Stripes (1981) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
145 Reviews
Sort by:
Great First Half. But Than, Stripes Loses Comic Punch.
jbartelone6 May 2008
Warning: 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.
13 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
thesar-219 July 2015
I'm guessing this movie worked better in 1981, for this is my first time seeing it and I fell asleep twice since yesterday trying to get through it.

Not that it was terrible, though it was terribly long.

It had its funny moments, but not the laugh-out-loud funny Bill Murray I was hoping for.

And I can see which audience this was perfect for and in the early 1980s, it was probably perfect for them…just not in 2015.

(I really didn't have much more to say, but I guess I have to pad this review for this site.)
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Great Murray
RNMorton29 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.
34 out of 47 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
That's the fact Jack!
Dan Grant29 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.
49 out of 72 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
You can't go. All the plants are gonna die.
lastliberal29 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.
20 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
It Can Stand Up To Goofballs.
bkoganbing15 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.
12 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Funny as hell!
superboy4785 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!
23 out of 35 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Didn't do much for me
TheLittleSongbird18 June 2011
I do like Bill Murray and I love John Candy, so I thought this could be at least a decent film. But I found it uneven and it just didn't do much for me. The film is well made, the score is wonderful, Warren Oates is excellent and there is evidence of good direction. But here come the downsides, overall I just didn't find it funny. The script does have weaknesses feeling rather sporadic and ramshackle in the laughs, complete with jokes that feel forced and flat, and while the story starts off well the second half has a change of tone into a kind of a very generic action film that jarred with the rest of the movie and some scenes especially the mud-wrestling match and any scene involving PJ Soles and Sean Young that fell short on credibility. Oates is great, the other acting isn't that good in my opinion, Bill Murray plays a very obnoxious and unlikeable character and unfortunately he isn't very funny which is sad, Harold Ramis' character is interesting but is rarely built upon, both John Candy and Judge Reinhold with some weak scenes and dialogue are dull sadly and the best said about John Laroquette the better. All in all, has the odd bright spot but I was left cold. 4/10 Bethany Cox
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Silly and Funny – What Else Could I Expect from This Cast?
Claudio Carvalho9 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")
12 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Stripes - Action & Propaganda All in One
Garfunkel20 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The soul purpose of this movie is to make the military, specifically the United States Army, seem like a breeze. The two main characters, John and Russell see no point in living life like lazy sleezeballs so they join the military for "some fun". This is where the stupidity starts.

John and Russell and put in a recruit squad including other morons. Sgt. Hulka is the typical "hard-ass" drill instructor who seems to always be punishing the two main characters for trying to act "funny" and "cool" (obvious cliché). There are many instances in this movie that I found completely ridiculous. The first one would have to be basic training when the recruits are with the mortars and "accidentally" almost kill Hulka which results in him just being hospitalized. The recruits don't really receive any punishment (like kicked out or court martial) but strong resentment from Hulka. Secondly would have to be when John and Russell are found breaking military law which obviously causes two female MPs to magically fall in love with them, sneak into an officers nearby house, and immediately have sex. Sexist and disgusting? Check.

When the recruits realize that they are pretty much idiots, and graduation is coming soon it serves as a time for John to finally act like a leader. This sounds good that they may actually take the army seriously, but they don't. John makes some stupid over-patriotic speech about how "We are in the U.S. Army, the best army ever. We've been *kicking ass for over 200 years*" (lol; don't you remember the Korean War and Vietnam, John?). Anyhow, this "speech" encourages the recruits to then do a one-night transformation for the next day which is graduation. They show up at the ceremony late, marching in like a bunch of kindergartens, and do a completely awkward, and un-military like march singing pop songs. This is supposedly their "one night transformation". Yet even with this stupid display, the high ranking officers pick John and his recruits over EVERY OTHER RECRUIT PLATOON which acted more military than they did. They are sent to a NATO country on a special assignment which is testing a "new" EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle (in reality a GMC motor home lol!).

