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Stripes More at IMDbPro »

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49 out of 70 people found the following review useful:

That's the fact Jack!

10/10
Author: Dan Grant (dan.grant@bell.ca) from Toronto, Ontario
29 June 1999

Stripes is firmly planted in my vernacular as one of those films that helped shape me as a twelve year old boy. It is also one of those films that made me become the film lover that I am today. I know films like Star Wars and it's two sequels, First Blood and Rambo, Jaws and it's sequel, Halloween, Back To The Future, Ghostbusters, Raiders and it's sequels and Stripes ( there are many others but this review has to be under 1000 words )taught me the beauty of how a movie can make you feel. And Stripes was the first movie that me and my best friend at the time ( Gary ) ever memorized word for word. And I think that it is this movie that established Murray, Ramis and even guys like Candy and John Laroquette as comedians. It also has a small role for Bill Paxton in it somewhere. It was also a great stepping stone for the three amigos ( Murray, RAmis and Reitman ) to get funding for a bigger project like Ghostbusters. And if you were an executive at Columbia you would probably hand them a blank cheque for that project after seeing this film. Simply put this film is a classic in every sense of the word.

Stripes tells the story of how John Winger and Russell Ziskey ( Murray and Ramis respectively ) are two losers in life. Winger is an inept cab driver that hates his job so much that he throws his keys off the city bridge one day while driving an annoying lady to the airport. Ziskey is a terrible English as a second language teacher. And he is so inept that he tries to get is class to sing songs during class as their lesson. " I met her on a Monday and my heart stood still " Ziskey sings, and his class responds " da do da da da da da da da do da da da da, " and the he congratulates them and dismisses them until next week.

After Winger informs Ziskey that in the last three hours he has lost his job, his car, his apartment and his girlfriend, they decide to join the army. And then all hilarity breaks loose. It is here that we meet an assorted cast of hooligans and misfits that add to the enjoyment of the movie.

You have Ox ( Candy ) as an overweight guy who thinks the army is a perfect place to lose weight for free. There is Francis Sawyer, but everyone calls him Psycho, as a nut that thinks he is in Vietnam or someplace. You also have Cruiser, who joined the army because his father and brother were in the army and also because he thought he should join before he got drafted. Then there is Elmo, who is played by a pre-Fast Times Judge Reinhold. He is a wasted jolly stoner who is jjst looking to get stoned. Why he is joining the army is a little perplexing, but really, who cares? He is fun to watch so little details like this are overlooked. And of course we have Sgt. Hulka played with absolute earnestness by the late great Warren Oates. Needless to say, it is an interesting bunch of characters.

The film works for various reason, but mainly because Ramis and Dan Goldberg have written a hilarious script that puts the misfits through one twistedly funny situation after another. If only the army were this fun, everyone would want to enlist.

The first half of the film works because of the basic training scenes. The second half works because the misfit recruits are assigned to protect a secret R.V. that the army has concocted. Winger and Ziskey of course can't stay bored for long and they take the R.V. out for a run to Austria to go pick up their girlfriends.

Stripes is one of the funniest movies ever made and it should be checked out by younger people that were born after 1980. I was about 12 when I saw this and my dad laughed at this just as much as I did. And if all you have to go on for comedy is things like Waterboy and Big Daddy ( very funny movies in their own right ) you are missing some great older comedy. You should really check this out.

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30 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Great Murray

9/10
Author: RNMorton from West Chester, Pa
29 May 2003

May be THE classic Bill Murray movie, with Murray, Ramis, Candy and other oddballs making it in the Army. There are three general sequences - Murray pre-Army, basic training, and the mission (occurring after Murray and Ramis "borrow" Army test vehicle with their MP girlfriends). Each of the sequences are funny, I personally like Murray pre-Army best and the mission least. Warren Oates as "Sgt. Hulka" is a modern classic. Over twenty years later and this is still the reigning service comedy.

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20 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

You can't go. All the plants are gonna die.

7/10
Author: lastliberal from United States
29 September 2007

He quit his job and lost his girlfriend. before Lost in Translation and Broken Flowers, he was just a wacky pain-in-the-ass recruit that gave Sgt. Hulka (Warren Oates) nightmares. When it comes to comedy Bill Murray is a winner hands down.

Add in John Candy; John Larroquette as the peeping Capt. Stillman; Judge Reinhold; Harold Ramis; the quick peep at Roberta Leighton; and the hot Lois Hamilton and you have a military comedy of errors that will keep you in stitches.

Of course there is a lot of beautiful scenery in this film in the showers and in the mud pit.

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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Great First Half. But Than, Stripes Loses Comic Punch.

6/10
Author: jbartelone from United States
6 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Stripes begins as a fine and very funny military service farce with Bill Murray losing his job, girlfriend, and apartment, all in the same day. He decides, with his good buddy Harold Ramis, that they should both join the Army. Some of the funniest parts of Stripes are in the beginning of the movie with Bill's character trying to do push-ups, exhausted as he is trying to do as little as 5. Ramis cracks, "I think your ready for the Special Olympics!" Harold also shines in a bit-part in teaching English to a class of all foreign students. He finds out that there are only a few in the class that speak any English at all. He asked a student who raises his hand, "You speak some English?" The student answers back "SOB and $hit" and the whole class than repeats it.

