|Full Metal Jacket|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stanley Kubrick|
|Produced by||Stanley Kubrick|
|Based on|| The Short-Timers |
by Gustav Hasford
|Music by||Abigail Mead|
|Edited by||Martin Hunter|
|Box office||$120 million|
Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 war film directed, co-written, and produced by Stanley Kubrick and starring Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D'Onofrio and Adam Baldwin. The screenplay by Kubrick, Michael Herr, and Gustav Hasford was based on Hasford's novel The Short-Timers (1979). The storyline follows a platoon of U.S. Marines through their boot camp training in Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, primarily focusing on two privates, Joker and Pyle, who struggle under their abusive drill instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, and the experiences of two of the platoon's Marines in Vietnamese cities of Da Nang and Huế during the Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War.The film's title refers to the full metal jacket bullet used by military servicemen. The film was released in the United States on June 26, 1987. It was the last of Kubrick's films to be released during his lifetime.
War film is a film genre concerned with warfare, typically about naval, air, or land battles, with combat scenes central to the drama. It has been strongly associated with the 20th century. The fateful nature of battle scenes means that war films often end with them. Themes explored include combat, survival and escape, camaraderie between soldiers, sacrifice, the futility and inhumanity of battle, the effects of war on society, and the moral and human issues raised by war. War films are often categorized by their milieu, such as the Korean War; the most popular subject is the Second World War. The stories told may be fiction, historical drama, or biographical. Critics have noted similarities between the Western and the war film.
Stanley Kubrick was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He is frequently cited as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers in cinematic history. His films, which are mostly adaptations of novels or short stories, cover a wide range of genres, and are noted for their realism, dark humor, unique cinematography, extensive set designs, and evocative use of music.
Matthew Avery Modine is an American actor, activist and filmmaker, who rose to prominence through his role as United States Marine Corps Private Joker in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. His other film roles include the title character in Alan Parker's Birdy, the high school wrestler Louden Swain in Vision Quest, Drake Goodman in Pacific Heights and Dr. Ralph Wyman in Short Cuts. On television, Modine portrayed Dr. Martin Brenner in Stranger Things, the oversexed Sullivan Groff on Weeds, Dr. Don Francis in And the Band Played On and Ivan Turing in Proof.
Full Metal Jacket received critical acclaim and an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for Kubrick, Herr, and Hasford.In 2001, the American Film Institute placed it at No. 95 in their "AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills" poll.
The Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay is one of the Academy Awards, the most prominent film awards in the United States. It is awarded each year to the writer of a screenplay adapted from another source. All sequels are automatically considered adaptations by this standard.
The American Film Institute (AFI) is an American film organization that educates filmmakers and honors the heritage of the motion picture arts in the United States. AFI is supported by private funding and public membership fees.
Part of the AFI 100 Years… series, AFI's 100 Years…100 Thrills is a list of the top 100 most exciting, action-packed, suspenseful or frightening movies in American cinema. The list was unveiled by the American Film Institute on June 12, 2001, during a CBS special hosted by Harrison Ford.
During the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War, a group of boot camp recruits arrive. The ruthless drill instructor, Hartman, employs forceful methods to turn the recruits into combat-ready Marines. Among the recruits are the overweight and dim-witted Leonard Lawrence, whom Hartman nicknames "Gomer Pyle" as well as the wisecracking J.T. Davis who receives the name "Joker" after interrupting Hartman's speech with an impression of John Wayne.
The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War, was an undeclared war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives. It lasted some 19 years with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975.
A drill instructor is a non-commissioned officer in the armed forces or police forces with specific duties that vary by country. For example, in the United States armed forces, they are assigned the duty of training new recruits entering the military.
Gomer Pyle was a television character played by Jim Nabors and introduced in the middle of the third season of The Andy Griffith Show.
Pyle is initially inept at basic training and is the focus of Hartman's brutality, but he slowly improves after being paired with Joker. However, when Hartman discovers a contraband doughnut in Pyle's unlocked foot locker, he adopts a collective punishment policy: he will punish the entire platoon minus Pyle for every mistake he makes. One night, the recruits haze Pyle with a blanket party; Joker reluctantly participates. Following this incident, Pyle reinvents himself as a model recruit and shows particular expertise in marksmanship. This impresses Hartman, but worries Joker, who notices Pyle talking to his rifle and believes that he may be suffering a mental breakdown.
The word contraband, reported in English since 1529, from Medieval French contrebande "a smuggling," denotes any item that, relating to its nature, is illegal to be possessed or sold.
