Sergeant Elias is the deuteragonist of the Oscar-winning 1986 war film, Platoon. He is a benevolent and sympathethic military sergeant with an idealistic and pacifistic view of the Vietnamese civilians, contrasting him to that of the film's main antagonist, Sergeant Bob Barnes.
He is introduced in the film as an American military sergeant who quickly becomes a mentor to the film's protagonist, Chris Taylor. One night, he, Taylor, Barnes and the rest of the platoon are sent out on a planned night ambush for a North Vietnamese Army force. The NVA soldiers manage to get close to the sleeping Americans before a brief firefight ensues; Taylor's fellow new recruit Gardener is killed and Taylor himself lightly wounded. After his return from hospital, Taylor bonds with Elias and his circle of marijuana-smokers while remaining aloof from Barnes and his more hard-edged followers.
Later, when the platoon raid a Vietnamese village, Barnes, through a Vietnamese-speaking soldier, aggressively interrogates the village chief about whether the villagers have been aiding the NVA, and cold-bloodedly shoots his wife dead when she snaps back at him. He then holds an innocent child at gunpoint to force her father into revealing the information that he wants. Elias then notices this, steps in, tells Barnes off, before brutally beating him up, before the platoon end the fight. This incurs Barnes' wrath and hatred for Elias.
Barnes is later charged with war crimes, and he becomes paranoid that Elias will testify against him, so he sends the platoon on a mission out in the jungle, where he finds Elias alone, ambushes him, before gunning him down in cold blood. Barnes then returns and tells the others that Elias was killed by the enemy. While the platoon is extracting via helicopter, they glimpse Elias, mortally wounded, emerging from the treeline and being chased by a group of North Vietnamese soldiers, who kill him. Noting Barnes' anxious manner, Taylor realizes that he was responsible.
He is portrayed by legendary actor Willem Dafoe, who also portrayed Gill.