaker), Manny (Corkey Ford), Francis (Corey Glover) and Sergeant Red O'Neill (John C. McGinley).

M16A1 with 20 round magazine - 5.56x45mm
Big Harold (Forest Whitaker) humps the bush while on patrol with his M16A1.
A soldier rests with his M16A1 at his side.
Taylor fires his M16A1 during a night ambush.
Manny (Corkey Ford) with his M16A1.
Taylor (Charlie Sheen) with his M16A1 at the ready.
From left to right, both Huffmeister (Robert "Rock" Galotti) and Rhah (Francesco Quinn) have their M16A1s resting in their laps. Galotti served as a US Marine during the Gulf War and was an assistant technical adviser on this film. He is since become a prolific movie armorer.
Francis (Corey Glover) fires his M16A1 during the final stand.
A sideview of Taylor's M16.
Taylor fires his M16A1 during the final stand.
On the left, SGT Red O'Neill (John C. McGinley) with his M16A1.

Colt Model 653P

SSG Elias (Willem Dafoe), SSG Robert Barnes (Tom Berenger), and Lieutenant Wolfe (Mark Moses) are armed with Colt Model 653P carbines, noted by their rounded forward assist buttons and 14.5" barrels, as the 653Ps were 653 export models sent to the Philippines. They were probably meant to stand in (albeit poorly) for the XM177E1 or XM177E2 Carbines. It is thus anachronistic to see these in the movie, as they were not used during the Vietnam war.

Colt Model 653 'M16A1 Carbine' - 5.56x45mm NATO
Staff Sergeant Robert Barnes approaches a dead Vietnamese soldier with his Colt Model 653P at the ready. Note how he keeps two mags taped together "jungle-style".
Barnes (Tom Berenger) carries his carbine while in a discussion with Lt. Wolfe (Mark Moses).
Barnes (Tom Berenger) locks and loads his Model 653P.
Barnes stands with his Colt 653P over a wounded NVA soldier .
Staff Sergeant Robert Barnes (Tom Berenger) holds his M653P in a production image.
Barnes raises his Colt Model 653P.
Staff Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe) with his Colt 653P.
Closeup of Elias' Model 653P.
Lieutenant Wolfe (Mark Moses) with his Colt 653P.
Wolfe fires his 653P during the final stand.

Norinco Type 56

The Norinco Type 56 is the weapon of choice of the NVA soldiers, many of which feature "pig-sticker" under folder bayonets. They are noted as Chinese Type 56 rifles based on their hooded front sights. Only the milled receiver variant of this rifle was actually used during the war. Towards the end of the film, both SSG Robert Barnes (Tom Berenger) and PVT Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) are seen using these rifles, picked up from dead Vietnamese soldiers.

Norinco Type 56, early model with milled receiver and with pig-sticker bayonet - 7.62x39mm
An NVA soldier approaches Taylor's position armed with a Norinco Type 56.
A Type 56 is seen abandoned when the soldiers search the bunker. Note folding bayonet.
A Type 56 is seen behind SSG Robert Barnes (Tom Berenger).
The Vietnamese hand out magazines to the troops as they prepare to assault during the final stand.
Barnes wields a Type 56 during the final stand.
A shell-shocked PVT Taylor (Charlie Sheen) picks up Type 56 from a dead Vietnamese soldier.
Taylor approaches a wounded soldier with the Type 56.
Taylor after firing the Type 56.

Machine Guns

M60

The M60 machine gun, sometimes affectionately called "The Pig" by US soldiers in Vietnam, is carried primarily by King (Keith David) in the film. As was typical in Vietnam, the M60 is seen in the film operated by two soldiers, a gunner and an assistant gunner who "feeds" the ammo.

M60 machine gun - 7.62x51mm
SSG Elias (Willem Dafoe) lugs the 23 lb. "Pig" on his shoulders on patrol. Elias does not carry or use the weapon in any other scene.
Lerner (Johnny Depp) sits on watch with a M60 behind him.
Tex (David Neidorf) with his M60.
Tex lays down fire with the M60.
Tex (David Neidorf) fires the M60 during the ambush while Pvt. Junior Martin (Reggie Johnson) feeds the ammunition belt.
King (Keith David) carries his M60 while on patrol. He keeps in the typical Vietnam configuration with the bipod down.
Morehouse (Kevin Eshelman) fires the M60 as Big Harold (Forest Whitaker) "feeds" the ammo.
King fires the M60. Note the bottleneck blank rounds on the belt.
An M60 in a door gunner mount on a UH-1 'Huey'.
A helicopter door gunner (played by technical adviser Dale Dye) covers the soldiers with the door-mounted M60.

Browning M2HB

A Browning M2HB heavy machine gun is seen mounted on for use on an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier after the final stand.

Browning M2HB on vehicle mount - .50 BMG (12.7x99mm NATO)
A gunner on the M2HB .50 cal as the M113 drives in. Director Oliver Stone noted in his DVD commentary for the film that APC soldiers were notorious for displaying Nazi paraphernalia on their vehicles, hence the swastika flag tied to the antenna.
A side-shot of the M2HB on the APC.