Collective punishment is a form of retaliation whereby a suspected perpetrator's family members, friends, acquaintances, sect, neighbors or entire ethnic group is targeted. The punished group may often have no direct association with the other individuals or groups, or direct control over their actions. In times of war and armed conflict, collective punishment has resulted in atrocities, and is a violation of the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions. Historically, occupying powers have used collective punishment to retaliate against and deter attacks on their forces by Resistance movements.
Hazing, initiation ceremonies, bastardisation, ragging, or deposition, refers to the practice of rituals, challenges, and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group including a new fraternity, sorority, team, or club.
The recruits graduate and receive their Military Occupational Specialty assignments. Joker is assigned to Military Journalism, while most of the others – including Cowboy and Pyle – are assigned to Infantry. During the platoon's final night on Parris Island, Joker discovers Pyle in the latrine suffering from a mental breakdown while loading his rifle. Pyle executes drill commands and loudly recites the Rifleman's Creed, waking the others, including Hartman, who storms into the latrine, insults Pyle and orders him to surrender the rifle. Pyle shoots Hartman dead and then kills himself, while Joker watches in horror.
The Rifleman's Creed is a part of basic United States Marine Corps doctrine. Major General William H. Rupertus wrote it during World War II, probably in late 1941 or early 1942. In the past, all enlisted Marines would learn the creed at recruit training. However, in recent years the creed has been relegated to the back pages of the standard recruit training guide book and its memorization is no longer considered doctrine for recruits. Different, more concise versions of the creed have developed since its early days, but those closest to the original version remain the most widely accepted.
In January 1968, Joker – now a sergeant – is a war correspondent in Da Nang, South Vietnam for Stars and Stripes with Private First Class Rafterman, a combat photographer. Rafterman wants to go into combat, as Joker claims he has. At the Marine base, Joker is mocked for his lack of the thousand-yard stare, indicating his lack of war experience. They are interrupted by the start of the Tet Offensive as the North Vietnamese Army unsuccessfully attempts to overrun the base.
Da Nang is the fifth largest city in Vietnam. Located on the coast of the South China Sea at the mouth of the Han River, it is one of Vietnam's most important port cities. As one of the country's five direct-controlled municipalities, it is under the direct administration of the central government.
Stars and Stripes is an American military newspaper that focuses and reports on matters concerning the members of the United States Armed Forces. It operates from inside the Department of Defense, but is editorially separate from it, and its First Amendment protection is safeguarded by the United States Congress, to whom an independent ombudsman, who serves the readers' interests, regularly reports. As well as a website, Stars and Stripes publishes four daily print editions for the military service members serving overseas; these European, Middle Eastern, Japanese, and South Korean editions are also available as free downloads in electronic format, and there are also seven digital editions. The newspaper has its headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The thousand-yard stare or two-thousand-yard stare is a phrase often used to describe the blank, unfocused gaze of soldiers who have become emotionally detached from the horrors around them. It is also sometimes used more generally to describe the look of dissociation among victims of other types of trauma.
The following day, the journalism staff is briefed about enemy attacks throughout South Vietnam. Joker is sent to Phu Bai, accompanied by Rafterman. They meet the Lusthog Squad, where Joker is reunited with Cowboy. Joker accompanies the squad during the Battle of Huế,where platoon commander "Touchdown" is killed by the enemy. After the Marines declare the area secure, a team of American news journalists and reporters enter Huế and interviews various Marines about their experiences in Vietnam and their opinions about the war.
While patrolling Huế, Crazy Earl, the squad leader, is killed by a booby trap, leaving Cowboy in command. The squad becomes lost, and Cowboy orders Eightball to scout the area. A Viet Cong sniper wounds Eightball and Doc Jay, the squad medic. Believing that the sniper is drawing the squad into an ambush, Cowboy attempts to radio in tank support to no avail. The squad's machine gunner, "Animal Mother", disobeys Cowboy's orders to retreat and attempts to save his comrades. He discovers there is only one sniper, but Doc Jay and Eightball are killed when Doc Jay attempts to indicate the sniper's location. While maneuvering toward the sniper, Cowboy is shot and killed.
Animal Mother assumes command of the squad and leads an attack on the sniper. Joker discovers the sniper, a teenage girl, and attempts to shoot her, but his rifle jams and alerts her to his presence. Rafterman shoots the sniper, mortally wounding her. As the squad converges, the sniper first prays and then begs for death, prompting an argument about whether to kill her or leave her to suffer. Animal Mother decides to allow a mercy killing only if Joker performs it. After some hesitation, Joker shoots her. The Marines congratulate him on his kill as Joker stares into the distance. The Marines march toward their camp, singing the "Mickey Mouse March". Joker states in narration that despite being "in a world of shit", he is glad to be alive and is no longer afraid.