This assignment is too much for Russell and John, and they decide to go to Germany by stealing the EM-50 UAV to meet up with the pretty female MPs they screwed with back in the U.S. Sgt. Hulka finds out what John and Russell did, and take the other recruits to retrieve the EM-50 motor home back. Somehow, they take a wrong turn into Czechoslovakia and are captured by the occupying Soviet Army. Russell, John, and the MP girls go to Czechoslovakia to rescue the men. This movie tries to portray how "easy" it is for American troops to invade a Soviet-bloc nation by just "smashing through" a roadblock. Not to mention, these idiots could have started World War III for their dumb actions! Russell, John, and the MPs enter the town the recruits are held in, rescue them, defeat a huge army of Soviet soldiers, blow up tanks, and survive rockets and grenades all thanks to the GMC Motor Home being super protective (okay?). They all then return back to the United States being "heroes" and calling the Soviets "pu--ies" which is an over-exaggeration because how could a motor home beat an entire Soviet division? Pro-American anti-Soviet propaganda is why, then again this film was made 3/4 way through the Cold War.

I do not recommend this movie, it is boring, absurd, and ridiculous. If you like watching a film where buffoons become heroes in an unreal way, then this is for you.
9 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Long, boring and unfunny. Should be left back in the 80's.
jack_thursby9 July 2009
Warning: 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.
22 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Shockingly bad. I can't fathom how people found this funny
zetes29 April 2011
In some circles, this is considered a classic of 1980s comedy. I'm something of an aficionado of 80s comedies, having grown up in that decade (though admittedly 1981 is a bit early for me). I must say, this is no classic. It's a boring piece of crap. Bill Murray is somewhat charismatic as a bum who joins the Army along with his best friend, played by Harold Ramis. Together they lead a rag-tag group of losers under the command of Warren Oates (who died less than a year after this film was released). Among them are John Candy and Judge Reinhold. John Laroquette and Sean Young also appear. There's barely a laugh in the picture (Candy made me chuckle once in a great while), and the heroes are such unlikeable douches you almost can't wait to see them courtmartialed for their "hilarious" antics (of course it ends with them receiving medals for actions which, I imagine, would have begun WWIII in 1981). Just awful.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Uncle Sam Wants Topless Women
wes-connors12 March 2011
Louisville, Kentucky cab driver Bill Murray (as John Winger) loses his job, car, and sexy blonde girlfriend. After watching a TV recruitment ad, Mr. Murray decides to join the U.S. Army. Joining Murray is cheerful chum Harold Ramis (as Russell Ziskey), who has been working as an English instructor. They are accepted for basic training at Fort Knox (as Fort Arnold)… and hi-jinks ensue… Warren Oates takes his turn as the loud-mouthed drill sergeant. John Candy (as Dewey "Ox" Oxburger) plays the fat recruit - you'll see him mud-wrestle several of the film's topless highlights...

This popular movie needs reevaluation. It's really a low point in the line of "SCTV" and "SNL" influenced and/or inspired films begun in the 1970s. Probably, the reason is that filmmakers did nothing out of the ordinary with an overused storyline. Many "Second City" segments are funnier - compare, for example, the SCTV "English for Beginners" skit with Mr. Ramis' opening scene. In spite, "Stripes" had a catchy sing-a-long and lines to use effectively in TV commercials. Critics who were behind the curve on better comedies took the chance to write a few kind words. That's the fact, Jack.

