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Tropic Thunder (2008)

R  |   |  Action, Comedy  |  13 August 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 290,012 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 569 user | 310 critic | 39 from Metacritic.com

Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cameraperson - Vietnam Crew
First Assistant Director - Vietnam Crew
Amy Stiller ...
Script Supervisor - Vietnam Crew
Dempsey Silva ...
Special Effects Assistant - Vietnam Crew


A film crew is in Southeast Asia filming a Vietnam-war memoir. It's early in the shooting, but they're already behind schedule and over budget. On the day an accident befalls the novice director, the cast and crew are attacked by a gang of poppy-growing local drug dealers, except the cast and crew don't realize these aren't actors who are stalking them. The thugs kidnap Tugg Speedman, an actor whose star seems on the decline, and it's up to the rest of the ragtag team to band together long enough to attempt his rescue. But will Tugg want to leave? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The movie they think they're making... isn't a movie anymore. See more »


Action | Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, violent content and drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |



Release Date:

13 August 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Una guerra de película  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$92,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$25,812,796 (USA) (15 August 2008)


$110,416,702 (USA) (7 November 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (unrated director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Many have speculated that Tom Cruise based his performance as a vulgar movie mogul on Sumner Redstone, with whom Cruise had a public falling out after Redstone had Paramount's terminate their development deal with Cruise. Regardless, his physical appearance is more than likely based on Tropic Thunder (2008) producer Stuart Cornfeld. See more »


Both Kevin Sandusky and Alpa Chino are carrying Vietnam War era correct M16A1 rifles, complete with the fixed butt stock, 20" barrel and the three pronged flash suppressor. Tugg Speedman is carrying a modern era M4 carbine rifle. This rifle is distinctly different looking than the A1, in that it has the adjustable length butt stock, 16" barrel with the round fore stock and the modern "birdcage" flash suppressor. This rifle didn't come out until well after the Vietnam War had ended. See more »


Kirk Lazarus: I know who I am! I'm a dude playing a dude disgused as another dude!
Kevin Sandusky: What?
Kirk Lazarus: You're a dude that don't know what dude he is!
Tugg Speedman: Or are you a dude who has no idea what dude he is and claims to know what dude he is...
Jeff Portnoy: What the fuck are you guys talking about?
Tugg Speedman:
  • by playing other dudes?

See more »

Crazy Credits

Tom Cruise (as Les) dances and the end credits start. Scenes from the movie are mixed in. See more »


References Action Jackson (1988) See more »


The Name Of The Game (The Crystal Method's Big Ass T.T. Mix)
Written by Ken Jordan, Scott Kirkland & Tom Morello
Performed by The Crystal Method
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"He Who Must Not Be Named" brings down the house, steals what is probably the smartest, dumbest, and arguably the best comedy of 2008
13 August 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Very rarely do comedies hit the mark in terms of both smart humor and dumb humor in the same movie, let alone the same scene. That's what we've got with Tropic Thunder, a comedy that excels in both satirical jokes and laugh out loud stupidity. If you're game for any of that, in addition to quite possibly the funniest and most shocking cameos of all time, then Tropic Thunder is the perfect movie to close the summer of 2008 with.

Ben Stiller has always been the poster boy for trying to mix these two severely different types of humor recently, and has failed in his other two main directing attempts (although Zoolander was funny). Here, he more than succeeds in making Hollywood the laughingstock of the summer, and who better than Stiller to do so, someone who has been around the business his entire life.

Obviously, what's going to get the most laughs is our cast, which is one of the best comedy casts assembled, in my opinion. Our supporting performers are just as strong, if not stronger than our big three leads (definitely stronger than Jack Black), and we are treated to some of the funniest cameos of all time...One of Tropic Thunder's cameos, one of the most famous and serious actors in the world, nearly steals the movie, and is funnier than the last time he did a role like this (Austin Powers 3). If you don't know who I'm talking about by now, just wait until you see him. He'll have you on the floor laughing by the end of the movie. Other cameos (including a Judd Apatow boy and a former People's Sexiest Man Alive) are entertaining, but they have nothing on the big guy.

Now, to the actual cast...Starting with Stiller himself. Stiller has always been great at playing over the top asses, and that's what his character here is. There's plenty of exaggeration, plenty of laughs, but I felt there could have been more arrogance and more development in his character. The film belongs to Robert Downey Jr. (why am I not shocked by this?), who could sneak a Golden Globe nomination in if he's lucky for his performance as super-serious star Kurt Lazarus. Downey is absolutely hilarious, yet believable as this actor who believes acting is larger than life, and provides for the best satire of all. Jack Black is, if anything, forgettable and provided few laughs (though he does deliver one of the funniest lines of the movie). Jay Baruchel and Brandon Jackson are great in their supporting roles, and were the most well rounded characters (especially Baruchel). Danny McBride (three out of the last four movies I've watched have had this guy in it) of Pineapple Express is just as great here in another hilarious role tailor made for him. Nick Nolte is an odd presence, but an asset nonetheless. Steve Coogan's short role is memorable.

Stiller's main point in the film was obviously to make fun of Hollywood and his fellow actors as well, and he succeeds enormously. The fact that mentally challenged rights groups are calling for boycotts only proves Stiller's point: we all need to chill out, and stop taking things so seriously (where's The Joker when you need him?). The "bad" scene where the characters say 'retard' a few times is actually one of the best satire scenes in the movie. The scene isn't making fun of mentally challenged people, rather the actors that have won Oscars for playing them. Dustin Hoffman and Peter Sellers are not spared.

Like Pineapple Express before it, Tropic Thunder suffers from a less than stellar second act, which is used to attempt to ground the film in reality. This is unnecessary. We know that this could never happen. Insurance policies wouldn't even let a director think about doing what Coogan's character does in this film. However, the film starts and finishes very well (in fact, it starts better than any comedy of the year). It finishes with roars of laughter, and even though it is just absurd, it doesn't matter, because we've had a great time along the ride. Yes, Tropic Thunder is vulgar, but nowhere near the other Apatow brand products out these days. There's some blood and graphic violence, but nothing too bad.

205 of 354 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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