Additional characters include: Peter Edmund as Private "Snowball" Brown, one of the Parris Island recruits; Ed O'Ross as Lieutenant Walter J. "Touchdown" Schinoski, the platoon leader of the Lusthog Squad; John Terry as Lieutenant Lockhart, the editor of Stars and Stripes ; Kieron Jecchinis as Crazy Earl, a member and also a former leader of the Lusthog Squad; Jon Stafford as Doc Jay, head medic of the Lusthog Squad and Bruce Boa as Poge Colonel, the colonel who dresses down Joker for wearing a peace symbol on his lapel.
Ian Tyler plays Lieutenant Cleves, a Marine interviewed by Joker and Rafterman at a Vietnamese murder site. Sal Lopez and Gary Landon Mills appear as T. H. E. Rock and Donlon respectively, two members of the Lusthog Squad. Papillon Soo Soo plays a Da Nang hooker and Ngoc Le appears as the Viet Cong sniper. Stanley Kubrick and his daughter Vivian make uncredited appearances as two photographers at a Vietnam massacre site.
Kubrick contacted Michael Herr, author of the Vietnam War memoir Dispatches (1977), in the spring of 1980 to discuss working on a film about the Holocaust, but he eventually discarded that in favor of a film about the Vietnam War.They met in England, and the director told Herr that he wanted to do a war film but had yet to find a story to adapt. Kubrick discovered Gustav Hasford's novel The Short-Timers (1979) while reading the Virginia Kirkus Review. Herr received it in bound galleys and thought that it was a masterpiece. In 1982, Kubrick read the novel twice, concluding that it "was a unique, absolutely wonderful book", and decided, along with Herr, to adapt it for his next film. According to Kubrick, he was drawn to the book's dialogue, finding it "almost poetic in its carved-out, stark quality". In 1983, Kubrick began conducting research for the film, watching past footage and documentaries, reading Vietnamese newspapers on microfilm from the Library of Congress, and studying hundreds of photographs from the era. Initially, Herr was not interested in revisiting his Vietnam War experiences, and Kubrick spent three years persuading him to participate in what the author describes as "a single phone call lasting three years, with interruptions".
In 1985, Kubrick contacted Hasford to work on the screenplay with him and Herr,and often talked to Hasford on the phone three to four times a week, for hours at a time. Kubrick had already written a detailed treatment, and Kubrick and Herr got together at Kubrick's home every day, breaking down the treatment into scenes. From that, Herr wrote the first draft. The filmmaker worried that the book's title might be misread by audiences as referring to people who only did half a day's work and changed it to Full Metal Jacket after discovering the phrase while going through a gun catalogue. After the first draft was completed, Kubrick phoned his orders to Hasford and Herr, and Hasford and Herr mailed their submissions to him. Kubrick read and edited them, and then the team repeated the process. Neither Hasford nor Herr knew how much he had contributed to the screenplay, which led to a dispute over the final credits. Hasford remembers, "We were like guys on an assembly line in the car factory. I was putting on one widget and Michael was putting on another widget and Stanley was the only one who knew that this was going to end up being a car." Herr says the director was not interested in making an anti-war film, but "he wanted to show what war is like".
At some point, Kubrick wanted to meet Hasford in person, but Herr advised against this, describing The Short-Timers author as a "scary man" and believing he and Kubrick would not "get on".Nonetheless, Kubrick insisted, and they all met at Kubrick's house in England for dinner. It did not go well, and Hasford did not meet with Kubrick again.
