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Jarhead (2005)



Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 196
Fresh: 120 | Rotten: 76

This first person account of the first Gulf War scores with its performances and cinematography but lacks an emotional thrust.


Average Rating: 5.9/10
Critic Reviews: 46
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 22

This first person account of the first Gulf War scores with its performances and cinematography but lacks an emotional thrust.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 391,261

My Rating

Movie Info

"Jarhead" (the self-imposed moniker of the Marines) follows Swoff, a third-generation enlistee, from a sobering stint in boot camp to active duty, sporting a sniper's rifle and a hundred-pound rucksack on his back through Middle East deserts with no cover from intolerable heat or from Iraqi soldiers, always potentially just over the next horizon. Swoff and his fellow Marines sustain themselves with sardonic humanity and wicked comedy on blazing desert fields in a country they don't understand



William Broyles

Mar 7, 2006


Universal Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (198) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (120) | Rotten (76) | DVD (36)

The film's strong suit is vagueness, presenting combat as a semi-surreal state of ignorant expectation and dislocated experience: these warriors loll in the desert awaiting action or trying to make sense of its consequences.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Jarhead is utterly predictable (boys endure tough training; boys encounter another culture and are baffled), studded with first-rate performances.

December 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Screenwriter William Broyles, Jr., a former Vietnam pilot and Newsweek editor, connects reasonably well with the material, but American Beauty director Sam Mendes has a tendency to smooth out the rough edges, and the film goes flat as month-old soda.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a very strong film with really good performances.

November 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What's so good about the movie is Gyllenhaal's refusal to show off; he doesn't seem jealous of the camera's attention when it goes to others and is content, for long stretches, to serve simply as a prism though which other young men can be observed.

November 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Sam Mendes' third screen outing pretty well nails Swofford's tone, which was mordant without being disrespectful, and, in fact, is begrudgingly reverent of the Corps.

November 4, 2005 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Slick military faux-criticism

September 1, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

For some it's an anti-war message, for others it's just a non-biased portrait of a man who never went to war despite being in the military during war time.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Sporadically entertaining, and ultimately pointless -- although that seems to be its agenda right from the start.

January 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Dark Horizons
Dark Horizons

As a depressive riff on Generation X's first's exceptionally well-crafted.

September 24, 2007 Full Review Source:

What little statement the film makes revolves around the absurdity of these men, trained to shoot with ultimate precision, and never given the chance to fire off a round.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

As time passes, waiting for orders becomes like waiting for Godot, an absurdist tragicomedy of frustration, madness and masculinity gone awry.

July 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

A series of disjointed, shocking, and often unintentionally-humorous vignettes designed to celebrate boy-boy camaraderie while fomenting anti-Arab sentiments in the name of God, mom, and Apple Pie.

May 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Upstage Magazine | Comment (1)
Upstage Magazine

The first 20 minutes of have masterpiece written all over them, unfortunately, that fire peters out quite constantly until the film comes to a near flat lining ending.

April 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Hollywood Report Card
Hollywood Report Card

As usual, when the US makes war against the rest of the world, it's the artist who steps up to the plate to expose the lies and senseless tragedy, not the faint of heart or soul politicians and media.

February 10, 2007 Full Review Source: WBAI Web Radio
WBAI Web Radio

full review in Greek

October 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

Jarhead is simultaneously audaciously original and so mired in the clichés it knowingly acknowledges, sends up and honours that it has little new to say.

September 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

Thanks to its poignancy and expert crafting, Jarhead could become a classic war drama -- one that speaks for a new era of soldier and worldliness.

September 25, 2006
Christianity Today

Swofford has said he doesn't mind the movie's alterations, but the real issue is how it dulls the intimacy and idiosyncrasy of his voice, which was the book's compass.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

if not a classic war film, at least a top-notch and engrossing imitation of one.

March 6, 2006 Full Review Source:

It's another fine Gyllenhaal performance, but not really enough, because his suffering doesn't amount to a hill of Kuwaiti sand in the end.

February 10, 2006 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

All the absurdities of the human condition are compressed into experiences of war, or at least that's the impression we get through Jarhead, Sam Mendes' fascinating film based on a real memoir by a Jarhead.

February 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Jarhead takes a perverse pleasure in confounding your expectations of what a war movie should be.

January 17, 2006 Full Review Source:

All talk, very little action.

January 15, 2006 Full Review Source: FilmFocus

Stunning to look at and to listen to, with elegantly chosen pop songs unspooling on the soundtrack under each fresh new horror.

January 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Guardian

Audience Reviews for Jarhead

Entirely predictable first-person account of a marine's experiences around Desert Storm. Ambivalent and unengaging.
April 17, 2007

Super Reviewer

Upon first viewing, 'Jarhead' is no more than a portrait of the psychological challenges of a boring war. Yet, after the credits role, this film settles into your stomach and mind and doesn't leave. Sam Mendes creates a beautifully terrifying atmosphere with amazing cinematography and a strong cast of actors, with Gyllenhaal, Foxx, and Sarsgaard showing true talent. This film is not a trigger-happy gun show, but instead a poignant portrayal of soldiers battling themselves instead of the enemy. It's refreshing to see a great filmmaker give a unique turn on the modern 'war' genre.
July 16, 2012
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

i almost gor drafted last year so this is like a horror movie
February 18, 2012

Super Reviewer

Jarhead is more than a movie. It is an entertaining truthful first person look at the reality of the war and that the biggest enemy they were fighting was boredom.
November 2, 2011
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

    1. Detective Inspector Fitch: Jesus, Joseph and doggy-style Mary!
    2. Chris Kruger: Okay, yeah, sure, fine. I'll take the fucking pills and a year later my asshole will turn inside out and start talking to me!
    – Submitted by Justice J (18 months ago)
    1. Staff Sergeant Sykes: I love my job.
    – Submitted by Moe J (24 months ago)
    1. Staff Sergeant Sykes: [to the dead marine] I told you to keep your fucking head down! If you'd listened to me, you'd still be fucking alive right now, stupid fuck!
    – Submitted by stu c (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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