Platoon Movie Script


               FADE IN:


               'Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth...'

               The sound now of a C-130 air cargo plane roaring over us and 
               we cut sharply to:


               As the C-130 coasts to a stop, the hatch rotating down on a 
               hot, dusty lifeless airstrip somewhere in Vietnam. Nothing 
               seems to live or move in the midday sun.

               TITLES RUN

               A DOZEN NEW RECRUITS step off the plane, unloading their 
               duffel bags, looking around like only the new can look around, 
               their hair regulation-clipped, crisp, new green fatigues 
               fitting them like cardboard.

               CHRIS TAYLOR is just another one of them - as he turns into 
               a tight closeup, to look at a motorized cart pulling up 
               alongside... He's about 21. New meat. His face, unburned yet 
               by the sun, is tense, bewildered, innocent, eyes searching 
               for the truth.

               They fall now on a heap of BODY BAGS in the back of the cart.  
               Two soldiers begin loading them onto the plane. Flies - 
               hundreds of flies - buzz around them, the only cue to their 

                              (next to Chris, 
                              Southern accent)
                         That what I think it is?

                                     SOLDIER 1
                              (a look)
                         I guess so...

               An uncomfortable look between them.

                         Okay, let's go...

               As they move out, Chris' eyes moving with the body bags being 
               loaded onto the plane. Moving over now to a motley HALF DOZEN 
               VETERANS bypassing them on their way to the plane. They look 
               happy. Very happy, chatting it up.

               They pass the newboys - and they shake their heads, their 
               eyes full of an almost mocking pity.

                         Well I'll be dipped in shit - new 
                         meat! Sorry bout that boys - 'sin 
                         loi' buddy... You gonna love the 
                         Nam, man, for-fucking-ever.

               Chris looking at them. They pass, except for the last man 
               who walks slower than the rest, a slight limp. His eyes fall 
               on Chris.

               They're frightening eyes, starved, hollow, sunken deep in 
               his face, black and dangerous. The clammy pallor of malaria 
               clings to him as he looks at Chris through decayed black 
               teeth. Then the sun flares out on him and he's past. And 
               Chris looks back. Disturbed. It's as if the man was not real. 
               For a moment there. As if he were a ghost.

               Chris walking, duffel bag on the shoulder, looks up at the 
               lollipop sun burning a hole through the sky. A rushing SOUND 
               now. Of frightening intensity, an effect combining the blast 
               of an airplane with the roar of a lion as we hardcut to:


               The sun matches the intensity of the previous shot as we 
               move down into thick green jungle. We hear the sound of MEN 
               coming, a lot of men. The thwack of a machete. Brush being 
               bulled. We wait. They are getting close.

               The CREDITS continue to run.

               SUBTITLE reads: December 1967 - Bravo Company, 25th Infantry 
               Division - Somewhere near the Cambodian Border.

               A sweating white face comes into view. CHRIS - cutting point.  
               Machete in one hand, whacking out a path for the platoon, M-
               16 in the other, he looks like he's on the verge of heat 
               exhaustion. Breathing too hard, pacing himself all wrong, 
               bumping into things, tripping, not quite falling, he looks 
               pathetic here in the naturalness of the jungle. An urban 
               transplant, slightly neurotic and getting more so.

               His rucksack is coming apart as well, about 70 badly packed 
               pounds banging noisily.

               Behind him BARNES now comes, the Platoon Sergeant. Then the 
               RTO, his radio man, humming lightly. Others are behind, the 
               column snaking back deep into the brush.

               We cut around some FACES of the Platoon - all to be seen 
               later. Young faces, hard and dirty after weeks in the field, 
               exhausted yet alert, fatigues filthy, slept-in, torn, 
               personalized, hair way past regulation length, medals, 
               bandannas. A jungle army. Boys.

               Chris glancing down at his raw bleeding blisters. Transfers 
               the machete to his other, slightly less blistered, hand. The 
               kid cuts on - struggling but trying, on his last reserves of 
               strength, smashing almost straight forward through brush, 
               not even bothering to look ahead. He smells something, looks 
               around, slows his pace, eyes working... around to the base 
               of a tree. He moves past it.

               And as he does so, the camera from his POV comes around on a 
               dead decomposing 10-day-old GOOK - eyes starting from its 
               sockets, worms and flies feasting.

               Chris draws his breath in, terrified. Barnes suddenly appears 
               alongside, his hard humourless eyes looking annoyed from the 
               gook to Chris.

                         What are you waiting for? He ain't 
                         gonna bite you. Move out.

               Chris looks at him with pent-up hatred and crashes on.

               EXT. PLATOON PC - DAY - MOVING

               At the COMPANY PC, CAPTAIN HARRIS on the radio.

                         Bravo Two, Six. What's the delay up 
                         there, move it out on point. We've 
                         got a link up at Phase Line Whiskey 
                         at One Eight Zero Zero, over.


               At the PLATOON PC, LIEUTENANT WOLFE sweats heavily as he 
               speaks in his radio. He is also new to the field, a dark 
               little feisty guy, about 24, very hairy, especially in the 
               eyebrows, an intense get-ahead look.

                                     LIEUTENANT WOLFE
                         Two Bravo, Two move it out. Six says 
                         we're jamming 'em up back there.  

               Barnes, upfront, turns to SAL, his radio man, under his 

                         Tell that dipshit to get fucked.  
                         Get that other freshmeat up here.  

               As Barnes picks up his pace, irritated now at this reprimand 
               from the CO - coming up on Chris, who is soaked now from 
               head to foot in sweat, dizzy, feeling sick, about to vomit.

                         What the hell's the matter with you 
                         Taylor! You a sorry ass motherfucker. 
                         Fall back.

               He grabs Chris's machete out of his hand and bulls his way 
               into the foliage, tearing it apart, setting a new pace.

               Chris being bypassed by the column, their eyes on him. He is 
               swatting at the red ants that are all over his neck.

               GARDNER, another new recruit, fat, hustling up to replace 

               A big and black medic - DOC - comes over, gentle eyes and 
               manner; with him is Sergeant ELIAS, concerned.

                         You okay?

                         Ants. I got ants on my neck...
                              (shaking them out)

                              (helping him)
                         Yeah, black ants are killers, you 
                         look sick man. You need a little 
                              (reaching into his 

               Sergeant Elias, a handsome, graceful dark-haired Indian kid 
               of 23, the squad sergeant, is taking items out of Chris' 
               pack - air mattress, extra unnecessary clothing, extra 
               canteens, grenades, gas mask, books.

                              (shaking his head, 
                         You're humping way too much, troop, 
                         don't need half this shit. I'll haul 
                         it for you but next time you check 
                         it out with me okay?

               Chris nodding, grateful, panting.

               The men passing, watching. Chris sorry about this, trying to 
               keep up face.

               BUNNY, a young 18 year-old with an angel's face, is pissing 
               in the dead gook's face.

               KING passes, glances at him.

                         You're a sick mother Bunny.

               Bunny laughing about it.

               Chris standing there one moment, fighting for his breath, 
               suddenly passes out, going over with his 70 pound rucksack, 
               hitting the ground with a loud bang.

                         Hold it up.

               On Chris - his eyes opening. He seems all right.

                              (trying to get up)
                         I'm okay... I'm okay.

               Chris crumples backwards. Elias helps him.

               EXT. COMPANY PERIMETER #1 - DUSK

               The COMPANY - about 100 men who seem insignificant amid the 
               size of the surrounding jungle - is digging into a perimeter 
               of some 100-yard radius. A RESUPPLY CHOPPER lifts off in a 
               flurry of blowing leaves. Bare-chested soldiers chop down 
               trees, clear fields of fire, set out claymores, fill sandbags, 
               chow down. Little fires snake up against the greying red 


               We cut close on a pair of grungy feet - the staple of the 
               infantry - moving up to DOC, the Medic, bandaging them for 
               FU SHENG, a Hawaiin kid.


               Rhah sets his tripflare. Crawford, with him, putting out a 


               Back in the perimeter RODRIGUEZ sets his M-60 in the newly 
               dug foxhole. SAL, next to him, is shaving in his helmet.


               KING looks like a king. A lion of a black man but with a 
               sleepy, gentle face, not to be roused, is painfully trying 
               to scrawl a letter home with the pencil held awkwardly, 
               mouthing the words. FRANCIS, a young baby-faced black with 
               long lashes and soft eyes, peeks over his shoulder, shaking 
               his head.

                         Shit, King, it ain't d-e-r-e man, 
                         it's d-e-a-r, and Sara don't have no 
                         two r's in it, fool. Shame on you.

               King shrugs, a sleepy stoned voice.

                         Don't matter, she knows what it 
                         means... an she don't read too good 


               Sgt. Elias washes himself, attentive to his body, slender 
               and well-muscled, and extremely handsome youth. Of Indian 
               blood, with long black hair, generous smile, wide facial 
               bone structure, gypsy eyes, and the cleanest white teeth, he 
               could be a young Greek god. He is given somewhat to panache, 
               a silver wristband on his arm, a bandanna of black parachute 
               silk hanging from his neck, his fatigues tightened down at 
               the ankle, he pulls his pants down, checking for crotch rot, 
               applying talcum powder to the area, his buttocks facing us.

               LERNER, a white kid, 19, from Florida, stopping to admire 
               the frontal view.

                         Mumm, any time sweetheart.

                         Lerner, you'd choke to death on it.


               At the COMPANY COMMAND POST a beehive of activity with its 
               four radios, personnel, some Vietnamese scouts milling around.  
               CAPTAIN HARRIS is running down a field map with his THREE 
               LIEUTENANTS. Harris, a broad-shouldered fine-looking military 
               specimen with the requisite Southern accent and football 
               coach mannerism, is directing his remark to 2nd Platoon's 
               LT. WOLFE, who looks a little nervous.

                                     CAPTAIN HARRIS
                         Sky Six reports a fresh company of 
                         NVA moving across from Cambodia to 
                         this blue line.
                              (points to position)
                         We got a good chance to light 'em up 
                         tonight. All platoons will set squad-
                         size ambushes before full dark. Lt. 
                              (glances at him)
                         You 'bush in this area near that ol' 
                         Buddhist temple we passed on the 
                         hump in. Lt. Hawkins, you take this 
                         area in the rubber plantation...

                                     LIEUTENANT WOLFE
                         No problem sir...


               Elsewhere, Chris scrapes out a foxhole, his shirt off, 
               bandanna around his head, the work hot and heavy.

               TEX is out there setting the claymore as BIG HAROLD and JUNIOR 
               start breaking down their C's.

                              (a whining high voice)
                         Hey Big Harold, gimme your peaches 
                         for the fruitcake man.

                                     BIG HAROLD
                              (laughes loudly)
                         Fuck you bitch.

                         C'mon man, didn't I do you right 
                         that time I give you the turkey loaf 
                         for the ham and lima beans shit.

                                     BIG HAROLD
                         Tricky bitch, reason you gimme dat 
                         turkey loaf is nobody else can eat 
                         that shit 'cept me so don't start 
                         your game playing with me Junior.

               They're both black, Junior with huge goggle eyes and a face 
               of pimples and pockmarks, his teeth yellowed and decayed, 
               some of them missing. Harold is about twice his size, about 
               250 pounds, a baby huey concentrating real hard on preparing 
               his stove to eat with.

                         Youse a pig man. I hope Manny get 
                         dat laundry gig for' you do.

                                     BIG HAROLD
                         De fool think he's gonna get it but 
                         he ain't known for his thinking.

                         He's a fool alright but you a bigger 
                         fool. Hey, whiteboy, watcha waiting 
                         for - dat hole ain't gonna dig 

               Chris looks up, continues working, as Junior chuckles.

                         Hey Taylor, you don't know it but I 
                         saved your ass today. I killed a 
                         shit-eating dog.

                                     BIG HAROLD
                              (getting up)
                         That reminds me, I gotta take a shit.

                         You gonna wipe your ass dis time?

                                     BIG HAROLD
                         Yeah if you let me have your shirt.

                              (VOICE OVER, as he 
                         Somebody once wrote Hell is the 
                         impossibility of Reason. That's what 
                         this place feels like. I hate it 
                         already and it's only been a week.  
                         Some goddamn week, grandma...
                              (checking his raw 
                         ...the hardest thing I think I've 
                         ever done is to go on point, 3 times 
                         this week - I don't even know what 
                         I'm doing. A gook could be standing 
                         3 feet in front of me and I wouldn't 
                         know it, I'm so tired. We get up at 
                         5 a.m., hump all day, camp around 4 
                         or 5 p.m., dig foxhole, eat, then 
                         put out an all-night ambush or a 3-
                         man listening post in the jungle.  
                         It's scary cause nobody tells me how 
                         to do anything cause I'm new and 
                         nobody cares about the new guys, 
                         they don't even want to know your 
                         name. The unwritten rule is a new 
                         guy's life isn't worth as much cause 
                         he hasn't put his time in yet - and 
                         they say if you're gonna get killed 
                         in the Nam it's better to get it in 
                         the first few weeks, the logic being: 
                         you don't suffer that much. I can 
                         believe that... If you're lucky you 
                         get to stay in the perimeter at night 
                         and then you pull a 3-hour guard 
                         shift, so maybe you sleep 3-4 hours 
                         a night, but you don't really sleep... 
                         I don't think I can keep this up for 
                         a year, grandma - I think I've made 
                         a big mistake coming here...

               As he speaks, we cut around to various shots of the platoon 
               members on the perimeter - shaving, eating, cooking, playing, 

               EXT. PLATOON PC - NIGHT

               Towards the end of this voice over, we cut to Sgt. BARNES 
               moving towards the PLATOON PC. A powerful face, a quiet, 
               angry fixed stare, a thick trimmed moustache that helps 
               conceal a network of plastic surgery grafts and scars. The 
               distortion from the jaw up the left side of his face to his 
               forehead, punctuated by a severe indentation above the left 
               eye where a bullet once penetrated his skull.

               Walking with him is Sgt. O'NEILL as they join WOLFE, Sgts. 
               ELIAS and WARREN at the PLATOON PC where they're huddled 
               over maps. Warren is a black, thin, tall, paranoid man with 
               untrusting eyes, silent and bitter.

                              (to all, almost pleased 
                              about it)
                         We got boo-coo movement. 3rd Battalion 
                         just got hit 15 kliks north of here.
                              (the MEN react with 
                              wary silence)

                              (eager to elaborate)
                         Yeah, they had claymores strung up 
                         in the trees, blew a whole fucking 
                         platoon to pieces. BAAD SHIT.

               Barnes inflects his next words at Wolfe, who is worried.

                         Yeah, they got two Lieutenants and a 


               Elias quiet. Barnes studying the map.

                              (to Barnes)
                         Who do you want on ambush, Sergeant?

               Barnes doesn't bother acknowledging the question, barely 
               glancing at the Lieutenant, to him a necessary evil. Everybody 
               knows who's really in charge of the Platoon. Barnes flicks 
               his gaze to Elias.

                         Elias - you take your squad and I'll 
                         take Tex and Francis from your squad.
                              (to Warren)
                         We move out in two-zero mikes.

                         I thought it was O'Neill's turn 

               They all look at each other. O'Neill spits in the dust, a 
               freckled, short red head with a hard worried face, a lifer, 
               30 going on 60.

                         Shit! Morehouse and Sal are short. 
                         Fu Sheng's going on R&R, you don't 
                         want to send their asses out on an 
                         ambush. You got the fresh meat Elias.

                              (to Barnes)
                         They don't know shit Barnes, and 
                         chances are we gonna run into 

                         So what am I going to do! Get one of 
                         my guys zapped so some fuckface fresh 
                         from the World can get his beauty 
                         fucking sleep!

                         Hey O'Neill why don't you cool it, 
                         you don't have to be a prick everyday 
                         of your life, you know.

                         Fuck you Elias.

                         You get your men ready Elias ...

               Concluding the debate, no further argument, Barnes rises.  
               The meeting's closed. Lt. Wolfe hasn't said a word, looking 
               as Elias departs, without a word.

                              (watching him)
                         Fucking guy's got 3 years in and he 
                         thinks he's Cochise or something...

               His resentment directed partly at the way in which Elias 
               carries himself, the natural sense of grace - and the dignity 
               it bestows.

                                                                    CUT TO:


               Later. On the very edge of the perimeter, darkness coming 
               down fast, the men in the ambush patrol rustle into their 
               packs, all of them bitching.

               Tex, carrying the M-60, looks up at the glowering sky.

                         Shit, looks like rain. All night 
                         too. Gonna grow mushrooms in your 
                         bad-ass crotch Junior.

                              (under his breath)
                         Goddamn ain't no justice round here, 
                         you break your ass for de white man... 
                         gonna get our act together, do some 
                         rappin' wid de brothers, change 

                         What's O'Neill have a nose up the 
                         lieutenant's ass already, how come 
                         we always get ambush.

                         Politics, man, politics. We always 
                         getting fucked around here.

               Chris is scared, nervous with his last-minute equipment 
               adjustments, his pack obviously overweight for a night mission 
               as he hauls it up.

               Gardner, the other new boy, is jovial in contrast, his wallet 
               extended towards Chris.

                         Hey Chris, I show you a picture of 
                         Lucy Jean?

                              (not to be bothered)

               Gardner shows him his girl. She's real dog u-g-l-y, and what 
               makes it worse is Gardner's put the standard photo of Raquel 
               Welch alongside it, tits and all. But he misses the irony of 

                         Yeah she's the one all right... that's 
                         Lucy Jean. She's a-waiting for me.

                         Yeah she's real pretty, you're 

               Gardner puts it away. Elias appears alongside them, checking 
               their packs out, takes out Chris's poncho liner and other 
               items. He carries a modified M-16 with a short barrel and a 
               collapsible stock.

                              (to both boys)
                         Don't need this or this... you're 
                         doing okay. Just stick close to Tex, 
                         do what he does.
                              (calling out to Tex)
                         Tex you got Junior and Taylor here 
                         on your position.

               Tex is a sour Texas Ranger type, chews tobacco, spits.

                         Damn, 'Lias this gun's boss. Put 
                         Taylor someplace else.

               Chris feels the words like lashes on him.

                         You got Taylor...
                              (to Gardner)
                         ...Gardner you go with me
                              (to Chris and Gardner)
                         'Case somethin' happens to you, you 
                         get separated or lost don't yell out 
                         okay. Sit tight. We'll get to you.

               His eyes. Chris watching them. A smile in them. Elias moves 
               off, a quality to the man that Chris admires. A natural sense 
               of leadership.

                         Okay, let's move out.

               As he follows King, on point, out the perimeter. A single 

               EXT. THE AMBUSH NIGHT (RAIN)

               Night is coming down. The tone of the jungle sounds has subtly 
               shifted - mellower, more sinuous and certainly scarier.

               The file stops. King, an experienced point man, listens.

               Chris - carrying Tex's linked ammo - looks around, tense.  
               Behind him is Gardner, trying to smile, starts to whisper 
               something ('Hey Taylor...') when he's abruptly shushed.

               The file moves on. Gardner's pack rattling a little too loud. 
               A weird rush of cold wind now rattles the trees and the 
               MONSOON comes. A hard slanting rain, sudden, tropic.

               EXT. RUINS - JUNGLE - NIGHT (RAIN)

               A piece of an old Buddhist temple, under a sulky moonlight 
               now in a state of decay, the jungle surging to engulf it.

               The Men are setting up quickly and relatively quietly in the 
               ruins - alongside a minuscule trail. The rain is coming down 
               harder than ever.

               Chris and Tex setting out their claymore mines, raveling 
               back their detonating cords to their position, drenched. In 
               the far distance, an ILLUMINATION ROUND brightens the sky 
               for a brief moment. Various ad lib curses and directions are 
               lost in the sound of the rain.


               At the Ambush CP, Ace whipsers into his radio. A soft hissing 


               Later. Close on Chris being shaken awake.

                         Taylor, you're on.

                         Uh hunh.

               The rain continuing to pelt them. Tex hands him an infrared 

                         You sure you know how to work the 


               Tex curls up as best he can in his poncho to sleep.

                         Okay... don't catch no zzz's on me 
                         buddy or I'll sling your motherfucking 
                         ass... You hear me?

                              (grits his teeth)
                              (looking at his watch)
                         Hey Tex - you're ten minutes fast.

                         Sin Loi.
                              ('tough luck', closes 
                              his teeth)
                         Chris lets it go, scans the jungle 
                         and trail with the scope. The POV is 
                         greasy and blurred. He puts it aside.

               Suddenly a series of resonant SNORES crack through the jungle.  
               Chris starts, then sees it's from JUNIOR lying out there, 
               spreadeagled in the rain. Chris prods him.


                         Unh?... Unh.

                         Shaddup! You're snoring... Shhh.

               Bending low into his eardrum. Junior never wakes, rolls over 
               with a growl. Silence.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. CHRIS' POSITION - NIGHT (RAIN)

               Later. A pool of muddy water has formed, in which a pair of 
               buttocks sit. Move up to Chris still on duty, looking at his 
               watch, drawn, drenched, pathetic, rainwater coursing down 
               his face.

                                     CHRIS (V.O.)
                              (continuing his letter)
                         ...'Course Mom and Dad didn't want 
                         me to come, they wanted me to be 
                         just like them - respectable, hard-
                         working, making $200 a week, a little 
                         house, a family. They drove me crazy 
                         with their goddamn world, grandma, 
                         you know Mom, I don't want to be a 
                         white boy on Wall Street, I don't 
                         want my whole life to be predetermined 
                         by them.

