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

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

An Epic Story of the Vietnam War [Australia Theatrical] See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

10 July 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket  »

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$46,357,676 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

R. Lee Ermey was involved in a jeep accident during the making of the movie. At 1:00 a.m. one night he skidded off the road, breaking all the ribs on his left side. He refused to pass out, and kept flashing his car lights until a motorist stopped. In some scenes you'll notice that he does not move his left arm at all. Stanley Kubrick claimed in an interview that it took four and a half months before Ermey could return to work in which production simply had to be suspended since he was involved in all the remaining scenes. See more »

Goofs

When Joker talks to Lt. Cleves at the mass grave, he introduces himself as "Sergeant Joker". However in an earlier scene (the editing meeting for Stars and Stripes) Joker wears the rank insignia of a Corporal on the collar of his shirt. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in True Blood: Fire in the Hole (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

These Boots Are Made For Walkin'
Written by Lee Hazlewood
Performed by Nancy Sinatra
Courtesy of Boots Enterprises, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Paint It Black
16 November 2009 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

"With flowers and my love both never to come back ... It's not easy facing up when your whole world is black". So sings the man whose throbbing song marks the film's end, merciless lyrics to describe thematically a story that is as wrenching as it is mesmerizing.

There are no villains in this film, only heroic victims. The villains are all off-screen, comfy behind mahogany desks, or dressed for success and giving shrill speeches about how maintaining peace requires war. Strange logic.

First it's boot camp, a dreary prospect at best, for an ordinary group of young American men. Here, a sadistic drill Sargent, in colorful language, barks out orders and insults straight from Hades. It's do or die, almost literally, for our greenhorns. It's an ordeal of blackness from which some may never recover. Still, the grunts learn a valuable lesson; namely, that life is mostly physical, not mental. It's a lesson some ivory tower college professors never learn.

But then it's on to an even blacker black ... Vietnam. Combat scenes are rendered believable by effective visuals and terrific sound effects: pounding percussion, amplified sounds of equipment and footsteps across explosive debris, and an always present, ever-so-subtle ... echo. Potent and torturous, these scenes convey a Zen-like immediacy, an impending sense of doom. And then at film's end, those lyrics ...

Composed of two, barely overlapping, parts, the script's structure is a bit unorthodox. But the film works, owing to an intensity that never lets up. R. Lee Ermey is of course terrific as the harsh drillmaster. Casting of the young lions is okay, though a tad weak in one or two cases. Insertion of pop songs of the era works well, to amplify the cultural disconnect between a war-torn Vietnam and an indifferent America.

Like reading a history book, watching an occasional war movie is good for the soul. It puts one's problems in perspective. For that reason, this particular war movie is better than most. It's riveting, intense. And the sense of impending blackness hovers ever present over the story's heroic victims, like the sword of Damocles.


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