Writer/director Oliver Stone has created a personal and searing testament to the men who fought the war in Vietnam. Seen through the eyes of a college drop-out, the war is a real nightmare, a private hell of fears from outside and in, with enemies on both sides of the line. His platoon's allegiance is split between leaders Sergeant Barnes and Sergeant Elias. Barnes is a scar-faced, gung-ho fanatic bent on destroying the elusive Viet Cong and anyone who disagrees with him. Elias is a different type of soldier; he has lost faith in the war, but not in man. Friction between the two sergeants leads to a second war, as deadly as the one being waged against the enemy.