The Basic Training sequences are very funny. Warren Oates shines as a tough drill Sergent, and in addition to SCTV alumni Ramis, John Candy joins the fun as likable, lovable "Ox." There are the typical sex gags, simple jokes, visit to a strip bar, that you would expect in this type of movie and Murray, Candy, Ramis, and Oates keep the comedy fun to watch. However, this is probably due more to the talents of these actors, rather than the storyline, which was done a year earlier with Goldie Hawn in another similar Army movie, Private Benjamin. There is nothing new or original about Stripes. Its best parts are in the first hour.

After the graduation from Basic Training, our likable recruits are assigned to man a top secret vehicle on a special assignment in Europe. Here is where this great comedy falls apart, because at this sequence of the movie, all the good parts have already happened, so the viewer has to spend about 40 minutes watching the group operate the machine, having silly one-lines like, "Wow!!! let's see what this thing can do." rescue some of their group who get temporarily captured in Czechoslovakia, and than arrive home to the predictable hero's welcome. The film goes from funny service farce to a bad Robocop sequel. It's almost as if the European mission sequence was needed, because the producers didn't want to end the film at 90 minutes.

I suppose that it was needed for the recruits to do something with their Army training. The problem is that once the team gets to Europe, the things they do aren't funny anymore and the plot wears thin because of this. The first half of Stripes gets a solid 8, the second half (a generous) 4. Therefore, my overall rating of Stripes is a 6.

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22 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

Funny as hell!

8/10
Author: superboy478 from U.S.A.
5 March 2002

Stripes is a raunchy, adult comedy from critically acclaimed producer/director Ivan Reitman (Evolution, Kindergarten Cop). And it stars Bill Murray (The Royal Tenenbaums), Harold Ramis (As Good as it Gets), John Candy (Uncle Buck), Warren Oates (True Grit).

Low life cab driver John Winger (Bill Murray) loses a lot in 2 hours. That is his job, his apartment, his girlfriend, his car. So, he decides that he's had enough of his pathetic life in New York, so he decides to join the army. He also talks his friend Russel Ziskey (Harold Ramis) into joining with him.

When they finally do join, they are both put into a platoon drilled by Sgt. Hulka (Warren Oates) who has his eye on John. They both go through weeks and weeks of hell by doing basic training and putting up with Sgt. Hulka. But, they full fill their goal by meeting Stella (P.J. Soles) and Louise (Sean Young), two beautiful MP's who have their eys on Russel and John.

As the story moves on, they go to battle in Germany and end up in more hilarious confilcts.

I must say, I think that Warren Oates was a perfect choice for Sgt. Hulka, and that he was so brilliant and funny with the character. I give him graditude. 1921-1982

This is not a movie for kids, but teens may enjoy it if they are looking for a hilarious comedy. STRIPES is 100% classic and comedy!

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20 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Long, boring and unfunny. Should be left back in the 80's.

3/10
Author: jack_thursby from United States
9 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I didn't like this Bill Murray vehicle when it was originally released in the 80s, so I tried watching it again to see if my distaste for this film was down to my movie-going tastes in the 80s or was it that "Stripes" is simply a bad movie. Well, the verdict is in and "Stripes" is a bad movie.

Now, "Stripes" may have been innovative comedy in the early 80s, and it may appeal to people who have gone through basic training or who are Bill Murray fans, but its still a bad movie.

Why is it bad? Mostly because "Stripes" is supposed to be a comedy but it's just not that funny. There are some laughs, but they are few and far between. Most of the movie is consumed by the dramatic plot which is incredibly convoluted and not very interesting. This lack of comedy is especially noticeable if you're used to more contemporary comedies such as "Anchorman" which strive for laughs in every part of the movie.

"Stripes" further suffers from Bill Murray and Harold Ramis's lack of acting ability. Bill Murray is a great comedian but he was not a very compelling dramatic actor at this point in his career, and Harold Ramis is playing Harold Ramis. These two are just not good enough as actors to carry the dramatic arch of the movie.

Lastly, most of the comedy that there is in "Stripes" revolves around Bill Murray's self-centered, smart-alec man-child character so if you don't find that character funny (like I didn't) you're not going to find most of what little comedy there is in "Stripes" funny either.

"Stripes" is very much a movie of its era, it hasn't aged well and is not worth watching. If you want to watch an early 80's "buddy" comedy I would recommend "Stir Crazy." Like "Stripes" the humor in "Stir Crazy" is not as fast-paced as in contemporary comedies, but unlike "Stripes" it has aged much better and as a result is still watchable.

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

It Can Stand Up To Goofballs.

6/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
15 December 2009

Despite the fact that there is no way on God's green earth or this country's army that such a set of circumstances could ever happen, that's still no reason not to enjoy Stripes. The film is in a long line of service comedies that date all the way back to Charlie Chaplin's Shoulder Arms and further than that. Even Shakespeare found some humor in army life, just read how Falstaff made do in the service of his king.

