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Full Metal Jacket (1987)

R | | Drama, War | 10 July 1987 (USA)
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A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.

Director:

Stanley Kubrick

Writers:

Stanley Kubrick (screenplay by), Michael Herr (screenplay by) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
545 ( 89)
Top Rated Movies #97 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Modine ... Pvt. Joker
Adam Baldwin ... Animal Mother
Vincent D'Onofrio ... Pvt. Pyle
R. Lee Ermey ... Gny. Sgt. Hartman (as Lee Ermey)
Dorian Harewood ... Eightball
Kevyn Major Howard ... Rafterman (as Kevyn Major-Howard)
Arliss Howard ... Pvt. Cowboy
Ed O'Ross ... Lt. Touchdown
John Terry ... Lt. Lockhart
Kieron Jecchinis ... Crazy Earl
Kirk Taylor ... Payback
Tim Colceri ... Doorgunner
Jon Stafford ... Doc Jay (as John Stafford)
Bruce Boa ... Poge Colonel
Ian Tyler Ian Tyler ... Lt. Cleves
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Storyline

A two-segment look at the effect of the military mindset and war itself on Vietnam era Marines. The first half follows a group of recruits in boot camp under the command of the punishing Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. The second half shows one of those recruits, Joker, covering the war as a correspondent for Stars and Stripes, focusing on the Tet offensive. Written by Scott Renshaw <as.idc@forsythe.stanford.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Born to Kill See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Vietnamese

Release Date:

10 July 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,217,307, 28 June 1987, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$46,357,676
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Dolby Digital (re-mastered version)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cast ate actual Vietnam War era military rations in the scene when the patrol is seen eating. See more »

Goofs

In the first shot of the graduation from the Parris Island one can see tall trees and buildings in the background, but during the close shot there are only small trees with no buildings. It's because the first shot was an actual shot from the graduation and the second one was shot in London. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: I am Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, your senior drill instructor. From now on you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be "Sir". Do you maggots understand that?
Recruits: [In unison in a normal speaking tone] Sir, yes Sir.
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Bullshit, I can't hear you. Sound off like you got a pair!
Recruits: [In unison, much louder] SIR, YES SIR!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death praying ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rushmore (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Paint It, Black
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Performed by The Rolling Stones
Produced by Andrew Loog Oldham
Courtesy of ABKCO Music and Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Fantastic - ignore the criticisms
5 July 2004 | by gut-6See all my reviews

This superb film was a big improvement on Kubrick's previous film, The Shining. It is a far more confronting spectacle than the poetic, stylised violence of A Clockwork Orange, despite the latter's notoriety. The brutality of FMJ is unceasing.

While the war scenes may seem pointless and directionless, this film more than any other war film I have seen captures the small-scale and scrappy nature of urban warfare. There is no grand narrative from the point of view of the individual unit or the individual soldier - just lots of snipers and corpses and skirmishes over ruined buildings. These individual skirmishes have no obvious strategic value and no obvious relationship to one another or to the world war against communist imperialism. They may be fighting for freedom, but the soldiers are motivated by other things - camaraderie, macho posturing and the urge to kill instilled in them at boot camp.

I cannot understand those who criticise this Kubrick film above others for consisting of multiple episodes with very different feel and setting. It appears such people have never seen Kubrick's other films, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey or A Clockwork Orange or Barry Lyndon or Paths of Glory or Lolita. Indeed, 2001: A Space Odyssey is even more disjointed than FMJ, not even having common characters between the segments. The films are no less brilliant for it. This is a consequence of the way that Kubrick worked, as revealed in "Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures" and Fred Raphael's admittedly unreliable "Eyes Wide Open". In Kubrick's view a movie was ready to be made when he had 7 or 8 episodes to string together. Often you can see the joins. Kubrick's legendary perfectionism arose from the fact that he didn't know what he wanted, only what he didn't want. Hence the voluminous research, the continuous script rewrites, the endless prop redesigns, the dozens of takes (all for petty and arbitrary reasons if he gave reasons at all) until by chance someone came up with a great idea. Only then would he move on. All this is why the greatness of Kubrick's films lies in the sum of the brilliant parts rather than the whole.

FMJ fits right in to Kubrick's oeuvre. There is the ongoing theme of dehumanisation, the cynical world view, the hilarious black humour, the cold, distant and unsympathetic characters, the key use of pre-existing music, and the central role of war and conflict. Yet again, and very much like Werner Herzog he makes the surreal seem utterly believable, and reality seem surreal.

For those who say there are better anti-war films, Kubrick said himself he was making a war film, not an anti-war film. He was trying to show the full picture, and leaving it to the audience to judge. The dehumanisation and brutality of boot camp, the moral ambiguity of the war and the vanity, crassness & questionable mental stability of some of the American soldiers is shown unsparingly, but so is the uncompromising barbarity of the communist enemy. You understand why the soldiers need the dehumanising training they are given. Animal Mother may indeed be an Animal Mother, but when it comes to the crunch he is clear-headed, effective and fiercely loyal to his comrades, and even musters a grudging sympathy for the dying sniper in acceding to Joker's humane despatching of her.

All in all, an unforgettable film, totally different in feel to any other war movie I have seen. There is no glorification, no demonisation, and no redemption, but also no simplistic pacifist platitudes and despite everything, great beauty in the hellish ruins.


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