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Johnny Got His Gun (1971)

R | | Drama, War | 4 August 1971 (USA)
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1:28 | Trailer
In this tragic, dark, anti-war satire, a patriotic young American in WW1 is rendered blind, deaf, limbless, and mute by a horrific artillery shell attack. Trapped in what's left of his body, he desperately looks for a way to end his life.

Director:

Dalton Trumbo

Writers:

Dalton Trumbo (novel), Dalton Trumbo (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Timothy Bottoms ... Joe Bonham
Kathy Fields Kathy Fields ... Kareen
Marsha Hunt ... Joe's Mother
Jason Robards ... Joe's Father
Donald Sutherland ... Christ
Charles McGraw ... Mike Burkeman
Sandy Brown Wyeth Sandy Brown Wyeth ... Lucky
Don 'Red' Barry ... Jody Simmons (as Donald Barry)
Peter Brocco ... Ancient Prelate
Kendell Clarke Kendell Clarke ... Hospital Offical
Eric Christmas ... Corporal Timlon
Eduard Franz ... Col. / Gen. Tillery
Craig Bovia Craig Bovia ... Little Guy
Judy Howard Chaikin Judy Howard Chaikin ... Bakery Girl
Dalton Trumbo ... Orator (as Robert Cole)
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Storyline

Joe, a young American soldier, is hit by a mortar shell on the last day of World War I. He lies in a hospital bed in a fate worse than death - a quadruple amputee who has lost his arms, legs, eyes, ears, mouth and nose. He remains conscious and able to think, thereby reliving his life through strange dreams and memories, unable to distinguish whether he is awake or dreaming. He remains frustrated by his situation, until one day when Joe discovers a unique way to communicate with his caregivers.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Made love - he did. Make war - he did. Make it - he didn't. Johnny got his gun. See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 August 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun See more »

Filming Locations:

Lake Tahoe, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,735
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

World Entertainment See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Glen Glenn Sound)

Color:

Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was a minor success when it was originally released. It became a well-known cult film in 1989 when it was included in the Metallica video "One" (1989). Eventually, the band bought the rights to the film so they could keep showing their music video (and using clips in live performances) without having to pay royalties. See more »

Quotes

Joe: I don't know whether I'm alive and dreaming or dead and remembering.
See more »

Crazy Credits

War Dead Since 1914: Over 80,000,000 Missing or Mutilated: Over 150,000,000 "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" See more »

Alternate Versions

Also, on the Laserdisc version there is a small subplot with a worker at the bakery named Jose, who tells Joe and the other workers he is holding two jobs, one at the bakery and another as an accountant, when he says that he can't handle the jobs and hasn't slept, but can't bring himself to quit as the bakery boss was the first person to help him when he arrived in Los Angeles, Joe then helps him lose his job at the bakery. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Keep the Home Fires Burning
(uncredited)
Music by Ivor Novello
Lyrics by Lena Guilbert Ford
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Maybe the most effective movie I've ever seen
13 July 2007 | by sideburnmikeguitarSee all my reviews

Let me say that I would NOT recommend this to anyone lightly. I feel quite confident saying that there are very few people I know who I think should see it.

It's all about the horror of war. The setting is WWI and involves a very young man, boy really, who has no appendages because of a grenade. The rest of the moving cuts between his horrific vegetative physical state with voice-overs of his thoughts and flashbacks to his rather limited life experiences and a few fantasies or inner monologues.

This was really a soul-shattering movie in a lot of ways. After watching it I couldn't get it out of my head for hours after hours. I couldn't' get to sleep until mid way through the next day. It is just relentlessly brutal in giving detail of true internal psychological torture, seeing a wasted life sacrificed.

I didn't read the book, which I've been told is even more dramatic than the film. I honestly can't imagine that. I don't think I could read the book. Parts of it make me think of "All Quiet on the Western Front" but in far more isolated ways. There's no glory here.

Donald Sutherland's Christ is a fascinating character and compelling. Joe's flashbacks are all meaningful and relate to the "big questions" he's trying to sort out that only seem to provide answer that torture him even more. The scene with his girlfriend early in the movie when the old man says "don't make a whore out of her" is profound in its delivery.

It is fairly artistic in a very dark sense. It's too heavy for some people. They will claim it was boring but that is only for those who have no understanding of the weight of the matters because it doesn't involve them. Make no mistake, this sort of thing goes on every day as there are wars every day.

I'm all about defending and fighting for personal rights, but if this movie were shown in every public school in the world there would be far fewer people willing to fight for the causes of others and the promise of a few more dollars.

I've never seen a movie that moved me so much but in such a sad way. It was perfect in its execution, but then again some lessons are better left unlearned.


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