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Two friends who are dissatisfied with their jobs decide to join the army for a bit of fun.

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John
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Russell
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Sgt. Hulka
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Stella
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Louise
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Ox
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Capt. Stillman
John Voldstad ...
Stillman's Aide
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Cruiser
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Col. Glass
Roberta Leighton ...
Anita
Conrad Dunn ...
Psycho
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Elmo
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Hector (as Antone Pagan)
Glenn-Michael Jones ...
Leon
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Recruiter (as Bill Lucking)
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Dowager in Cab
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Border Guard (as Joseph P. Flaherty)
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Border Guard
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M.C.
Robin Klein ...
Cheerleader
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Gen. Barnicke
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Stillman's Girlfriend (as Lois Areno)
Samuel Briggs ...
Corporal
Joseph X. Flaherty ...
Sgt. Crocker
Hershel B. Harlson ...
Shoeshine Man
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Soldier with Mortar
Solomon Schmidt ...
Store Owner
Gino Gottarelli ...
Russian Officer
Gene Scherer ...
Russian Officer
Dawn Clark ...
Mud Wrestler
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Mud Wrestler (as Juanita Merritt)
Susan Mechsner ...
Mud Wrestler
Sue Bowser ...
Mud Wrestler
Linda Dupree ...
Mud Wrestler
Leslie Henderson ...
Mud Wrestler
Craig Schaefer ...
Soldier Outside Motor Pool
Arkady Rakhman ...
Immigrant
Pamela Bowman ...
Cruiser's Girl
Gerard J. Counts ...
Russian Soldier
Yetim Buntsis ...
Russian Soldier
Semyon Veyts ...
Russian Soldier
Larry R. Gillette ...
Russian Soldier
Glenn Leigh Marshall ...
Russian Soldier
Dale Prince ...
Russian Soldier
Larry Odell Lane ...
Soldier
Joyce D. Helmus ...
Soldier
David A. Mullins ...
Soldier
Bruce E. Ellis ...
Soldier
David D. Platko ...
Soldier
Phillip A. Urbansky ...
Soldier
William R. Sykes ...
Soldier
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Soldier
J.A. Crawford ...
Soldier
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Soldier
Norman Mont-Eton ...
Policeman
Mark S. Markowicz ...
Policeman
Jeff Viola ...
Policeman
Robert Dulaine ...
Policeman
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Bouncer in Mud Wrestling Bar (uncredited)
Michael King ...
Soldier (uncredited)
Sherry Pagán ...
Family Member at Graduation Ceremony (uncredited)
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Extra at Graduation Ceremony (uncredited)
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Enemy Soldier (uncredited)
Michael Santiago ...
Voice (uncredited)
Jeffrey L. Tandy ...
Extra (uncredited)

Directed by

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Ivan Reitman

Written by

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Len Blum ... (written by) &
Daniel Goldberg ... (written by) (as Dan Goldberg) and
Harold Ramis ... (written by)

Produced by

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Daniel Goldberg ... producer (as Dan Goldberg)
Joe Medjuck ... associate producer
Ivan Reitman ... producer

Music by

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Elmer Bernstein

Cinematography by

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Bill Butler ... director of photography

Film Editing by

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Harry Keller
Michael Luciano
Eva Ruggiero

Editorial Department

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Stephen Price ... assistant film editor
Peter Ransohoff ... assistant film editor
Nancy Weizer ... assistant film editor

Casting By

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Karen Rea

Production Design by

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James H. Spencer

Set Decoration by

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Carl Biddiscombe

Costume Design by

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Richard Bruno

Makeup Department

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Chuck House ... makeup artist (as Charles House)
James Lee McCoy ... makeup artist (as Jim McCoy)
Carol A. O'Connell ... hairstylist (as Carol O'Connell)

Production Management

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Russell Saunders ... production manager

