Platoon is a bildungsroman , a coming of age story in which the hero is a young person “who sets out in life with either no aim in mind or the wrong one” and who “finally reaches maturity”. In the film a young man, Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen), has enlisted in the infantry and been sent to Vietnam. He is assigned to a combat infantry platoon that is ostensibly commanded by a second lieutenant, but in which real control is in the hands of First Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger), a scarred, combat efficient, sociopath. Barnes is a war lover, a man not unlike Buzz Morrow in John Hersey’s novel about World War II, The War Lover. Chris is befriended by one of the squad leaders of the platoon, saintly Sergeant Elias.
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