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The 317th Platoon

The 317th Platoon

1954. The dying days of the French war in Indochina. As the battle of Diên Biên Phu rages, the 317th platoon of the French Far East Expeditionary Corps are ordered to destroy their base and evacuate. The French and Laotian soldiers must brave the Cambodian jungle on foot to reach the safety of French-held Tao Tsai, hoping to get there before the town falls.

The men are optimistic as they set out. But what should be a 48-hour trek goes wrong almost from the start. After running into a Viet Minh supply base, the 317th platoon take casualties. Their rookie leader, the idealistic sub-lieutenant Torrens (Jacques Perrin) has spent all of 18 days in Indochina and insists on carrying the wounded. He clashes with his adjutant, Willsdorf (Βruno Cremer), a jaded Wehrmacht veteran of the Russian campaign. A harrowing week-long journey follows, through the mountains and across rivers, as the men vainly hope to be saved by air support.

Directed by Oscar®-winner Pierre Schoendoerffer, and based on his novel of the same name, THE 317th PLATOON captures the terror and chaos of the last days of the French war in Indochina. This is a classic war film that influenced later American cinema on Vietnam.

“Critic's Pick! This is a staggeringly engrossing and effective movie, its settings both beautiful and oppressive, its incidents tense and eye-opening... this is a genuinely revelatory war movie.” —The New York Times

“The 317th Platoon is a masterpiece. It's raw, real, gripping, laconic...His camera adopting the point of view of those foot soldiers delivers 24 frames of truth per second.” —Bertrand Tavernier

“MASTERPIECE! Surveying the doomed 1954 retreat of French and Laotian soldiers, Schoendoerffer exposes, with a reporter’s eye, the horrors that were and the horrors to come.” —The Village Voice

“The greatest war movie ever made is The 317th Platoon. This was the original ‘platoon movie,’ whose format later directors followed but failed to match in its portrayal of characters and their interaction, to say nothing of the moral choices and the corruption of combat.” —The Guardian


Main credits

Schoendoerffer, Pierre (film director)
Schoendoerffer, Pierre (screenwriter)
Perojo, Benito (film producer)
Beauregard, Georges de (film producer)
Perrin, Jacques (actor)
Crémer, Bruno (actor)
Fabre, Pierre (actor)
Zarzo, Manuel (actor)
Tioulong, Boramy (actor)

Other credits

Cinematography, Raoul Coutard; editor, Armand Psenny; music, Pierre Jansen.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Southeast Asia


; "The 317th Platoon"; Icarus Films; France; Vietnam; Cambodia; war; army; ; "The 317th Platoon"; Icarus Films

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