Study Guide

Platoon Scene 17

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Scene 17

Scene 17

  • It's daylight, and the battle is over. The camera slowly pans along the trees: there's Taylor, lying in the bushes.
  • He looks pretty beat up, but he's alive. The sounds of the jungle (birds and insects) contrast with the chaos of the previous night.
  • He sees a deer, a rare sign of life in the erstwhile inferno.
  • He slowly gets up. He's clearly wounded, and falls down the first time he gets up.
  • He staggers forward, eventually making his way to a huge pile of bodies. He picks up an NVA weapon.
  • A soldier in the background slowly tries to crawl away from the carnage.
  • Taylor starts walking. Soon, we see another soldier, right in front of Taylor.
  • He's crawling slowly. He reaches a tree, props himself up, and turns around: Barnes.
  • He says, "get me a medic." Taylor doesn't respond. Barnes reiterates his request: "Go on boy."
  • Taylor is staring at him, a cold, I-don't-care-anymore look on his face.
  • He points the gun at Barnes.
  • Barnes looks at him: "Do it," he says.
  • Taylor doesn't hesitate. He shoots Barnes several times, then goes back to the body pile.
  • A search and rescue group moving through finds him, and calls for a medic.
  • Nearby, Francis emerges from a foxhole, unharmed. He stabs himself in the leg.
  • O'Neill, who had spent the previous night hiding under a dead body, also emerges.
  • Some of the other members of the platoon have survived (Rhah), and are taking souvenirs from dead NVA soldiers (one guy cuts off an ear).
  • "Adagio for Strings" starts playing again as scores of dead bodies are gathered up. The dead NVA soldiers are pushed into mass graves
  • Taylor is being carried on a stretcher. The camera shifts, and a radioman is describing the carnage as Captain Harris looks on: 522 wounded and counting.
  • Taylor and Francis encounter each other, and Francis mentions that since both he and Taylor have been wounded twice they get to go home.
  • Captain Harris approaches O'Neill, and asks him how he's doing. Fine, he responds. "Good," Harris responds, "you've got 2nd platoon."
  • O'Neill is crestfallen.
  • Taylor put on a chopper, and he sees Rhah, who raises his staff, pounds his chest, and grunts.
  • Taylor smiles, and salutes him back. The chopper takes off.
  • From the air, we can see dead bodies all over the place. Taylor looks out, and starts crying.
  • As the chopper continues on its course, Taylor reflects on his experiences: "We didn't fight the enemy. We fought ourselves."
  • He offers some thoughts on his relationship to Barnes and Elias: "There are time since when I have felt like a child born of those two fathers."
  • After a few more words, the film concludes with Taylor describing his obligation to make the best of what he has left of life, and to teach others what he has learned.
  • The screen goes white, and a message appears: "Dedicated to the men who fought and died in the Vietnam War."

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