7.9/10
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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Metallica used this story as the basis for their song One, appearing on the 1988 release '...And Justice For All'. The official promotional video also contained several clips form the original movie. The band has also integrated clips into their live performances of the song See more »

Quotes

Christ: What you need is a miracle.
Joe: No, not a miracle. Just tell me that the rat is real and the way I am now is a dream.
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 Adjust Your Tracking (2013) 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

 
What a lovely war!
26 June 2001 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

In America,this film is underrated.In my native France,it's praised by intellectuals,and it's part of what we call "ciné-club movies".In high school,this very year,my son studied passages from the book as well as scenes from the movie. Trumbo's movie might be the strongest condemnation of war that had ever been filmed.Using two colors -and even three-,toying with present and past (could we speak seriously of future?),he makes the dream of such great predecessors as Jean Renoir (la grande illusion) come true:War is impossible,because how can a wise race could tolerate such an horror? Three colors indeed: -the bleak black and white in the hospital,where asceticism rivals the best of Robert Bresson. -the luminous,radiant scenes of Johnny's past,old forties and fifties color are constantly in evidence in those memories that recall Wyler's or Ford's heyday. -the dark and threatening color that envelops the nightmares in the ruins where Johnny tries to catch up with his only love. Johnny is helpless, his loneliness is more frightening than you'll ever experiment.God can't hear you call.The merciful Jesus of Sunday school whom Johnny's mother taught him to fear and to trust has disappeared with Donald Sutherland on a runaway train.Now it's a deaf and dumb Greek divinity -check the shots of the surrealistic nightmare-,who repeats in your suffering body,in your tormented soul ,in your mind on fire,that you cannot escape your inhumane fate. The nurse provides solace for a while.She tries to communicate with him .She believes in the dignity of man,be he a peace of flesh.It encompasses masturbation as well as simply saying "merry Xmas!"But for all the others,particularly for the officer,he's someone (something?)you must hide ,you must gag,because his world has gotten no place for a human being who represents such a slur on his pride and his glory. Johnny got a raw deal....


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