FN MAG 58

When the soldiers are digging through the weapons cache found in the village, what appears to be an FN MAG can be seen briefly.

FN MAG 58 - 7.62x51mm NATO
Weapons cache. Note what appears to be a MAG on the left.

Shotguns

Remington 870 Wingmaster

Bunny (Kevin Dillon) uses a Remington 870 Wingmaster shotgun with open blade sights throughout the film.

Remington 870 Slug Gun - 12 Gauge
Bunny (Kevin Dillon) poses with his Remington 870.
Bunny fires his shotgun during an ambush.
SSG Elias (Willem Dafoe) lets PVT Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) "ride shotgun" with an 870. This particular scene was referenced in a Season 3 episode of Justified.
Bunny leaves the village with his 870 in hand. Note the trigger guard which has been polished to a bare aluminium finish, which helps I.D. it as the same shotgun in other scenes.
King (Keith David) with the same 870.
"You're hangin' with Audie Murphy, here!"
Bunny dug in for the last stand with his 870.
Bunny shows his war face as he pumps his 870.

Handguns

M1911A1

The M1911A1 is the standard sidearm for all of the NCOs and Officers in the film. It is most prominently seen used by SSG Elias (Willem Dafoe) when he does tunnel rat duty and SSG Barnes (Tom Berenger) when he uses it to threaten a little girl in the village to get her father to talk. Historically the M1911 was also carried by private soldiers in the field as a backup weapon - Though this was technically a breach of the military rules of the times very few serious attempts were ever made to prevent the practice.

Colt M1911A1 - .45 ACP
An M1911A1 is seen in Elias' (Willem Dafoe) holster.
Tex's (David Neidorf) M1911A1 sits next to his helmet.
Elias on tunnel-rat duty with his flashlight and .45 at the ready.
Elias fires his .45.
Staff Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger) threatens a little girl with his .45 in the village.
The Battalion Commander (director Oliver Stone in a cameo) is seen with a .45 in a tanker-style shoulder holster.

Launchers

M72 LAW

M72 LAW launchers are seen strapped on several of the soldier's packs, notably the pack of PVT Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen). It is also seen used by SSG Robert Barnes (Tom Berenger) during the final stand.

M72 LAW - 66mm
An M72 LAW is seen strapped to the pack of Taylor (Charlie Sheen).
The M72A2 carried on top of Taylor's pack. Note that the taped-up covers on the launcher (Dale Dye mentioned in the commentary that this was because the covers kept falling off during filming).
Taylor's M72 LAW carried on his pack when in the village.
Morehouse (Kevin Eshelman) carries an M16A1 rifle and an M72 LAW on his pack.
SSG Robert Barnes (Tom Berenger) fires his M72 LAW during the final stand.

M79 grenade launcher

While never seen used in the film, the M79 grenade launcher AKA the "Blooper", is carried by several soldiers in the film, including Tubbs (Andrew B. Clark), a member of Red's squad. The weapon is never seen fired during the movie.

M79 "Blooper" - 40x46mm
"Sandy" Sanderson (J. Adam Glover) out on patrol armed with his M79 grenade launcher.
Tubbs searches the village with his M79 in hand.
Tubbs chucks a grenade into a basket of rice in the village, M79 slung in front.
An APC soldier armed with an M79 searches the dead after the final stand.

B-40

Several NVA soldiers are armed with B-40s, a Vietnamese copy of the RPG-2.

RPG-2 with PG-2 rocket - 40mm
A Vietnamese soldier with a B-40.
Vietnamese soldiers prepare to fire a B-40 at a bunker during the climatic battle.

Grenades

M26 Hand Grenade

The M26 hand grenade is seen as the standard issue grenade carried by the members of 1st Platoon.

M26 High-Explosive Fragmentation hand grenade.
As PVT Taylor glances at the claymore detonator, several M26 grenades are visible.
A primed M26 grenade rolls around before detonating.

M34 White Phosphorous Grenade

Ebenhoch (Mark Ebenhoch) is seen throwing an M34 White Phosphorous grenade (also called "Willy Pete" - slang for White Phosphorous) in one of the rice wells during the raid of the village. SSG Robert Barnes (Tom Berenger) also uses an M34 Grenade handed to him by Tony (Ivan Kane) to destroy one of the underground tunnels, this time yelling "Willie Pete!" when he throws the grenade.

M34 White Phosphorous grenade
Tony (Ivan Kane) hands Barnes (Tom Berenger) an M34 White Phosphorous grenade.
Ebenhoch (Mark Ebenhoch) readies an M34 White Phosphorous grenade to be tossed into well.

Type 67 Stick Grenade

The Chinese Type 67 stick grenade is seen also carried by NVA forces in the film. Several grenades are seen in a hidden weapons cache that is being prepared to be detonated.

Type 67 hand grenade
Several grenades are seen in a hidden weapons cache that is being prepared to be detonated.



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