**** Stripes (6/26/81) Ivan Reitman ~ Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, John Candy
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
What was the point of this?
tim_o_callaghan20 December 2001
Disillusioned, slobbish New York cabby Bill Murray decides to join the army to get in shape, and persuades teacher buddy Harold Ramis to do the same for no good reason. Most of the rest of the film concerns their platoon of misfits (including John Candy), sadistic drill sergeant, mad egotistical captain (John Larroquette) and a couple of improbably attractive MPs. There is a rather silly plot tagged on the end involving a top secret armoured car disguised as a camper van, presumably to give the whole exercise some point, without conspicuous success. Not particularly funny, but has some amiable performances.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
mvanhoore11 March 2014
I watched this movie after the demise of Harold Ramis. Although I didn't expect to see a masterpiece I had the feeling I could look forward to two hours of humor and relaxation. In fact the cast (beside Ramis there are Bill Murray, John Candy and Warren Oates) was promising. As were the first couple of minutes. Everything goes wrong in the life of John Winger (Bill Murray), within a couple of hours he loses his job, his apartment, his car and his girlfriend. Out of total frustration he decides to join the army together with his friend Russell (Harold Ramis). From that moment the film doesn't escape the depth of Police Academy for example. What's supposed to be a comedy dives into a vulgar and tedious movie. When the squadron enters a nudie bar on their free evening the film reaches a low point where I have to admit that I seldom saw a more embarrassing and vulgar scene which is meant to be funny and titillating. From the moment that the action moves to the East Bloc the film turns to ridiculous. Of course the film isn't meant to be art house but the talents of the cast are completely wasted here. From later collaborations between Murray and Ramis we learn that they are capable of creating a really humorous movie but this is total crap.
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Extremely funny movie, another Bill Murray classic
C. Nye20 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.
15 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
With These Guys on the Front Lines...
jhclues11 June 2001
In one of his funniest comedies, Bill Murray takes on the U.S. Army, and without question, with guys like this on the front lines, we can all sleep a little easier at night. `Stripes,' directed by Ivan Reitman, is the story of John Winger (Murray), who in one day loses his girl, his job, his car and his apartment. So what's a guy to do after that, but join the Army? But he doesn't go alone, oh no-- he also talks his best friend, Russell Ziskey (Harold Ramis) into joining with him. And just like that they find themselves at boot camp, face to face with one of the most formidable Drill Instructors every to grace the silver screen, Sergeant Hulka (Warren Oates), and surrounded by as motley a group of raw recruits as anyone could imagine. Among them, there's Dewey Oxburger (John Candy), known as `Ox,' who plans to emerge from boot camp a `lean, mean fighting machine'; and `Cruiser (John Diehl),' who joined up to beat the draft (Hulka: `Son, there isn't a draft, anymore.' Cruiser: `There was one?'); and Francis Soyer (George Jenesky), known as `Psycho' (`Call me Francis, and I'll kill you. Touch my stuff, and I'll kill you. Touch me...and I'll kill you.' Hulka: `Lighten up, Francis...').

The pressure is on for Hulka and his men, when Colonel Glass (Lance LeGault) informs Captain Stillman (John Larroquette) that the `General' is looking for a squad of crack new recruits to man a special project, and Hulka's boys have been chosen. The project involves a secret weapon, an `urban assault' vehicle, that is to be unveiled on their base in Germany shortly. But first, Hulka has to get his troops through basic, which will be a minor miracle in itself, even though Winger goes `Out on a limb,' and offers to be their leader. And things proceed just as badly as you would expect, not only on the obstacle course, but off, when Winger and Ziskey get mixed up with a couple of female M.Ps., Stella (P.J. Soles) and Louise (Sean Young), and Ox gets coerced (by Winger, of course) into taking part in a female mud-wrestling event at a local night spot.

Along the way, Reitman sets up the situations for some serious laughs, and keeps it all on track with a good pace and excellent timing. Murray is terrific as Winger, with a performance that puts a generous helping of `dry' in the expression `dry humor.' He plays it all so straight, so serious, from his quips and one liners (watching a TV promo for the Army, `This looks pretty good--'), to his full blown inspirational speech to the troops on the night before their final test at basic training (`We're all very different people. We're not Spartans, we're not Watusi, we're Americans, with a capital ‘A.' That means our forefathers were thrown out of every decent country in the world--'), that it makes it all the more hilarious. He never tries to be `funny,' or fish for laughs, which is really what makes this movie work so well. Murray is perhaps the best in the business at playing this kind of humor and putting it across (Ben Stiller would be a close second).

Harold Ramis and John Candy also make invaluable contributions that make this one fly. Watch Ramis, reacting to what Candy is saying as `Ox,' as explains why he joined the Army; it makes what Ox is saying twice as funny. And Ox, talking about what a `shy guy' he is, and how `You may have noticed, I have this weight problem--' And Oates, as well, gives a singular performance that makes Hulka a real person, beyond the typical stereotype of the hard-nosed D.I. His portrayal, taken out of context, is one that would stand up even in more serious fare, like Kubrick's `Full Metal Jacket.'

