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"You're so ugly you could be a modern art masterpiece!"

Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 British-American war film directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay by Kubrick, Michael Herr, and Gustav Hasford was based on Hasford's novel The Short-Timers (1979). Its storyline follows a platoon of U.S. Marines through their training, primarily focusing on two privates, Joker and Pyle, who struggle to get through camp under their foul-mouthed drill instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, and the experiences of two of the platoon's Marines in the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War. The film's title refers to the full metal jacket bullet used by soldiers.


Stanley Kubrick's take on the Vietnam War follows smart-aleck Private Davis (Matthew Modine), quickly christened "Joker" by his foul-mouthed drill sergeant (R. Lee Ermey), and pudgy Private Lawrence (Vincent D'Onofrio), nicknamed "Gomer Pyle", as they endure the rigors of basic training. Though Pyle takes a frightening (and ultimately fatal) detour, Joker graduates to the Marine Corps and is sent to Vietnam as a journalist, covering - and eventually participating in - the bloody Battle of Hué City.

Why It Rocks[]

  1. Well-written story.
  2. Cool reenactment scenes of the Vietnam War.
  3. Great acting.
  4. Good music.
  5. Accurate depiction of how U.S. Marine boot camps were run.
  6. R. Lee Ermey does a great performance as Sgt. Hartman.
  7. One of the only Vietnam War films that focuses on urban combat rather than jungle combat.
  8. the war face scene and The grin scene became an internet meme

Bad Quality[]

  1. While it has some memorable scenes (the Da Nang prostitute, the door gunner) the Vietnam portion isn't as memorable as the boot camp portion (sometimes feeling like two films were slapped together), largely due to the lack of Hartman and Private Pyle.


  • R. Lee Ermey was one of the only actors in a Stanley Kubrick film who was allowed to go off-script, due to him being a real drill sergeant.
  • A novelty single, Full Metal Jacket (I Wanna Be Your Drill Instructor) was released to promote the film and features vocal samples from R. Lee Ermey. It was composed by Kubrick's daughter Vivian (credited as Abigail Mead) and reached #2 in the UK singles chart.
  • Roger Ebert infamously gave this a Thumbs Down on Siskel & Ebert, instead giving the Thumbs Up to Benji the Hunted. Gene Siskel then did an infamous rant to Ebert about it.

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