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Johnny Got His Gun (1971)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  1 March 1972 (France)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 11,033 users  
Reviews: 78 user | 60 critic

Joe, a young American soldier, is hit by a mortar shell on the last day of World War I. He lies in a hospital bed in a fate worse than death --- a quadruple amputee who has lost his arms, ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe's Mother
Joe's Father
Mike Burkeman
Sandy Brown Wyeth ...
Jody Simmons (as Donald Barry)
Peter Brocco ...
Ancient Prelate
Kendell Clarke ...
Hospital Offical
Corporal Timlon
Col. / Gen. Tillery
Craig Bovia ...
Little Guy
Judy Howard Chaikin ...
Bakery Girl
Orator (as Robert Cole)


Joe, a young American soldier, is hit by a mortar shell on the last day of World War I. He lies in a hospital bed in a fate worse than death --- a quadruple amputee who has lost his arms, legs, eyes, ears, mouth and nose. He remains conscious and able to think, thereby reliving his life through strange dreams and memories, unable to distinguish whether he is awake or dreaming. He remains frustrated by his situation, until one day when Joe discovers a unique way to communicate with his caregivers. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

eyes | dream | memory | soldier | hospital | See All (229) »


The most shattering experience you'll ever live.


Drama | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 March 1972 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Only a minor success at the time of its release, this long-forgotten film became well known in 1989 when it was incorporated in the Metallica video "One" (1989), which turned it into a cult item. Eventually, the members of Metallica bought the rights to the film in order to keep showing their music video without routinely paying royalties fees. See more »


Joe: Inside me I'm screaming, nobody pays any attention. If I had arms, I could kill myself. If I had legs, I could run away. If I had a voice, I could talk and be some kind of company for myself. I could yell for help, but nobody would help me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

War Dead Since 1914: Over 80,000,000 Missing or Mutilated: Over 150,000,000 "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" See more »


Edited into Metallica: 2 of One (1989) See more »


Keep the Home Fires Burning
Music by Ivor Novello
Lyrics by Lena Guilbert Ford
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

It's been a long time...
4 June 2006 | by (Hanover, Germany, The Free World) – See all my reviews

...since a film has actually moved me quite like this. I had read about half of Dalton Trumbo's original novel before seeing the film. The book is sort of difficult to read, but the movie is one big revelation. It may be because Dalton Trumbo wrote the screenplay for it and directed his own original brainchild that this film is so incredibly dense and gripping.

Much has been said about the plot and storyline, so I won't get on that here. The bottom line is, this movie is as original and authentic today as in 1971 when it was made (Vietnam war era, no less!), or even as in 1939 (at the eve of WW II!), the year the novel first appeared on bookshelves. A timeless classic if there ever was one, and a glowing testimony to the eternal insanity of war. Oftentimes subtle and subversive, its dialogs fully expose the madness of the whole concept of it. But it doesn't stop there, the film also examines the conflict between religion and war and the absurdity that ensues from justifying bloodshed through creed.

I could go on forever trying to explain here why this movie is such a masterpiece to me, but maybe it's enough to tell whoever will read this to go buy the DVD. Like I said, it's a timeless anti-war classic that's worth every cent.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
Am I The Only One Who Didn't Like This? bigturdyum
the most powerful, deeply disturbing cry against war dario_van_kuschn
Whats so disturbing about this?? prawncrackyourballs
What has Johnny got? RodMorgan
This Metallica fan is haunted by this movie! gennymk
Has anyone read the book? matthew17
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