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

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George Fortmuller ... dga trainee
James M. Freitag ... second assistant director
Richard Learman ... assistant director
Donald Newman ... second assistant director (as Donald J. Newman)

Art Department

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Louis S. Fleming ... assistant property master (as Louis Fleming)
Sam Gordon ... property master
William F. Matthews ... set designer (as William Mathews)
Michael Muscarella ... construction coordinator
Sandy Veneziano ... set designer (as Sandra Veneziano)

Sound Department

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Wayne Artman ... rerecording mixer
Tom Beckert ... rerecording mixer
Raul A. Bruce ... boomman (as Raul Bruce)
Jeff Bushelman ... sound editor
Gene S. Cantamessa ... production sound mixer (as Gene Cantamessa)
Michael Jiron ... rerecording mixer
Pat Somerset ... sound editor
Jeremy Hoenack ... sound effects editor (uncredited)
Dan O'Connell ... foley artist (uncredited)
David E. Stone ... sound editor (uncredited)

Special Effects by

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Stanley Amborn ... special effects (as Stan Amborn)
Joseph A. Unsinn ... special effects supervisor (as Joe Unsinn)
Ken Speed ... special effects assistant (uncredited)

Stunts

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Steve Blalock ... stuntman
John Cade ... stuntman
Ralph D. Carpenter ... stuntman
Terry James ... stunt coordinator
Carol Daniels ... stunt double: Sean Young (uncredited)
Mary Peters ... stunts (uncredited)

Camera and Electrical Department

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Colin J. Campbell ... gaffer (as Colin Campbell)
James R. Connell ... camera operator (as James Connell)
Howard Hagadorn ... second grip
Randy Hart ... best boy
George Hill ... key grip
Charles L. Morgan ... crane grip (as Charles Morgan)
James M. Sheppherd ... dolly grip (as Jim Sheppherd)
Don Smetzer ... still photographer
Chris Strong ... electrician
Lynn Tomes ... first assistant cameraman
Bruce Birmelin ... still photographer (uncredited)
Garrett Brown ... steadicam operator (uncredited)
Adam Glick ... set lighting technician (uncredited)
Brian W. Roy ... camera operator (uncredited) / director of photography: second unit (uncredited)

Casting Department

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Norman Bennett ... casting assistant
Pat Hamilton ... casting assistant
Olivia Maggard ... casting: Kentucky
Debbie Peterson ... casting assistant

Costume and Wardrobe Department

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Robert Iannaccone ... costumer: men's (as Bob Iannaccone)
Silvio Scarano ... wardrobe supervisor
Barbara Siebert ... costumer: women's (as Barbara Sebern)

Location Management

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Bill Borden ... location manager (as William R. Borden)
William R. Borden ... location manager
Sam Mercer ... location manager (as Samuel L. Mercer)
Michael King ... location assistant (uncredited)

Music Department

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Peter Bernstein ... orchestration
Kathy Durning ... music editing
Antone Pagán ... Performer "Do Wah Diddy Diddy"
Dan Wallin ... scoring mixer
Tom Raney ... musician: percussion (uncredited)

Transportation Department

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Pat Desmond ... transportation coordinator (as Pat Desmond Jr.)
Ron Riner ... transportation coordinator
Mike Phillips ... prop truck driver (uncredited)
Mike Robinson ... driver: cast (uncredited)

Other crew

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Eudie Charnes ... production office coordinator
Ronn Forella ... choreographer: Graduation sequence
Arthur Goldweit ... assistant choreographer
Leroy Heuglin ... liaison: Kentucky
Robert F. Kocourek ... auditor (as Robert Kocourek) / production accountant (as Robert Kocourek)
Yvonne Lacer ... production secretary
Brian Lindquist ... unit publicist
Judith Margolin ... secretary to the producers
Burke Mattsson ... titles designed by: MGM Title
Lloyd Nelson ... script supervisor
Anne Robinson ... secretary to the producers
Leticia Rogers ... film extra
Barry Sprouse ... technical advisor (as Capt. Barry Sprouse)
Marion F. Williams ... technical advisor (as C.S.M. Marion F. Williams)

