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Sergeant Elias K. Grodin was a soldier in the Vietnam War. Assigned to the Bravo company, 25th Infantry Division, he was the leader of Alpha squad in the platoon.

He was a friend and mentor to Chris Taylor as he helps him after he falls down from exhaustion and kindly carries his excess baggage, and welcomes him into the Underworld. Later on he defends him after new recruit and Chris's friend Gardner is tragically killed in a ambush by the NVA from Sgt Red O'Neil and Bunny who chastises him after he is wrongly accused of falling asleep on ambush and also confides in him that he had long ago lost faith in the Vietnam war and knows that the Americans will lose.

Elias also chastises Barnes for having sent his inexperienced group out on ambush in favor of sparing O'Neil squad from having to go out on ambush due to them nearing the end of there tours of duties which led to Gardner's death and is at odds with his superiors and fellow Sgt's due to caring for his troops as they are new. Elias is also friends with Gator Lerner whom he helps when Gator asks him. In the movie he is depicted as a form Christ as he dies with his arms in the air similar to Jesus is crucifixion and this is one of the most iconic scene in the movie.

He is kind and cooperative and a true soldier unlike the hardcore Barnes, cowardly lifer O 'Neil and drug addict Warren and actually cares about his men however like Barnes he has the loyalty of a large group of men in his platoon as they take drugs and socialize to numb the pain of the war.

He is outraged when Barnes ruthlessly murders an innocent civilian and chastises Wolfe for not having intervened. Upon returning to base, Captain Harris warns that if he finds out that an illegal killing took place, a court-martial will be ordered, which concerns Barnes as Elias might testify against him however Bunny suggests someone should Frag Elias. On their next patrol, the platoon is ambushed and pinned down in a firefight, in which numerous soldiers, including Lerner and Big Harold, are wounded. Lerner is taken back to the helicopter landing area while Wolfe calls in a mortar strike on incorrect coordinates, resulting in friendly fire casualties. Elias takes Taylor, Crawford and Rhah to intercept flanking enemy troops. Barnes orders the rest of the platoon to retreat, and goes back into the jungle to find Elias' group.

Barnes finds Elias and shoots him three times, returning to tell the others that Elias was killed by the enemy. While they are leaving, a wounded Elias emerges from the jungle, running from a group of North Vietnamese soldiers. Taylor glances over at Barnes and reads the apprehension on his face as Elias dies from the numerous gunshot wounds he has received and exhaustion. At the base, Taylor attempts to talk his group into retaliation when a drunken Barnes enters the room and taunts them. Taylor attacks Barnes, but is defeated and cut near his eye with a push dagger

His death devastates the Heads who he led King and Taylor say that they should avenge him by fragging Barnes as well however the others are against the idea.

His death however is later avenged by Chris who kills Barnes near the end of the movie as he regains consciousness following the massive battle and blast which knocked out all of the soldiers and occurred between the troops in the platoon and the NVA in the morning, e picks up an enemy Type 56 rifle, and finds an injured Barnes who has been shot in both legs and Barnes orders him to get medic, Taylor only stares at Barnes who dares him to pull the trigger. Taylor shoots Barnes three tines, killing him. Taylor then sits until reinforcements arrive and find him.

Behind the scenesEdit

He was portrayed by Willem Dafoe , who received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Pop Culture ReferencesEdit

  • The character's death scene is spoofed by comedian Ben Stiller in the popular war comedy Tropic Thunder


Elias Grodin was one of the few hero roles played by Williem Dafoe who is well known for playing the villain.

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