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Platoon Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Top war movie is intensely violent, full of strong language.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Oscar-winning war drama -- one of the most highly regarded Vietnam War movies -- is highly violent, powerful, and devastating. The violence is intense, with almost constant guns, blood, and dead bodies; soldiers also shoot and rape (mostly implied) Vietnamese characters, and burn a village. Language is likewise very strong, with almost constant use of "f--k," as well as heavy uses of words like "s--t" and "c--ksucker."

  • Families can talk about the movie's extreme violence. How did it make you feel? How did the movie achieve this effect? How is this movie's violence different from other war movies?
  • What kind of statement is this movie making about war? Do you think this movie's message could translate to more modern wars?
  • What role do women play in this movie? Do you see any space where female characters could have played a larger role? Why do you think they are not there?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The overall message of this movie is that war is futile, and the Vietnam War was especially futile. Good people get killed and bad people survive. Good people do bad things. Nothing is solved. The hero finds his courage over the course of the movie, to a degree, but he also finds disgust and despair.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Characters are complicated and sometimes good people do bad things, like the main character, Chris, who is generally a good person, but who becomes jaded and makes some bad decisions over the course of the film. There is a rivalry between Sgt. Barnes and Sgt. Elias; the former is the "evil" one, while the latter is a more kindly, more open-hearted figure.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: This movie features brutal, up-close war violence, with guns and shooting, lots of blood, and many, many dead bodies. The movie puts us in the thick of battle, with explosions, screaming, and sheer terror as well as sheer adrenaline. American soldiers are seen beating up and committing other atrocities on Vietnamese people (i.e. raping, shooting, burning villages, etc.).

  • sex false1

    Sex: Some playful sexual innuendo in the dialogue.

  • language false5

    Language: There is very strong, constant language here. "F--k" and "motherf--ker" are used quite often, as is "s--t," "p---y," and "c--ksucker." Other words include "dick," "hell," "son of a bitch," "ass," "asshole," "Goddamn," "bitch," "pecker," "faggot," and "Jesus Christ" and "for Christ's sake." Additionally, there are racial slurs like "gook."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some soldiers are likely older teens and most characters are seen smoking cigarettes and/or pot at some point. A few characters drink beers in one scene.