Of course Falstaff wasn't a drill sergeant like Warren Oates who had a platoon of underachievers with the likes of Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and John Candy as recruits. As is usual the service comedies make a mistake in that the basic training company stays intact with the same sergeant. In real life Oates would have taken a drink when the eight weeks was done and gone on to some fresh young trainees.

But some brain in the Pentagon decides that what a new type urban assault vehicle needs is some fresh recruits to maintain it, reasoning if the vehicle is worthy it can stand up to goofballs. The vehicle looks like your ordinary average camper, in fact Murray and Ramis while they're guarding it decide it would be a great chick magnet. So they pick up a pair of female MPs in P.J. Soles and Sean Young.

The officer in charge is John Larroquette who isn't much better than the recruits he has and when the vehicle turns up missing, he sounds the general alarm worthy of the Captain in Mister Roberts. He leads the whole troop after Murray and Ramis right into at that time Communist Czechoslovakia and some nasty Russians. Good thing they didn't have their A team playing either.

Stripes is your typical armed service comedy with a nice Eighties twist from Bill Murray and a crew from Saturday Night Live just coming into their prime as players. John Larroquette is the best in the film, imagine ADA Dan Fielding in an army uniform and you got Larroquette's character. You notice the New York County DA's office never gives Fielding any really big cases to handle.

And yes that vehicle can withstand anything and it has more tricks than James Bond's Astin-Martin. To see what and how much, you have to watch Stripes.

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Silly and Funny – What Else Could I Expect from This Cast?

6/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
9 July 2011

After a terrible day when the taxi driver John Winger (Bill Murray) loses his job, his car and finally is dumped by his girlfriend Anita (Roberta Leighton), he convinces his best friend Russell (Harold Ramis) to join the army to travel and have fun. They team-up with a platoon of outcast and misfits, and John has problems with their tough Sergeant Hulka (Warren Oates). John and Russell get into successive troubles, but they are always rescued by the Military Police Officers Stella (P.J. Soles) and Louise (Sean Young).

Near the graduation, the clumsy and imbecile Captain Stillman (John Larroquette) provokes an accident and Sergeant Hulka is wounded; however, John uses his leadership and the general is impressed with the platoon and assigns the group to go to Italy with the prototype of an armored car. John and Russell are responsible to take care of the prototype, but they date Stella and Louise. Meanwhile Captain Stillman believes that they have stolen the vehicle and crosses the Iron Curtain with Hulka's platoon and they are captured by the communist. Sergeant Hulka escapes and releases a distress signal and John, Russell, Stella and Louise decide to help to rescue their friends from Czechoslovakia.

"Stripes" is a silly and funny comedy, but what else could I expect from a cast with the names of Bill Murray, John Candy, John Larroquette and the other comedians. The extended cut is long and most of the jokes are "politically incorrect" or sexists, but also hilarious. This is the first time that I see this 1981 comedy on DVD and I laughed a lot. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Recrutas da Pesada" ("Rough Recruiters")

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14 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Extremely funny movie, another Bill Murray classic

10/10
Author: C. Nye from United States
20 February 2005

Everyone is funny in this film. Every performance is first-rate and each character adds something to the humor of this movie.

Stripes begins with Bill Murray losing his job, his car and his girlfriend all in the same day. His buddy Harold Ramis is also leading a lackluster life teaching the English language to foreigners who know only curse words. These depressing circumstances set the stage for Murray to convince Ramis to come with him and join the Army.

Basic training, a hard-ass drill sergeant, female military police and naked mud wrestling consume the rest of this hilarious film. Anyone who appreciates smart-ass humor should see this. However Murray and Ramis are the focal point of most of the humor in Stripes and are very easy to relate to. Also stars John Candy, P.J. Soles, Sean Young, John Larroquette and Judge Reinhold.

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15 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Classic Military Comedy With A Vintage Performance By Murray

8/10
Author: treeskier802 from United States
8 June 2007

By today's standards, Stripes probably doesn't hold up to such comedies like Wedding Crashers or Old School where there are laughs every minute of the film. But Stripes is a classic comedy that paved the way for such modern films, and fans of Bill Murray should check it out.

As a kid, I used to watch this movie over and over. My friend and I would rewind the scene where the guys were sitting in the barracks telling each other their stories about why they joined the army. This scene is one of my all-time favorites in any comedy I've ever seen.

Murray's performance is vintage in this film. He is awesome as a smart-alec loser who you just have to root for because of his charm and sense of humor and his ability to not care about anything at all. Ramis is also very good as Murray's best friend; the two have great chemistry together.

Anyone who has ever been in the military will find this movie hilarious. The film does a great job with all the secondary characters such as Ox (John Candy), Elmo (Judge Reinhold), Sergeant Hulka (Warren Oates, and Psycho (Conrad Dunn). The two MPs played by PJ Soles and Sean Young are also sexy and great.

With its 1970s/80s humor and its classic soundtrack, this movie is probably not something anyone under 30 would enjoy. If you like Bill Murray or have been in the military, then you should give this one a look. Rating 8 of 10 stars.

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