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A psychological study of operations desert shield and desert storm during the gulf war; through the eyes of a U.S marine sniper who struggles to cope with the possibility his girlfriend may be cheating on him back home.



(screenplay) (as William D. Broyles Jr.), (book)
2,660 ( 81)
6 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Riad Galayini ...
Craig Coyne ...


Anthony "Swoff" Swofford, a Camus-reading kid from Sacramento, enlists in the Marines in the late 1980s. He malingers during boot camp, but makes it through as a sniper, paired with the usually-reliable Troy. The Gulf War breaks out, and his unit goes to Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield. After 175 days of boredom, adrenaline, heat, worry about his girlfriend finding someone else, losing it and nearly killing a mate, demotion, latrine cleaning, faulty gas masks, and desert football, Desert Storm begins. In less than five days, it's over, but not before Swoff sees burned bodies, flaming oil derricks, an oil-drenched horse, and maybe a chance at killing. Where does all the testosterone go? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Every man fights his own war. See more »


Action | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some violent images and strong sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




| | |

Release Date:

4 November 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Soldado anónimo  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$72,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$27,726,210 (USA) (4 November 2005)


$62,647,540 (USA) (13 January 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This marks the second time Chris Cooper plays an military role in a Sam Mendes movie. He previously played the retired Colonel Frank Fitts in American Beauty (1999). See more »


When SSgt. Sykes takes the platoon on a run after failing the gas drill, the platoon is in full MOPP gear, but SSgt. Sykes is not. This is a big no-no in the USMC because leaders are expected to lead from the front, so he should have been in full MOPP gear as well. See more »


[first lines]
Anthony 'Swoff' Swofford: A story: A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands, love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper; his hands remember the rifle.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the credits, Sykes can be heard calling out the following military cadence, with his platoon responding: 'All my life it was my dream/ To be a bad motherfucking U.S. Marine.' See more »


References Full Metal Jacket (1987) See more »


Don't Worry, Be Happy
Written by Bobby McFerrin
Performed by Bobby McFerrin
Courtesy of Blue Note Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Here's a simple guide to Jarhead, without an agenda.
10 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I am not a professional writer, I am not a director, I am not important. I just enjoy movies. I'm not writing this to convince you of my opinion. I'm not even here to give you a professional review of this movie, or sound educated and witty. I'm here to give a layman's take on the movie and not be concerned with politics or agendas.

1: Cinematography is downright beautiful in this movie. There are some unforgettable shots. Easily a contender for this year's cinematography award.

2: This is not an action war movie. If you want it to be, find another movie. Black Hawk Down might be closer to what you're looking for, although finding an action movie about Desert Storm is kind of hard.

3: This movie will invoke emotions. And just about any person can pick out a lot of evidence to support why they liked it and why they did not. A person can pick out a lot of evidence supporting the military, and at times make it look like a recruiting tool, or it can show anti war, anti-Bush, anti everything. It will make those that like to argue and takes sides, have a wonderful time with it.

4: The acting is good and realistic. It shows the happy carefree side of war, and also the darker undertones, and not-so-under-toned evils of war.

5: The military prepares people to become soldiers, just like a coach prepares people to become athletes. And once you are one, it is hard to switch it off once a person goes back to normal life. Even quote/ unquote "desk jockey's" and those that aren't in the actual combat but provide support roles, are still trained to fight.

6: Media and movies have not helped our perception of war and those involved. They've been putting a spin on things for a while now, and they like to beat a lot of dead horses.

7: This is based on a true story. No matter how "Hollywoodized" a movie can get, it's basic concepts and ideas are still generally intact. And Swoff was actually there. I was not.

8: To me, Jarhead felt like the Full Metal Jacket of this generation. With extreme's of both "anti's" and "pro's" you take it or leave it. Full Metal Jacket is a good movie for taking the approach that it did. Jarhead is no different.

9: Don't hate on anyone trying to do their job, if you see someone in uniform, don't think negatively or positively, unless you know the person. You don't know their story. If you want to find out, just listen. That's all, nothing more. Don't just wait for your next chance to speak.

10: Find a way to see Jarhead, reserve your judgments until afterward, and if you're a jerk, then give all the snotty, ignorant, or mean opinions you want. You won't change anyone's mind, just tick them off.

To finish up, this movie will make you feel something. Let it go. No wonder people's stress levels are high. If you offend easily, lighten up. If all you can do is go around in life and get offended, then I am truly sorry for you. Now, I'm going to grab a beer from the fridge, sit down and watch a movie, to have something to do. Nothing more.

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