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Heartbreak Ridge (1986)

R  |   |  Action, Comedy, Drama  |  5 December 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 27,964 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?


Prior to filming, Mario Van Peebles could not play the guitar, but took several quick lessons to convince Clint Eastwood that he could play the role of the wannabe rock star, Corporal "Stitch" Jones. See more »


In the opening shot, you can see the shadow of the helicopter that is holding the camera as it circles the prison. See more »


Maj. Malcolm A. Powers: [approaching Highway] Just what the hell do you think you're doing?
Highway: Just enjoying the view, sir.
Maj. Malcolm A. Powers: Well, you disobeyed an order. I told you to stay in contact and not take this hill without me. Damn it! Get on your feet, Highway!
Highway: With all due respect, sir, you're beginning to bore the hell out of me.
[sees the helicopter landing and Colonel Meyers getting out]
Colonel Meyers: Who's in charge here?
Maj. Malcolm A. Powers: I am, sir. Major Malcolm Powers.
Colonel Meyers: Did you lead this assault?
Maj. Malcolm A. Powers: Sir, Leutenant Ring and Gunnery Sergeant Highway disobeyed...
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in The Benchwarmers (2006) 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

It's heartbreakingly Awful
21 December 2004 | by (Lincoln England) – See all my reviews

Clint Eastwood is one of the most talented people in Hollywood: Acting, Directing, Writing & Producing, he's excelled at them all and truly is "a living legend", so how the hell he came up with this rubbish I don't know? He plays USMC Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway, hard as nails and vastly experienced but lacking motivation and still haunted by his experiences in The Korean War. His fire gets lit again as he takes over a platoon which has lost all discipline and prepares them for the Greneda invasion, in which he eventually leads them. it's a good idea for a movie but horribly executed. Trust me, every cliché' in the book is used here, from the drunk who finds redemption, to the misfits licked into shape, to the nasty officer who gets his comeupence. That's bad enough but the main reason I hate this film is the portrayal of USMC soldiers. It's actually insulting it's so bad. Marines refusing to obey orders? A Gunnery sergeant fighting (physically) with a Major? A Marine Cpl more interested in a (dire) musical career than The Corps? Never. Not in a million years. I can't understand how an acknowledged patriot like Mr Eastwood could show the United States Marine Corps in such an inaccurate way? Apart from that, the invasion of Greneda was nothing to be proud of. A tiny little island which never had the slightest chance of fighting back. I'm a big fan of Clint Eastwood and I've seen all his movies. This is the only one I would label ROTTEN and, sadly, I give it 2 out of 10. Avoid at all costs.

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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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