Through Warner Bros., Kubrick advertised a national casting search in the United States and Canada. The director used videotape to audition actors and received over 3,000 submissions. His staff screened all of the tapes, leaving 800 of them for Kubrick to review personally. 461:
Former U.S. Marine Drill Instructor Ermey, originally hired as a technical advisor, asked Kubrick if he could audition for the role of Hartman. Kubrick had seen Ermey's portrayal of drill instructor Staff Sergeant Loyce in The Boys in Company C (1978) and told the Marine that he was not vicious enough to play the character. Ermey improvised insulting dialogue against a group of Royal Marines who were being considered for the part of background Marines, to demonstrate his ability to play the character, as well as to show how a drill instructor goes about breaking down the individuality of new recruits. 462 Upon viewing the videotape of these sessions, Kubrick gave Ermey the role, realizing he "was a genius for this part". Kubrick also incorporated the 250-page transcript of Ermey's rants into the script. :462–463 Ermey's experience as a drill instructor during the Vietnam era proved invaluable. Kubrick estimated that Ermey wrote 50% of his own dialogue, especially the insults.:
While Ermey practiced his lines in a rehearsal room, Kubrick’s assistant Leon Vitali would throw tennis balls and oranges at him. Ermey had to catch the ball and throw it back as quickly as possible, while at the same time saying his lines as fast as he could. Any hesitation, slur, or missed line would necessitate starting over. Twenty error-free runs were required. "[He] was my drill instructor", Ermey said of Vitali. 463:
The original casting plan envisaged Anthony Michael Hall starring as Private Joker. After eight months of negotiations, a deal between Kubrick and Hall fell through.Kubrick offered Bruce Willis a role, but the actor had to turn it down because he was to start filming of the first six episodes of his TV series Moonlighting .
Kubrick shot the film in England: in Cambridgeshire, on the Norfolk Broads, and at the former Millennium Mills, Beckton Gas Works, Newham (east London) and the Isle of Dogs.A former Royal Air Force station and then British Army base, Bassingbourn Barracks doubled as the Parris Island Marine boot camp. A British Army rifle range near Barton, outside Cambridge, was used in the scene where Hartman congratulates Private Pyle for his shooting skills. Kubrick worked from still photographs of Huế, taken in 1968, and found an area owned by British Gas that closely resembled it and was scheduled to be demolished. The disused Beckton Gas Works, a few miles from central London, were filmed to represent Huế after attacks. Kubrick had buildings blown up, and the film's art director used a wrecking ball to knock specific holes in certain buildings over the course of two months. Originally, Kubrick had a plastic replica jungle flown in from California, but once he looked at it he was reported to have said, "I don't like it. Get rid of it". The open country was filmed in the Cliffe marshes, and along the River Thames, supplemented with 200 imported Spanish palm trees and 100,000 plastic tropical plants from Hong Kong.
Kubrick acquired four M41 tanks from a Belgian army colonel who was an admirer of the director's work,and Westland Wessex helicopters painted Marine green to represent Marine Corps Sikorsky H-34 Choctaw helicopters. Although the Wessex was a licensed derivative of the Sikorsky H-34, the Wessex substituted two gas turbine engines for the H-34's radial (piston) engine. This resulted in a much longer and less rounded nose than that of the Vietnam era H-34. Kubrick also obtained a selection of rifles, M79 grenade launchers, and M60 machine guns from a licensed weapons dealer.
Modine described the shoot as difficult: Beckton Gas Works was a toxic and environmental nightmare for the entire film crew. Asbestos and hundreds of other chemicals poisoned the ground and air. Modine documents details of shooting at Beckton in his book, Full Metal Jacket Diary (2005). During the boot camp sequence of the film, Modine and the other recruits had to endure the rigors of Marine Corps training, including having Ermey yelling at them for 10 hours a day during the shooting of the Parris Island scenes. To ensure the actors' reactions to Ermey were as authentic and fresh as possible, Ermey and the recruits did not rehearse together. 468 For film continuity, each recruit had to have his head shaved once a week.:
At one point during filming, Ermey had a car accident, broke all of his ribs on one side, and was out for four-and-half months.
Cowboy's death scene shows a building in the background that resembles the famous alien monolith in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Kubrick described the resemblance as an "extraordinary accident".
During filming, Hasford contemplated taking legal action over the writing credits. Originally, the filmmakers intended for Hasford to receive an "additional dialogue" credit, but he fought for and eventually received full credit.The writer took two friends and visited the set dressed as extras, only to be mistaken by a crew member for Herr when Hasford identified himself as the writer whose work the film was based on.
Kubrick's daughter Vivian—who appears uncredited as a news-camera operator at the mass grave—shadowed the filming of Full Metal Jacket. She shot 18 hours of behind-the-scenes footage for a potential "making-of" documentary similar to her earlier film documentary on Kubrick's The Shining (1980), but in this case did not make the film. Snippets of her work can be seen in the documentary Stanley Kubrick's Boxes (2008).
Compared to Kubrick's other works, the themes of Full Metal Jacket have received little attention from critics and reviewers. Michael Pursell's essay "Full Metal Jacket: The Unravelling of Patriarchy" (1988) was an early, in-depth consideration of the film's two-part structure and its criticism of masculinity, arguing that the film shows "war and pornography as facets of the same system".