The supporting cast includes Judge Reinhold (Elmo), John Voldstad (Stillman's Aide), Roberta Leighton (Anita), Antone Pagan (Hector), Fran Ryan (Dowager in Cab), Dave Thomas (M.C.) and William Lucking (Recruiter). From beginning to end, `Stripes' is a fun-filled laugh riot that's filled with memorable scenes and a plethora of lines you'll be quoting forever. This is one you can watch over and over again, with a bunch of characters you're never going to forget. Winger and Ziskey, Ox, Psycho, Cruiser. These are the guys who Demi Moore, as Galloway in `A Few Good Men,' could have been talking about when, in response to the question of why she likes these guys so much, replies, `Because they stand on a wall, and they say nothing is going to hurt you tonight, not on my watch...' It kind of makes you think. Or, as Cruiser might say, `Yeah... About what?' I rate this one 10/10.
20 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Best Comedy of all times.
William Simmons8 September 2006
This is by far one of Bill Murray's best comedy efforts. John Winger the character played by Murray is the best one liner character I have ever seen. Harold Ramis and John Larroquette bring up the levels of character acting to above par for any comedy lover. John Candy and Warren Oates are also very good in there roles that they played. The visuals, and directing were superb for the time frame the movie was made. A great movie, plenty of action, one liners. The commencement scene is by far on of the best directed and acted scenes in a comedy in a long time. I love the movie and recommend seeing it, some scenes may not be suitable for all ages, the TV version takes away from the classic comedy, get the DVD and enjoy the extras and commentary that are available. A MUST HAVE for any movie fan. Comedy lovers must see this one. GREAT! GREAT! GREAT!
22 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Awful, unfunny, US Army recruitment vehicle.
SmokeyTee9 December 2005
This is the single worst film I have seen this year.

The humour is low-brow throughout and if it wasn't for the frequent soft-porn and smut scenes it would be suitable for very undemanding 10-12 year olds.

Bill Murray (an actor whose work I appreciate usually) is at his unfunniest here. This is supposed to be a personal development type film (insert applicable cliché) but his character merely transforms from useless lay-about to annoying, arrogant (American) jock.

We realised it was crap by 30min in, the missus lost interest at 60 min and I gave up with the Yanks victorious over the bumbling Ruskies and about 5min to go...! DO NOT WASTE YOUR PRECIOUS TIME WITH THIS FILM, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE!
15 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Classic Military Comedy With A Vintage Performance By Murray
treeskier8028 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.
15 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Worst film ever?
twelvewaystodie3 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Possibly not, but it is awful. Even the fantastic cast cant save it. OK, I admit it started off quite funny but it seemed to plummet downhill as soon as they jumped those girls in the Generals house. Bill Murray turned from being a quick witted, humorous guy into an arsehole who was shouting things at people in the street that just weren't funny, its like he was trying too hard to be funny. His character stole a weapon (an RV? come on...) and ends up being a national hero after invading another country and killing god knows how many soldiers, for a laugh. One good point is that this film shows the inadequacy and incompetence of the US Army and shows how arrogant and imbecilic they really are, albeit unintentionally. I actually felt disgusted that this kind of propaganda crap could really be released.
11 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The perfect way to waste two hours of your life.
liamolf3 March 2005

Heres some good advise to anyone living in the U.K. Whenever Channel 5 has an old 80's comedy on late at night, read a book instead. I am currently in the process of recovering from a seizure, due to reading some of the comments on this film on here. I am actually shocked at the fact that someone actually said this film was realistic! All I can say is thank god the Cold War never escalated or else we might as well have given the Commie's our borders... I found this film dire in the utmost pretence, maybe it is just my British perception of what makes a film funny, who knows? But in all aspects, this film is not just awful, its teeth grindingly terrible.

I've never been a fan of Bill Murray, and its rubbish like this that justify my feelings towards him. Don't get me wrong, I loved Ghostbuster's, which was made only three years after this film. But this just sums Bill Murray up really. I can safely say that I haven't wasted my time so blatantly like this since seeing the first running of Operation Delta Force over here, though these two films have more in common than you would think. For 1 thing, they both have terrible action sequences from beginning to end, and 2nd. They are both riddled with cheesy Cliché's, throughout.

Heres one thing, these guys are supposed to be in the "U.S Army". Yet they are allowed to wallow around their Camp, Willy nilly, seducing female Military Police Officers, and subsequently shagging them silly in the Generals Quarters. Talk about Random! This film is just terrible for this I'm afraid. Now don't get me wrong, I'm no feminist sympathiser, but the fact that these two women actually fall hands over heels in love with the two characters shortly after arresting them, letting them go free... Twice, is just insulting to the female race. The fact that one tatty haired, fat lipped bum (Winger) and his hapless sidekick Ramis can simply sweet talk themselves into into the MP's underwear, to which they fall madly in love with the two of them is nothing short of ludicrous.

