‘Platoon’ is a war film based on the real-life experiences that the director, Oliver Stone, had when he was serving as a U.S. infantryman in Vietnam in 1967. With such an authentic portrayal of the battlefield, it is no wonder that it is regarded as one of the best Vietnam War films in cinematic history. It has an ensemble cast, featuring Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Charlie Sheen, Keith David, Kevin Dillon, John C. McGinley, Forest Whitaker, and Johnny Depp. In this article, we take a look at where the iconic movie was filmed!
Platoon Filming Locations
Although the story is based in Vietnam, filmmakers actually captured the gritty war scenes in the Philippines. The shooting started in February of 1986 and lasted for 54 days. During this time, the cast was subjected to an intense military training regime supervised by Vietnam Veteran Dale Dye. They were even given lessons on many topics such as basic jungle warfare, combat, weapon handling, target practice, cooking, radio communication, and first aid.
The largest and most populated island in the country, Luzon was the primary filming location. However, it is imperative to note that the movie was shot at a time when the Philippines was experiencing the People Power Revolution. Speaking about the reality, Stone said, “And then out of nowhere there was this people’s revolution. I mean, I was happy for the people in the Philippines, but it really threatened our shoot.”
PLATOON, shot in the Philippines in 1986. pic.twitter.com/9VWuEjYwbD
— ROY LACXICA (@_baruroy) May 22, 2013
He added, “We had made all of these deals with the military. And when the change came, we had to make new deals with the new military. You had to get a lot of permissions and bribe a new set of people. I remember the helicopters were pretty dangerous because they weren’t maintained well.” The production, which cost $6.5 million, made use of Vietnamese refugees who were living in the area. Furthermore, the movie was shot chronologically.
Interestingly, the cast was in for a shock as they were sent to live in the heart of the jungle as opposed to a hotel. Kevin Dillon recalled, “From the first day we landed, we were treated like a new Army unit and were all just thrown into it. We were all put in a foxhole together, had our hair cut and told to take off our normal clothes and put on fatigues, and then immediately sent out on a recon mission.”
Mount Makiling, which is near Los Banos, was heavily used for capturing those scenes that involved the forest, including the artillery attack from the woods. The vicinity of Puerto Azul is seen in many scenes that showcase the cliffside, river, and village. The province of Cavite was also utilized for this purpose. Furthermore, the main camp was located in Maragadong. The headquarters of the Philippines Air Force, Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base, also appears on the list of filming locations. It is situated in Manila, the capital of the Philippines.
Read More: Is Platoon a True Story?