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Full Metal Jacket (1987)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  10 July 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 436,230 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


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


$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?


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 »


When Sgt. Hartman confronts Joker over his John Wayne imitation, Cowboy's shirt front is crumpled from Sgt. Hartman's grabbing it. Cowboy is standing at attention. Just after Hartman strikes Joker, the shirt front is smooth again, even though Cowboy has not moved. 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 Tigerland (2000) See more »


Hello Vietnam
Written by Tom T. Hall
Performed by Johnny Wright
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The best war film I have seen
13 October 2004 | by (Charlotte, NC) – See all my reviews

NO SPOILERS! This is a review, not a synopsis.

First of all I love Kubrick's work, so I came into this with a bias. However I have seen a lot of action and war films, and this one, to an individual who never went to war, seems the most true-to-life, taken as a whole. This IS how you have to look at this film, incidentally; trying to break it down into two or three parts and say which was better is missing the point of the film, I think.

In the same way that "Trainspotting" was an anti-drug film that did not gloss over anything, "Full Metal Jacket" is (for me) an anti-war film that stares straight at the ugliness of war and the potential for violence within almost all people, especially those trained, conditioned, even twisted, into military roles, without preaching even a single time. Less allegory and more applicability! Wonderful!

The camera work was superb. I felt like I was walking through the movie with the Marines, from the barracks to the battlefield scenes.

I have seen others criticize this film for the voice over, but I felt that it was used sparingly, and was helpful, not overdone. The narrator doesn't say anything that seems out-of-place.

Others have commented on the music, the acting, and so on, so I won't add my repetitive comments, except that the drill sergeant is perfect!

The combination of the demented treatment the recruits receive in boot camp with the combined "hours of boredom, seconds of terror" feel of the Vietnam scenes is intense and not for everyone, but feels REAL.

10 out of 10, perfect.

218 of 289 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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