Most reviews have focused on military brainwashing themes in the boot camp training section of the film, while seeing the latter half of the film as more confusing and disjointed in content. Rita Kempley of The Washington Post wrote, "it's as if they borrowed bits of every war movie to make this eclectic finale."Roger Ebert said, "The movie disintegrates into a series of self-contained set pieces, none of them quite satisfying." Julian Rice, in his book Kubrick's Hope (2008), sees the second part of the film as continuing the psychic journey of Joker in trying to come to grips with human evil.
Tony Lucia, in his July 5, 1987, review of Full Metal Jacket for the Reading Eagle, looked at the themes of Kubrick's career, suggesting "the unifying element may be the ordinary man dwarfed by situations too vast and imposing to handle". Lucia specifically refers to the "military mentality" in this film. He said further that the theme covered "a man testing himself against his own limitations", and he concluded: "Full Metal Jacket is the latest chapter in an ongoing movie which is not merely a comment on our time or a time past, but on something that reaches beyond."
British critic Gilbert Adair wrote: "Kubrick's approach to language has always been reductive and uncompromisingly deterministic in nature. He appears to view it as the exclusive product of environmental conditioning, only very marginally influenced by concepts of subjectivity and interiority, by all the whims, shades and modulations of personal expression".
Michael Herr wrote of his work on the screenplay: "The substance was single-minded, the old and always serious problem of how you put into a film or a book the living, behaving presence of what Jung called The Shadow, the most accessible of archetypes, and the easiest to experience ... War is the ultimate field of Shadow-activity, where all of its other activities lead you. As they expressed it in Vietnam, 'Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no Evil, for I am the Evil'."
In a 2009 review, Dan Schneider alleged that Kubrick took the cinematic idea of a recruit being broken down in boot camp and driven to suicide from the epic film series The Human Condition (1959–1961).
Kubrick's daughter Vivian Kubrick, under the alias "Abigail Mead", wrote the film's score. According to an interview, which appeared in the January 1988 issue of Keyboard , the film was scored mostly with a Fairlight CMI synthesizer (the then-current Series III edition) and a Synclavier. For the period music, Kubrick went through Billboard 's list of Top 100 Hits for each year from 1962 to 1968 and tried many songs, but "sometimes the dynamic range of the music was too great, and we couldn't work in dialogue".
A single "Full Metal Jacket (I Wanna Be Your Drill Instructor)", credited to Mead and Nigel Goulding, was released to promote the film. It incorporates Ermey's drill cadences from the film. The single reached number two in the UK pop charts.
Full Metal Jacket received a limited release on June 26, 1987, in 215 theaters. As of 1998 [update] , the film had grossed $120 million worldwide.Its opening weekend saw it accrue $2,217,307, an average of $10,313 per theater, ranking it the number 10 film for the June 26–28 weekend. It took a further $2,002,890 for a total of $5,655,225 before entering wide release on July 10, 1987, at 881 theaters—an increase of 666. The July 10–12 weekend saw the film gross $6,079,963, an average of $6,901 per theater, and rank as the number 2 grossing film. Over the next four weeks the film opened in a further 194 theaters to its widest release of 1,075 theaters before closing two weeks later with a total gross of $46,357,676, making it the number 23 highest-grossing film of 1987.
The film was released on Blu-ray on October 23, 2007, in the US and other countries.Warner Home Video released the 25th anniversary edition on Blu-ray on August 7, 2012.