               A large RIPPING SOUND as the wind blows down a big tree branch 
               onto the jungle floor. He starts, peering out. Nothing. He 
               looks at his watch again.

                         ...I guess I have always been 
                         sheltered and special, I just want 
                         to be anonymous. Like everybody else. 
                         Do my share for my country. Live up 
                         to what Grandpa did in the First War 
                         and Dad the Second. I know this is 
                         going to be the war of my generation.  
                         Well here I am - anonymous all right, 
                         with guys nobody really cares about - 
                         they come from the end of the line, 
                         most of 'em, small towns you never 
                         heard of - Pulaski, Tennessee, 
                         Brandon, Mississippi, Pork Bend, 
                         Utah, Wampum, Pennsylvania. Two years' 
                         high school's about it, maybe if 
                         they're lucky a job waiting for 'em 
                         back in a factory, but most of 'em 
                         got nothing, they're poor, they're 
                         the unwanted of our society, yet 
                         they're fighting for our society and 
                         our freedom and what we call America, 
                         they're the bottom of the barrel - 
                         and they know it, maybe that's why 
                         they call themselves 'grunts' cause 
                         a 'grunt' can take it, can take 
                         anything. They're the backbone of 
                         this country, grandma, the best I've 
                         ever seen, the heart and soul - I've 
                         found it finally, way down here in 
                         the mud - maybe from down here I can 
                         start up again and be something I 
                         can be proud of, without having to 
                         fake it, maybe... I can see something 
                         I don't yet see, learn something I 
                         don't yet know... I miss you, I miss 
                         you very much, tell Mom I miss her 
                         too - Chris.

               He moves towards Junior, shakes him, but Junior seems to be 
               out of this world.

                         Wake up!

               Junior opens one dead eye.

                         It's your shift, man...

               Junior scowls, swears, looks around for his rifle in the 

               Chris crawls back to his position, curling himself up in his 
               soaked poncho, teeth chattering from the cold, rain 
               splattering over him. A long beat. He sighs, the sigh kicking 
               off the next image.

               EXT. CHRIS' POSITION - NIGHT

               Chris jerks awake - very suddenly, very frightened. THE RAIN 
               HAS STOPPED. The jungle sounds are loud. Cicadas, night 
               animals, water dripping hypnotically from leaf to leaf. And 
               the whirr of a million mosquitoes out after the rains, chewing 
               at Chris' face. He looks around, startled.

               Tex is asleep. Junior is asleep. What happened? He looks at 
               his watch. The mosquitoes are eating him alive. He buries 
               his head in his green towel which he wears around his neck, 
               but he can't see. A beat. He moves again, miserable from the 
               bites. Another beat. Then suddenly the sounds of the jungle 
               shift - some of the animals dropping out. A different tone.  
               A piece of wood is stepped on, a rustle of bush...

               Chris sees something, lifts an edge of the towel to peek 

               A shadow of a figure is frozen there in front of him about 
               15 yards. It looks like a man. But it doesn't move. At all. 
               It listens.

               Chris, his heart in his mouth, tries to peer through it. 
               It's a bush. It has to be. No human being could stand that 
               still. His heartbeats are up. The moments take forever. But 
               deep down - somewhere in his psyche - he knows who it is.

               The figure now shifts, ever so slightly - and moves. It IS a 
               human being. Oh my God!

               Chris looks around. Tex seems like a mile away. Why doesn't 
               anyone fire! He casts a desperate look at his rifle, at his 
               grenades encrusted with mud, but in spite of all his training, 
               he is frozen with indecision and fear at the sight of his 

               The figure seems to whisper something back, then turns and 
               comes down the trail. Now a second and third figure appear 
               behind him - all in helmets and packs. All coming right past 
               Chris' position. Ten yards. Nine.

               Chris is rigid with terror. Stark eyes. Pleading with Tex to 
               wake up, but out of reach. He is about to have an anxiety 
               attack, his heartbeats so far up he is sure they will hear 

               The first figure is now directly in front of Chris on the 
               trail, looking left and right. A rattle of his equipment, a 
               creak of leather. A smell. The man's face now catches the 
               moonlight and his eyes come around on Chris.

               Oriental eyes. Looking right at him. Startled. Chris staring 
               back, hypnotized. It all happens very fast. The figure murmurs 
               something in Vietnamese. A warning. He swivels.

               A flash of muzzle fire. A raking cough of automatic fire.  A 
               grenade explosion.

               Chris is hurled to the ground, helmet bouncing off, scattered, 
               confused, jarred. All hell breaks loose around him with NOISE 
               and SHOUTS.

               Tex, kissing the ground, is yelling at him.

                         THE CLAYMORE! GET THOSE FUCKERS!

               Chris, not knowing what he's doing, is fumbling with the 
               claymore handles, presses them. INSERT: They won't give. He 
               tries again and again to the squeeze the life out of them.  
               Tex is screaming at him.

                         THE SAFETY! TAKE THE SAFETY OFF YOU...

               Lunges over and grabs the handle from Chris. Clicks the 
               safeties off and blows them.

               Three EXPLOSIONS rip out into the night - and one of the 
               ENEMY is caught in a brief instant looking like an X-ray, 
               his body lifted and swirling in the air, then enveloped in 
               swirls of smoke.

               Chris, trying to keep up, grabs his M-16, lays out a stream 
               of fire. The sound all around him is deafening.


               Gardner, freaking out, stands crouched, confused, tries to 
               run, collapses.

               EXT. O'NEILL'S POSITION - NIGHT

               O'Neill throws a grenade, wild.

               EXT. CHRIS' POSITION - NIGHT

               An explosion. Chris hits the deck.

               Tex is now on the M-60 machine gun, yelling at Junior who is 
               cringing on the ground.

                         Feed me!

               He lays out red tracer bullets like laser beams, then suddenly 
               reels back, whiplashed, screaming. A grenade explosion rocks 

                         AAAAAGHHH! MY ARM! MY ARM!

               His hand and wrist are gone, his face in the dirt. Junior is 
               fumbling around, trying to stay down and help him at the 
               same time.

                              (grabbing Tex's gun)
                         DOC! GET UP HERE! TEX IS HIT!

               Chris, looking out to his front, has no clue what's going 
               on. Except the fire is slacking. Relayed shouts of 'Medic! 
               Medic!' Other SHOUTS.

                         HOLD IT UP! HOLD IT UP!

               The firing has ceased. A silence, punctuated by occasional 
               shouts and fast moments, has enveloped once more the cemetery.  
               Doc crashes through the bush, kneels over Tex, who continues 
               to howl in deep pain.

                              (freaked out)
                         MY ARM! JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!

                         Easy Tex easy boy!

               Trying to sound calm but his voice is on the edge, examinging 
               the mutilation with a pen flashlight, he whips out his 
               morphine in a big hypodermic.

                              (next position)
                         Doc over here! Gardner's hit.

                         'Right there.

               As he slips the morphine into Tex's arm.

                              (muttering at Chris)
                         ...godamn! Godamn! DUMB FUCKER, DUMB 

               Chris watching, suddenly feels himself dizzy, instinctively 
               runs his hands over the back of his neck. Feels the warm 
               blood there. A moan comes from his lips. Junior looks at 

                         Oh shit, Doc he's hit too.

                         I'm hit...

               Barnes and Big Harold come hustling up.

               Doc finishes tourniquetting Tex, cradles Chris onto the earth, 
               his flashlight probing the wound. Tex in background continues 
               to thrash and moan.

               Chris waits, tensely for the verdict, his eyes big with fear 
               on Doc, who takes out his morphine.

                              (to Barnes, pointing 
                              at Chris)
                         That dumb fuck didn't blow his 

               Chris hearing this. Barnes looks at him.

                              (to Chris)
               's a scratch, nothing to worry 

                         Doc... tell me the truth, don't lie 
                         to me.

               The needle goes in. Tex lets out this strange keening moan 
               that sets everyone's teeth on edge.

                              (to Barnes)
                         He let 'em walk right up on us. He 
                         was sleeping on his shift.

                              (muttering weakly)
                         I was not... it was your...

                              (leaving, to Harold 
                              and Junior)
                         Self-preservation's the first law of 
                         nature. Gotta learn how to work your 
                         shit Taylor. Watch me, don't let 'em 
                         go into shock.

               Tex's moans are maddening and scary. Barnes suddenly clamps 
               his hand over Tex's mouth shutting him up and from way down 
               deep in his throat, chokes out the words.

                         Shut up! Shut up - and TAKE IT! TAKE 
                         THE PAIN!

               Tex's eyes roll wildly, uncomprehending. Doc and Big Harold 
               looking at Barnes, wondering. Tex is suddenly silent, shocked. 
               Barnes stands, an icy glare, goes. Junior scrambles over to 
               Tex's side. Doc runs off.

               Big Harold cradles Chris, his big black hands like a mother, 
               reassuring him.

                                     BIG HAROLD
                         You gonna be okay Taylor, okay, don't 
                         you start worrying now.

               Chris looking up at him, eyes blinking slowly, dazed already 
               by the morphine. He's very scared.

                         Do you... do you know you're gonna 
                         die... Big Harold?... do you feel 
                         like... like... everything's gonna 
                         be fine and then...

                                     BIG HAROLD
                         Bullshit man, you gettin outta the 
                         field, man. Three hots a day, white 
                         sheets, dem pretty white nurses give 
                         you blowjobs too you pay em enough, 
                         I heard tell bout dem white bitches.  
                         Better save yo strength Taylor.

                              (muttering darkly)
                         Don babytalk him man. Cocksucker 
                         fell asleep. They walked right up on 
                         us, he don do shit.

                                     BIG HAROLD
                         Shaddup bitch.

               Chris is gettin woozier, feeling he is dying but starting to 
               grin, not caring about it anymore. Yet he is nowhere close 
               to dying.

                         It's not... so bad... dying. How 
                         long... it...

               EXT. TRAIL - RUINS - POSITION #1 - NIGHT

               Barnes stands over a moaning, ripped up ENEMY SOLDIER. FIRES 
               his M-16 point blank into the head. The Soldier bucks and 
               dies, quivering.

               EXT. TRAIL - RUINS - POSITION #2 - NIGHT

               ELIAS, checking out a blood trail some distance away, shifts 
               on the shot, looks back.

               EXT. TRAIL - RUINS - POSITION #3 - NIGHT

               FRANCES, MANNY, BUNNY and KING are huddled over another 
               mangled enemy corpse.

                              (stripping the corpse)
                         That's no NVA man. That's a chink - 
                         look at 'em, the cocksucker's six 
                         and a half feet tall. Look at his 
                         gear - good as ours.

                         Shit I blew my claymore right in one 
                         dude's face and I seen him walking 
                         around afterwards.

                         What we fighting here, vampires?

               EXT. TRAIL - RUINS - POSITION #1 - NIGHT

               Elias comes up to Barnes swiftly, indicating the blood trail 
               leading off into the bush.

                         Blood trail just keeps going and 
                         going but no body.

                         How the hell did he get away?

                         Fuckers returned fire soon as we lit 
                         'em up. Hard core fuckin' NVA. They 
                         got their shit together.

                              (coming up to Barnes)
                         Sarge - Doc wants you. There's a 
                         problem with the new man.

               Elias and Barnes go with King. Past Chris and Tex who are 
               ambulatory and bandaged, being helped along. As Barnes passes, 
               the men look at him, everybody quickly senses something is 


               At one of the positions Doc is working feverishly to knock 
               the life back into Gardner who lies there, his shirt stripped 
               off on his cottage cheese belly. A huge sucking chest wound. 
               He's dying. You know it because he knows it. The eyes do the 
               talking, numb, terrorized yet strangely detached, accepting, 
               not protesting or concerned any longer.

               Most of the ambush has assembled and is watching, Chris moving 
               in to see. Doc is mumbling to him, low key.

                         Chopper's on the way Gardner, hang 
                         in there, you gonna be okay...

               But Gardner seems unconcerned. Things are going on in his 
               head - who knows what. And in his eyes there are big tears 
               rolling. Then a morphine smile. A sort of goofy Gardner smile, 
               maybe thinking about Lucy Jean, who knows. He's dead.

                              (to all)
                         Take a good look at this lump 
                              (motions to Gardner's 
                         Rmember what it looks like, all of 
                         you. You fuck up in a firefight and 
                         I guaran-goddamn-tee you, a trip out 
                         of the bush - IN A BODYBAG. Out here, 
                         assholes, you keep your shit wired 
                         tight at ALL times...
                              (glares directly at 
                         and that goes for you, shit for 
                         brains. You don't SLEEP ON NO FUCKIN' 
                         AMBUSH. Next sonofabitch I catch 
                         coppin' z's in the bush I'm personally 
                         gonna take an interest in seeing him 
                         suffer - I SHIT YOU NOT...

               He thumps Chris lightly but menacingly in his chestbone and 
               moves on.

                         I didn't fall asleep, Sergeant, 

                              (pissed, cuts in, 
                              shoves him hard)
                         Shut your face chicken shit! You in 
                         big trouble boy!

                         Excuses are like assholes, Taylor - 
                         everybody got one.

                         Knock it off! We got two men need 
                         attention here. Police up your extra 
                         ammo and frags, don't leave nothing 
                         for the dinks. Hoyt, Junior, carry 

                         Let de white boy carry his ass, he 
                         this dude that got him fucked up.  
                         Who'd be hauling his ass if that was 
                         a brother laying there?

               Elias follows Barnes out of earshot of the others.

                         Man'd be alive if he'd had a few 
                         more days to learn something.

               Barnes, registering it, just keeps on walking.

               EXT. BASE CAMP - DAY (WEEK LATER)

               Chris is driven up in a jeep to his Company PC - marked 'Bravo 
               PC' on a C-ration box. It's midday on a hot lazy afternoon, 
               few people out in the 102 degree sun.

               Chris' Company is on the outskirts of the base camp, their 
               barracks regulation wood, canvas, and fine mesh screening, 
               red dust everywhere, bunkers down on the perimeter, reams of 
               barbed wire and concertina, a sand-bagged MESS HALL and 
               CHAPEL, 81 mm mortar pits, observation towers, recoilless 
               rifles, 50-caliber machine guns.

               Chris gets out of the jeep, stiff-necked, a bandage around 
               it, still in some pain.  The first man he intersects is KING, 
               carrying crates of beer.

                         Hey Taylor, what's in the breeze?

               In King's mild tone Chris tries to read his standing in the 

                         Okay - got light duty, three days.

                         Shit, too bad we in base camp anyway.

                         What you got there - beers?

                         Yeah, just stole me some from the 
                         Top's supply but he's stealing it 
                         from us anyway.
                              (sees somebody coming)
                         Chucks are coming. You better 'didi' 

               Too late. Sgt. O'NEILL, the redhead lifer accompanied by 
               Spec 4 SANDERSON, a big handsome blond kid, not too bright 
               in the face, both slightly drunk, come around a corner, beer 
               cans in hand. O'Neill sees Chris immediately.

                         Hey Taylor - you back?

                         Uh, looks like it?

                              (spotting King's beer)
                         Where'd you get that beer King?

                              (a funny look)
                         I found it...

                         You found it?... Bullshit!  You going 
                         on report. Gimmee that shit.

                         Awright, come here both of you. You 
                         too Taylor
                              (wags his finger)
                         Got a little special job for you.

               They advance toward him reluctantly.

                         I got light duty, Sarge. Doctor said 
                         to take it easy couple days.

                         ...ain't that tough shit now.

               EXT. THE OUTHOUSE - DAY

               A wooden cabin with some half-dozen seats built over half 
               barrels cut from empty oil drums. A guy is in there, pulling 
               up his pants.

               Chris, King and Crawford, a California blond with a handsome 
               honeyed look, are sweating heavily as they roll the barrels 
               out from under the outhouse, the smell of human waste strong. 
               A hot midday emptiness, nobody around except the flies.

                         ...Motherfuckah, motherfuckah, I'm 
                         too short to be dealing with this 
                         shit! They keep fucking with us man, 
                         no letup...

                              (equally pissed)
                         Politics man, fuckin' politics. That 
                         O'Neill man got his nose so far up 
                         Top's ass he gotta be Pinocchio...

                         Forty-two days man and a wakeup and 
                         I'm a gone motherfucker. Back to de 
                              (dreaming in his eyes)

                         Broke a 100. Got 92 to go. April 17. 
                         DEROS man. California this summer. 
                         Waves are good they tell me, surfin's 
                         gonna be good...

                         March man in Tennessee, sniff the 
                         pines... sniff that crossmounted 
                         pussy walkin' down by the river.  
                         What you got Taylor?
                              (a snicker)
                         Let's see three hundred and WHAT?

                         ...32. 332 days.

                         Oh man! Sorry bout that. I can't 
                         even remember when I was 332. You 
                         gotta count backwards like you got 
                         40 days in - think positive.

                              (to Chris)
                         How the fuck you get over here man, 
                         you look like you educated...

                         I volunteered.

                         You WHAT? Say 'gain.

                         Yeah, I dropped out of college and 
                         told 'em I wanted infantry, combat, 
                         and Nam...

               He grins, finding their reactions funny. It's also the first 
               time we've seen Chris crack a smile.

                         You volunteered for this shit man?

                         You a crazy fucker, givin' up college 

               King has long sleepy eyelids and cat's eyes, a large pink 
               tongue and big white-edged cotton picker's nails - a lazy, 
               gentle nature, content with the world.

                         Didn't make much sense. Wasn't 
                         learning anything...
                         And why should just the poor kids go 
                         to the war - and the college kids 
                         get away with it.

               King and Crawford share a smile.

                         What we got here a crusader?

                         Sounds like it.

               They pause, wipe the sweat off. King lighting up a half-smoked 
               joint, hitting a few puffs, eyes shooting around, making 
               sure he's not spotted, passing it to Crawford.

                         Sheeit, gotta be rich in the first 
                         place to think like dat. Everybody 
                         know the poor always being fucked by 
                         the rich. Always have, always will.

               Noticing Chris is having trouble with his neck, picking at 
               his bandage.

                         You okay man? Neck botherin' you?


                         Here have some of this. Won't feel a 

               Chris looking at the joint, a little apprehensive. He's never 

                         No, thanks...

                         Go on, whatcha gotta lose, yo' here 

                         Kills the smell of shit anyway.

               The joint proferred. Chris waits a beat, shrugs, takes it, 

                         Suck it in. Hold it... That's it. 
                         Now let it out.

               Chris blows it out.

                         Don't feel it.

               King and Crawford chuckle, go on rolling the cans.

                         Dat's what they all say.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. OUTHOUSE - LATER - DAY

               King, Crawford and Chris pour kerosene over the cans at a 
               secure distance from the outhouse.

               King lights it. The cans pop and start crackling. A line of 
               burning barrels. Rings of dirty black smoke rise against a 
               soft blue sky.

               They watch, stoned. Chris turns to both of them.

                know that night we got hit... 

                         Fuck it, don't mean nothing, no such 
                         thing here as a coward, done your 
                         best man, next time y'do better.

                         History, man, history.

               Chris surprised at their attitude. The joint suddenly hits 
               him, a look in his face, eyes looking around different.  
               Over at King.

                         I think I'm starting to feel that 

               Crawford laughes.

                         Yo getting there Taylor. You be cool 
                         now and I'll introduce you 'round to 
                         some of the 'heads'.

                         What are the heads?

                              (laughes, walks away 
                              with Crawford)

               Chris alone, breathes deep, feeling the full effect.

               EXT. BASE CAMP - NIGHT

               A relief against the long harsh, hot day. We see lights on 
               all over the camp, sounds of music, laughter from the 


               King leads Chris down to a specially constructed cellar-like 
               hutch dug deep into the ground on an isolated edge of the 
               battalion perimeter. Ammo casing and canvas are piled over 
               it, and sandbags surround it. From the outside very little 
               sound can be heard as they go down through a trap door made 
               of ammo crates. Past a lookout (Adams) pulling security, 
               hitting a joint but alert. King motions to him, it's cool.

               Inside is another world. Chris looking around amazed. It's 
               like a private cabaret for the 'heads' who are there cooling 
               out. Boxes of food from the States, beers, whiskey bottles, 
               crates functioning as tables, hammocks hanging from poles, 
               electric fans, tape decks, paraphernalia.

               The boys are all dressed up in their Saturday night rags.  
               The clothes are clean, the headbands, the medallions are 
               out, anything distinctive and individualistic. On the 
               tapedeck, Jefferson Airplane's 'Go Ask Alice'.

               To Chris it is a new world. And RHAH, the resident head, 
               sitting there in all his finery puffing a huge burning red 
               bowl in a three foot long Montagnard pipe, seems to be the 
               lord of final judgment in this smoky underworld.

               Across his naked chest, birds and snakes are tattooed. Around 
               his neck a black skull and white ivory cross side by side. 
               On his knuckles 'Love' and 'Hate' are tattooed. In his eyes, 
               a dancing Satanic fire. A poor rural Southern white, in his 
               grizzled late 20's, he could be a Biker King. Giving Chris 
               the once-over.

                         Whatcha doing in the underworld 

                         This ain't Taylor. Taylor been shot. 
                         This man Chris been resurrected...

               Chris wondering what he's doing here. His eyes roving over 
               other from the Platoon, about 9 or 10 of them.

               Rhah eyes him back, hands him the bowl.

                         You lame Taylor?


                         You lame or something?

                         ...go ahead on, smoke it man.

