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Heartbreak Ridge (1986)

R  |   |  Action, Comedy, Drama  |  5 December 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 28,028 users  
Reviews: 115 user | 30 critic

A hard-nosed, hard-living Marine gunnery sergeant clashes with his superiors and his ex-wife as he takes command of a spoiled recon platoon with a bad attitude.


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Major Powers
Sgt. Webster
Little Mary
Roy Jennings
Lieutenant Ring
Aponte (as Ramon Franco)
Tom Villard ...
Rodney Hill ...


1983. Tom Highway is a well-decorated career military man in the United States Marine Corps, he who has seen action in Korea and Vietnam. His current rank is Gunnery Sergeant. His experiences have led him to become an opinionated, no nonsense man, who is prone to bursts of violence, especially when he's drunk, if the situation does not suit him, regardless of the specifics or people involved. Because of these actions, he has spent his fair share of overnighters behind bars. Close to retirement, one of his last assignments, one he requested, is back at his old unit at Cherry Point, North Carolina, from where he was transferred for insubordination. He is to train a reconnaissance platoon. His superior officer, the much younger and combat inexperienced Major Malcolm Powers, sees Highway as a relic of an old styled military. Highway's commanding officer, Lieutenant Ring, the platoon leader, is also a younger man who has no combat experience, but is academically inclined and happy-go-lucky... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Clint Eastwood is Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway, career Marine and combat veteran. He is a man whose life has been defined by war. Korea and Vietnam taught him how to survive. He won the Congressional Medal of Honor but found public apathy and military bureaucracy. He is a hard-drinking loner but he's trying to reorganize his life and understand the woman he loves. He is a traditionalist who has to shape up his ragtag troops and he'll get the job done. His integrity is unwavering. His past is Heartbreak Ridge. He is ready for another battlefield and his finest hour. It will come. See more »


Action | Comedy | Drama | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

5 December 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El guerrero solitario  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)


$42,724,017 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The sequence involving the bulldozer is based on a real event. The officer who actually did what Eastwood portrays was John Abizaid, at the time a Captain and a Ranger Company Commander. Abizaid recently retired as the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) commander, in charge of all U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and the rest of the Middle East. See more »


In the beginning of the film, when Highway stands to attention as the colors are being lowered at sunset, the bugle call being played is "Taps". However, the correct call is "Retreat". Taps is played later in the evening at Lights Out. See more »


Maj. Malcolm A. Powers: [after Profile fell down, Highway speaks to him, then Profile runs off] What did you say to him?
Highway: I said "Don't give the prick the satisfaction," sir!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening Warner Bros. logo is black and white. See more »


References Mod Squad (1968) See more »


I Love You But I Ain't Stupid
Lyrics by Mario Van Peebles
Music by Mario Van Peebles and Desmond Nakano
Performed by Mario Van Peebles
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

What a pathetic joke.
23 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As an active-duty Marine, from the moment I saw "colors" going at about 1630, with "Taps" being played (that goes at 2200), to the Company Commander screaming in a Gunny's ear (a CMoH winner), I knew this movie was gonna suck. Stitch Jones would never have made it out of Parris Island alive much less make it through a Recon indoc. Indeed, that Brig Rat would never ever have come back to his former Recon platoon after being busted down. Without Eastwood's acting, this movie would have been worse than anything Woody Allen ever made. Also, the portrayal of a Recon marine in the guise of Peeble's pathetic character was an insult. A careful check of the credits reveals that there was no military technical adviser and that is one of the biggest problems with this movie. A Hollywood writer is about as knowledgeable about the Marine Corps as I am of Nuclear Physics.

15 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Re: Highway's claim about 1-1-1 - how does it stand now? helica9
Marines are the ICING on the military cake netwerk023
How old was Gunny Highway? fatdaddync
Game - You know youve seen heartbreak ridge too much when... pauljfrain
Basic training or Recon midwffan
No room in the budget for a military advisor? rythm_method
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