7.9/10
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80 user 64 critic

Johnny Got His Gun (1971)

R | | Drama, War | 1972 (UK)
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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:

The most shattering experience you'll ever live. 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:

1972 (UK) 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)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

World Entertainment See more »
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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

Dalton Trumbo was bitterly disappointed when Walter Matthau turned down the part of Joe's father. See more »

Quotes

Hospital Offical: He won't wait for an answer. All he says is, "Kill me, kill me, kill me."
Third Doctor: Don't you have some message for him, Padre?
[Priest shakes his head and looks to the floor]
Third Doctor: You could at least tell him to put his faith in God, couldn't you?
Priest: I'll pray for him for the rest of my days. But I will not risk testing his faith against your stupidity.
Third Doctor: Well you're a hell of a priest, aren't you?
Priest: He's the product of your profession, not mine.
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

On the Laserdisc version the scene where Joe gets the phone call about his fathers death is extended after his boss walks up to him and Joe explains his situation, afterward his boss gets another worker to drive him home. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Siskel & Ebert 500th Anniversary Special (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Keep the Home Fires Burning
(uncredited)
Music by Ivor Novello
Lyrics by Lena Guilbert Ford
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Bleak film about a soldier really wounded with effective fantasy sequences in a series of flashbacks
28 May 2010 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This wrenching tale about a basket case in which a young American soldier named Johnny -Timothy Bottoms - is hit by a bomb on the last days of the WWI . The story takes place in the mind of a quadruple amputee who has also lost his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. As the deaf and dumb Joe is limbless , faceless and confined to a semi-existence and he attempts to communicate with the staff -Edward Franz- and caretakers . Regaining consciousness, 20 and some year-old Joe Bonham slowly learns that while his brain is healthy and able to reason, the rest of his body is irreparably shattered, leaving him forever tied within the confines of his own imagination. Regarded as a vegetable and stuck in a light-less hospital utility room , he fantasizes and dreams about life before and after the artillery shell . He struggles valiantly to find some way to communicate with the outside world . Tapping his head on the pillow in Morse code he breaks through and pleads with his nurse -Diane Varsi- to be put on display as a living example of the cost of war.

The black-listed Trumbo adapted his own novel, seemingly unfilmable , incredibly based on real events , approximately thirty years after he wrote it and shot at the climax of the Vietnam era . The picture is often sentimental, sometimes thought-provoking as well as terrifying . It is developed through a sustained interior monologue on a series of flashbacks to Johnny's infancy , his first and only night with his love interest -performed by Kathy Fields- , before leaving for the front , his employment in the local bakery and his relationship to his father- Jason Robards- and Christ well played by Donad Sutherland , including some breathtaking images in a train. The flick terminates captioning the following : ¨ War dead since 1914 : over 80.000.000 , missing or mutilated : over 150.000.000¨ . ¨ Dulce et decorum est pro Patria Mori ¨. The movie deservedly won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes 71 . This morbid anti-war and pro-euthanasia diatribe is very good film though a little bit boring , talky and depressing. It's recently remade (2008) in a special version by Rowan Joseph with Ben MacKenzie as Johnny .


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