80 Years of The Hollywood Reporter

Orion Pictures Corp/Courtesy Everett Collection

Charlie Sheen broke through 25 years ago in Platoon.

In 1986, long before he was making headlines for record-setting personal drama, Charlie Sheen was a 21-year-old with a famous father and a black Porsche, parts in a handful of TV movies and a performance that got noticed in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. That all changed with Oliver Stone’s Platoon. Suddenly, with his first major role (as an idealistic college dropout fighting in Vietnam), Sheen had good reason to have Oscar hopes. The film had won commercial and critical success, and Sheen was put forward for best actor in the For Your Consideration ads. “It was as close to reality as a movie performance could be,” the film’s producer, Arnold Kopelson, says.


Platoon went on to garner eight nominations, including Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe for supporting actor. But, alas, Sheen wasn’t among the nominated. Perhaps he was overlooked because his character wasn’t as wildly colorful as his co-stars’. The Washington Post review gave Sheen credit for anchoring “the more florid performances of the two sergeants warring for his soul.” And though there wasn’t an Academy Award in it for Sheen, the role was a life-changer. “Suddenly, I did a movie, Platoon, that everybody went bananas for, and it won best picture,” he said in a 2001 interview. “Eventually, any plan or illusion I had about how I would deal with fame evaporated rapidly because I took it a little far, I think. Just a tad.