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Full Metal Jacket (1987)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  10 July 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 444,613 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 672 user | 123 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Viet Nam 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 #87 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 9 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 <as.idc@forsythe.stanford.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Vietnam can kill me, but it can't make me care 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
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Did You Know?


The gasworks town of Beckton (used for the climatic battle in Hue) was also used in the film Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984). Incidentally, some of the buildings seen were designed by a French architect who also worked in Hue. See more »


When Hartman shuts off the lights for the first time in the barracks, he uses the four switches beside him. But when he enters to awaken the privates using the garbage can, he uses the single light switch outside the barracks room. 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 »


Referenced in Supernatural: Heaven Can't Wait (2013) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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