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes retrospectively collected reviews to give the film a score of 91% based on reviews from 78 critics and an average rating of 8.3/10. The summary states, "Intense, tightly constructed, and darkly comic at times, Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket may not boast the most original of themes, but it is exceedingly effective at communicating them." No. 95 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills.Another aggregator Metacritic gave it a score of 76 out of 100, which indicates a "generally favorable" response, based on 19 reviews. Reviewers generally reacted favorably to the cast, Ermey in particular, and the film's first act in recruit training, but several reviews were critical of the latter part of the film set in Vietnam and what was considered a "muddled" moral message in the finale. It ranks
Richard Corliss of Time called the film a "technical knockout", praising "the dialogue's wild, desperate wit; the daring in choosing a desultory skirmish to make a point about war's pointlessness", and "the fine, large performances of almost every actor", believing, at the time, that Ermey and D'Onofrio would receive Oscar nominations. Corliss also appreciated "the Olympian elegance and precision of Kubrick's filmmaking". 's Ian Nathan awarded the film 3 out of 5 stars, saying it is "inconsistent" and describing it as "both powerful and frustratingly unengaged". Nathan felt that after leaving the opening act following the recruit training, the film becomes "bereft of purpose", but he summarized his review by calling it a "hardy Kubrickian effort that warms on you with repeated viewings". Nathan also praised Ermey's "staggering performance". Vincent Canby of The New York Times called it "harrowing, beautiful and characteristically eccentric". Canby echoed praise for Ermey, calling him "the film's stunning surprise ... he's so good—so obsessed—that you might think he wrote his own lines". Canby also said D'Onofrio's performance should be admired, and he called Modine "one of the best, most adaptable young film actors of his generation". Canby concluded: Full Metal Jacket was "a film of immense and very rare imagination".Empire
Jim Hall, writing for Film4 in 2010, awarded the film 5 out of 5 stars and added to the praise for Ermey, saying his "performance as the foul-mouthed Hartman is justly celebrated and it's difficult to imagine the film working anything like as effectively without him". The review also preferred the opening training to the later Vietnam sequence, calling it "far more striking than the second and longer section". Film4 commented that the film ends abruptly but felt "it demonstrates just how clear and precise the director's vision could be when he resisted a fatal tendency for indulgence". Film4 concluded: "Full Metal Jacket ranks with Dr. Strangelove as one of Kubrick's very best."Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader called it "Elliptical, full of subtle inner rhymes … and profoundly moving, this is the most tightly crafted Kubrick film since Dr. Strangelove, as well as the most horrific." Variety called the film an "intense, schematic, superbly made" drama "loaded with vivid, outrageously vulgar military vernacular that contributes heavily to the film's power", but felt that it never develops "a particularly strong narrative." The cast performances were all labeled "exceptional" with Modine being singled out as "embodying both what it takes to survive in the war and a certain omniscience." Gilbert Adair, writing in a review for Full Metal Jacket, commented that "Kubrick's approach to language has always been of a reductive and uncompromisingly deterministic nature. He appears to view it as the exclusive product of environmental conditioning, only very marginally influenced by concepts of subjectivity and interiority, by all whims, shades and modulations of personal expression".
Not all reviews were positive. Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert held a dissenting view, calling the film "strangely shapeless" and awarding it 2.5 stars out of 4. Ebert called it "one of the best-looking war movies ever made on sets and stage" but felt this was not enough to compete with the "awesome reality of Platoon , Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter ." Ebert also criticized the film's second act set in Vietnam, saying the "movie disintegrates into a series of self-contained set pieces, none of them quite satisfying" and concluded that the film's message was "too little and too late", having been done by other Vietnam War films. However, Ebert also gave praise to Ermey and D'Onofrio, saying "these are the two best performances in the movie, which never recovers after they leave the scene."This review angered Gene Siskel on their television show At The Movies ; he criticized Ebert for liking Benji the Hunted (which came out the same week) more than Full Metal Jacket. Their difference in opinion was parodied on the television show The Critic , where Siskel taunts Ebert with "coming from the guy who liked Benji the Hunted!" Time Out London also disliked the film saying "Kubrick's direction is as steely cold and manipulative as the régime it depicts", and felt that the characters were underdeveloped, adding "we never really get to know, let alone care about, the hapless recruits on view."
British television channel Channel 4 voted it number 5 on its list of the greatest war films ever made.In 2008, Empire placed Full Metal Jacket number 457 on its list of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.
Full Metal Jacket was nominated for eleven awards worldwide between 1987 and 1989 including an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay,two BAFTA Awards for Best Sound and Best Special Effects, and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for Ermey. Ultimately it won five awards, three from organisations outside of the United States: Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The film won Best Foreign Language Film from the Japanese Academy, Best Producer from the David di Donatello Awards, Director of the Year from the London Critics Circle Film Awards, and Best Director and Best Supporting Actor from the Boston Society of Film Critics Awards, for Kubrick and Ermey respectively. Of the five awards won, four were awarded to Kubrick.