               Chris understands, takes the bowl. Hesitates. Then smokes 
               it. The contact fumes are almost enough to knock him out.  
               He starts coughing. They're all laughing.

                         Your shit's in the wind troop.  

               Lerner replies, his tongue hanging out in parody.

                         And Baaaaaaa! back on you.

                              (looking at Lerner 
                              with distaste)
                         If you're gonna do it man, 'least do 
                         it right.

               Building up to it, his eyes shaking with conviction at the 
               whole insanity of the world, he neighs with all the venom he 
               can muster.


               They all laugh and applaud. King smoking from the pipe passing 
               it back to Chris who takes another hit, doesn't cough this 
               time, looking around, wondering about these guys.

                         I didn't like it.

                         Bah, you're a child, Lerner. Rhah 
                         don't waste time on you.

               They go on ad-libbing with each other, teasing Doc, who's 
               fairly straight, saying he wants to go to med school in the 
               fall. 'Be what?''A gynecologist, man.''What dat?' Francis 
               suggests, 'Dats a pussy doctor, man - he's gonna be Doctor 
               Feelgood, man!' They're all cracking up, finding every joke 
               funny. As Chris finishes his hit on the pipe, looks up across 
               the smoke, already dazed, surprised to see ELIAS suddenly 
               there - leaning out of his sling in a far corner of the hooch.  
               A Monkey is draped around his neck with silver bracelets, 
               rings, a necklace - like a sensual little Egyptian whore, 
               Elias playing with it, spaced out in a sleeveless vest, tiger 
               pants. Dancing eyes on Chris, he swings out the hammock, 
               comes over with the monkey.

               Meanwhile Manny has broken into a high falsetto snatch of 
               blues directed at Chris, joined by Big Harold and Francis, 
               all of them clicking their hands.

                                     MANNY & BIG HAROLD & DOC
                         Oooh Chris, you look like you is 
                         high oh yeah, he looks like he is 
                         high Ooooh Chris, you know you gonna 
                         be that way all night oh yeah I think 
                         that you are... Yeah! up now and up 
                         to par oh yeah.

               Elias pulls out a Remington 870 shotgun, jacks it to the 
               rear, points it at Chris.

                         Put your mouth on that.

               Chris does so slowly, a little worried. Elias takes a hit 
               and blows it down the bore - 'shotgunning' it into Chris' 
               lungs. Chris staggers back, coughing. Everybody laughs 'hey 
               dude - you done had your ass blown away' etc...

               Elias smiles his big white-tooth smile.

                         First time?


                         Then the worm has definately turned 
                         for you man.

               Chris puzzled by this expression.

                         Feel good?

                              (a sense of euphoria 
                         Yeah. No pain in my neck now. Feels 

                         Feelin' good's good enough.

               As he sucks in a huge mass of smoke off the bowl. His eyes 
               performing a funny little hop, skip and jump, as he holds 
               it, his face turning red.

               The monkey jabbers and jumps around on his neck, worried. 
               Elias then blows the smoke out in its face, the monkey hating 

               The Group laughs.

                         Hey Crutcher. I hear you got a Dear 
                         John from your gal. Told you she 
                         wasn't getting 'nuff from you.

               Lerner looks up, stoned out of his mind, wearing a ring in 
               his ear.

                         Shit. Sold me out for some lame dude 
                         with a 4-F.

                         What'd you say her name was again?

                              (recalling her image)
                         Daisy Mae.

                                     BIG HAROLD
                         Hey look at Charlotte!

               The monkey is sitting quietly stoned, its eyes blinking.  
               Laughter off.

                         Daisy Mae! What Daisy Mae look like 

                         She look huge and got freckles on 
                         her ass.

                         She look beautiful.

                         How much she weigh man?

                                     BIG HAROLD
                         She braid her hair under her armpits, 

                         Daisy Mae what?

                         Daisy Mae Highway, that's what.
                         Well whatcha want, Lerner, your dick 
                         been limp for a year, 'cept when 
                         you're bopping your buddy Tony up 

                         Fuck that.

                         I fucked this chick in Hawaii man.  
                         Couple weeks ago... Oooooh! Wow - 
                         outasight. Gracie Slick man, she 
                         looked like Gracie man, I shit you 

               The look on his face ensnares all of them, except perhaps 

                         What happened man. What whorehouse 
                         you go to?

                         No whorehouse man. On the beach.


                         Yeah, sure. She walked right by me. 
                         Long black hair, tits swinging. Ass 
                         like French bread. Legs don't end 

                         You can plant that shit in Tennessee 
                         man, but it won't come up in Texas.

                         So what she got, hair on her tits.

                         I just stopped man. My heart's beating 
                         like a hardon right I got a hardon 
                         sticking through my pants, my bathing 
                         suit looks like a hutch...

                                     BIG HAROLD
                         I know dat feeling...

                         So I'm thinking to myself - Elias 
                         you walk away from this, you gonna 
                         regret this the rest of your natural 
                         life. So I go after her, follow her 
                         down the beach. You know find out if 
                         she is what she is.

               They're all hooked into this now.


                         Well she was picking up her kids.

                         Dat's dat.

                         No, dat ain't dat.

                         Get outta here, she married...

                         Like two hogs in heat. Boy.

               Their throats knotting...

                              (joining in)
                         ...But what'd she do?

                         What didn't she do. She fucked the 
                         living shit outta me, that's what 
                         she did!

                              (sucking in air)

                         Couldn't get enuff...

                         But what'd she actually do?

                         She was a crossbreed, Chinese and 

                                     BIG HAROLD
                         What dat?

                              (finally hooked in)
                         And living in Hawaii man?

                         Yeah - and has blonde hair and almond-
                         shaped eyes.

                         Hey man didn't you say she had black 

                         She had blonde hair man. And long 
                         tan legs, in those leather sandals 
                         you know, with those thongs up to 
                         her knees, this musky oil on it... 
                         mmmm smelled good when they were 
                         wrapped around my face...

               They groan, dreaming of Hawaii.



                                     BIG HAROLD
                         Please, somebody hold my dick!

                              (in afterthought)
                         ...and a broken nose.

                         Broken man?

                         Yeah, otherwise she would've been 
                         too perfect, y'know what I mean... 
                         some woman. Her name was...

               He forgets it. A grass blackout. Lerner urging him on.




               Elias shaking his head, trying to remember.


                         Merle? Jesus!... Patty?

                                     BIG HAROLD



               Elias snapping his fingers.

                         Dawn! That was it!

                              (repeating it)

               King listening to the sound of it.


               The others nodding, musing over it.

                                     BIG HAROLD
                         Yeah, Dawn...

               INT. THE BARRACKS - NIGHT

               In comparison to the darkness of the hooch, a highly lit 
               atmosphere, attracting bugs... dusty gear lying around a 
               disordered hooch, loud and finger-snapping COUNTRY WESTERN 
               MUSIC playing from a tape deck, a well-known tune, circa 

               BUNNY, the 18 year-old angel face, totters drunk with a Colt-
               45 beer in hand, over to JUNIOR, the badass black kid with 
               the zits, who just lies there on his cot sweating, doing 

                              (listening to the 
                         Listen to that shit, that's good 

                              (irritated as always)
                         Fuck that redneck noise, dude. All 
                         dem chicks be rappin' how dey losin' 
                         der' ho's and how dey ain't got no 
                         bread for beer. Fuck dat honky shit. 
                         Got to get me some motown jams, dig 

                              (doesn't understand a 
                              word of it)
                         Whaddaya talking shit for man. Hey 
                         Junior! Y'ever smoke any shit?

                         Das right dude. You be tryin' to 
                         string de black man out on dat shit 
                         and keep him DOWN. Time's be coming, 
                         my man, when de black man's gonna 
                         throw off that yoke.

                              (lonely in his way 
                              for company)
                         Say I can dig it. Smoke that shit 
                         everything kinda gets weird y'know?
                              (hiccups, sits)
                         Y'hear that story the gooks is putting 
                         chemicals in the grass so's we become 
                         'pacifists' so's we don fight
                              (to no one in 
                         Where the hell's everybody, they'se 
                         gettin high that's what - bunch of 
                         hopheads, they think they special...

                              (turns away, bored)
                         Don you worry Bunny, youse a killer 

                         Yeah but I still like a piece of 
                         pussy once in a while - ain't nothing 
                         like a piece of pussy cept maybe the 
                         Indie 500.

                         Youse so fucked up man.

                         Y'ever look at yoself in the mirror 
                         Junior, youse uglier than a dick on 
                         a dog man.

                         Yeah, you had a piece of pussy on a 
                         plate in front of you, you'd probably 
                         kill it.

                         Shit, I bet I been laid more'n you 

                         Sure, you probably stick it in tween 
                         her knees and think youse there.


                         Only way you'd get some pussy is 
                         your bitch dies and wills it to you - 
                         and then maybe.

               Lt. WOLFE wanders down the aisle, beer in hand, slightly 
               lonely, bypassing FU SHENG, the Hawaiin and TONY, a mustached 
               hairy-browed Italian kid from Boston, who are playing some 
               kind of dice game. They hardly acknowledge the Lieutenant 
               who stops by RODRIGUEZ, the Mexican-American kid who is on 
               his cot in his neatly arranged area writing a letter home 
               with a pencil, forming his words with his mouth, as always 
               minding his own business. Religious objects comprise his few 

                                     LIEUTENANT WOLFE
                         How you doing Rodriguez?

                         Good sir.

                         Need anything?

                         No sir.

               Wolfe winks at him, continues on to the POKER GAME going on 
               in the center of the barracks, the main action. BARNES, Sgts. 
               O'NEILL and WARREN, the quiet sullen black, SANDERSON and 
               SAL play as ACE, the tiny radio kid, and MOREHOUSE look on; 
               all of them drinking beer and bourbon chasers from a bottle.

                              (to O'Neill)
                         How's it going Red?
                              (using his nickname)

                         Shit, cocksucker's got all the cards 

                              (to Barnes)
                         Looks like you're doing all right 

               Barnes, raking in the chips, is the big winner, a light bead 
               of sweat on his forehead and a somewhat glassy look to the 
               eye the only indication he is drunk - his shirt peeled off 
               revealing a muscular, scarred body.

                         Yeah, and I ain't even cheating yet.

                              (the big blond kid)
                         Have some Kentucky windage Lieutenant.
                              (passes him the bottle 
                              of bourbon)

               Wolfe takes a nip.

                         Play Lieutenant?

                         Nah, I wouldn't want to get raped by 
                         you guys...

                         What are you saving up to be 
                         Lieutenant - Jewish?

               Laughs. Wolfe forces a smile, glad to move on. There is a 
               continual worried rodent air about him, an anxiety, a desire 
               to fill the vacuum in his leadership with a false masculinity.

                         Catch you men later. Enjoy yourselves.

               As he goes, O'Neill shakes his head after him.

                         Sorry ass motherfucker ain't he. You 
                         think he gonna make it Barnes?

               Barnes plays a card, glances, a minute movement of his head.

                         Yeah that's what I figger. Some dudes 
                         you jes' look in their faces and you 
                         KNOW they just ain't gonna make it.

               Barnes looks - with some irony - at O'Neill.  The Country 
               Western tune has reached a crescendo whine which now mixes 


               Francis, the baby-faced black, and Manny, green shades 
               covering his skinny face, lead with a high blues falsetto.

                                     FRANCIS AND MANNY
                         'People say I'm the life of the party 
                         cause I tell a joke or two Although 
                         I may be laughing loud and hardy  
                         Deep inside I'm blue...

               The Hutch looks now like a Turkish bath with minimum 
               visibility, the smoke fumes dense. They are all up dancing 
               on their feet - King, Tubbs, Big Harold, Hoyt, Lerner, 
               Crawford, Flash, Doc, Elias - a few light gestures with their 
               hands above shoulder level, passing around the grass pipes 
               while they shuffle, fingers clicking. The song - Smokey 
               Robinson's "Tracks of My Tears" - accompanies them from a 
               vintage tapedeck.

                         '...Since you've left me, if you've 
                         seen me with another girl seeming 
                         like I'm having fun although she may 
                         be cute she's just a substitute 
                         because you're the permanent one...'

               King and Big Harold wave Chris into the Circle and he starts 
               swaying with them, feeling as if he's being accepted into a 
               new family.

               Rhah watches it all, puffing away on his magic dragon pipe, 
               the shadows dancing on the walls.

               It looks like a Saturday night dance party. A yearning for 
               tenderness, for feminity, for a moment of peace in this 
               nightmare life. Their eyes closed, thinking of dance partners 
               that can't be here tonight. Singing their souls out.

                         '...So take a good look at my face.  
                         You'll see the smile looks out of 
                         place. Look a little bit closer. 
                         It's easy to trace. The tracks of my 


               An overwhelming 103 degree heat. Chris is once more on point, 
               a little better now but obviously struggling with a thick 
               unyielding bamboo thicket that forces him forward in a caveman 
               crouch. Napalm jelly is hanging from the trees in great 
               canopies of spider webs, obliterating the sky.

                                     CHRIS (V.O.)
                         New Year's Day, 1968. Just another 
                         day. Staying alive. There's been a 
                         lot of movement neat the Cambodian 
                         border, regiments of NVA moving 
                         across. A lot of little firefights, 
                         ambushes, we drop a lot of bombs, 
                         then we walk through the napalm like 
                         ghosts in a landscape...

               Chris working his way over twisted, broken stumps, branches.  
               On the back of his flak jacket he's written, 'If I die bury 
               me upside down so the whole world can kiss my ass'.


               The signal for silence. Chris freezes. Barnes edging up to 



               Doesn't see it. Following Barnes' imperceptible movement of 
               his head.

               The bunker, dug into the ground and camouflaged with brush, 
               is staring right at him, not more than 20 feet away. Chris 
               is a dead man if...

               Barnes, checking the terrain, signals radioman Hoyt.

               Barnes edging up to the bunker, eyes everywhere. Chris 
               following. The tension builds. They come up to the edge of 
               it, peer in. Nothing.

               Barnes walks around it, slips in from back. Chris covers 
               him, other guys coming up now, making a small perimeter.

               Chris now starts to see things he didn't see. Right in front 
               of his nose - there is a trench from this bunker to another 
               and another. There is now in his view a complex of bunkers 
               and thatched hootches and lean-tos all blending into the 
               forest. A ghost city...

               Elias and others fanning out now, careful... whispered 
               conversations in the wind.

               Chris moves past a rope with freshly washed laundry stretching 
               between two trees, clothes stirring in the wind. He looks up 
               as King points out a treehouse, then looks down as Lerner 
               whispers something and points - NVA rucksacks are laid out 
               on the ground in an orderly platoon-sized pattern.

                                                                    CUT TO:


               Elias goes down into a dangerous-looking TUNNEL, on a rope 
               with a .45. Barnes watching him. We sense Elias loves the 
               danger, smiling.


               Lt. Wolfe signals Manny and Chris out onto the two flanks.

               INT. NVA TREEHOUSE - DAY

               Rhah and King explore a treehouse. Rice stores. Rhah, an 
               experienced soldier, seems tense, moves cautiously, expecting 
               booby traps.


               Sgt. Warren cautiously explores another bunker, probing a 
               little tunnel in the bottom of it with a stick. Bunny, having 
               a small frame, goes down into it, fearless.


               Manny, the skinny black boy with the coloured beads, is out 
               on flank - alone, smoking a cigarette, humming.


               On the other flank, Chris, also alone, waits, listening to 
               the sounds of the jungle. He too is smoking a cigarette. The 
               eeriness is everywhere. Rays of morning light peeking through 
               the cathedral dome of the jungle. Bird calls.

               INT. NVA TUNNEL - DAY

               Elias climbs deeper and deeper into the hole, a rope attached 
               to his waist leading out to the surface, his flashlight now 
               coming around on a shaftway demarcating a TUNNEL that seems 
               to stretch for at least 100 yards. The light revealing cobwebs 
               all along it, but tall enough for a small man.

               EXT. CHRIS' POSITION - DAY

               It's quiet, weird. Chris takes his pants down, squats. He 
               thinks he hears something, tenses.

               There is a soft rustling sound now. And as he focuses on it 
               he realizes it is coming from very close to him. Something 
               light and sinuous moving over the leaves. He looks down.

               A bright yellow and orange-ringed krait viper is crawling 
               right between his two legs. It stops, senses another life 
               standing over it.

               Chris frozen with dread.

               The snake crawls on, pulling its long, long 15 foot body 
               behind it.

               On Chris, eyes dilated, slowly regaining his breath looking 
               around everywhere now.

               INT. NVA TUNNEL - DAY

               Elias moving down the tunnel, fearless.  We expect something 
               any moment to come out and nail him but nothing does. He 
               stops. His flashlight revealing a kitchen and an NVA hospital 
               set up. A hammock swings as if someone just deserted it. In 
               another hammock is a dead man. Elias advances cautiously.


               Spec 4 Sanderson, the big handsome blond kid, is moving 
               through an abandoned bunker. With him is Sal, a tough street 
               kid with an intense face, all whiskered. Sanderson noticing 
               now a metal box of 50-caliber ammo, U.S. marking, half-buried 
               in the ground.

                         Hey look at that.

               He opens the case. Official-looking documents are inside, 
               they glance through them, lighting cigarettes, the search 
               over, successful, they relax.

                              (a worried type)
                         Leave it willya - it's gook shit.

                         Nah this stuff's important.

               He puts the documents back in the ammo case, lifts it. It's 
               the last thing he ever does.


               The ensuing explosion shakes the ground, obliterating both 
               boys, branches, smoke and dust flying out.


               Out on flank, Chris hits the ground, hugs it.


               Barnes runs up. Black smoke sweeping through the trees. Sal 
               suddenly appears, stepping out of the smoke, stunned. The 
               front of his body is soaked in blood from a thousand shrapnel 
               holes, his clothes shredded, he stares at Barnes, dazed. 
               Both his arms are gone and blood is geysering out like a 
               water fountain. He crumbles - dead or dying.


               He runs over to Sal, gets a hold of his face in a vicelike 
               grip, enraged, tries to yell some sense into him.

                              (directly to Sal)
                         Goddamit! Are you fucking kids ever 
                         gonna learn! Don't you understand 
                         how easy it is to die!

               The Doc running up - one look tells us all we need to know.

                         Holy Jesus!


               Lt. Wolfe, shaken, is on the radio with Cpt. Harris, words 
               garbled through the air, trying to describe a primal horror.


               Barnes moving through the wreckage - sees severed limbs 
               sticking in a sandbag.


               Rhah crouches over a piece of leg tied into a hipbone and a 

               EXT. NVA BUNKER COMPLEX - DAY

               Elias coming out of the tunnel, filthied.


               Elias coming abreast of Wolfe.

                         Tell Six we need engineers here, 
                         this pos. is crawling with traps.

                         They're on their way...
                              (consulting his map)
                         There's a gook village half a klik 
                         downriver, Battalion wants us to 
                         move in and search it ASAP, 
                         something's going on... where's 


               Barnes is still there in the wrecked bunker, squatting there 
               staring as if his mind has disconnected for a moment. He 
               reaches up, touches his scars. The look on his face suggests 
               he is deeply wronged by this tragedy, that he is taking it 
               very personally.


               Chris watches him from outside the bunker, awed.

               Barnes notices Chris watching him, takes a breath, stands.

                         You gonna sit there and play with 
                         yourself Taylor or you gonna be part 
                         of my war... Awright, saddle up, 
                         let's go - Tubbs you got point.

               The men moving into jungle formation, silently.

               Chris walking over into line, stops for a moment - noticing 
               a freshly-severed eyeball partially buried in dirt, staring 
               up at him. He turns away, sickened.


                         Where's Manny?

                         Manny!... Hey Buchanan.

               There is no answer. The men in the platoon start to look at 
               each other, sensing more trouble.

               Elias heads into the bush after him. Barnes watches him go.

               Francis, his friend, and Tubbs and King follow.

                         Hey man whatcha doing... where you 
                         at? Get your black ass back in here!


               Out on the flank position, where he once stood, Elias walks 
               out, looks. The jungle is silent once again. Francis, Tubbs, 
               King follow. The others - Barnes, Lt.Wolfe, Warren, Chris, 

                                     FRANCIS AND OTHERS
                              (whispering loudly)
                         Manny?... Manny?

               Their voices trailing off. Bird cries come back.

               Elias combing the ground for clues... nothing.

               Chris looking on, can't believe it, none of them can, a 
               collective chill running through the platoon.

               EXT. JUNGLE - DAY

               The Platoon moving downslope in the Jungle, their faces grim, 
               quiet, deadly. King is on point.

                                     CHRIS (V.O.)
                         We had to get to the village before 
                         dark so we left Elias with some men 
                         to keep looking and to wait for the 
                         engineers... But it was King who 
                         found him... about 1000 yards 
                         downriver, not far from the village - 
                         It was the end of the mystery.

               A moving shot approaching Manny. He's trussed with rope, 
               arms behind his back. Throat cut, eyes startled open, mouth 
               shaped in a scream of terror.

               Barnes, the other men looking... Chris. Barnes says it for 
               everyone, 'The motherfuckers...'

               EXT. VILLAGE - TRAIL - DAY

               They come up out of the jungle onto the side of a CART TRAIL, 
               where a tiny village overlooks the river. The VILLAGE is 
               poor, a series of thatched hutches made of C-ration cardboard 
               and aluminum beer can sidings, faint whiffs of smoke coming 
               from cook fires. Pigs and dogs wander about.

               An OLD VILLAGER watches them pass from his tillable plot, 
               smoking a cigarette, one leg wrapped around his hoe, resting, 
               no expression.

                                     CHRIS (V.O.)
                         ...the village, which had stood for 
                         maybe a thousand years, didn't know 
                         we were coming that day. If they had 
                         they would have run... Barnes was at 
                         the eye of our rage - and through 
                         him, our Captain Ahab - we would set 
                         things right again. That day we loved 

               A pig loiters along the trail, rooting.

               Bunny coming up on it with a smile.

                         Hey pig, pig - come here, pig, pig.

               The pig grunts. Bunny leveling his shotgun, fires point blank.  
               A horrible squeal.

               Chris, directly behind him, looks disgusted.

               EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

               Tony suddenly points, excited, calls to Barnes.

                         There goes one!

               Their POV - a young VILLAGER fleeing down the slope.

               Barnes doesn't hesitate, nails him with a short volley of 
               well-placed shots.

                              (to Tony)
                         Check him out.

               He turns back into the village.

               EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

               Troops fanning out over the village, some TWO DOZEN VILLAGERS 
               scattering to collect their children, dogs barking.

                                     SGTS.O'NEIL AND WARREN
                         Get em out! Get em out!

               EXT. VILLAGE TUNNEL - DAY

               In another part of the village, Barnes hovers over a hole 
               leading into some kind of tunnel.

                         Get out of there you fuckheads move!  

               Fires a warning shot. Three VILLAGERS climbing out of the 
               spider hole, arms raised, but not showing any emotion. Barnes 
               turning to his radioman Hoyt and Big Harold accompanying.

                              (to Harold)
                         Put'em in the pig pen.
                              (to Hoyt)
                         There's more down there. Gimme your 
                         Willy Pete.

               Hoyt, with reluctance in his eyes, hands over a specially 
               shaped grenade.

               Barnes stands over the hole, the grenade in hand.

               The three VILLAGERS who just came out of the hole, yell from 
               the distance, to others still in the tunnel, pleading with 
               them to come out.

                         FIRE IN THE HOLE!

               Barnes throws the phosphorus in. A muted EXPLOSION. Then 
               sizzling acidic fumes. Frying sounds. A hideous scream from 
               somewhere deep in the hole.

               Hoyt, watching, is sickened. Barnes businesslike.

               The Villagers, in grief, howl and tear at their faces.

                                     FU SHENG
                              (hustling up to Barnes)
                         Sarge, we found some shit!

               Barnes going with him.


               The sun is sittin there hot and high in the sky.

               Chris, strangling in heat, a demented look on his face, 
               staggers into a hutch with Francis.

               INT. HUTCH - VILLAGE - DAY

               Threadbare, poor, a typical Buddhist shrine in the corner, 
               motes of light crisscross through the poor matting and c-
               ration sides.

               Chris edges over, pries up a floorboard, flips it over, 

               There's a tunnel inside. A long dark dangerous hole.

                         La Dai! La Dai! GET THE FUCK OUTTA 

                         Hey take it easy man. They're scared.

                         They're scared? What about me! I'm 
                         sick of this shit man, I'm sick of 
                         this shit! They don't want us here!  
                         Who do you think they're fighting 
                         for! GET OUTTA THERE!

               Francis doesn't recognize him in his rage. Bunny now coming 
               in, followed by O'Neill, drawn by the shouting.


               Barnes stares down at a WEAPONS CACHE buried cleverly 
               underneath the rice urns. Ace, Fu Sheng, Sgt. Warren, Lt. 
               Wolfe, others, are digging it out. It's in white plastic 
               wrappings - a load of AK-47's, rockets, grenades, claymores, 
               carbines, flares, NVA uniforms. A real find.

                                     SGT. WARREN
                              (to Barnes)
                         ...and over here there's enough rice 
                         to feed a whole fuckin' regiment...

               Barnes walking with him over to an undercover rice silo being 
               dug out by Tubbs and Junior. Barnes looks it over.

                              (to Warren)
                         ...bring the honcho over here.
                              (to Tubb and Junior)
                         Burn it.

               INT. HUTCH - VILLAGE - DAY

               An Old Woman and her Son, a young man with one leg, throw up 
               their hands, climbing out of the hole with stupid confused 
               looks as Chris, shaking with his own sort of confusion and 
               rage, cuffs them, hustling them out. The Young Man uses a 
               pair of crutches for his blown-off limb, hobbling like a 
               mangy three-legged dog.

                         Hey look at this! Ma and Pa Kettle 
                         here. Look at them - greasy gook 

                         Get up out of there!... You see I 
                         didn't wanna hurt you. Why didn't 
                         you come out, when I said so hunh! 
                         Why? WHY! WHY? DON'T YOU LISTEN... 
                         WHAT ARE YOU SMILING AT HUNH! FUCKING 

               The couple, hands raised, muttering things in Vietnamese, 
               don't understand a word, shaking their heads stupidly and 
               smiling that impassive Oriental smile which sends Chris into 
               a rage only he can understand.

               His finger closes on the trigger of his 16.

               Francis, the baby-faced black, looks nervously, sensing the 
               danger... Bunny amused, drawn in by Chris. O'Neill watches 
               passively from the lip of the hutch.

               The Young Man continues to grin, not seeming to realize the 
               degree of danger he's in, which is what Chris wants - a token 
               sign of acquiescence. There is also the added element of 
               showing off his manhood in front of an audience now.

                         Do 'em man, do 'em.

               Chris. The trigger. He pulls. But he can't quite bring himself 
               to kill. The bullets exploding in the dirt at the edges of 
               the young man's foot.

                         DANCE YOU ONE-LEGGED MOTHERFUCKER, 

               The Young Man hops up and down in a reflex fear of the sounds 
               of the bullets as they thud into the dirt. Yet his eyes remain 
               fixed on Chris in wonderment.

               Chris, firing out the magazine, seems to expend his bloodlust.  
               He ceases, noticing - for the first time - the eyes of the 
               Young Man. They aren't stupid - nor fearful - but filled 
               with resignation and despair - a despair that Chris, in 
               disgust of himself, recognizes.

               Chris lowers the rifle, silent.

               The Young Man's impassive face shines now with tears. That 
               sad young look - as if death itself would've been a release.  
               Chris turns his eyes away, an awkward sense of shame.

                         Let's get out of here man.

               But Bunny takes up the slack, moves forward on the young 

                              (to Chris)
                         You chickenshit man, they're laughing 
                         at you, look at them faces. That's 
                         the way a gook laughs.

               The Young Man nodding affable to Bunny and mumbling 
               ingratiating words in Vietnamese.

                         Yeah sure you are, you're real sorry 
                         ain't you. You're just crying out 
                         your hearts about Sandy and Sal and 
                         Manny - they're laughing at us! Their 
                         family is out there in the fucking 
                         bush blowing us away and they're 
                         laughing at us!

                              (checking out the 
                         Forget it will ya, let's go...

               Chris standing there, watching, sensing something awful is 
               going to come and unable to do anything about it. It comes - 
               suddenly and without warning. Bunny is looking at O'Neill, 
               the Vietnamese couple are muttering something. In one fluid 
               move, Bunny swivels and with unbelievable savagery clubs the 
               young one-legged man in the side of the head with the butt 
               of his 16.

                         Hey what are you doing!


               The young man is groaning on the floor of the hutch. Bunny 
               smashes him - again and again.

                         That's for Sandy! And this is for 
                         Sal! And this is for fucking Manny!  
                         This is for me!

               Chris watches, horrified. Never in his life has he seen 
               something so horrifying as this. And yet he does nothing.  
               He is part of it.

                              (stepping back, 
                              examines what's left 
                              of the head, amazed)
                         Wow! You see his fucking head come 
                         apart? Look at that... I never seen 
                         brains like dat before.  Jesus fucking 

               The Old Lady is shrieking, hovering over the body of her 
               son. Bunny studying her.

                         Betcha the old bitch runs the whole 
                         show. Probably helped cut Manny's 
                         throat. Probably cut my balls off if 
                         she could.
                              (to Chris)
                         Come on, man, let's do her.

               She cowers from him. Chris steps back, horrified. As is 
               O'Neill, more puzzled than horrified.

                              (hitting her again)
                         Let's zap all these motherfuckers!  
                         Let's do the whole village!

               He backs out of the hutch, scared. Evidently Bunny is 
               temporarily insane. But he spots O'Neill, yells at him.

                         GET BACK HERE YOU FUCKING COWARD 
                         O'NEILL. THIS IS FOR SANDY... THIS 
                         IS FOR SANDY MAN! AND SAL! AND MANNY!

               As he clubs her to death.

               On Chris' face, blood and brain tissue flying up into it.

               EXT. CENTRAL AREA - VILLAGE - DAY

               A tiny knot of men are ringed around Barnes who is questioning 
               a sturdy-looking man who is the VILLAGE CHIEF. He has been 
               stripped of his shirt, scars all over his body, scared. He 
               has his ID papers out, trembling, showing them to Lerner who 
               speaks some pidgen Vietnamese.

                         Where'd he get these wounds?

               Lerner translates, the man talking back.

                         He says he was hit in a bombing raid.

                         He's a dink fo sure.

                         Ask him what the weapons are doing 

                         He says they had no choice. The NVA 
                         killed the old honcho when he said 
                         no. He says the rice is theirs.

                         Bullshit... who the hell was the 
                         dink we just nailed on the riverbank?

               Chris and O'Neill come up, watch. Others coming from different 
               places - sensing the narrowing drama. But half the platoon 
               is still at work in the village. We hear shouts, grenade 
               explosions, occasionally gunfire.

                         ...He says he doesn't know, NVA 
                         haven't been around in a couple of 
                         months. Maybe it was a scout or...

               The men around Barnes grumble.

                         Yeah sure it was. What about all 
                         that fucking rice and the weapons... 
                         who they for?
                              (looking at the Village 
                         Cocksucker knows what I'm saying... 
                         don't you Pop?
                              (a blank look)

                         You're goddamn right he does!

               Lerner translating. The Village Chief's WIFE is now on the 
               scene, a middle-aged woman with angry features, yelling at 
               Lerner trying to answer for her husband, a high-pitched 
               barrage of indignant words directed mostly at Barnes, and 
               interspersed with the spitting of her betel nuts on the 

               The Village Chief trying to talk her down. But things are 
               definitely getting out of control. And the heat from the sun 
               is only aggravating the situation, pounding down on the actors 
               in the drama, their fatigues soaked in sweat and anger.

                         He swears he doesn't know anything! 
                         He hates the NVA but they come when 
                         they want and...

                         He's lying through his teeth!

                         Waste the fucker, then see who talks.

                         What's the bitch saying?

                         She's going on, I don't know - why 
                         are we shooting the pigs, they're 
                         farmers... they got to make a living, 
                         all that crap...

               The Woman is still ranting when Barnes turns to her, quite 
               casually levels his M-16, and puts a bullet in her head.  
               She goes down as if pole-axed.

               A stunned pause. The Chief looking at his wife. The Villagers 
               in background reacting.

               Wolfe looking... Chris looking, shocked. Doc, possibly the 
               straightest of them all, very uncomfortable. They are all 
               shocked in some way, but do nothing against the power of 
               Barnes. Barnes walks over to the pig pen with the other 
               Villagers, very casually, confronts them.

                              (to Lerner)
                         Tell him he talks or I'm gonna waste 
                         more of 'em.

               Lerner shaken up, muttering to the Village Chief who is in 
               shock, kneeling next to the body of his wife, muttering in a 
               high whine of pain.

                         Go ahead, Lerner, ask him.

               A group of Villagers huddle to one side.

               Lerner, shaken, is yelling at all of them, demanding an 

                         They don't know Sarge, they don't 
                              (half believes it)

               Barnes turns his attention on the other villagers, his 
               intentions apparent. Everybody feels them. They're next. 
               Barnes is unperturbed, very much in command of the situation, 
               no rage, no emotions expressed.

               Chris has never seen such a thing in his life - but can't 
               react. Can't stop it, just watches it like he's not quite 

               The same goes for Lieutenant Wolfe, for all of them. The 
               very outrageousness of Barnes' killing seems to quell all 

                              (sensing the impending 
                         Hey Sarge can we get in on this.

               Tony advances, the hairy Italian kid from Boston.

                         Let's go all the way, let's go for 
                         it! Let's do the whole fucking 
                         village. Come on, Sarge.

               Chris' eyes... Rodriguez next to him, is neutral but willing.

               Francis is hesitant.

               Fu Sheng and Junior are ready to go for it. Lt. Wolfe is 
               powerless, frozen.

               Sgt. Warren stepping up. The massacre is just about to break.

               The Villagers know it, kneel in prayer, mutter.

               Barnes suddenly grabs and drags a young 19 year-old Woman, 
               the Village Chief's daughter, across the pen, throws her 
               down on her knees, in front of the stunned Village Chief.  
               She's screaming.

                         This his daughter, right?

               Lerner nods. Barnes pulls his .45, puts it alongside her 

                              (to Village Chief)
                         You lie... You Vee Cee... I caca ado 
                         Vee Cee!

               He chambers the .45, the Woman begging Barnes for her life, 
               cradling his knees. He sticks the gun down above her skull.

               Chris wanting to cry out, to do something - but can't!

               A FIGURE suddenly flares out in the sun, advancing on them.  
               It is Elias.


               Barnes looks around. They all look around.

               Elias walks right up to him, followed by his men - King, 
               Rhah, Crawford, others from the rear party. He looks around. 
               The corpse of the Wife... the Young Daughter sobbing.

                         WHAT THE FUCK YOU DOING!

                         Stay out of this Elias. This ain't 
                         your show.

                         YOU AIN'T A FIRING SQUAD, YOU PIECE 
                         OF SHIT!!

               The stock of his rifle swings up fast and hard smacking Barnes 
               full in the face, breaking two teeth.

               Barnes staggers back, hurt, bleeding. Elias is on him like a 
               leopard. Battering him with his fists.

               They struggle in the dust, two titans, their faces equally 
               consumed with rage, clawing, spitting, punching, kicking, 
               pounding each other's skulls in the dirt. A dust storm swirls 
               around them, the men closing around like excited apes at a 

               Most of the men seem to be pulling for Barnes - Chris just 
               watching neutral.

                                     LIEUTENANT WOLFE
                         BREAK IT UP! ELIAS! BARNES!

               But they roll on, smashing each other's faces in. Both quick, 
               fast, agile, mean fighters. Sgts. O'Neill and Warren drag 
               them apart.

                         You're dead, you're fucking dead 

                         YOU - you're going to fuckin' jail, 
                         buddy, you ain't getting away with 
                         this one!!!!!

                         All right! All right! All right!!!  
                         NOW BREAK IT UP. LET'S GO...

               They compose themselves, the Villagers looking on, grieving 
               over their loss.

                         Alright, Six says torch this place!  
                         Blow the weapons in place. Round up 
                         all suspected Vee Cees and shake it 
                         up! We ain't got much light left.

                              (to Wolfe)
                         Why the fuck didn't you do something 

                         What are you talking about!
                              (turns away, goes 
                              about his business)

                              (spins him around)
                         You know what I'm talking about!

                         No I don't. I don't know what the 
                         fuck you're talking about, Elias!

               Who wants to be reminded? A silence of shame. The Men moving 
               away, Warren, Ace, Tony, Rodriguez, Barnes looking back once, 
               a cold glare.

               The Village Chief is a broken-looking man, huddled over his 
               wife's body.

               Elias stands there, frustrated.

               Chris glances at him, moves out.

               EXT. SMALL VILLAGE - DAY

               A zippo cigarette lighter with the engraved initials: 'From 
               Mai lin to my Bunny Boy'. It sparks a thick flare as Bunny 
               lights the dry straw on the roof of the Hutch where he killed 
               the Old Woman and Young Boy.

               Their legs sticking out at the threshold. The hooch burning 
               fast, aided by the strong sun.

               Bunny watches with awe.

               EXT. SMALL VILLAGE - DAY

               Sgt. Warren and Rodriguez lighting another hooch on fire.

               EXT. VILLAGE RICE STORE - DAY

               Fu Sheng yelling 'FIRE IN THE HOLE!' throws white phosphorus 
               into the rice stores.


               Barnes and Huffmeister, a big German kid from Texas, are 
               laying the cord to blow the weapons cache.

               EXT. SMALL VILLAGE - WELL - DAY

               Adams and Parker are poisoning the well with a white 
               phosphorus grenade: 'FIRE IN THE HOLE!'

               EXT. SMALL VILLAGE - DAY

               Wolfe, Ace, Tubbs, Warren, Rogriguez rope the DOZEN SUSPECTED 
               VILLAGERS together to take them back for questioning.

               Elias watches the Villagers mourn their losses. In the 
               background, explosions, hooches popping with flames, the 
               yells of the violations of the Village winding down.

               EXT. SMALL VILLAGE - DAY

               Chris wanders through this wreckage in the sun, like a dazed 
               visitor from another planet, not believing it. He sees 
               something, goes towards it - knows what it is.


               Hidden at the edge of the woodline, King hands back a bowl 
               of grass to Rhah, the chief head. They're puffing away.

                         Whew! - where that come from?

                         Found it. Growing in a garden.

                         Sheeit, beats burning hutches 

               They meditatively look out at the Village - burning hutches 
               sending up spirals of smoke. Shouts. Shots. Chaos.

                         Yeah - stoned's the way to be...

               EXT. VILLAGE - DITCH - DAY

               In a ditch running alongside the Village, partially concealed 
               by foliage and anthills, Tony, Morehouse, and the ubiquitous 
               Bunny have a 12-YEAR-OLD VIETNAMESE GIRL pinned to the ground, 
               gagged and squirming, naked. They are fucking her to death.  
               Junior looks on, both curious and disgusted, but doesn't 
               take part.

                         Take her up the ass...

               As they roll her over, like excited dogs in heat.

               Chris, coming up, sees their heads dipping up and down on 
               the other side of the anthill, knows what they're doing. He 
               makes a conscious decision to do something. He runs over.

                         LET HER GO! YOU HEAR ME! YOU ASSHOLE! 
                         LET HER GO!

               He strides right into them, shoves them off hard. The girl 
               is in tears.

                         What the fuck you want - she's a 

                         NO - YOU STUPID FUCK... DON'T... 
                         DON'T... YOU TOO BUNNY. MOREHOUSE. 
                         OFF! NO! DON'T... DON'T!

               He seems disconnected, dazed by the sun, like he's talking 
               to dogs - loud, repetitive words coming out of an anger he 
               can barely control, trying to restore some sanity to a world 
               gone totally nuts today. Don't they understand? Don't they 
               have any sense of a mind? Any kind of decency?

               The Men looking at him as if he's the one who's gone nuts, 
               not them. Bunny looking at Morehouse looking at Tony looking 
               at Junior. The irony is lost on them, as Chris pushes through 
               to help the poor girl put her scanty clothes back on.

                              (to the girl)
                         It's okay... it's okay...

               Elias appears behind Bunny and the others, sees what's 
               happened. He signals them to move out.

                         Get outta here.

               The men grumble and slink off quietly. Elias watching as...

               Chris helps her to her feet, wounded in the intestines, she 
               can barely stand, blood soaking in her nether regions. Chris 
               slings her up as gently as he can and carries her.

                              (as if to himself)
                         It's okay, it's okay...

               EXT. VILLAGE - PIG PEN - DAY

               Near the pig pen, a DOZEN SUSPECTS are being led away on 
               ropes by Tubbs, Warren, Rodriguez. The others left behind 
               look back at their village in ruins, homes burning, livestock 
               dead or scattered, belongings thrown and broken in the dirt.  
               BABIES wail, the adults squat there on their heels watching 
               with absolutely no trace of outward emotion.

               Past this Bosch-like canvas, Chris - carrying the girl - 
               walks dazed by the horrors of this long afternoon.

               EXT. VILLAGE TRAIL - DAY

               The soldiers depart the village. A huge EXPLOSION now rocks 
               the earth and sends a spray of smoke into the blue sky as 
               the weapons cache explodes in stages that sound like the end 
               of the world.


               The Company is digging into another overnight perimeter on a 
               ridge with a view of the Valley where the Village was. C-
               Ration fires all around the perimeter.

               EXT. COMPANY CP - DUSK - MORNING

               At the Company, Elias, Captain Harris, Barnes, Lt. Wolfe are 
               huddled. Close on Harris, looking from face to face, assuming 
               a judicial attitude.

                                     CAPTAIN HARRIS
                         ...and you Lieutenant?

                                     LIEUTENANT WOLFE
                         I didn't see anything sir.

                         I did.

                                     LIEUTENANT WOLFE
                         That dink was reported to me as NVA 
                         sir by Sergeant Barnes. Sergeant 

               Squirreling out of any responsibility.

                         My report sir, will include Lt. Wolfe 
                         as being witness to the shooting...

                                     CAPTAIN HARRIS
                         All right, Elias. Sergeant Barnes, I 
                         want a report from you...

                         You got it sir - and I can throw in 
                         plenty of eye-witnesses if you want 

                         Not now. We'll get into this when we 
                         get back to base camp. Right now I 
                         need every man in the field, I want 
                         your guys to stick together... Elias? 
                         Barnes?... You hear me? This is no 
                         time for fighting with each other.
                              (pause, they nod)
                         Tomorrow we're going back into that 
                         bunker complex - from the East.
                         First Platoon will lead... Brigade 
                         thinks they might be back there 
                         tomorrow. That's all... Get some 
                              (turns away)

               Barnes, Elias eye each other and move off.

               EXT. PERIMETER #2 - DUSK

               Wolfe walks alongside Barnes.

                         Don't worry about it Sergeant, he 
                         won't be able to prove a thing, he's 
                         a troublemaker but...

               Barnes is obviously worried, although he doesn't let on.

                         Elias' a waterwalker... like them 
                         politicians in Washington. Want to 
                         fight their war with one hand tied 
                         round their balls. Ain't no time or 
                         need for a courtroom out here...

               Wolfe leaves him as Barnes turns into his foxhole where Bunny 
               and O'Neill await him anxiously.

                         How'd it go.

               Banres shrugs.

                         Thataway Sarge, fuckin' Elias man, 
                         fuckin' squeal that's what he is, 
                         gonna get everybody in the platoon 
                         in shit. Somebody oughta fix his 

               Barnes fixing his coffee.

                         Gonna be an investigation or something 

               Barnes says nothing, a cryptic look.

               O'Neill worried, Bunny, taking his cue from Barnes, slaps 
               him on the back.

                         Ya worry too much O'Neill...


               Elsewhere on the perimeter, Chris is digging out a foxhole 
               with Rhah, as King and Lerner prepare the C's for dinner.

                         I know Barnes six months and I'll 
                         tell ya something - that man is MEAN, 
                         red in his soul like a dick on a 

                         Barnes gets killed, his jaws'd go on 

                         Where's he from?

                         Barnes comes from Hell.

                         Tennessee someplace. Hill country.

                         Barnes took a bullet right there.  
                         At Ia Drang Valley...
                              (points to his forehead)
                         And the cocksucker SURVIVED - that's 
                         BAAAD man. That's his high, baby. 
                         High on WAR!

               His eyes flare out dramatically. Chris, enthralled in spite 
               of himself.

                         He done a year in Japan in the 
                         hospital, then when he gets out, the 
                         first thing he done is re-up. Four 
                         years he been in the field...

                         ...and you know how many times he 
                         done been shot?
                              (Chris shakes his 
                         Seven times!
                              (with his fingers)

                         And he still wanted to come back?

                         Does a pee wee wanna take a wee wee?

                         The Good Lord works his revenge in 
                         strange ways.

                         Yeah, you done said it. Revenge on 

                         Does he have a metal plate in his 

                         You mean he's crazy? No more crazy'n 
                         the rest of us been out in the bush 
                         too long.

                         Well he ain't normal that's fo sure.

                         That's what he is... Baaaa!

               His hand flashes forward in front of Chris. 'HATE' is written 
               across the left hand knuckles in a sloppy, purplish-black 
               tatoo. Chris looking at it.

                         ...and he's FILLED with it. He's 
                         roaming these jungles looking for 
                         little yellow devils to kill. Remember 
                         the Devil does God's work too.
                         ...and this here's Elias... Baaaa!

               The other knuckle is out - 'LOVE' tattooed across it. Rhah 
               smiles his crazy smile. Chris stares fascinated at the two 
               knuckles side by side. A moment on his face.

                         Love, yeah!

                              (makes a cuckoo sign)
                         Here we go again with the crazy 
                         preacher stuff. Rhah seen too many 

                         Baaa, got no time to go to the movies.  
                         Love and Hate too busy fighting for 
                         possession of my soul.

                         Where's Elias come from?

                         'Lias come naturally.

                         ...don't know. Done some time. Heard 
                         he worked the oil wells in Oklahoma, 
                         made some bread and washed up in El 

                         Yeah, get married to some crazy El 
                         Lay bitch, an actress or somethin', 
                         she blew all his bread - LSD, gurus, 
                         all that California shit, and then 
                         she turns him into the cops on a 
                         drug rap.

                         Not the only man to meet his Jezebel 

                         So he got a reduced and come over 
                         here. Nam's his freedom man, Nam's 
                         his pussy. Three years he been here.

                         Three years, Jesus, he's crazy as 

                         Well sometimes a man jes don' wanna 
                         go back. How you gonna talk to 
                         civilians man? People back in the 
                         world just don't give a shit, y'know 
                         what I mean, to them you're a fuckin' 
                         animal is all -

                              (to Chris)
                         I was home on leave y'know and 
                         everybody's just worried 'bout making 
                         money, everybody's out for themselves, 
                         they don't even want to talk about 
                         it man, it's like the fucking Twilight 
                         Zone back there - you wouldn't even 
                         KNOW there's a war on here. My sister 
                         says to me why you have to go there 
                         like I started this...

                         Baaaa! Fuck it, they sold us out - 
                         so what! What'd you'all expect?  
                         Civilian life is phoney BULLSHIT 
                         man. They're ROBOTS man - watchin' 
                         dopey television and drivin' dopey 
                         cars, and they fuck up, nobody dies.  
                         That's all right, you keep fuckin' 
                         up, politicians keep lyin'. Cause it 
                         don't really matter. Don't mean shit. 
                         So what! Whatcha want - a parade! 
                         Fuck that too! No war time no grunt 
                         never got no respect. Till he was 
                         dead - and even THEN! You're fighting 
                         for YOURSELF man! You're fighting 
                         for your SOUL, dat's all. Remember 
                         dat. And it's some goddamn battle 
                         too - if you'se a man, wrestle with 
                         that angel...
                              (swings his entrenching 
                              tool in a rhythmic 
                              chain-gang style)
                         ...Love and Hate - the whole shitbang 
                         show, that's the story then and now 
                         and it ain't hardly gonna change...

               EXT. PERIMETER #2 - JUNGLE - NIGHT

               The stars are out in magnificent splendor. A breeze rustling 
               through the trees.


               Chris is turning in his sleep, perturbed, writhing. The 
               whispering is more and more urgent. Death is all around. He 
               shoots up out of his poncho liner as if shot, stunned.  
               Scared. Looks around. All is quiet. Men sleeping.

               Elias is huddled in his poncho on guard next to his foxhole.  
               Chris joins him, sitting, wiping the sleep from his eyes.

                         ...I can't sleep, why don't you get 
                         some sack time.

                         ...don't feel like it either.

                         ...beautiful night.

                         Yeah. I love this place at night.  
                         The stars... there's no right or 
                         wrong in them, they're just there.

                         That's a nice way of putting it.

               Elias cuffs a joint, keeping its glow hidden in the dark. A 
               pause, both of them meditative.

                         Barnes got it in for you, don't he?

                         Barnes believes in what he's doing.

                         And you, do you believe?

                         In '65 - yeah. Now...
                         No. What happened today's just the 
                         beginning. We're gonna lose this 

                         You really think so... us?

               Elias' eyes seem to go to some inner place, his passion 

                         ...we been kicking other people's 
                         asses so long I guess it's time we 
                         got our own kicked. The only decent 
                         thing I can see coming out of here 
                         are the survivors - hundreds of 
                         thousands of guys like you Taylor 
                         going back to every little town in 
                         the country knowing something about 
                         what it's like to take a life and 
                         what that can do to a person's soul - 
                         twist it like Barnes and Bunny and 
                         make 'em sick inside and if you got 
                         any brains you gonna fight it the 
                         rest of your life cause it's cheap, 
                         killing is cheap, the cheapest thing 
                         I know and when some drunk like 
                         O'Neill starts glorifying it, you're 
                         gonna puke all over him and when the 
                         politicians start selling you a used 
                         war all over again, you and your 
                         generation gonna say go fuck yourself 
                         'cause you know, you've seen it, and 
                         when you know it, deep down there...

               He plants his fist in Chris' gut, expelling his breath such 
               is the force of the blow - like a power passed between them.

                know it till you die... that's 
                         why the survivors remember. 'Cause 
                         the dead don't let em forget.

               His eyes blazing, reliving the deaths in the village, licking 
               the wounds for the platoon, mourning the failure of its 
               heroism. Chris looking at him, a little awed by his intensity. 
               Elias looks away, embarrassed that he has sermonized, looks 
               back at the stars.

                         Oh shit! Sometimes there's things in 
                         my head... man. Grass does that to 
                         me, fucks me all up like a crazy 

                         Do you believe that stuff about... 
                         knowing you're gonna die?

                         Yeah, those are the guys that live. 
                         I really don't think Death gives a 
                         shit, it's like a giant garbage can, 
                         I think it takes whatever it can 
                         get... you never know where it's 
                         gonna come from anyway... so why 
                         spin your wheels?

               He shrugs, a certain bravado masking his own uncertainty.

                         ...You ever think about reincarnation, 
                         all that stuff?

               A lightning quick movement follows. Elias' hand passing over 
               his face like a mime, a click of the fingers and he leans 
               closer to Chris. A new expression on his face. Devil's eyes, 
               mocking child, danger in his soul, excitement, sex - the 
               Elias that Chris saw in the smoking session in base camp.  
               Chris smiles, sucked in, almost laughs and then the face is 
               gone again.

                         Sure, goes on all the time. Maybe a 
                         piece of me's in you now, who knows. 
                         But when you die - really die - that's 
                         a big return ticket.
                         I like to think I'm gonna come back 
                         as... as wind or fire - or a deer
                              (likes the image)
                         ...yeah, a deer...

               He smiles at the thought. Chris looks at him, looks away. A 
               shooting star falls suddenly and dryly through the cosmos. 
               Their eyes.

               EXT. JUNGLE - STREAM - DAY (RAIN)

               The Platoon moves along a shallow STREAM bordering the jungle.  
               A thick RAIN falls amid cracks of distant thunder. Chris, 
               Rhah, Francis, Big Harold, others are at the rear of the 
               platoon, their ponchos pulled over them like big sad grey 
               tents. There's a holdup ahead and the Men rest on rocks or 
               stand. The rain makes a pointilistic pattern, the men collages 
               of grey, their rifles slung upside down to keep dry.

               Barnes is up ahead, out of the stream bank, on the radio.

               EXT. JUNGLE CHURCH - DAY (RAIN)

               Lerner's on point, resting in the shadow of a decaying old 
               French Catholic Church from the 19th Century. The jungle has 
               long ago won the battle, vines creeping into the cracks, 
               remnants of arches layered around the church at the epicenter.  
               Behind Lerner is Sgt. Warren and his radioman.

               EXT. JUNGLE CLEARING - DAY (RAIN)

               Elias, further back, is checking out the jungle alongside 
               the clearing, noticing a number of old spider holes long 
               since abandoned. He goes over and checks them.

               EXT. JUNGLE - STREAM - DAY (RAIN)

               Back at the stream, Rhah, looking old and whiskered under 
               his poncho hood, lights up a roach, puffs it. Another crack 
               of thunder. Chris comes over, sits with him on his rock.  
               Rhah passes him the joint. He smokes.

               Big Harold pulls a leech out of his open crotch area.

                         Shit, lookit this little fucker trying 
                         to get up ma glory hole.

                         Hey Big Harold, put dat in your turkey 
                         loaf it won't come out your back 

                         Yeah, big boy, thought you had that 
                         laundry gig all laid out?

                                     BIG HAROLD
                         Shit, got to paint myself white get 
                         one of dem jobs. Get ma request in 
                         for a circumcision.

                         Gonna be a rabbi man?

                         Gonna cut your pecker down to size 
                         hunh Big Harold?

                                     BIG HAROLD
                         Dat's okay wid me, better to have a 
                         small one den no one at all.

                         Your girlfriends gonna look for new 
                         lovers, man. Best thing a bro's got's 
                         his flap.

                         I'll drink to your flap in Chicago, 
                         King. All I gotta do is stretch it 
                         out to 15 days and I'll be short 15 
                         and the Beast just wouldn't dare 
                         send me back to the bush.

                         You gonna get some for me back in 
                         the World, Harold? Whatcha gonna do?
                              (dreaming of it)

                         The world's gonna be ma oyster man. 
                         First's I gonna EAT - all the 
                         hamburger and french fries and steaks 
                         soaked in onions and ketchup I can 
                         get. Then I'se gonna FUCK and SUCK 
                         Sandy Bell till I sore all over and 
                         can't fuck no more, and den I'se 
                         gonna SLEEP for DAYS, for WEEKS!  
                         Den I'se gonna think bout what comes 

               The words carry over Chris staring out at the rain, feeling 
               a leaden fatigued high. Passes the roach, down to a 
               millimeter, back to Rhah who points to his face.

                got one right there.

               Chris feels for, finds the leech on the edge of his lip, 
               cursing under his breath.

                                     LIEUTENANT WOLFE
                              (in the stream, on 
                         All right move out.

               The men start slogging on against the rain.

               Junior is drinking from the stream, as Fu Sheng passes.

                                     FU SHENG
                         Don't drink that asshole. You're 
                         gonna get malaria.

                         Shit I hope so!

               EXT. JUNGLE - CHURCH - DAY (RAIN)

               On point, Lerner moves out through a remnant of an old arch, 
               somewhat casual in his approach to point.

                         Hey Sarge, you wanna tell me which 
                         way or do I get to figger it out?

               Sgt. Warren, picking up a quick azimuth on his lensatic 
               compass, points. Lerner moves in the new direction.

               EXT. JUNGLE - DAY (RAIN)

               Lerner moves away from the clearing, working up a slight 
               incline when the MACHINE GUN FIRE erupts out of the jungle, 
               spinning him - throwing him into the dirt like discarded 

               The men are down, yelling.

                                     SGT. WARREN
                         Ambush! Incoming! Fucking incoming!

               Suddenly an RPG rocket breaks out of the bush, sounding like 
               an atom bomb as it devastates the front of the Platoon. Radio 
               Talk is continuous now, back and forth between the three 
               platoon radios, through the ambush.

                         DOC, UP HERE! Lerner's hit!...

               More machine gun fire.

                         DOC! Over here - we got... one... 
                         two down. Warren's hit.

               EXT. JUNGLE - CHURCH - DAY (RAIN)

               Chris moving up with Rhah and the others out of the stream, 
               they hit the ground next to Sgt. O'Neill, who looks pretty 
               scared, obviously not about to move.

                         What's going on?

                         Shit they got RPG's on our ass. 
                         Fucking ambush - they was waiting 
                         for us to break trail!

                         WATCH OUT! ROCKET!

               Another rocket whistling in. A huge roar. Trees shredded, 
               dirt, dust rising.

                         Who's on point?

                         Lerner and Warren.

               Chris uses his M-16 to lever himself up into a crouch and 
               suddenly dashes forward, passing Rhah.

                         Where you goin' man!

               Chris tearing up. Past Flash - the hip black head with the 
               colored beads. He's dead, torn and shredded, his face and 
               eyes stuff with dirt. Next to him Doc is frantically 
               tourniqueting Tubbs, shot in the legs. He's screaming.

               Chris keeps moving to the front as if compelled.


               Barnes is laying out fire.

                         Goddamit, you assholes get fucking' 
                         firepower out there!
                              (to Hoyt on radio)
                         Get Two Bravo up here. Get me a gun.
                              (to others)
                         Spread it out! More to the flanks! 
                         Look for a fuckin' target!

               Another explosion.


               Chris comes alongside Francis near the point, throws himself 
               down. Banging his head against his helmet as he falls. The 
               incoming rounds are tearing up the front of the platoon.

                              (to Francis)
                         Where's Lerner?

                         Out there man - behind the log.

               Looking. A body - moaning, sort of moving, wriggling, as if 
               trying to escape the pain.

                         Oh Jesus!

               His eyes moving to Sgt. Warren lying alongside a tree - calmly 
               trying to stack his intestines back into his ruptured stomach.  
               Another RPG comes in.

               Chris makes a conscious decision, moves up - bit by bit, 
               shielding himself with tree stumps, ant hills, laying out 
               fire, trying to get closer to Lerner.

               Francis following his progress, bug-eyed.

               Fu Sheng now comes up with his M-60 - Harold his loader, 
               belts of ammo flapping against their bodies. He fires from 
               the hip, providing cover fire for Chris, then pops down.


               Chris, firing out another magazine, crawls closer to Lerner, 
               trying to ascertain if he's still alive.

                         Lerner! Lerner, can you hear me man?

               Lerner groans. A fresh burst of AK fire rakes the area.  
               Lerner jerks spasmodically with the impact of the rounds.

               Chris spots the sniper. In a hole in the ground. Twenty-five 
               meters off. Snapping the magazine out of his AK to reload.  
               A live gook.

               Chris tears off a volley at him but the gook disappears in 
               the hole. This is the moment, Chris realizes it, it's now or 
               never if Chris intends to get the gook. He's got to make a 
               move before the man has reloaded his weapon.

               He pulls his grenade, pops the pin. He lets the spoon fly 
               off, activating the grenade-timer, as he humps to his feet 
               and runs for the gook hole, concentrating, concentrating.  
               That head is going to pop up any second with a freshly-loaded 
               weapon and tear his head off.

               Chris won't make it back to the hole. The throw has to be 
               perfect. He won't get another chance. He heaves the frag, 
               drops and rolls away. The throw is perfect, the golden arc 
               of flight from the outfield nailing the baserunner. It twists 
               cleanly in the hole. The explosion muffled but deadly.

               Chris scrambles to his feet, a look of almost total surprise 
               on his face. He can't seem to believe he did it. Pointing 
               his M-16 before him, he advances on the hole, looking over 
               the muzzle to see the badly-mangled NVA man twisted at the 

               Chris hurries over to Lerner. He's in bad shape, hit in 
               several places, vaguely conscious.

                         Gator! Gator!
                              (Lerner groans)
                         I'm gonna get you out man. You're 
                         gonna be okay Gator... okay?

               Fu Sheng laying out fire to protect them, Harold splitting 
               off to get more ammo.

               Chris getting Lerner to his feet, hauling him back with all 
               his strength, past Francis...


               Lt. Wolfe seems disorientated, struggling with the rain water 
               washing off his map, trying to read the coordinates for an 
               arty fire mission.

                              (into the radio)
                         Redleg, Redleg... Ripper Bravo Two 
                         Actual. Fire mission. Grid six-four-
                         niner... four-zero-two. Direction 
                         six-one-zero-zero. Dinks dug in 
                         bunkers. Danger close. Adjust fire, 

                                     RADIO VOICE
                         Rog, Two Bravo. Solid copy, stand by 
                         for shot, out.

                         Sir, Bravo Three is inbound from the 
                         Sierra Whiskey. Should be here in 
                         two zero mikes if'n they don' hit 
                         any shit.

                         Fuckin' A!

               Elias runs up to him. Fire all around, incoming and outgoing, 
               makes them yell to each other.

                         Lootenant, they're kickin our ass, 
                         they know we're gonna bring heavy 
                         shit on 'em pretty soon so they're 
                         gonna get in tight under the arty. I 
                         spotted a cut running around to the 
                         left. Lemme take some men and roll 
                         up that flank...
                         I can work right up on 'em...

               Wolfe unsure, looks up for the artillery.

                              (to Ace)
                         Get me Barnes... I don't know 'Lias, 
                         we got four down up there, if I split 
                         you off, we...

               Elias grabs a stick, urgent, starts drawing their position 
               in the dirt for Wolfe.

                         Look, Lootenant...

               Wolfe looks up, relieved as Barnes splashes into the CP group.  
               Thunder peals.

                              (yelling at Wolfe and 
                         Where the fuck is red platoon! Tell 
                         'em to get their asses up here! What 
                         the fuck you doin' back here Elias?  
                         Round up your assholes and move 'em 
                         up front, we're getting chopped to 

                              (yelling back)
                         Barnes, listen to me... there's 5-6 
                         spiderholes back there
                         next to the church.
                              (draws it into the 
                              ground as he talks)
                         Third Platoon's coming up the stream 
                         to reinforce us. Flank's wide open, 
                         dinks get 3-4 snipers in these holes, 
                         when Third Platoon comes up, they'll 
                         get us in a crossfire with 'em. We'll 
                         shoot each other to shit, then they'll 
                         hit us with everything they got.  
                         It'll be a massacre!

               Barnes looking at the drawing.

                         Sounds pretty far out to me 'Lias.

                         Maybe but I seen it happen at Ia 
                         Drang in '66, First Cavalry and they 
                         cut us to fuckin' pieces!
                              (back to Barnes)
                         Give me three men, if I'm wrong, I 
                         can still roll up that flank.

                              (a look)
                         Take off, but keep your radio here.

               Elias goes, stops, looks at Barnes...

                         ...You keep pouring out that 
                         suppressing fire, Barnes. I don't 
                         wanna be caught out there with my 
                         ass hanging out you hear me?

                         Don't tell me how to fight this 
                         fucking war, 'Lias, you go crying to 
                         fucking brigade on your time. Out 
                         here you belong to me. Now move.

               A look. Elias goes fast. More thunder peals. As the 155mm 
               howitzers - sounding like deep tom-toms some three miles 
               distant - beat out their shells. An ominous sound. Closer.

                         Sir! Shot out. Arty's on the way!

                              (hurrying back to the 
                         Get that asshole O'Neill up here 


               Fu Sheng is laying out fire when he senses something, looks 
               up. The artillery shell sounds too close. Getting bigger and 
               bigger on the horizon. Too big, too loud. A groan of fear on 
               his face, then knowledge. Then... a huge EXPLOSION engulfs 


                                     BIG HAROLD
                         Short round! It's short, man! They 
                         fuckin' got Fu Sheng! BARNES! OVER 

               EXT. JUNGLE - DAY (RAIN)

               Barnes hearing it, starts forward. Another huge shell starting 
               to whistle in on them.

                         That fuckin' idiot!