Then there is the training scenes, where you get to meet the Squad "Phycho" who unconvincingly threatens to kill anyone who touches him or his stuff, followed by the overweight bloke (played by the late and great John Candy) who claims he joined the army to "avoid paying $400 for anger management classes". Leading to loud mouthed Murray paying tribute to the "Giant Toe," (WTF?) 'Drill Seargent' who honestly couldn't organise a pi$$ up in a brewery, let alone his band of recruits. All this scene serves to do is to prelude loads of fight scenes, with people saying "way to go ass hole'!" all the time, etc etc.

The scenes then carry on showing the rag tag bunch making utter tits of themselves on the Assault Course, leading to a scene where one of them shoots wildly into the air at some passing birds with an assault rifle, peppering a watch tower with bullets. (Just like that. Yep, told you this film was random...He miraculously escapes undisciplined as well...) Eventually Leading up the the passing out parade, where the hapless squad make a magic turn around within the space of two hours. (Bugger me, Miracle!) Thanks to some wise words from Murray, to which they then direct a massively none military like dance routine in front of a Geriatric 'General' in front of the rest of the squads. All of this to the immense pleasure of their two Girlfriends on the stand, who really should've been arresting them... Everyone laughs it off though. This bit is nothing short of amazing though. He then chooses them to guard a new Multi-Million Dollar Prototype Armoured Vehicle in Italy (which turns out to be just a mobile home painted green with loads of gadgets on the inside), claiming "This is exactly what this Army needs!" righto...

Then there is the dire finale, where Murray and Ramis decide to steal this top-secret prototype Military Vehicle to pick up their newly acquired and somewhat Hyperactive MP Girlfriends in Germany. To which the Hapless Captain (John Larroquette) then finds out and leads the Squad of fresh recruits on a retrieval Mission for this vehicle. To which they then take a "wrong turn" en-route and end up in Soviet Held Czechoslovakia, where they are captured. (Like we didn't see that coming...) Thus begins a rescue attempt by Ramis and Murray + Birds in hand, to which is where a big fight, loads of shooting from the hip and blowing tanks up. With them coming back as National Heroes, humiliating the Russians by calling them "pussies," etc etc. The end. Thats right. No Courts Martial, nothing. They only just stole a prototype Military vehicle, drove it into a Warsaw Pact country and almost caused an International incident which could've sparked WW3!

This film is honestly more fun that being diagnosed with a terminal illness. I know its meant to be a Comedy, it got all the right actors for it, but where in the hell is it? Have Channel 5 cuts those bits out? The only redeeming feature in this film is the repetitive use of naked women taking showers, and female Mud Wrestling. (like I said, Random) Not that it helps to divert from the fact that this is an utterly crap film, of course. This film should realistically be aimed at immature 9 year old's, sadly, we have to watch it instead. 1 star out of 10 - Total Tripe. My advice, do something a little more useful with your time. Like Castrating yourself...
17 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Hundred-Dollar Shine on a Three-Dollar Pair of Shoes
jzappa7 September 2011
I understand the enjoyment of it. The prolonged and arguably dignified ancestry includes Buck Privates, Duck Soup and the like. This cheeky young Bill Murray is firmly anchored in Groucho, the clue I'd consider an early scuffle with a Manhattan matron. The idea is recapturing the same timbre but with a clear post-SNL hipster slacker derision. And like those vintage vehicles were for the classic comedy teams, storytelling amounts to little more than piecing together various sorts of obligatory scenes, cycling through the kinds that entails.

You look back on all the moments and not so much the transitions between them. Who needs them? That's supposed to be the attitude one brings to one of these sorts of movies. It has that Animal House feel. Take a rigid institution of authoritarian discipline and formality and throw a big pie in its face. And fart on its head for good measure. Just as John Vernon was the anal-retentive square lording it over our slacker heroes in John Landis' film, Warren Oates plays Sgt. 1st Class Hulka, who gives Murray the most discipline he must've ever had in his life, making him the closest character in the film to give the film cohesion. Otherwise, this lazy but likable classic wastes most of its time overstressing situations contradicted from the start by Murray's character. The star act and his material are essentially misaligned until the tedious, scattered script ultimately labors past basic training.

