“[Hartman gives a speech to the graduating recruits] Today, you people are no longer maggots. Today, you are Marines. You’re part of a brotherhood. From now on until the day you die, wherever you are, every Marine is your brother. Most of you will go to Vietnam. Some of you will not come back. But always remember this: Marines die. That’s what we’re here for. But the Marine Corps lives forever. And that means YOU live forever.” – Gunnery Sergeant Hartman
Number of Times Seen – Too many to count (cable in ’88, video, DVD and 13 Jun 2014 and 13 Apr 2020)
Link to original review – Here
Brief Synopsis – A look a the marines and the Vietnam War from the perspective of a cynical soldier.
My Take on it – This has been among my favorite films ever since I first saw it as a teen in the 80’s.
The film is both a great war drama and a movie that shows over and over the futility of war.
The story is setup with two very different segments that depict the life during marine training on Paris Island and the life of a marine in Vietnam.
Matthew Modine is superbly cast in the lead role that helps bridge the gap between these two segments.
Each of these segments is harrowing in the way that they depict the way that war and conflict affect people who are trained to stare death right in the face.
R. Lee Ermey stands out as the unflinching Drill Instructor and manages to steal every scene that he appears in.
Vincent D’Onofrio is also amazing in this film as a recruit who suffers so much during training as he tries to find his calling in life in the marines.
They do an amazing job showing the way that individualism is stripped of soldiers in both training and in war and then they must endure the far reaching repercussions of everything going on around them both on themselves and on the world.
Stanley Kubrick does a spectacular job with this film and it works on so many levels no matter how often one sees it because it stays both powerful and poignant in all that it tries to tell us.
Bottom Line – Amazing film about the futility of war that resonates on so many levels. Modine is superbly cast in the lead role and works really well as the bridge between the two very different segments of the story. Both segments are harrowing in their own ways and show the effects on war and death on men trained for such things. Ermey stands out here as the tough Drill Instructor and steals every scene he is in. D’Onofrio is also amazing as a recruit who struggles until he finds is calling in life. The story shows the way that individualism is stripped from soldiers during these situations and we get to see the far reaching effects that it has on both them and on the world. Kubrick tells such a powerful and poignant story here that works no matter how often one sees this film play out. Highly Highly Recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – According to an interview with Vincent D’Onofrio, the production schedule for the film was so drawn-out that lead actor Matthew Modine got married, conceived a child with his wife, the child was born, and then turned 1 year old…all during the course of filming. (From IMDB)
Rating – Oscar Worthy (10/10) (no change from original review)
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