               It explodes. This is about three times the intensity of the 
               RPG. The jungle floor shakes, trees splinter. Barnes is 
               knocked to his knees, grimaces in pain. Hoyt, Barnes' radio 
               operator, screams out as a fist-sized chunk of hot shrapnel 
               sticks in his back. He's screeching, frantically trying to 
               shuck the radio from his back, his fatigue shirt smoking.

               Barnes jerks the radio off Hoyt's back, knocks the man to 
               his knees and unsheathes his bayonet. Ripping off the back 
               of his shirt, Barnes sets to digging out the shrapnel.


               Morehouse is decimated by a third explosion, chunks of 
               shrapnel whirring like battleaxes into the tree trunks.


               Big Harold is tearing blindly away from the front, helmet 
               gone, rifle dragging in the mud when he stumbles, sprawling 
               face down. He jumps up, looks back, sees now the wire over 
               which he tripped. It takes a second to register. He shares a 
               look with Bunny who's already on the ground.

                         Satchel charge! GET DOWN!

               Harold goes for the ground the same instant the satchel 

               EXT. JUNGLE - CHURCH - DAY (RAIN)

               Chris, further back, dumps Lerner with Doc who's got more 
               than he can handle.

                         Take care of him Doc! Please!

               Doc looking at him, a dark look of hopelessness. Lerner is a 
               mess, groaning, reaching for Chris' hand.

                         ...don't... don't leave me man...

               A look between them. Rhah interjecting.

                         Taylor - get your ass over here.  

                         Hang tough, Gator. Hang in there, 
                         man, you're gonna be OK... just hang 

               Feeling like a liar, peeling the man's hands off him, leaving 
               him there looking numb. Chris is shaken, Lerner's blood all 
               over him.

               He tears out after Rhah, linking up with Elias and Crawford. 
               Elias motioning them to hurry. Another huge artillery round 
               exploding out to the front.


               Sgt. O'Neill, scared out of his mind, hugging the earth, 
               tries to crawl into a small cut in the ground but finds it 
               occupied by a cringing Junior.


               Barnes rushes up out of the forest like Achilles, towering 
               in his rage, at Lieutenant Wolfe, ripping his handset from 
               him as the Lieutenant reads off the coordinates off his map.

                         YOU IGNORANT ASSHOLE! - What the 
                         fuck coordinates you giving! You 
                         killed a bunch of people with that 
                         fucked up fire mission! You know 
                         that?... ah shit!

               Wolfe stares at him, open-mouthed. Disgusted, Barnes hunkers 
               down to read the coordinates from his own map into the 

                         Redleg Romeo.. Ripper Bravo Two. 
                         Check your fire, check fire, you're 
                         short on our pos! I say again, check 
                         your fuckin' fire!... From 
                         Registration point, add one five 
                         zero, left five zero, fire for effect!

               New incoming fire drowns out Barnes.

               EXT. JUNGLE - ELIAS' POSITION - DAY

               Elias - a defiant look on his face - moves fast but cautiously 
               back across the Church landmarks. Chris following then Rhah 
               and Crawford. The RAIN has now settled into a mist hugging 
               the ground.

                         Move it! Move it!

               Elias comes to a stop, looks. Behind them we hear the sounds 
               of battle, gauging their distance from the main body.

               The spider holes are still empty. But he listens, senses 
               something out there getting closer.

                         They're coming...

               Chris looking at Rhah. How does he know?

               Elias points out an imaginary line across the breaking mist.

                         Stagger yourselves across this line, 
                         shoot anything that moves. They'll 
                         be coming from here.

                              (team leader)

                         One of them gets through it's 

                         Where you going?

                         Down along the river 'bout 100 metres, 
                         'case they try to flank us there. 
                         Third Platoon's coming up on our 
                         rear so watch for 'em.

                         I'll go with you.

                         No... I move faster alone.
                              (a grin)

               Elias, his pack stripped, is gone, like a fleet leaf, 
               vanishing into the Jungle.

                              (stringing them out)
                         Okay Crawford - over here. Taylor - 
                         down twenty yards behind that tree.


               Barnes has finished correcting the fire mission, hurls the 
               handset back at Wolfe, a wild look in his eyes, studying the 
               incoming fire. Makes a decision.

                         Let's move back, link up with Three.  
                         Let the arty do a little work.
                              (to Ace on radio, 
                              ignoring Wolfe)
                         Push Two Alpha and Two Charlie. 
                         Tell'em to haul ass and re-group at 
                         the church. Tell'em NOT to fire.
                              (Ace transmits)

                         What about Elias? We pull back they'll 
                         be cut off. He needs cover fire.

                              (looks at him like 
                              he's stupid)
                         I'll get him.
                              (with a threatening 
                         You just haul ass too lootenant.
                              (going, to Ace)
                         ...don't send Bravo Three up till I 
                         get back to the CP. Now move out, 
                         all of you.

               As he snaps his weapon onto full auto and runs off after 
               Elias in a crouch... a man with a mission.


               Next to the Church deployed in the jungle, Rhah looks on, 

               Chris in his position, waits. It is so silent in comparison 
               to the racket from the battle across the forest. The Mist 
               clings to the trees, moist and lovely. Then, a flicker of 
               movement, sound.

               Chris hears it, tightens. His POV - at fifty yards. An 
               evanescence of beige and green uniforms moving towards him 
               very fast, scurrying. They look like headless ghosts.

               Chris opens fire.

                         GET EM!!!!!

               Rhah and Crawford open up. A rachet of sound, one of the 
               figures seems to go down, then another but at this distance 
               through jungle it is difficult to say. The firing just as 
               suddenly breaks off and the silence returns.

                         Yeah! I got two of them fuckers...

                         I got one...

                         ...See them go down? Like fuckin' 
                         target practice man, fuck you 
                         Charlie!! Ho Chi Minh sucks dead 
                         dick!... Crawford!
                              (sees him, stunned)

               Crawford, the blond-locked California beach boy, lies on the 
               earth, hit in a lung, having difficulty breathing, moaning 
               in a soft undercurrent. Chris runs up on him.

                         Oh man!... man!

               Attending him. Rhah runs up.

                         Looks like a lung babe. But you're 
                         gonna be all right, you only need 
                         one of them fuckers.

                         Oh shit man I never thought I'd get 
                         hit, I was...

                         Stay cool. We gonna carry you out.

               Barnes appears, running towards them, looking down at 
               Crawford, at Rhah.

                         Sarge, 'bout five gooks tried to...

                         Where's Elias?

                         ...came through right over there. We 
                         got three of them, we...

                         Didn't you hear the arty shift? We're 
                         pulling back. Get your wounded man 
                         and get the fuck back to the church. 
                         Get going.

                              (indicating jungle)
                         ...but 'Lias is still out there.

                         I'll get him. You get the man in, 
                              (indicating Crawford)
                         NOW. Or I'll Article 15 both your 
                         asses. Move!

               Chris and Rhah look at Barnes sullenly, then reluctantly 
               start moving Crawford onto a poncho liner they use as a 

                         Move it, MOVE IT!

               He's in his blackest rage, the force of his words almost 
               physically pushing the men to move out with Crawford. Barnes 
               turns now to deal with Elias.

               EXT. ELIAS' JUNGLE - DAY

               Elsewhere, Elias stands silently, listens to the forest. In 
               the distance the firefight can hardly be heard. His helmet 
               gone, his hair hanging free, he is at his best now - alone. 
               He hears it. Somebody running through the jungle, about 100 
               yards, boots on leaves, coming towards him.

               He begins to move lateral to the sound. His steps unheard, 
               better at this than the enemy.

               THREE ENEMY FIGURES now appear, crouched and moving very 
               fast with light equipment through the mist.

               Elias swerves up in immediate foreground, his back to us, 
               FIRING. All three Figures fall.

               A quick glimpse of Elias, not bothering to stop, moving to 
               his next position.

               EXT. BARNES' JUNGLE - DAY

               Barnes, moving through the jungle, reacts to the fire, 
               resetting his course. Like a hunter stalking a deer. Suddenly 
               there's more firing. Then silence -

               EXT. ELIAS' JUNGLE - DAY

               TWO MORE ENEMY lie dead in the jungle. A rustle of movement, 
               then a CRY - chilling, jubilant, a war cry.

               A pair of feet moving lightly over the jungle. A glimpse of 
               Elias. In his full glory. Roaming the jungle, born to it.

               EXT. BARNES' JUNGLE - DAY

               Barnes fixing on him, moving.

               EXT. ELIAS' JUNGLE - DAY

               An NVA SOLDIER, jungle-whiskered, dirty, smart, crouches, 
               listens, looks to his PARTNER. What are they fighting here? 
               The First One mutters something sharp and they split fast in 
               the direction they've come.

               They get about six steps when Elias suddenly rises up from 
               the bush, not ten yards in front of them, his shots ripping 
               into them, driving the surprised life from them. Elias is 

               EXT. NVA JUNGLE - DAY

               Elsewhere, another three NVA stop, turn and flee back from 
               where they came.

               EXT. JUNGLE CHURCH - DAY

               Chris and Rhah get Crawford back to the church grounds, lay 
               him down. No activity around them. Chris plunges back into 
               the jungle where they left Barnes.



               Barnes moving, stops, listens. Something is running towards 
               him. But it's hidden by the bush. He brings his rifle up 
               smooth and quick, waits, then as the bush parts, Elias is 
               standing there. Looking at Barnes.

               Barnes sees him, starts to lower his rifle, but then stops. 
               He raises it back an inch, sights it. Pause. A cold searing 
               look of hatred coming over his face.

               In that moment, Elias understands. Quick as a deer, he makes 
               his move, trying to plunge back into the bush.

               Barnes fires. Once, twice, three times - the blast rocking 
               the jungle.

               Elias jerking backwards into the bush, mortally wounded.  
               Bird cries. A crime against nature.

               Barnes calmly lowers his rifle, and walks away from it.

               EXT. CHRIS' JUNGLE - DAY

               Chris, cutting through the jungle, hears the shots. He stops, 
               listens. Someone is moving through bush towards him, leaves 
               and foliage shaking.

               Chris tightens, raises his rifle.

               Barnes steps through into his sight - sees him.

               Chris lowers his rifle. Barnes walking past him as if he 
               weren't even there.

                         Elias is dead. Join up with the 
                         platoon. Move it.

                         He's dead! Where?... You saw him?

                         Yeah. Back about 100 metres. He's 
                         dead, now get going, the gooks are 
                         all over the fuckin' place.

               Moving on quickly. Chris has no choice but to follow, looking 
               back one more time.


               TWO CHOPPERS are coming into a LZ in front of the Church. 
               The two platoons, Second and Third, reinforcing, are being 
               evacuated as quickly as possible, one load (6-8 men, depending 
               on the wounded) after other. The choppers are spraying dust 
               all over the place. A scene of chaos, radio talk layering 
               it. Doc is out of supplies, making do with improvised 
               bandages, etc.

                         MOVE IT MOVE IT MOVE IT.

               Lerner goes by, horribly wounded on a makeshift litter, into 
               the chopper, Doc attending, holding the IV.

               Chris catching a glimpse of him, waiting to get on the 
               chopper, turning to look as:

               Hoyt and Sgt. Warren, both wounded, are hurried aboard on 
               litters. The chopper lifting off.

               Chris and others now running to the corpses of Flash, 
               Morehouse, and Fu Sheng lying under dirty ponchos, their 
               boots sticking out. The ponchos are blown away in a burst of 
               wind off the chopper blades, revealing their faces - dirt 
               stuffing their eyes and mouths, waxen figures.

               Chris and the others lifting them and carrying them towards 
               the next chopper now coming in.

               They throw the bodies on. Tubbs and Crawford, both wounded, 
               now move past Chris, into the chopper. Chris running back, 
               with King carrying a litter - their eyes falling on:

               Barnes talking with Wolfe and Ace, making signals under the 
               roaring sounds of the chopper. Shaking his head. No. No Elias.

               Chris and King looking at each other, mute. They numbly start 
               loading Big Harold, minus his leg, onto the stretcher.

               The Third Chopper is down now, waiting, roaring blades 
               silhouetting off the face of the cathedral. A ROCKET BLAST 
               suddenly goes off not too far from the chopper, incoming 
               fire. The DOOR GUNNER signaling for them to hurry, laying 
               out fire.

               INT/EXT. CHOPPER - JUNGLE - DAY

               Chris and King hustling Big Harold's 250 pounds into the 
               chopper. Climbing in with him. Wolfe, Barnes, Ace running in 
               with them. The perimeter is bare.

               Chris' eyes flitting over Barnes as he jumps in. The chopper 
               lifting off as another explosion rocks the area. The Door 
               Gunner sees something, opens up.

               Big Harold, cursing, looks chalky but hog happy as he manages 
               a glance down at the jungle. His right leg is gone. Tears 
               are rolling out of his eyes.

                         Man, you gonna be in Japan this time 
                         tomorrow, Big Harold.

                                     BIG HAROLD
                         Yeah, I'se lucky dis time, what's a 
                         leg to get the fuck outta here ...
                              (at the NVA)
                         Eat ma shit, you motherfuckers!

               He sinks back, sick. Chris' eyes suddenly fix on something. 
               He can't believe it. He shoves King, points. King sees it. 
               Both stunned.

               Barnes is looking. So's Lt. Wolfe, so's Ace. So's the Door 

               Elias is coming out of the jungle. Staggering, blood 
               disfiguring his face and chest, hanging on with all his 
               dimming strength, looking up at them - trying to reach them.

               Chris shakes Wolfe, his words drowned out by the roar.

               The Chopper Captain looking down, dips. His co-pilot pointing.

               The NVA are coming out of the jungle, closing on the spot 
               where Elias is.

               Incoming rounds are hitting the chopper. The Door Gunner 
               maniacally firing.

               Barnes looking down at the man, can't believe it.

               Elias is on his last legs now, obviously being hit by the 
               incoming fire of the NVA. He falls to his knees, still 
               stretching upwards for life.

               The Chopper Captain shakes his head at Wolfe.

               The Chopper dips one more time firing at the NVA, low and 
               fierce over the jungle.

               Chris looking back in horror.

               Elias crucified. The NVA coming out now by the dozens from 
               the treeline.

               Elias crumbling to the ground. Obviously dead or dying.

                                     HELICAPTAIN ON RADIO
                         ...we still got one on the deck. 
                         Bring the gunships in.

               Barnes drawing in.

               Chris looking at him in revulsion. He knows. Barnes sees his 
               look, ignores it, all of them sitting there silent, living 
               with that final horrifying image of Elias.


               The 'heads' are assembled - what's left of them. Rhah, King, 
               Francis, Doc, Adam, a quiet black kid, and Chris, who is 
               impassioned tonight.

                         He killed him. I know he did. I saw 
                         his eyes when he came back in...

                                     RADIO VOICE
                              (puffing on his bowl)
                         How do you know the dinks didn't get 
                         him. You got no proof man.

                         Proof's in the eyes. When you know 
                         you know. You were there Rhah - I 
                         know what you were thinking. I say 
                         we frag the fucker. Tonight.

               He looks to King who puffs on a joint, his eyes red.

                         I go with dat, an eye for an eye 

                         Right on, nothing wrong with Barnes 
                         another shot in the head wouldn't 

                              (to Chris)
                         Shit boy you been out in the sun too 
                         long. You try that, he'll stick it 
                         right back up your ass with a candle 
                         on it.

                         Then what do you suggest big shot?

                              (to Chris)
                         I suggest you watch your own asses 
                         cause Barnes gonna be down on ALL OF 

                         How you figger that?

                         Shit man - Human nature.

               Flashes the old knuckle - 'HATE'.

                         Then you jes gonna forget 'bout Elias 
                         and all the good times we done had?  
                         Right in here.

                         He dugged his own grave.

                         He dug it.

                         He DUGGED it too.

                         Fuck this shit!

                         You guys trying to cure the headache 
                         by cutting off the head. 'Lias didn't 
                         ask you to fight his battles and if 
                         there's a Heaven - and god, I hope 
                         so - I know he's sitting up there 
                         drunk as a fuckin' monkey and smokin' 
                         shit cause HIS PAINS HE DONE LEFT 
                         DOWN HERE. Baaaaaaaaa!
                              (a vehement movement 
                              of his head)

                         You're wrong man! Any way you cut it 
                         Rhah, Barnes is a murderer.

                         Right on.

                         I remember first time you came in 
                         here Taylor you telling me how much 
                         you admired that bastard.

                         I was wrong.

                         Wrong? You ain't EVER been right - 
                         'bout nothing. And dig this you 
                         assholes and dig it good! Barnes 
                         been shot 7 times and he ain't dead, 
                         that tell you something? Barnes ain't 
                         meant to die. Only thing can get 
                         Barnes... is Barnes!

               Barnes stands there, silhouetted in the trap door, looking 
               down at the men who are stunned to see him here.

               He steps down into the hutch, his face now lit by candle 
               light. A bottle of whiskey in his hand, drunk, ugly, sweating, 
               but as always, with dignity, possessive of his silence. He 
               feels their fear in the silence, enjoys it.

                         Talking 'bout killing?

               He totters slightly as he circles the outer edge of the hutch.  
               No one talks.

                         Y'all experts? Y'all know about 

               He takes the bowl from Adams, smokes it.

                         You pussies gotta smoke this shit 
                         so's you can hide from reality?...
                              (smokes again)
                         Me I don't need that shit. I AM 

               Confronting Chris, he moves on, taunting them all.

                         There's the way it oughta be and 
                         there's the way it is. 'Lias he was 
                         full of shit, 'Lias was a crusader - 
                         I got no fight with a man does what 
                         he's told but when he don't, the 
                         machine breaks down, and when the 
                         machine breaks down, WE break down... 
                         and I ain't gonna allow that. From 
                         none of you. Not one...

               Walks past Rhah, past King, throws the pot bowl into the 
               dirt of the floor.

                         Y'all loved Elias, want to kick ass, 
                         I'se here - all by my lonesome, nobody 
                         gonna know. Five you boys 'gainst 
                              (pause, very soft)
                         Kill me.

               Almost an appeal - naked, intense. Rhah, Francis, Doc look 

               King, the biggest one there, is about to say something, but 
               the moment passes.

               Chris waits, his anger on the rise.

               Barnes takes a swigger from the whiskey, then turns away 

                         I SHIT on all o' you.

                         KILL YOU MOTHERFUCKER!!!

               Chris slams into Barnes, rushing him off his feet. Pounding 
               his face, solid blows.

                                     KING AND OTHERS
                         Get that mother, babe, go... Kick 
                         his ass, kill that cocksucker!!!

               But Barnes is too quick and very strong and takes the blows, 
               getting outside Chris' arm, twisting and flipping him in a 
               wrestler's grip - throwing him hard onto his back on the 
               dirt floor.

               The expression of the Men watching slumps, their hopes dashed.

               Barnes springs around on Chris, straddles him, one hand 
               pushing his face back, hits him hard. Once. Twice.

               Chris grimaces, groans, helpless now. A flick of sound.

               A knife whipped out of Barnes' boot and pressing against 
               Chris' throat. Chris bleeding from the nose and mouth.

               Rhah suddenly spinning into action, fast now, realizing what 
               Barnes intends to do.

                         EASY BARNES, EASY MAN!!!

               Barnes is on the verge - about to kill again.

               Chris waiting.

               Rhah coaxing him, moving closer.

                         You'll do dinky dau in Long Binh 
                         Barnes. Ten years - kill an enlisted. 
                         Ten years, Barnes, just climb the 
                         walls. DON'T DO IT...

               Barnes' eyes tremble in the candle light, his scars ugly, a 
               spasm clenching and locking his facial muscles. Then suddenly 
               he is calm again, very calm. We sense a man of enormous self-

               Suddenly he flicks his knife across Chris, leaving a mark 
               below his left eye.

               Chris gasps. Looking up at Barnes rising off him. The boots 
               alongside his face.

               The Men looking on, the tension lowering.

                         Death? What do you guys know about 

               He walks out. Quietly.

               EXT. AIR SHOTS - JUNGLE, CHURCH - DAY

               Chris sits at the very edge of a Huey Chopper, bandana around 
               his forehead, long hair blowing in the wind, Barnes' mark 
               below his eyes, slicked out now like a jungle veteran, looking 
               down at the VILLAGE where the massacre occurred.

               The Village is still a smoking ruin, a few peasants and water 
               buffalo straggling like ants to reconstruct.

               Bunny, next to Chris, pops his gum, indifferent. Barnes, 
               next to him, shifts, reads a map.

               Rodriguez is praying, his mouth moving without audible words, 
               getting ready for the drop.

               King is making last minute adjustments in his pack.

               Bunny now nudges Chris, points. The Church in the Jungle 
               where Elias was killed is visible. An outline of the Cemetery. 
               Uncomfortable memories play over Chris' face.

                                     CHRIS (V.O.)
                         They sent us back into the valley 
                         the next day - about 2,000 metres 
                         from Cambodia - into a battalion 
                         perimeter. Alpha Company had been 
                         hit hard the day before by a sizeable 
                         force and Charlie Company had been 
                         probed that night. There were other 
                         battalions in the valley, we weren't 
                         the only ones but we knew we were 
                         going to be the bait to lure them 
                         out. And somewhere out there was the 
                         entire 141st NVA Regiment.