The blessing I think Stripes brings to the golden-age slapstick template is a more vivid ensemble. Yes, In the Navy and A Night at the Opera had plots, but with the attention to detail and ripeness in dialogue and characterization of a present-day cartoon. The peripheral people around the stars of the act were virtually prevented from having too much presence or distinction for fear of upstaging the deal-breaking stars, but in Stripes, others clowning in basic-training include Judge Reinhold's head-bobbing stoner, Conrad Dunn's broad-stroke acknowledgment to Travis Bickle (likely more of a Harold Ramis contribution), and John Candy's soft-hearted fatso, who finds the Laurel to his Hardy in southern boy John Diehl. They all have the kind of indelible character we hope for in especially young performances of actors who later became more prevalent. And yet P.J. Soles and Sean Young are there for one reason, the same one reason all us young guys wanted them in it. Other than that, there is absolutely nothing else. Not a single realistic action is allowed from them.

Director Ivan Reitman is a sure merchant. He knows that the cheap laughs are the most certain, that we like to see bunglers get it together without losing their ungainly style, and that it doesn't harm business to slot in a sorority shower scene or nude mud-wrestling competition every 30 minutes or so. Vietnam was by now a bygone phase, and this is Reagan's Good Army. When Ivan Reitman wants to ambush the Eastern Bloc in a Winnebago crammed with rockets, he has the certified OK for dozens of tanks, explosions, shootouts and hand-to-hand combat moments. But believe me, it was a great deal funnier when we were ten.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Dated. Plagiarised.
Bernie-569 November 2002
Perhaps this film was regarded as original and rather humorous in its country of origin way back in 1981, but it's now dated. Two idiots join the army and get knocked into fine servicemen -- wow, I'd never have thought of a plot like that! Come to think if it, I have heard of it before. It's a cheap knock-off of Boulting Brother's ‘Private's Progress' (1956) in which an all-star cast playing a squad of misfits is knocked into fine servicemen, watched over by a tough, gruff about-to-retire drill sergeant. This downmarket US plagiarised version is just not in the same class. Bill Murray is just a dull pain-in-the ass who self-centred child-like persona is supposed to be comic. Warren Oates and John Candy in supporting roles are acceptable, with Oates almost reaching the standard set by William Hartnell.
8 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Unfunny, boring and sexist
preppy-39 January 2011
Inexplicably popular "comedy". John (Bill Murray) and Russell (Harold Ramis) are two idiots who have no direction or reason in life. They decide to join the Army thinking it's a way to make easy money. They get stuck with a group of utterly annoying and unfunny guys (who the audience is supposed to find hysterical) and a tough as nails drill Sgt (Warren Oates). Naturally John is constantly cracking "funny" one liners and screwing up deliberately left and right. None of it is funny at all. Then, at the end, it inexplicably turns into an army drama!

This was a huge hut in 1981 and its popularity totally escapes me. I didn't like it back then and I still don't like it now. I should point that, personally, I never found Murray that funny. His blank face and obnoxious manner made me annoyed with him more than anything else. This movie does nothing to change my view. Basically the movie just isn't funny! I didn't smile (let alone laugh) once! Each joke fizzled out completely or they give us these somewhat interesting characters and NEVER build on them! When you get John Candy and Daniel Stern in a movie and even THEY'RE not funny something is seriously wrong. Worst of all is John Larroquette as Capt. Stillman. EVERY scene with his is terribly unfunny. And WHAT was the thinking of turning it into a generic action film at the end??

It's also incredibly sexist. You have the incredibly beautiful women P.J. Soles and Sean Young as MPs. Naturally they meet Murray and Ramis and let them get away with murder and almost immediately have sex with them. That's just pushing credibility WAY too far. The absolute low point is a pointless and downright revolting mud wrestling match when Candy is wrestling with five bikini clad beautiful women. Naturally he (inexplicably) gets ALL their tops off and waves them around! The two good points are Oates (giving a GREAT performance) and a bombastic score. Why this movie was such a big hit is beyond me. A 1 all the way.
12 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews