Samuel Barber: Platoon

Barber's Adagio for Strings was given an entirely new relevance for a whole new generation, through its superb, slow-motion setting in Oliver Stone's 1986 modern classic.

Released: 1986
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Cast: Willem Defoe, Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Forest Whittaker, Kevin Dillon

The film:
This intense drama examines the fight between good and evil among an American infantry platoon in the jungles of Vietnam and is hailed as one of the greatest war films ever made. Writer/director Stone draws on his own first-hand experiences of the Vietnam War and takes a close look at the life of foot soldiers, as seen through the eyes of a new recruit. A massive box office success, Platoon gave Stone his first ever Academy Award for Best Director as well as going on to win Best Picture.

The score: Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings - originally arranged in 1938 - is Barber's most popular piece, to the point where he is known almost exclusively for it, at least among the general public. But it was only when Oliver Stone reused it to renewed and dramatic effect in Platoon that it was brought to a mass audience. The incredible slow-mo images of the torching of a Vietnamese village gave Adagio for Strings an entirely new relevance, with Barber's violins echoing the screams of lost souls and the brutality of war.