The Unholy Crusade, a look into Oliver Stone's War film, Platoon.

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, December 1996

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Religion is a canopy under which American culture and

society thrives. Its extension reaches the boundaries of

such cultural mainstreams as movies, television, and

music. Oliver Stone's 1986 war film Platoon is an example

of the religious subtleties and overtones that appear in

various American genres. Stone not only uses religious

themes to portray the Vietnam War, but manipulates the war

to show the decadence of American society.

Throughout history, man has traveled the world, and

conquered nations, in order to force one religion on

another. America was founded by Spain's attempt to spread

Christianity to the new world. Although Spain was the

most powerful nation at the time, their attempt to spread

Christianity on less civilized people came to a fatal end

due to the explorers' detrimental actions. The movie

Platoon reenacts this theme in a modern true life event.

After World War II, America demonstrated itself to be

arguably the most powerful nation.

When communism

threatened Vietnam, America acted to defend its democratic

belief by sending troops over to thwart the communist

attempts. Stone uses the war to portray the failed

attempt due to the exploits of the American soldiers. In

one scene, Barnes (Tom Berenger) and Bunny (Kevin Dillon),

mercilessly kill several innocent villagers. Later in the

same scene, some soldiers are caught raping a village

woman. The actions taken by the soldiers are Stone's

comparison to the Spanish explorers' actions, which

finally led to both nation's failed expeditions.

To add depth to his religious allegories, Stone not

only uses historical references, but opens it to Biblical

contexts as well. According to the Bible, the garden of

Eden is a paradise, often pictured in a jungle-like

atmosphere. In Platoon, Stone uses the jungles of Vietnam

to represent the mystic garden of Eden. Stone's

underlying intent...