|1987||BAFTA Awards||Best Sound||Nigel Galt, Edward Tise and Andy Nelson||Nominated|
|Best Special Effects||John Evans||Nominated|
|1988||60th Academy Awards||Best Adapted Screenplay||Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr and Gustav Hasford||Nominated|
|Boston Society of Film Critics Awards||Best Director||Stanley Kubrick||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||R. Lee Ermey||Won|
|David di Donatello Awards||Best Producer – Foreign film||Stanley Kubrick||Won|
|Golden Globes||Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture||R. Lee Ermey||Nominated|
|London Critics Circle Film Awards||Director of the Year||Stanley Kubrick||Won|
|Writers Guild of America||Best Adapted Screenplay||Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr, Gustav Hasford||Nominated|
|1989||Kinema Junpo Awards||Best Foreign Language Film Director||Stanley Kubrick||Won|
|Awards of the Japanese Academy||Best Foreign Language Film||Stanley Kubrick||Nominated|
Film scholar Greg Jenkins has done a detailed analysis of the adaptation of the novel as a screenplay. The novel is in three parts. The film greatly expands the relatively brief section in Part I, about the boot camp on Parris Island, and essentially discards Part III. This gives the film a twofold structure, telling two largely independent stories connected by the same characters acting in each. Jenkins believes this structure is a development of concepts that Kubrick has had since the 1960s. At that time, Kubrick talked about wanting to explode the usual conventions of narrative structure.
Sergeant Hartman (renamed from the book's Gerheim) has an expanded role in the film. In the film, Private Pyle's incompetence is presented as weighing negatively on the rest of the platoon and in the film, unlike the novel, he is the only under-performing recruit.The film omits "Hartman's" disclosure to other troops that he thinks Pyle might be mentally unstable, a "Section 8". In contrast, Hartman praises Pyle, saying that he is "born again hard". Jenkins says that the character of Hartman could not have been portrayed as having a warmer social relationship with the troops, as that would have upset the balance of the film, which depends on the spectacle of ordinary soldiers coming to grips with Hartman as a force of nature embodying a killer culture.
Various episodes in the book have been cut from the screenplay or conflated with others. For example, Cowboy's introduction of the "Lusthog Squad" has been both markedly shortened and supplemented by material from other sections of the book. Although the book's final, third section was largely dropped, elements from this section were inserted into other episodes of the film.For instance, the climactic episode with the sniper is a conflation of two episodes in the book, from Parts II and III. Jenkins thinks the film presents this passage more dramatically but in less gruesome detail than in the novel.
The film often has a more tragic tone than the book, which relies on callous humor. Joker in the film remains a model of humane thinking, as evidenced by his moral struggle in the sniper episode and elsewhere. He works to overcome his own meekness, rather than to compete with other Marines. The film omits the book's showing his eventual domination over Animal Mother.
The film also omits the death of the character Rafterman. Jenkins believed this allowed viewers to reflect on Rafterman's personal growth in the film and speculate on his future growth after the war. Jenkins also believed Rafterman's death would not have fit the plot of the screenplay.
The line of dialog "Me so horny. Me love you long time," uttered by the Da Nang street prostitute (played by Papillon Soo Soo) to Joker (Modine) became a catchphrase in popular cultureafter it was sampled by rap artists 2 Live Crew in their 1990 hit "Me So Horny" and by Sir Mix-A-Lot in "Baby Got Back" (1992).
A full metal jacket (FMJ) bullet is a small-arms projectile consisting of a soft core encased in a shell of harder metal, such as gilding metal, cupronickel, or, less commonly, a steel alloy. A bullet jacket generally allows for higher muzzle velocities than bare lead without depositing significant amounts of metal in the bore. It also prevents damage to bores from steel or armor-piercing core materials. In military nomenclature, it is often labeled ball ammunition.
Ronald Lee Ermey was an American actor, voice actor and Marine corps drill instructor. He achieved fame when he played Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket, which earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Ermey was also a United States Marine Corps staff sergeant and an honorary gunnery sergeant.
Mail Call was a television program that appeared on the History Channel. It was hosted by R. Lee Ermey, a retired United States Marine Corps staff sergeant and honorary gunnery sergeant. The show debuted on August 4, 2002 as part of the "Fighting Fridays" lineup. Most episodes were 30 minutes, but from 2007 through the show's end in 2009 some episodes were 60 minutes.
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island is an 8,095-acre (32.76 km2) military installation located within Port Royal, South Carolina, approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Beaufort, the community that is typically associated with the installation. MCRD Parris Island is used for the training of enlisted Marines. Male recruits living east of the Mississippi River and female recruits from all over the United States report here to receive their initial training. Male recruits living west of the Mississippi River receive their training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, but may train at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island by special request.
