Upon its release, Stone’s depiction of young and bewildered soldiers serving in a lawless combat zone had a huge impact on people from all walks of life. Time reports that Steven Spielberg said, “It is more than a movie; it’s like being in Vietnam. ‘Platoon’ makes you feel you’ve been there and never want to go back.” Brian De Palma, who directed Stone’s “Scarface” script added, “Seeing ‘Platoon’ get through the system makes the soul feel good.” However, it wasn’t just those who worked in the industry and movie audiences who were unanimous in their praises. Former Senator Gary Hart enthused, “every teenager in America should see ‘Platoon.’”
Chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, John Wheeler, said, “‘Platoon’ is a new statement about Vietnam veterans. Before, we were either objects of pity or objects that had to be defused to keep us at a distance. ‘Platoon’ makes us real. It speaks to our generation. Those guys are us.” David Halberstam was the Vietnam war correspondent for the New York Times and hails “Platoon” as “the first real Vietnam film.”
Yet not all Vietnam veterans were fans of Stone’s vision. Bob Duncan, who was a soldier in the 1st Infantry, felt the film played up to stereotypes. “He managed to take every cliche — the ‘baby killer’ and ‘dope addict’ — that we’ve lived for the past 20 years and stick them in the movie about Vietnam,” said Duncan.