Thanks

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Nick Albrecht ... special thanks
John Y. Brown ... the producers would also like to thank, for their warm hospitality (as Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown)
Victor Cox ... special thanks
Orlando Fernandez ... special thanks
Phyllis George ... the producers would also like to thank, for their warm hospitality (as Phyllis George Brown)
Richard Harris ... special thanks
Steve Havens ... special thanks
Dewey Kays ... special thanks
Leroy Lay ... special thanks
Wayne Maeser ... special thanks
Charles Mudd ... special thanks
Larry Shircliff ... special thanks
James Sparks ... special thanks
William Stansbury ... the producers would also like to thank, for their warm hospitality (as Louisville Mayor William Stansbury)
Dennis Thorp ... special thanks

Production Companies

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Distributors

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Special Effects

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Other Companies

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Storyline

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Plot Summary

At the end of a very bad day when he realizes his life has gone and is going nowhere, John Winger is able to convince his best friend, Russell Ziskey, whose life is not much better, to enlist in the army, despite they not being obvious soldier material. In basic training, they are only two of a bunch of misfits that comprise their platoon. However, it is still John that is constantly butting heads with their drill sergeant, Sergeant Hulka. Two of their saving graces are Stella and Louise, two MPs who get them out of one scrape after another. Their entire platoon is in jeopardy of not graduating. But what happens during basic leads to their entire platoon being assigned to an overseas mission in Italy, to test a new urban assault vehicle, the EM-50 project. John and Russell decide to take the EM-50 for an unauthorized test drive to visit Stella and Louise who have been reassigned to West Germany. In the process, the rest of the platoon, Hulka, and Hulka's immediate superior, self-absorbed Captain Stillman, get caught unofficially behind enemy Communist lines in Czechoslovakia. John and Russell, with Stella and Louise's help, will have to show their true mettle as US army soldiers and in the process test the capabilities of the EM-50 to rescue their platoon without the rest of the US army knowing what's going on, and thus without any assistance beyond themselves. Written by Huggo

Plot Keywords
Taglines The story of a man who wanted to keep the world safe for democracy...and meet girls See more »
Genres
Parents Guide View content advisory »
Certification

Additional Details

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Also Known As
  • Cheech and Chong Join the Army (United States)
  • Les bleus (France)
  • Ich glaub' mich knutscht ein Elch! (Germany)
  • El pelotón chiflado (Spain)
  • Natsat (Finland)
  • See more »
Runtime
  • 106 min
Country
Language
Color
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Box Office

Budget $10,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend United States $6,130,197, 28 Jun 1981

Did You Know?

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Trivia The cast improvised virtually all of the dialogue where they sit around and tell their back stories. This includes Bill Murray's lines about "Lee Harvey" making out with a cow, and calling Sgt. Hulka a "big toe". See more »
Goofs While Ox and several other characters gut true boot camp haircuts, taken down to the barest of stubble, Winger, Zisky, Elmo and Psycho among others have haircuts that are too long to be the norm at the start of boot camp. See more »
Movie Connections Featured in Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter (1982). See more »
Soundtracks Rubberband Man See more »
Crazy Credits Four actors with the first name "John", are listed back -to-back in the final credits: John Candy, John Larroquette, John Voldstad and John Diehl. See more »
Quotes Psycho: The name's Francis Soyer, but everybody calls me Psycho. Any of you guys call me Francis, and I'll kill you.
Leon: Ooooooh.
Psycho: You just made the list, buddy. And I don't like nobody touching my stuff. So just keep your meat-hooks off. If I catch any of you guys in my stuff, I'll kill you. Also, I don't like nobody touching me. Now, any of you homos touch me, and I'll kill you.
Sergeant Hulka: Lighten up, Francis.
See more »

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