The Anderson Platoon
|The Anderson Platoon
La Section Anderson
VHS cover image
|Directed by||Pierre Schoendoerffer|
|Produced by||Pierre Schoendoerffer|
|Written by||Pierre Schoendoerffer|
|Narrated by||Pierre Schoendoerffer
Stuart Whitman English version
|Starring||Joseph B. Anderson|
|Distributed by||French Broadcasting System
Pathé Contemporary Films
|Release dates||February 3, 1967 (France)
April 10, 1968 (U.S.)
July 17, 1968 (Germany)
|Running time||60 min./65 min. (uncut)|
In summer 1966, France Soir news magazine director and French public channel ORTF producer Pierre Lazareff proposed that war reporter and director Pierre Schoendoerffer complete his "unachieved" war documentary he did in 1954.
Back in May 1954, Schoendoerffer was covering the First Indochina War for the French army's cinematographic service SCA. At the siege of Dien Bien Phu he filmed the battle between the French Union forces and the Viet Minh but his reels were captured when he surrendered to the enemy.
Arguing that "the war was the same, the French only switching with the Americans", Lazareff convinced the French veteran to return to Vietnam as a kind of second chance to complete his war documentary.
On 1 August 1965, the 1st Cavalry Division (United States) is sent to South Vietnam. The following year in September, Schoendoerffer joins it and follows a 33-man platoon of GIs led by Black West Pointer Lieutenant Joseph B. Anderson (24) until October 1966.
- 1967: Prix Italia for Original Dramatic Program
- 1968: Emmy Award for the Best Documentary Film of 1967
- 1967: Academy Award for Documentary Feature
- 1968: Merit Award (BBC)
The Anderson Platoon was broadcast on the French public channel ORTF's monthly show Cinq colonnes à la une on February 3, 1967.
The English dub version was premiered on television in the United States on July 4, 1967 by CBS. Shortly after its 1968 Academy Award, it was broadcast a second time in France's ORTF.
This documentary was originally made for a French TV show and was released in theaters in the United States only.
The Anderson Platoon was made available on VHS tapes in the United States only.
A 60 min. VHS re-edited uncensored video edition was released in December 1987 by Hollywood Select Video. It was re-released by Timeless Video in May 1990. Timeless released a second print in June 1999.
By June 2000, Homevision released the original 65 min. French version subtitled in English.
Video on demand
A sequel to The Anderson Platoon entitled Reminiscence was released in 1989. Twenty years after the events, Schoendoerffer met the platoon's survivors.
- La Section Anderson: original title
- The Anderson Platoon: English re-edited uncensored version title. This is the only accurate account for this title.
- 2. Kompanie, 1. Zug, Vietnam 1966 ("2nd Company, 1st Platoon, Vietnam 1966"): West German title. The "Anderson Platoon"'s actual name is "1st Platoon" belonging to the "B" for "Bravo" Company and the documentary was shot in South Vietnam in 1966, hence the German title.
- Abteilung Anderson ("Detachment Anderson"): German title after the reunification. This is a translation of the original title, "Detachment" being a synonym for "Platoon" in French.
- (French) La Section Anderson on the ORTF in 1968, 10 min. sample (National Audiovisual Institute)
- "NY Times: The Anderson Platoon". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
- The Anderson Platoon at the Internet Movie Database
- The Anderson Platoon at allmovie
- Men at War: A French View (Time magazine, February 17, 1967)