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Full Metal Jacket (1987)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  10 July 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 435,500 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 669 user | 123 critic | 18 from

A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the U.S.-Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.



(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Top 250 Movies #87 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gny. Sgt. Hartman (as Lee Ermey)
Kieron Jecchinis ...
Tim Colceri ...
Jon Stafford ...
Doc Jay (as John Stafford)
Bruce Boa ...
Ian Tyler ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In Vietnam The Wind Doesn't Blow It Sucks 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


$17,000,000 (estimated)


$46,357,676 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During the training scenes there is a private with the name "Hunter S" on his back, an allusion to "Gonzo" journalist Hunter S. Thompson. See more »


When the recruits are training and going over the obstacle with the two bars, Joker goes first and Pyle goes next. But if you look behind Joker when he starts, Pyle is not the next recruit in line. 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 ...
See more »


Spoofed in Saturday Night Live: Michael Phelps/Lil' Wayne (2008) See more »


Paint It, Black
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Performed by The Rolling Stones
Produced by Andrew Loog Oldham
Courtesy of ABKCO Music and Records
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User Reviews

"This is my rifle. There are many like it but this one is mine."
19 December 2001 | by (Järvenpää, Finland) – See all my reviews

Legendary Stanley Kubrick - probably the most ingenious film-maker of our time - directed only two movies in the 80's. Someone could thoughtlessly claim that it was a very bad and a slow decade for him but on the contrary: the films happened to be "The Shining" (1980) - the darkest, the greatest and most frightening, superb and impressive horror movie ever made - and "Full Metal Jacket" (1987) the finest war movie in the history of motion picture. The fact that he directed the most beloved classics of two completely different genre is simply unbelievable.

First half of "Full Metal Jacket" is spectacular. Lee Ermey's Drill Instructor Hartman ("I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops or greasers. Here you are all equally worthless") is probably the most hateful, forbidding and repulsive character in the history of Kubrick's movies. Jack Nicholson in "The Shining" was like a kitten compared to him. The fact that he is so overdone and the dialogue written to him is so sarcastic, biting and clever makes him also the funniest part of "Full Metal Jacket". Even though this is one of the most pressuring Kubrick movies first half can also be seen as an extremely dark comedy.

Rest of the cast is just as excellent. Matthew Modine in the leading role as Private Joker is simply fabulous but I guess most of the sympathies goes to Vincent D'Onofrio's unforgettable Private Pyle. Audience really feels sorry for him because he's the most regrettable victim of the training period that turns perfectly ordinary nice blokes into merciless killers. Actually I'm not sure if this is the greatest war movie ever made. I've always had my difficulties of choosing between "Full Metal Jacket" and Francis Ford Coppola's outstanding "Apocalypse. Now." Both of these films really shows what war is really about. War is never justified, war is never good. Therefore I think war movie should never glorify war but rather show it as what it really is: nightmarish hell. Second half of "Full Metal Jacket" does it. That makes it probably the most pacifistic war movie I've ever seen.

Interesting fact: at the end of "Full Metal Jacket" soldiers walk on the battlefield and sing an absurd and silly Mickey Mouse marching song. Childish and senseless marching songs of the first half were very comical. This one should be rather funny too but at this time the audience has already seen way too much. This kind of humor no longer amuses and makes you laugh. Song is the final crown of "Full Metal Jacket". It gives the last touch to all this irrationality and I'm positive that was also Kubrick's intention. I'm pretty sure that this is Stanley Kubrick's greatest movie right after excellent "A Clockwork Orange". Magnificent Masterpiece with a capital M. 10 out of 10.

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