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"The Platoon" And "The Sands Of Iwo Jima".

1127 words - 5 pages

"The first real casualty of war is innocence (Platoon 1986)." Although this may seem to be the most imperative casualty, there are far worse fatalities in battle. Perhaps, with suffering there can be a positive outcome that can improve a person's mind and soul. In viewing these two war films, Platoon (1986) and The Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), I have analyzed the similarities, differences, and the types of images these films have brought to the screen.One such comparison between Platoon and The Sands of Iwo Jima is the harsh realization of one's innocence. These soldiers had to lose their innocence in order to survive the chaotic world of battle. For example, a quote from Sergeant John M. Stryker (John Wayne) educates his new recruitsby saying, "Before I'm through with ya you're going to move like one man and think like one man, if ya don't you'll be dead." Although Stryker is disliked by his men for his unsympathetic training methods, his wisdom is demonstrated through his squad while fighting on the island of Iwo Jima. On the other hand, in Platoon the troops did lose their innocence, but at a much greater cost. In particular the new and inexperienced recruit, Chris Taylor, played by Charlie Sheen, quickly finds that he's truly fighting for his "strength and sanity."Another strong comparison between these two films is the respect and the lack of admiration between fellow troops and higher ranked officers. In the beginning of The Sands of Iwo Jima there was little admiration for the relentlessly tough Marine Sergeant Stryker. The rebellious soldiers learn to respect Sgt. Stryker as a brave and heroic figure.However, in Platoon the war between good and evil progresses as the troops lose reality. The squad is split between the good Sgt. Elias (William Dafoe) and the evil Sgt. Barnes (Tom Berenger). In the middle of this anarchy, there is Lieutenant Wolfe (Mark Moses), who makes pathetic attempts to gain respect and control of his squad. He is seen as a coward and a suck-up, and in my opinion, a poor excuse for a leader.For every downfall in war comes a stronger bond between these men. In fact, the leadership of several higher officers is so strong that they become father figures. In Sands of Iwo Jima, the rebellious soldiers learn to respect Sgt. Stryker as a brave and heroic leader. From the beginning Stryker had taken his troops under his wing, specifically Private Peter Conway (John Agar). To some extent, Sgt. Stryker showed more admiration for Private Conway, especially when they meet. The extra attention was given because Sgt. Stryker had fought with Conway's father on the Guadalcanal. Conway's father died in battle and Stryker desperately missed his own son, so he felt responsible to take over as his father figure.In Platoon the father figure for Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) is Sergeant Elias. Everyone in the Vietnam War treated the "new guys" as if they didn't exist until they proved themselves with time and suffering. Conversely, Elias stayed...

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