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Jarhead (2005)

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A psychological study of operations desert shield and desert storm during the gulf war; through the eyes of a U.S marine sniper who struggles to cope with the possibility his girlfriend may be cheating on him back home.

Director:

Sam Mendes

Writers:

William Broyles Jr. (screenplay) (as William D. Broyles Jr.), Anthony Swofford (book)
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Popularity
1,194 ( 39)
6 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jake Gyllenhaal ... Anthony Swofford
Scott MacDonald ... D.I. Fitch
Peter Sarsgaard ... Alan Troy
Jamie Foxx ... Staff Sgt. Sykes
Ming Lo ... Bored Gunny
Lucas Black ... Chris Kruger
Kevin Foster ... Branded Marine
Brian Geraghty ... Fergus O'Donnell
Damion Poitier ... Poitier
Riad Galayini Riad Galayini ... Nurse
Craig Coyne Craig Coyne ... Young Mr. Swofford
Katherine Randolph ... Young Mrs. Swofford
Rini Bell ... Swoff's Sister
Dendrie Taylor ... Mrs. Swofford
James Morrison ... Mr. Swofford
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Storyline

Anthony "Swoff" Swofford, a Camus-reading kid from Sacramento, enlists in the Marines in the late 1980s. He malingers during boot camp, but makes it through as a sniper, paired with the usually-reliable Troy. The Gulf War breaks out, and his unit goes to Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield. After 175 days of boredom, adrenaline, heat, worry about his girlfriend finding someone else, losing it and nearly killing a mate, demotion, latrine cleaning, faulty gas masks, and desert football, Desert Storm begins. In less than five days, it's over, but not before Swoff sees burned bodies, flaming oil derricks, an oil-drenched horse, and maybe a chance at killing. Where does all the testosterone go? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Every man fights his own war. See more »

Genres:

Action | Biography | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some violent images and strong sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Staff Sgt. Sykes originally had a tattoo of a panther on the back of his shaved head. Jamie Foxx sported it during his award sweeps for Ray (2004). The tattoo was eventually digitally removed in post-production because director Sam Mendes felt it made the character too "hard core." See more »

Goofs

Some of the Marines wear their dog tags outside their t-shirts. U.S. Marines are supposed to wear them inside their t-shirts. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Anthony 'Swoff' Swofford: A story: A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands, love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper; his hands remember the rifle.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the credits, Sykes can be heard calling out the following military cadence, with his platoon responding: 'All my life it was my dream/ To be a bad motherfucking U.S. Marine.' See more »

Alternate Versions

Military theatrical versions of the film remove some footage, including the scene where a soldier dies during training. See more »

Connections

Spin-off Jarhead: Law of Return (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Something in the Way
Written by Kurt Cobain
Performed by Nirvana
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Under license from Universal Music Enteprises
See more »

User Reviews

 
Pleasantly surprising
24 October 2005 | by JuansmithSee all my reviews

I saw a promotional screening of the film, sponsored by my university. Following the screening was an audience Q&A with the author (and main character), Tony Swofford.

And it was no surprise that the very first question from the audience was, quite ambiguously, "Do you support the military?" When Swofford dismissed the question as too broad and complex to be answered with a simple yes or no, the inquirer followed up with, "Well, do you support the war?" Swofford dismissed this even more readily.

To me, this was perfectly representative of how the film handled its potential political implications.

As Troy says early on in the film, "To hell with politics. We're here now." And that's essentially how the movie went.

It bypasses the soapbox and simply tells you how it was, from the perspective of a single soldier. And while the opening boot camp scenes may seem like Full Metal Jacket Lite, the rest of the film is truly unique.

Sam Mendes directs with his usual brilliance, showing once again his affinity for bright, vivid color, even in the largely monochromatic desert.

Jake Gyllenhaal gives an excellent performance as Anthony Swofford, complemented by the able talents of Jamie Foxx and Peter Sarsgaard.

The film's only real flaw is that, like the war on which it was based, it's pretty slow, and not a lot really happens.

In the strictest sense, I would have a hard time even classifying this as a war film, and it's certainly not a deliberately political film.

But in its own way, it tells an intense, personal story. Beyond that, you're simply left to make your own judgments.

7/10


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Details

Official Sites:

Universal [United States]

Country:

USA | UK | Germany

Language:

English | Spanish | Arabic | Latin

Release Date:

4 November 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jarhead See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$72,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,726,210, 6 November 2005

Gross USA:

$62,658,220

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$97,076,152
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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