               The BATTALION PERIMETER now breaks in the clear ahead. Smoke 
               grenades of various colors are being popped on the cleared 
               LZ. It's not big, its radius 200 yards, heavily sandbagged, 
               deeply dug, rolls of barbed wire protecting it, radio antennas 
               sprouting from the CP - and surrounded on all four sides by 

               The First Chopper rocking down, whipping up dust clouds.  
               Chris jumps out, moving out fast as the Second Chopper starts 

               EXT. BATTALION CP - PERIMETER #3 - DUSK

               At the Battalion CP, the Major confers with Captain Harris 
               and two other Captains. Two NVA PRISONERS are sitting on 
               their knees, interrogated by Vietnamese Kit Carson scouts 
               and a U.S. Sergeant, their hands tied.

               The Scout slaps the shit out of the NVA.

               EXT. PLATOON CP - PERIMETER #3 - DUSK

               All this is watched from a distance by Ace and Doc and Lt. 
               Wolfe at the Platoon CP. Ace and Doc are digging the foxhole, 
               the ace of spades in Ace's helmet band, sharing the 
               information with Tony and Francis.

                         ...they caught 'em last night pulling 
                         some shit on Charlie Company. They 
                         found maps on 'em, man - got a friend 
                         at Battalion says they had every 
                         fuckin' foxhole here fixed on it. 
                         Distances, treelines, our claymores, 
                         trip wires, everything? I shit you 

                         Shit, so what the fuck are we doing 
                         here? Why don't we move...
                              (no answer)
                         Bad vibes, man, I got bad vibes here. 
                         Where are the new guys they provided 
                         us anyway.

                         I heard we's in Cambodia right fuckin' 

                         You kidding man...

               Rhah comes up, a walking stick in hand, huge pirate kerchief 
               on his head, semi-naked.

                         You wanted to see me sir?

                         Jackson, looks like you got Elias' 
                         squad now.

                         Squad? I didn't know we was still 
                         referring to this platoon in terms 
                         of squads sir.
                              (with a snicker for 
                              Ace and Doc)

                              (indicating a rough 
                              drawing in the dirt)
                         These two holes are yours...

                         Begging your pardon Lieutenant but 
                         my holes are far enuff apart you 
                         could run a regiment through there 
                         and nobody'd see them - I got five 
                         live bodies left...

                         I don't want to hear your problems, 
                         Jackson. You'll get new men any day. 
                         Time being you make do like everybody 

                         Hey Lieutenant I didn't ask for this 
                         job, I...

                         I don't want to hear about it Jackson.

                              (amazed, looking off 
                              at him)
                         You don't want to hear about it?

                         That's right. I don't want to hear 
                         about it 'cause to tell you the truth, 
                         I don't give a shit okay... I just 
                         don't give a shit anymore.

                              (shrugs, to himself)

                              (passing Ace digging 
                              the CP hole)
                         This is one time we could sure use 

                              (to Doc)
                         'Some people say I'm wishy washy. 
                         Maybe I am. Maybe I ain't.'

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - CHRIS' FOXHOLE - DUSK

               On the edge of the perimeter, King puts out his claymore, 
               unraveling it back towards his FOXHOLE, intersecting MEN 
               form the Third Platoon, who file out on a night ambush, 
               skirting the trip wires, demoralized, silent. Eye exchanges, 
               but no words.

               Chris sits on the foxhole watching the ambush go out, smoking 
               a joint by himself, depressed. King comes in with the claymore 
               wires, attaching them to their detonators. Their foxhole - 
               as are all of the Platoon's - is positioned just inside the 
               treeline bordering the LZ, so that they are quite isolated 
               from the center of the perimeter where they first landed.

                         Glad I ain't going with 'em. Somewhere 
                         out dere man is de Beast and he hungry 
                         tonight... Man, what a bummer. Ten 
                         days and a wakeup and I'm still 
                         dealing wid this shit - fuckin' 
                         etcetera and ad infinitum man...

               The LAST SOLDIER in the file recedes into the foliage.

                              (noticing Chris' 
                         What's the matter wid you?... How 
                         come you ain't writing no more? You 
                         was always writing something home.  
                         Looks like youse half a bubble off, 

               He doesn't answer, makes a futile gesture.

                         What about your folks? That grandma 
                         you was telling me about?...

               Chris shakes his head.


               Chris' eyes answer negatively.

                         Must be somebody?

                         ...there's nobody.

                              (shifts, uncomfortable)
                         You been smoking too much shit babe. 
                         Gotta control that. Takes a man 
                         down... I remember when you first 
                         come out to the bush, you was straight 
                         as a...

                         Who gives a shit!

               He shifts, annoyed, prepares his grenades along the sand 
               bags. King shrugs, preparing his meal, sings himself a snatch 
               of song, a good natured man.

                         'People say I'm the life of the party 
                         cause I tell a joke or two although 
                         I may be laughing loud and hardy 
                         deep inside I'm blue...'

                         Y'ever get caught in a mistake King 
                         and you just can't get out of it?

                         Way out of anything, man. Just keep 
                         your pecker up, your powder dry, the 
                         worm WILL turn. How many days you 

                         Not just me... it's the way the whole 
                         thing works. People like Elias get 
                         wasted and people like Barnes just 
                         go on making up rules any way they 
                         want and what do we do, we just sit 
                         around in the middle and suck on it! 
                         We just don't add up to dry shit.

                         Does a chicken have lips? Whoever 
                         said we did, babe. Make it outta 
                         here, it's all gravy, every day of 
                         the rest of your life man - gravy.  
                         Oh shit, superlifer!

               O'Neill comes up, jerks his thumb at King.

                         Get your gear together, King, your 
                         orders just come through.

                         You jokin' me man?... shit, you ain't 
                         kidding! Cocksucker. Oh wowww... the 
                         lifers made a mistake, they cuttin' 
                         me some slack, they cutting me some 
                         slack Taylor!

                         Collect your shit and move out King. 
                         You got 10 minutes make the last 
                         chopper. Cee ess em oh or your ass 
                         is mine.
                              (to Taylor)
                         Francis is coming over.
                              (hurries off)

               King packing up, double time. Chris comes over, helps him, 
               trying to share his happiness but not succeeding.

                         Hey that's great King, that's great... 
                         you take it on home for me, you tell 
                         'em King... got your address right?  
                         You know where you can reach men, 
                         man. Anytime!

                         I gotta didi man. Don't wanna miss 
                         that chopper. I'll send you a 
                         postcard. After I get me some. I'll 
                         send you some tapes too man. This 
                         new guy Jimi Hendrix man, whew... 
                         you okay Taylor? Just 'member take 
                         it easy now, don't think too much, 
                         don't be a fool, no such thing as a 
                         coward cause it don't mean nuthin. 
                         Jes keep on keepin' on. Okay my man...

               Chris, fighting his depression, slaps hands with King. A 
               brief moment, they look at each other. A friendship that was 
               forever and is now over. They both sort of know they'll never 
               see each other again.

                         I'll walk you out...

               Francis coming up, hauling his pack.


               On another foxhole, Rodriguez positions his M-60, brings up 
               his ammo belts (no loaders left). Tony eating, nervous, 
               watches him, shakes his head.

                         Rumor goin' round is they got tanks. 
                         Soviet shit, T-34's...
                         Hey Rodriguez, don't you ever say 

                              (a thick Mexican accent)
                         What do you want me to say, it's all 
                         the same ol' shit.

               Tony shrugs, back to his food.


               On another foxhole, Barnes in full pack checks the soles of 
               Junior's bare feet. Bunny and O'Neill looking on. Junior is 
               moaning as if he's dying, overdoing it by a mile.

                         So what's the problem?

                         Says he can't walk.

                         Shit. Get your boots on Martin, next 
                         time I catch you putting mosquito 
                         repellent on your fuckin' feet I'm 
                         gonna courtmartial your nigger ass.

                         DEN COURTMARTIAL ME MOTHERFUCKAH, 
                         bust my ass, send me to fucking Long 
                         Binh, do your worst but I ain't 
                         walking no more. De white man done 
                         got his last klik outta me. Get some 
                         chuck dude to hump this shit.

                              (suddenly soft)
                         Get me that centipede, O'Neill.

               O'Neill is puzzled. What centipede?


                         Yeah that long hairy orange and black 
                         bastard I found in the ammo crate. 
                         I'm gonna put it in this asshole's 
                         crotch, see if he can walk.

               Junior's eyes bulge with suspicion and sudden terror, his 
               demeanor totally alert now.

                         Oh yeah, right away Sarge.

                         No! Wait! I'll walk, fuck you I'll 
                         walk, I don't need this shit! I don't 
                         need this shit!

                         Fucking pussy, fuck it Sarge, I gotta 
                         have him on my hole?

               Barnes going. O'Neill catching up with him.

                         Uh... Bob. Like to speak to you. 
                         Take a minute.

                         Yeah, what is it?

                              (shuffles, reluctant)
                         Bob, I got Elias' R&R... It's coming 
                         up in 3 days. Going to Hawaii. See 
                              (pause, no reaction 
                              from Barnes)
                         I never asked you for a break, I was 
                         hoping you... you'd send me in on 
                         the chopper with King... what do you 
                         say Chief?
                              (a friendly punch)

                         I can't do that for you, Red... We 
                         need every swinging dick in the field.  
                         Sorry bout that...
                              (starts to go)

                         Hey Bob, come on! Talk to me hunh, 
                         it's your friend Red, I'm only asking 
                         you for three days chief...

                         I'm talking to you Red and I'm telling 
                         you no. Get back to your position.

                              (grabs him, desperate)
                         Bob, I gotta bad feeling about this, 
                         I... I'm telling you I got a bad 
                         feeling, man, I don't think I'm gonna 
                         make it... y'know what I mean?

                         ...everybody gotta die sometime Red... 
                         Get back to your foxhole.

               A look in his eyes. Very remote, very cold, silencing O'Neill. 
               Barnes walks off.

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - BATTALION LZ - DUSK

               At the LZ, King runs out, gets on the last SUPPLY CHOPPER 
               with some other men. It lifts off, swirling dust, the last 
               rays of daylight.

               Chris watches from a Battalion CP area, waves back - the 
               chopper sound receding in the horizon, the comparative silence 
               of the jungle now creeping up on the perimeter. He turns and 
               starts back to his foxhole.

               A man is watching him. He's sitting on a sandbag, face in 
               shadow. It startles Chris, something about him. Something 
               different. A deep West Virginia drawl.

                                     SMOKING MAN
                         Got a light?

                         Uh sure...

               Goes over reluctantly, flicks his lighter, cupping it from 
               the wind. The flame catches a sudden, uneasy expression in 
               Chris' face as he sees the Smoking Man.

               We come around and see what Chris sees in the light of the 
               flame. A face that smiles at him like a death's head, a large 
               ugly blister on his mouth, whiskered, pale - but smiling. A 
               sick man wouldn't smile like this, but he is smiling too 
               intimately, as if he knows Chris from way back. But he 
               doesn't. Or does he? Perhaps it was the man Chris first saw 
               at the airstrip when he came in-country. The same expression 
               of evil, of a man who has seen too much and died, but still 

               Chris feels an unnatural fear passing through him.

               The Man stands, sucking on his cigarette, stretches. He is 
               thin and very tall, towering over Chris.

                                     SMOKING MAN

               He goes. Chris watches him, wondering. The man never looks 
               back, a leisurely, confident stroll. In that moment, there 
               is an EXPLOSION from way out in the jungle, about a quarter 
               of a mile. Then another, then small arms fire. Chris looks, 

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - RHAH'S FOXHOLE - DUSK

               On his foxhole, Junior listening to the distant firing. Bunny 
               is introspective - talking to Junior as if he were his best 
               friend, although they have nothing in common.

                         ...y'know some of the things we done, 
                         I don't feel like we done something 
                         wrong but sometimes y'know I get 
                         this bad feeling. Not all that shit 
                         the Chaplain's jamming up our ass 
                         'bout the Good Lord... just a fucking 
                         bad feeling, y'know what I mean? 
                         Don't know why. I told the Chaplain 
                         the truth is I really like it here. 
                         You do what you want, nobody fucks 
                         with you. Only worry you got's dying 
                         and if dat happens you won't know 
                         about it anyway. So what the fuck...

               Junior looks at him like he's really crazy. Back to the 
               distant firing.

                              (pissed now)
                         Fuck! I gotta be on this hole with 
                         YOU man. I just know I shouldna come!

               Bunny finds it funny, laughs.

                         Don't you worry bout a thing Junior, 
                         you with Audie Murphy here, my man...

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - COMPANY CP - DUSK

               At the Company CP, Captain Harris is talking urgently into 
               the radio.

                         Bravo Three Alpha! Send me a grid. 
                         Send me a grid, over!

               A young inexperienced VOICE screams back into the radio amid 
               intense background FIRING filtered by radio and sounding 

                                     RADIO VOICE
                         We're pinned down sir, they're in 
                         the fucking trees! The trees -

                         OK, Three Alpha, calm down now, son.  
                         I'm gonna get you a fire mission 
                         ASAP. Smoke'll be first...

                                     RADIO VOICE
                         Lieutenant's dead sir, radioman look 
                         dead sir, I don't know where the map 
                         is Captain! They're all around us 
                         sir. They're moving! Hundreds of em! 
                         I can hear em talking gook!!! Jesus 

                              (calming him)
                         ...Just spot the smoke son and tell 
                         me where to shift. We'll get you out 
                         of there. Just hang tough and tell 
                         me where the rounds hit, over.

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - PLATOON CP - DUSK

               At the Platoon CP, Barnes stands, legs akimbo, watching the 
               jungle, anticipating the coming fight as overhead we now 
               hear the 155 SHELLS whistle from a 10-mile distance - passing 
               above them - then pounding down into the jungle in the near 
               distance. Barnes turns, glances at Wolfe, smiles.

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - COMPANY CP - DUSK

               At the Company CP, Captain Harris is back on the radio.

                         Bravo Three Alpha six. How bout those 
                         rounds son? Can you adjust fire?
                         Three Alpha, if you can't talk, just 
                         key the handset twice over.
                         Silence, then a vague MURMURING - 
                         becoming clearer and clearer. It's 
                         in Vietnamese. The radio is then 
                         bashed in, the sound like thunder in 
                         the Captain's ear. He looks at his 
                         RTO, both of them shocked.

               EXT. NVA JUNGLE - NIGHT/DUSK

               In the Jungle itself, the ENEMY is moving. Flurries of 
               movement and sound, blurred visuals. Hands taping a piece of 
               cloth to a tree, moving on - revealing a luminous arrow 
               pointing left... Figures moving past it.

               Hands unraveling a thin wire waist-high, backwards.

               Hands sliding along another wire. We now see a moving helmet 
               with a luminous plaque on the back of it, leading a file up 
               the wire. To a Jump-off point about 50 yards outside the 
               U.S. perimeter. Figures crouch. Whispers. Movement. A pen 
               flashlight on a drawing of the foxhole positions. The NVA 
               moving out in several directions at once.


               On their foxhole, Chris and Francis wait anxiously. Overhead 
               the ARTILLERY keeps pounding into the ambush area. Now SMALL 
               ARMS FIRE can be heard picking up at random spots along the 
               perimeter. The battle, like a tide, is obviously moving closer 
               to them.

                         Oh shit me I wish I was back in 
                         Memphis now, oooh baby this is gonna 
                         be a motherfucker!

               Chris says nothing. Suddenly off to their right, about 80 
               yards, a BLUE FIZZLE of light erupts.

                         Trip flares!... Rodriguez's hole.

               Rat-tat-tat-tat, rat-tat-tat. Machine gun, outgoing, followed 
               by a sharp explosion. A ROCKET!

                         RPGs! Shit!

                         MEDIC!! DOC! DOC!

               A FIGURE thrashes up through the foliage behind them.

                              (a fierce whisper)
                         Taylor! Francis!

                         Over here!

               Rhah jumps into their hole with them, out of breath.

                         Rhah! What's going on. Rodriguez's 
                         hole just got...

                              (gets his breath)
                         Okay, here it is - one, we got gooks 
                         in the fuckin' perimeter.

                         Oh shit! Dat's it, dat's it...

                         They got through Alpha Company! 
                         Anything behind you don't identify 
                         itself, blow it away. Two - air 
                         strike's coming in. They gonna lay 
                         snake and nape right on the perimeter 
                         so stay tight in your holes and don't 
                         leave 'em.

               FLARES now shoot up over the perimeter. Reds, greens, yellows, 
               squeaking as they float down on their parachute hinges 
               throughout the ensuing battle. The perimeter is illuminated 
               at spotty intervals - sometimes arctic bright, sometimes 
               unexplainably dark til new flares shoot up.

               Chris, Francis, Rhah all look up at the light, and hug their 
               holes even tighter, feeling naked in the light. Flares cut 
               both ways.

                         ...they're probing us, they gonna go 
                         up and down this line all night trying 
                         to get through. Stay cool... I'll be 

               Runs out of the foxhole. Chris suddenly reacting to a noise 
               out front, gripping Francis and pointing to the sound.

               A BODY is thrashing towards them, about twenty-five yards, 
               not yet visible but a little awkward and lungy in it's 
               movement, as if desperate.

               Francis, tense, is about to pop his grenade when Chris grabs 

                         Hold it!
                              (loud whisper)
                         WHO IS IT!

               But the body keeps coming, lurching now, falling.

                         Come on man!


               A POP! - then a fizzle of BLUE LIGHT as the Figure hits their 
               trip flare - revealing itself to be large, with no helmet, 
               and gasping, terrified of the trip flare.

                                     TERRIFIED SOLDIER
                         DON'T SHOOT! DON'T SHOOT!

                         It's the ambush!
                              (calling out)
                         In here, man! Hurry.

               The SOLDIER now runs in like a fullback going down for the 
               tackle, sprawling into the hole, knocking Chris and Francis 
               down beneath him.

               He is sweating, terrified, a white boy with an unrecognizable, 
               filthy face, no rifle, no helmet, his fatigues torn all over.

                                     TERRIFIED SOLDIER
                         Water! Water!

               Chris gives him his canteen, his shoulder and neck hurting 
               from the collision. The Soldier sucks down the canteen.

                                     TERRIFIED SOLDIER
                              (between gulps)
                         They'se all over the place, hundreds 
                         of em moving this way! They wiped us 
                         out man, we didn't have a chance! 
                         Where's the CP?

                         Back there.

               The Soldier struggling out of the foxhole.

                                     TERRIFIED SOLDIER
                         You guys get outta here! They're 
                         right on my ass and they ain't 
                         stoppin' for shit!

               He tears off, leaving Francis in a state of incipient panic.  
               He looks at Chris.

                         Taylor, let's di-di man!

               Chris adjusting position, facing the front, anger in his 

                         You go.

               Francis hesitates, stays.


               At the Battalion CP, the Major is inside his BUNKER, busy 
               between his radio nets.

                              (to RTO 1)
                         Get me Bravo!

                                     RTO 2
                         Charlie Company reports hand to hand 
                         on the perimeter sir. Three holes 
                         are down. They need help!

                              (looks at his watch, 
                              to his XO)
                         Okay move two squads from Alpha down 
                         there. Where's that goddamn air 
                         strike, you bet your ass if we were 
                         the First Cav they'd be here now.

                                     RTO 1
                              (handing him the 
                         Bravo Six sir.


               Just outside the Bunker, a MASTER SERGEANT spots something 
               in the flarelight. TWO FIGURES with helmets running towards 
               him at an angle.

                                     MASTER SERGEANT
                         Hey you boys! Which Company you...

               A sudden burst of FIRE cuts the Sergeant down in his tracks 
               and the Figures fly by.

               Soldiers in the immediate area spot them.

                                     SOLDIER #3

                                     SOLDIER #4
                         THE BUNKER!

               A burst of fire. One of the RUNNING FIGURES goes down. An 
               Explosion engulfs him.


               But the SECOND SAPPER runs right into the bunker in a kamikaze 
               charge, the light from inside momentarily revealing a bulky 
               satchel strapped on his person and the face of the astounded 

                                     RTO 3


               The Bunker EXPLODES with a deafening roar.


               In their foxhole, Chris and Francis look at the curling ball 
               of flame, stunned.

                         Oh no!


               In their foxhole, Chris points.


               SHAPES moving in the trees. Chris blows his claymore handles. 
               One explosion on top of the other out front. Then return 
               fire. Flashes from a muzzle, rak-a-tak, rak-a-tak, rak-a-
               tak, the heavier sound of an AK-47.

               Chris opening up with his 16. Then being blown down by a 
               grenade explosion at the edge of the foxhole. Then nothing. 
               A pause. Chris' ears ringing, slightly concussed.

               Suddenly from down the perimeter there is the sound of a 
               faulty LOUDSPEAKER crackling out from the jungle. A pidgen 
               English, the words mauled, then a snatch of patriotic North 
               Vietnamese music, played from a scratchy old record.

               Chris uneasy, looking at Francis who looks terrified. The 
               SOUND now of a whistle. Two hoots, then a sharp third. Then 

               Chris grabbing Francis' arm, pointing. There is a VOICE 
               directly out to the front of them - muttering something in 
               Vietnamese, no more than 20 yards away but unseen. It's like 
               hearing a casual conversation from another room, then the 
               sounds of several bodies moving in separate directions - 
               encompassing the foxhole.

                              (to Francis, a whisper)
                         Out of the hole! Fast!

               Chris crawls out, stops, looks back. Francis won't leave, 
               hugs the shelter.

                              (a fierce whisper)
                         Goddamit Francis! Move your fucking 
                         ass. Now... THEY GONNA BLOW IT!