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. is an American situation comedy that originally aired on CBS from September 25, 1964, to May 2, 1969. The series was a spin-off of The Andy Griffith Show, and the pilot episode was aired as the season finale of the fourth season of its parent series on May 18, 1964. The show ran for a total of 150 half-hour episodes spanning over five seasons, in black-and-white for the first season, and then in color for the remaining four seasons. In 2006, CBS Home Entertainment began releasing the series on DVD. The final season was released in November 2008.
Jerry Gustave Hasford, also known under his pen name Gustav Hasford was an American novelist, journalist and poet. His semi-autobiographical novel The Short-Timers (1979) was the basis of the film Full Metal Jacket (1987). He was also a United States Marine Corps veteran, who served during the Vietnam War.
A technical advisor is an individual who is an expert in a particular field of knowledge, hired to provide detailed information and advice to people working in that field. For example, a construction company might hire a technical expert in fluid dynamics to advise them if seeking to move a small water course or a company operating in adventure education will frequently hire technical experts to ensure that their policies and procedures are robust enough to handle the hazards they are going to face.
The Short-Timers is a 1979 semi-autobiographical novel by U.S. Marine Corps veteran Gustav Hasford, about his experience in the Vietnam War. Hasford served as a combat correspondent with the 1st Marine Division during the Tet Offensive of 1968. As a military journalist, he wrote stories for Leatherneck Magazine, Pacific Stars and Stripes, and Sea Tiger. The novel was later adapted into the film Full Metal Jacket (1987) by Hasford, Michael Herr, and Stanley Kubrick.
Michael David Herr was an American writer and war correspondent, known as the author of Dispatches (1977), a memoir of his time as a correspondent for Esquire magazine (1967–1969) during the Vietnam War. The book was called the best "to have been written about the Vietnam War" by The New York Times Book Review. Novelist John le Carré called it "the best book I have ever read on men and war in our time." Herr later was credited with pioneering the literary genre of the nonfiction novel, along with authors such as Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, and Tom Wolfe.
The Boys in Company C, directed by Sidney J. Furie, starring Stan Shaw, Andrew Stevens, Craig Wasson, James Canning, and Michael Lembeck, is a 1978 film about United States Marine Corps recruits preparing for duty, and their subsequent combat in the Vietnam War. It was among the first Vietnam War films to appear after the Vietnam Era, and was also the first role for R. Lee Ermey of Full Metal Jacket fame. The Boys in Company C is the first in Furie's Vietnam War motion picture trilogy, followed by 2001's Under Heavy Fire and 2006's The Veteran.
The Phantom Blooper: A Novel of Vietnam is a 1990 novel written by Gustav Hasford and the sequel to The Short-Timers (1979). It continues to follow James T. "Joker" Davis through his Vietnam odyssey. The book was supposed to be the second of a "Vietnam Trilogy", but Hasford died before writing the third installment.
The Lusthog Squad is a fictional United States Marine Corps squad introduced first in the semi-autobiographical novel The Short-Timers (1979) by Vietnam veteran Gustav Hasford. The squad was also featured in its sequel, The Phantom Blooper, albeit with most of its members changed. Stanley Kubrick depicted the squad in his 1987 film Full Metal Jacket.
Tim Colceri is an American actor and comedian. He is most known for his role in the 1987 Stanley Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket, where he played the door gunner who uttered the much-quoted lines "Get some!" and "Ain't war hell?" He was originally cast to play Gunnery Sergeant Hartman but was removed from the role in favor of R. Lee Ermey.
The political and religious views of filmmaker Stanley Kubrick (1928–1999) have been subjects of speculation during his lifetime and after his death. While early films like Paths of Glory (1957) seem to reflect an overtly progressive ideology, later films such as Dr. Strangelove (1964) and A Clockwork Orange (1971) can be construed as equally critical of the political left and right. Despite the lack of commitment to a particular world-view, it is generally agreed that Kubrick was fascinated by the possibilities of a supernatural reality, as reflected in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and The Shining (1980).
Full Metal Jacket Diary is a book written by American author, actor and photographer Matthew Modine and published by Rugged Land October 25, 2005. The book contains photos and diary entries of his experiences over a two-year period while working on the epic Stanley Kubrick film, Full Metal Jacket.
The personal life of Stanley Kubrick:
Filmworker is a 2017 American documentary film directed by Tony Zierra about Leon Vitali, a successful British actor who, after playing the role of “Lord Bullingdon” in the Stanley Kubrick-directed Barry Lyndon, gave up his acting career to work for decades as Kubrick’s assistant. Filmworker premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival on May 19 and was nominated for the L'Œil d'or, le prix du documentaire – Cannes.
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