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Full Metal Jacket (1987)

R | | Drama, War | 10 July 1987 (USA)
A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.



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Top Rated Movies #94 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gny. Sgt. Hartman (as Lee Ermey)
Rafterman (as Kevyn Major-Howard)
Lt. Touchdown
Kieron Jecchinis ...
Tim Colceri ...
Jon Stafford ...
Doc Jay (as John Stafford)
Ian Tyler ...
Lt. Cleves


A two-segment look at the effect of the military mindset and war itself on Vietnam era Marines. The first half follows a group of recruits in boot camp under the command of the punishing Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. The second half shows one of those recruits, Joker, covering the war as a correspondent for Stars and Stripes, focusing on the Tet offensive. Written by Scott Renshaw <as.idc@forsythe.stanford.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Acclaimed by critics as the best war movie ever made See more »


Drama | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

10 July 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket  »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,217,307, 28 June 1987, Limited Release

Gross USA:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to director John Boorman, Stanley Kubrick wanted to cast Bill McKinney in the role of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman. However, Kubrick was so unsettled after viewing McKinney's performance in Deliverance (1972) that he declined to meet with him, saying he was simply too frightened at the idea of being in McKinney's presence. Kubrick then hired Tim Colceri to play Hartman. Colceri never got to play the role, as former US Marine Corps Drill Instructor R. Lee Ermey, consultant for the Marine Corps boot camp portion of the film, performed a demonstration on videotape in which he yelled obscene insults and abuse for 15 minutes without stopping, repeating himself or even flinching - despite being continuously pelted with tennis balls and oranges. Stanley Kubrick was so impressed that he cast Ermey as Hartman. Colceri was bitter but accepted Kubrick's consolation prize of a small role as a helicopter door-gunner. See more »


Just before the scene inside the helicopter with the door gunner there is footage looking down on the trees from the helicopter. You can clearly see that the shadow of the helicopter is that of a Bell Ranger instead of the H-34 Choctaw they were supposed to be flying on. See more »


[first lines]
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: I am Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, your senior drill instructor. From now on you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be "Sir". Do you maggots understand that?
Recruits: [In unison in a normal speaking tone] Sir, yes Sir.
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Bullshit I can't hear you. Sound off like you got a pair!
Recruits: [In unison, much louder] SIR, YES SIR!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death praying ...
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References Lawrence of Arabia (1962) See more »


Happy Birthday
Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
[Celebrating Jesus' date of birth: Christmas]
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User Reviews

The movies finally got Parris Island right
22 December 2006 | by See all my reviews

Though I've read only a couple of dozen of the nearly 500 comments on this film, I didn't see any from ex-Marines who'd had the Parris Island experience. I went through PI in 1957. The time period in the picture would have been about 1967, since the in-country sequence includes the '68 Tet Offensive. Little had changed in those 10 years except the switch from M1s to M16s.

For the most part Kubrick got Parris Island right on the money. And why shouldn't he have, since his screen DI, Lee Ermey was in fact a real DI before he started acting (he played another DI in "The Boys of Company C," an earlier and lesser Vietnam flick)? He had a built- in technical adviser. The screams and insults and profanity and physical punishment were all part of the DIs armamentarium. When you're facing up to 75 young strangers you need to immediately establish absolute authority and hang on to it for 13 weeks. Furthermore, you want to break the breakable as soon as you can. My platoon had its Private Pyles and though none ended up as he does in "Full Metal Jacket," I remember that they simply disappeared from our ranks, never to be heard from again. Nothing Ermey as Sgt. Hartman does is exaggerated.

Kubrick, however, does exaggerate. Speaking of Pyle's ending, it's almost impossible for me to imagine that a recruit could manage to sneak a clip of live rounds away from the rifle range. Every shooter at the range has his own rifle coach, and every single round is very carefully accounted for. Kubrick started the killing one scene too early.

I've read that DIs nowadays are forbidden to use the time-honored f-word, and are not allowed to lay hands on recruits. I don't know if that's good or bad for training (I had my face slapped hard my first day of boot camp and that was just for openers), but then all of us old-timers like to brag about how tough it useta be!

A final note: It's interesting to compare "Full Metal Jacket" to another attempt at a portrayal of Parris Island, Jack Webb's "The DI," made around '55 or '56. Webb tries for authenticity, but as I was to learn a year or so later, his PI was a boy scout camp.

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