               Reaches in and yanks him with all his strength half out of 
               the hole. Francis, finally sparked, now moves out. Both of 
               them bellying it into the brush behind the hole.

               Not a moment too soon. An RPG ROCKET whistling in.

               The FOXHOLE takes a direct hit, caving in, whirls of smoke 
               spinning off it.

               Chris and Francis look back covered with debris. They hear 

               SHADOWS are swarming towards the foxhole, firing into it to 
               finish them off.

               Francis grabs Chris' leg, indicating they get out of there. 
               Chris hesitates - a moment, a decision made now in angry 
               passion - rises up and charges the NVA.

               SHADOWS scatter and tumble, caught by his surprise close-
               range fire.

               Chris moving forward into them, blasting, agile, his instincts 
               finely tuned, and totally insane in this moment of time, 
               indifferent to his life. He YELLS insanities, pumping himself 
               up with the adrenaline of courage.

                         DIE YOU MOTHERFUCKERS!!! YAAAAAAAAA!!!

               Screams from the dark shadows, they fall.

               Chris smashing a wounded SHADOW with the butt of his gun 
               down into the foxhole. He jumps back into it, reoccupying 
               it. Blasting the dead gook.

               Opening fire out to the front, driving the Shadows back.

               Francis watching this, amazed. After a moment of doubt, he 
               too tears back out to join Chris in the foxhole, unbelieving, 
               as he jumps in with him.

                              (joining in the frenzy)
                         YAAAAAHHHH!!!! KILLLLL!!!

               Then stunned again to see Chris suddenly rise up out of the 
               foxhole and charging forward into the jungle. He is now over 
               the edge.

                              (charging off into 
                              the jungle)
                         DIE YOU MOTHERFUCKERS!!!


               In his position, Bunny is experiencing the same 'high' as 
               Chris, yells out at them.

                         Come on MOTHERFUCKERS, COME ON!!!

               Junior, huddled in the hole with him, speechless and 
               terrified, looks at him with huge eyes. The guy is nuts. An 
               incoming grenade explosion shakes the hole.

                              (laying out more fire)
                         Come on you can do better than that!

                         Fuck this shit! I ain't dyin' in no 
                         white man's war! Ise didi-ing this 

               Junior freaks out, throws his rifle down and hobbles out of 
               the hole on his damaged feet at an incredible speed.

                              (yelling after him)
                         Get back here you gutless shit...

               A SHAPE suddenly out of nowhere, looms up fast behind Bunny, 
               running at him.

               Junior, insane now with fear, runs smack into a tree, knocked 
               senseless and reeling to the ground.

               Bunny turning back too late. The crazy drug-high Shape is 
               yelling something like:

                                     NVA SOLDIER

               And jumps right into the hole blasting Bunny point-blank in 
               the chest.

               Bunny struggling to consciousness at the bottom of the hole. 
               THUCK! A boot in the gaping hole where his chest was. Bunny, 
               his eyes uncomprehending. A muzzle is jammed into his mouth, 
               breaking his teeth with an ugly sound. Another yell from the 
               NVA trooper. A flash of orange red light. Bunny's face blown 
               to bits.

               Junior, dizzy from the blow to his head, looks up.

               A yellow flare somewhere out there and a SHADOW above him 
               digging a bayonet into his belly with a grunt. A long oozing 
               sigh of belly gas.

               An explosion. The Shadow with the bayonet staggering blind 
               without eyes, holding his brains with his hands.

               Barnes throws open the empty LAAW rocket casing he has just 
               fired off and charges forward with a yell, cutting down 
               another NVA in Bunny's old foxhole. Jumping into the hole, 
               the bottom of which is a liquid pit of guts, blood, ooze. 
               Another Enemy running in on him. A short burst of fire. Barnes 
               hit. Firing into each other. Barnes draggin him down into 
               the pit with him, grappling alongside the corpse of Bunny. 
               Barnes uses an entrenching tool to finish him off.

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - PLATOON CP - NIGHT

               At the Platoon CP, small arms fire is all over the place, 
               the NVA closing the ring. Ace, in the foxhole, yells to Wolfe.

                         Negative contact. Can't raise Barnes, 
                         Two Bravo, Two Charlie, nothin'!

                         Get me Six!

               Nervously aiming his rifle as a man comes running towards 
               them, staggering.

                         It's Doc!

               Doc plops down, out of breath, drained, bleeding all over 
               his chest.

                         They're coming through all over! I 
                         can't... I can't do...

                         Where's Barnes!

                         I think he's dead... it's awful, 
                         they're all dying.

               Wolfe is stunned, Barnes his last crutch against the chaos. 
               Ace handing him the handset.


                                     CAPTAIN HARRIS' VOICE
                         Yeah! Send traffic or clear this 
                         goddamn net!

                         We've been overrun Captain, we're 
                         pulling back. Over!

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - COMPANY CP - NIGHT

               At the Company CP, things are just as bad. A Radioman is 
               sprawled over a smashed radio. Captain Harris is in a bunker 
               working the radios himself, as his Radiomen fire at yelling, 
               running FIGURES scurrying all over the inner perimeter.

                              (furious voice)
                         Bravo Two, Six! Goddamit where the 
                         hell you plannin' to pull back to! 
                         They're all over the perimeter. Be 
                         advised Lieutenant, you WILL hold in 
                         place and you will FIGHT and that 
                         means YOU, Lieutenant. Out!

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - PLATOON CP - NIGHT

               At the Platoon CP, Wolfe is astounded by the message. Ace 
               looking at him straight in the eye.

                         You're an asshole Lieutenant, you 
                         know that.

               As he abandons his radio, grabs up his 16 and moves to an 
               adjacent position. Doc, a quiet man up to now, is treating a 
               wounded Parker who is now hit by bullets and thrashes wildly 
               and jerks to a stop. He is obviously dead but Doc goes on 
               trying to finish the bandage. Suddenly he goes beserk, grabs 
               a 16, starts firing and yelling.

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - COMPANY CP - NIGHT

               At the Company CP, Harris gets on the radio with the air 
               strike. One of the RTOs on a separate radio calls over.

                                     RTO #5
                         Captain, Third Battalion Armoured's 
                         on its way with tracks 'bout 2 kliks 

                              (ignores it, into 
                         Snakebite leader, Ripper Bravo Six, 
                         we're gonna need you soonest be 
                         advised I've got zips in the wire 
                         down here, over!

                                     PILOT'S VOICE
                              (distorted high 
                         Roger your last Bravo Six, Snakebite 
                         lead we can't run it any closer. 
                         We're hot to trot and packing snape 
                         and nape but we're bingo fuel. It's 
                         your call, Six actual, Over.

               Harris looks around. The decision made.

                         Snakebite leader, Bravo Six, for the 
                         record, it's my call. Dump everything 
                         you got left ON MY POS. I say again, 
                         I want all you're holding INSIDE the 
                         perimeter. It's a lovely war. Bravo 
                         Six Actual and Out.

               Pilot's reaction. Very calm. A Farmboy twang.

                                     PILOT'S VOICE
                         Roger your last Bravo Six. We copy 
                         it's your call. Get em in their holes 
                         down there. Hang tough, Bravo Six we 
                         are coming cocked for treetops. 
                         Whiskey to Echo... Snakebite Two, 
                         this is lead. Last pass on zero niner. 
                         Watch my smoke to target, expend all 
                         remaining. Follow my trace...

               The transmission drops out. Harris now looking up into the 
               darkened skies. The planes in no way evident - but they're 
               there. And they're coming.

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - PLATOON CP - NIGHT

               At the Platoon CP, the NVA are sweeping fast, crouched, using 
               cover, yelling. Small fires are raging all over the perimeter.

               Ace putting out fire, is hit. The NVA are coming over his 
               sandbags. A burst of fire. Ace goes down.

               Doc has cracked up, firing at anything, indifferent to his 
               safety. One of the NVA goes down. The Doc is hit in the side, 
               wounded, struggles, is hit again, but keeps trying to fire. 
               He's hit a third time - in the jugular vein. Nearby, Wolfe 
               is firing madly at the oncoming NVA. One goes down. A second 
               is wounded, yelling in pain. Wolfe reloading his 16, popping 
               up, too late. One of them is coming over the sandbags. He 
               sees Wolfe. Wolfe sees him. In the same moment.

               Wolfe hesitates, frozen up. The gook unloads his AK-47, a 
               magazine worth, into Lieutenant Wolfe, who crashes down, 
               sprawled unnaturally on the jungle floor. A spasm shakes his 
               body. Then stops. Dead.

               Boots run by.


               At his foxhole, O'Neill peeks up out of the hole. Several 
               NVA are darting through the jungle 20 yards away, coming 
               towards him, talking loudly to each other. He quickly slips 
               back down in the hole, entwining himself with the approaching 
               NVA, clinking metal.

               The NVA stop, glance in the hole. Something is muttered. 
               They run out.

               O'Neill opens his eyes, breathes.


               BARNES swings his mashed M-16 full into the FACE of an enemy 
               SOLDIER who screams and goes down, Barnes chopping at him 
               with his club. His helmet is gone, his shirt ripped to shreds, 
               his shoulder bleeding, making his last stand against the 
               hated Gooks.

               Nearby HUFFMEISTER is hit in the shoulder by a running FIGURE 
               and collapses into the bottom of the foxhole, crying out in 

               The running FIGURE runs past right into the full force of 
               BARNES' swinging rifle. SMACK! He crumples.


               Chris bellies into the area, see Barnes, recognizes him, 

               An ENEMY fires, taking Barnes high in the left thigh. A patch 
               of skin blowing off. Barnes rigidly goes down on his left 
               knee like a wounded horse. Holds there, staring into the 
               Enemy, waiting for the coup de grace.

               A series of SHOUTS and the Enemy staggers dead as:

               Chris lays out a curtain of fire. A GRENADE goes off near 
               him, blowing off his helmet. Dazed, Chris rushes forward 
               firing from the hip - sucked into Barnes' suicidal vacuum.  
               He cuts down an Enemy as:

               Barnes, given a new lease, limps angrily forward and tackles 
               a wounded Enemy trying to crawl away, terrified at the sight 
               of Barnes coming after him. Barnes lets out a vivid scream.

               And beats the soldier mercilessly, half the stock of his M-
               16 flying apart broken.

               Chris swivels alert on his knees. A pause. No more enemy. 
               Turns to Barnes, his back to Chris still beating at the dead 


               Barnes swivels instinctively off the corpse and for a 
               petrifying moment Chris sees:

               A maddened scar of a face, lips specked with foam. The EYES - 
               refracted in a red-green flare overhead - the pupils distorted 
               into angry red points.

               For Chris it is no doubt the most frightening single image 
               he has seen in his life. It will be in his nightmares forever. 
               The essence of evil: wrath, obsession, anger, fear, hatred, 
               permanence - he is paralyzed.

               Barnes smashes him full across the face with the broken stock 
               of his M-16. Not even consciously, for at this point, his 
               mind has gone over the edge and the entire world is his enemy. 
               American or Vietnamese, it makes no difference as he strikes 
               Chris harder and harder.

               Chris struggles, moans, his teeth and nose cracked. Barnes 
               emits another chilling yell an springs like a humpback up on 
               his good right leg, the left bent - set to deliver the killing 
               blow, the mangled rifle pulled to its highest arc.


               The PHANTOM FIGHTER JET comes now like a great white whale. 
               One big beautiful monstrous beat of deafening sound. Its 
               silver and white belly hurtling low over the treeline in one 
               giant leap of sound momentarily illuminated by a flare. Then 
               a monstrous ROAR of anger.

               The bomb ripping Barnes off the body of Chris and spitting 
               Chris across the jungle floor - crashing into a tree some 30 
               yards away.

                                                                  FADE OUT:

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - CHRIS' JUNGLE - DAWN

               FADE BACK IN. Vague sunlight. Blurry. Chris fluttering his 
               eyes. A sharp MOVEMENT in the bush. His eyes fight their way 

               SOFT EYES are watching him from behind foliage. A soft, furry 
               head, alert, rigidly still.

               Chris fights his way up to his elbow, in pain, looking at 
               the eyes. The head turns and in one fluid move, bolts. Gone. 
               Like the wind. A deer. A big brown deer. Or was it? Chris 
               will never be quite sure. But whatever it was, it was surely 
               a sign of grace - the grace of Elias. This he knows as he 
               feels himself for the first time alive.

               And in pain. His left hand torn and bleeding, shrapnel in 
               his side, cuts on his face, dried blood caking him. Looking 
               around his garden of eden. A messy jungle floor. Cordite 
               fumes. Burned bush and trees. Torn sandbags. Dead NVA. Bird 
               songs somewhere in the distance. It is the very crack of 
               dawn, a pink-red sun casting long oblique light patterns 
               through the trees. A holy light.

               Chris pushes himself to his feet, feels his weight and the 
               pain. He walks. In the near distance, towards the LZ area, 
               there's the sound of Armored Personnel carriers grinding, 
               men moving, calling out in Americanese. But Chris is alone 

               He fishes up an AK-47 from a dead NVA. Checks it, a weapon.  
               Walks on.

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - BARNES' FOXHOLE - DAY

               Past scores of NVA bodies. Past the Foxhole where Bunny lays 
               dead in the bottom, faceless. Looking over at Junior bayoneted 
               to the ground, dead. NVA everywhere around the hole, some of 
               them still moving, badly wounded.

               Chris looking around, then noticing a movement a little 
               further out in the Jungle. Then he sees who.

               The uniform is shredded, the figure obviously hurt in several 
               places (thigh, back, neck, hand) but not mortally so, now 
               struggling to right itself, dragging its face up from a belly-
               down position. Streaked with dirt and blood, we see Barnes 
               once again re-emerging from the dead.

               Chris steps over to him, a solemn look on his face. Barnes 
               looks up, begs.

                         Get me a Medic will ya. Go on...

               Chris doesn't move. Barnes looks at him again, reading the 
               intention that has crossed Chris' mind. An expression of 
               surprise crosses his face, then amazement, almost shock.

                         Fuck you in hell...

               Chris shoots him. Once. Twice. Three times. Silence...

               Barnes is finally dead.

               Chris looking at the corpse, numbed, no exultation in his 
               expression. Just cold satisfaction and little feeling left.

               Behind him, the SOUND of a big machine moving. He turns.

               A huge Nazi flag on an antenna looms up in the bush, followed 
               by the great belly of a turreted dragon crunching down a 
               tree for its breakfast.

               A big tough GERMAN SHEPARD comes boudning at him sniffs, 
               followed by a flak-jacketed MONSTER MAN - filthy and greasy, 
               unshaven face, earring in his left ear, 'DEATH CORPS' scrawled 
               on his shirtless flak jacket and a drawing of a death's head, 
               he looks like a cross between a pirate and a hell's angel.  
               Behind him, a SECOND MONSTER MAN and the ARMORED PERSONNEL 
               CARRIER grinding its engine, a human skull hanging from its 

                                     MONSTER MAN
                              (to Dog)
                         Bozo! Get back here!

               His eyes passing on Chris like so much meat.

                                     MONSTER MAN
                              (to Chris)
                         Can you walk outta here?

               Chris nods. The Soldier pointing to the LZ behind him as a 
               sign he should go that way. The other Soldier already 
               stripping the NVA dead, as the APC grinds on into the jungle, 

               Chris walks out of the jungle, head bowed, nauseated, mixed 
               feelings roiling him.


               In another foxhole, Francis waits, the sounds of the 
               approaching APC cutting through. He thinks about it a moment. 
               It must be fast. It must be a hard cold decision. Now!

               He pulls out his K-bar and with one last anguished hesitation, 
               drives it into his thigh muscle.

               Francis yells out and collapses in his hole.

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - O'NEILL'S FOXHOLE - DAY

               In another foxhole, O'Neill, unscratched but covered with 
               dirt, waits tentatively as SOLDIERS arrive at his hole. 
               They're a little awed by the sight of the tough-looking 
               O'Neill emerging from his foxhole like Sgt. Rock, dozens of 
               dead NVA littered around him.

                                     APC SOLDIER #1
                         You alone Sarge?

                         Fuck yeah. They all left me, bunch 
                         of fuckin' faggots.

                                     APC SOLDIER #2
                         Man, you gonna get yoself a silver 

                         Fuck the silver star. You got any 

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - RHAH'S FOXHOLE - DAY

               Rhah, alive and well, is poking around the NVA corpses with 
               a long gnarled walking stick, looking like a crazy Johnny 
               Appleseed with his pants rolled up on his thin hairy ankles 
               and wearing a red bandana tied in a four-knot around his 

               As one of the APC SOLDIERS carves an ear off a dead NVA, 
               Rhah works his way through the torn bloody pocket of an NVA 
               Troop in full rigor mortis, extracting what he thought was 
               there - a wrapped cellophane of heroin.

               Rhah's face glows with satisfaction as he tastes it, then 
               snorts it. With a certain satisfaction of triumph over the 
               grim circumstances.

                              (to the powder)
                         Yeah, that's good shit...

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - LZ - DAY

               CHRIS is hauled out on a litter. Morphined, his eyes watching 
               it all from somewhere deep in his brain. Passing:

               Groups of SOLDIERS looking like bowery bums and moving like 
               rats through the smoke and garbage snooping for souvenirs 
               with wheezy tired eyes and grunts of greed.

               Passing a bulldozed PIT with heaps of NVA BODIES in them. A 
               BULLDOZER pushing another set of bodies in, like photos of a 
               Nazi death camp.

               Nearby, two burly SOLDIERS lift a WOMAN NURSE and with a 
               once-through build for momentum, toss the fresh body into 
               the pit.

               Chris, numb, goes by.

                                     RADIO OPERATOR
                              (into radio, exhausted)
                         U.S. KIA, 122 wounded and still 
                         counting. Estimate 500 Victor Charlie 
                         KIA, 22 wounded and still counting. 

                                     2ND RADIO OPERATOR
                         Sir, a television crew's coming in 
                         with the General -

               CAPTAIN HARRIS doesn't respond; at this point he doesn't 
               give a shit, standing apart from the radios looking numbly 
               at the remnants of his boys filtering by on litters.

               Chris intersects him now, Harris' eyes looking blankly, then 
               nodding sickly trying to give him encouragement. Just coming 
               to the edge of tears, choking it back, and turning back. 
               These are his sons who are lost. A good officer.

               Rodriguez, wounded, is lifted up in his litter and moved out 
               to the waiting MEDIVAC CHOPPER, a huge red cross painted on 
               a white square.

               Doc goes by on another litter, then Ace, Adams, Huffmeister, 

               Then Francis is littered by, bandages around his leg, a big 
               smile on his face.

                         Hey Taylor, you okay man?

                         Yeah. How 'bout you?

                         Jes' fine man, jes fine! Ain't never 
                         felt better! Both of us two timers 
                         man, we're out.
                              (gives him a slap as 
                              he goes by)
                         See you at the hospital man, we gonna 
                         get high-high yessir...
                              (goes off)

               The Medic points to the chopper.

                              (to Chris)
                         That's your ride man, you ready?

                              (tries a smile)
                         You bet.

               Chris starts towards it, the Medic assisting him.

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - LZ - DAY

               Sgt. O'Neill watches the loading process forlornly from the 
               distance. Captain Harris intersects him.

                         You got Second Platoon Sergeant.

                         Yes sir -

               And as Harris moves away, O'Neill is left thinking. Finally 
               there is a certain frustration to his actions; he has taken 
               such great pains to stay alive that the tuition he pays is 
               precisely to stay in this Jungle. Inevitably his time will 
               come - one way or another.

               His eyes now follow the MEDIVAC CHOPPER upwards, whatever is 
               left of his shrunken soul yearning to go with it.


               As the Chopper rises off the battlefield, Chris, who is 
               sitting at the edge so that he has a full view out the open 
               door, waves back at Rhah.

               EXT. PERIMETER #3 - DAY

               Rhah, at the edge of the treeline, vigorously shakes his 
               walking stick at him, his other hand a fist, waving them, 
               emitting his cry.


               Defiance. Pride. Dig me, I'm Rhah - and there isn't nobody 
               like me in the world.

               EXT/INT: PERIMETER #3 - LZ CHOPPER - DAY

               The chopper - with its huge red cross painted on - now rising 
               to meet God. Smashed on morphine, Chris looking out at the 
               waving ants below.

               Now the trees, the skyline and the chopper is moving fast 
               over the devastation. The jungle forever locked in his memory, 
               Chris looks back, copious, quiet tears flowing from his eyes.

                                     CHRIS (V.O.)
                         I think now, looking back, we did 
                         not fight the enemy, we fought 
                         ourselves - and the enemy was in 
                         us... The war is over for me now, 
                         but it will always be there - the 
                         rest of my days. As I am sure Elias 
                         will be - fighting with Barnes for 
                         what Rhah called possession of my 
                         soul... There are times since I have 
                         felt like the child born of those 
                         two fathers... but be that as it 
                         may, those of us who did make it 
                         have an obligation to build again, 
                         to teach to others what we know and 
                         to try with what's left of our lives 
                         to find a goodness and meaning to 
                         this life...

               The music surges now to its full strength as we replay bits 
               of film with each actor's name listed - some with silly, 
               clowning looks, others sober, haunted. Gardner, Tex, King, 
               Rhah, Lerner, Sanderson, Manny, Big Harold - all the boys... 
               and then Barnes staring quietly into the camera, and lastly 
               Elias - shirt off, bowl of grass in hand, his big, beautiful 

                                                                  FADE OUT:

                                         THE END


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