R. Lee Ermey - Rotten Tomatoes

R. Lee Ermey

Highest Rated:   100% Toy Story 2 (1999)
Lowest Rated:   9% Man of the House (2005)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Emporia, Kansas, USA
A few character actors make such an indelible impression with one role that they find it consistently impossible to outgrow that image. Anthony Perkins had it with Norman Bates, M. Emmet Walsh has it with Visser (from Blood Simple), and R. Lee Ermey will forever be associated with the sadomasochistic verbal rapist of a drill instructor, Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, from Stanley Kubrick's Vietnam opus, Full Metal Jacket (1987). Though Ermey never again quite matched the intensity of this role (or the gutter-bucket poetic invention of its obscene dialogue), it was enough to give him permanent recognition as a character actor among filmgoers, and to typecast him in a series of variants on that role, again and again, throughout his life.Born on March 24, 1944, in Emporia, KS, Ermey enlisted in the armed forces as a young man and hightailed it to Vietnam on a non-commissioned basis, but injuries forced him to retire from active duty. He received full disability pay and moved to Manila in the early '70s, where he managed to ably support himself on his USAF allotment (thanks to the lower cost of living) while studying for a degree in criminology. Each morning, Ermey visited the coffee shop at the Manila Hilton -- well-reputed as the haunt of American filmmakers shooting on-location in the Philippines -- until one of the directors happened to notice Ermey and asked him to pose for a series of blue jeans ads. This experience led to his film debut, a role as a retired soldier in a local production. By 1976, Ermey had appeared in several Filipino films. He broke into Hollywood films that year, when he slipped onto the set for Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now and convinced Coppola to hire him as a helicopter pilot. Indeed, the ex-officer's Vietnam experience came in handy and Coppola utilized him as a technical advisor. Ermey made his American cinematic debut -- and held to the military-man typecasting -- in Sidney J. Furie's comedy drama The Boys in Company C (1978), and the director's follow-up, Purple Hearts (1984). But his biggest break came shortly thereafter, when Stanley Kubrick -- a notorious tyrant himself -- tapped him to portray Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Full Metal Jacket (1987). Ermey's evocation of the satanically profane, vile, and sadistic Hartman, laden with the thankless, brutal job of toughening up raw recruits before sending them to Vietnam (who eventually gets blown away by one of his trainees) dominates the film's first 45 minutes and provides an unforgettably realistic, disturbing portrait of military training. Thanks to his unique countenance and authoritative voice, Ermey maintained his image as a rough-hewn, tough-as-nails SOB onscreen.Neither Company C or Purple Hearts received substantial critical and public recognition (or a very wide release); in contrast, the broader exposure of Full Metal Jacket (it received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and a National Board of Review nomination for Best Picture) boosted Ermey's prominence -- immeasurably so. He followed it up with spots in such well-received pictures as Alan Parker's racial drama Mississippi Burning (1988) and Abel Ferrara's Body Snatchers (1993). In 1995, Ermey spoofed himself to great effect as the voice of the leader of the little green soldiers in Toy Story, and doubled it up with a turn as the vengeful father of a homicide victim in Tim Robbins' capital punishment drama Dead Man Walking. A third role in that same year -- as the boss of Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt in David Fincher's seminal work Seven -- elicited a positive (if limited) critical and public response for Ermey's portrayal.During the early 2000s, Ermey once again drew on his military expertise and background, albeit in a much different fashion, as host of the small-screen program Mail Call. Episodes featured him answering a series of viewer questions about various aspects of military life and history. In 2003, he returned to his dramatic roots (and managed to top the

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
71% Filmworker
  • Actor
2017
17% The Watch
  • Manfred
$34.1M 2012
99% Toy Story 3
  • Sarge
$415M 2010
No Score Yet Cat Tale
  • Actor
2010
No Score Yet Lock N Load With R. Lee Ermey
  • Actor
2009
No Score Yet Y.M.I.
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet Solstice
  • Leonard
2007
12% The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
  • Sheriff Hoyt
$39.5M 2006
No Score Yet Shark Bait
  • Jack
2006
58% X-Men: The Last Stand
  • Seargant
$234.3M 2006
9% Man of the House
  • Capt. Nichols
$19.2M 2005
36% The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • Sheriff Hoyt
$80.2M 2003
50% Scenes of the Crime
  • Mr. Parker
2003
64% Willard
  • Mr. Martin
$6.8M 2003
62% The Salton Sea
  • Verne Plummer
$0.7M 2002
No Score Yet Avalanche
  • Gary
2002
71% Run Ronnie Run!
  • Lead Kidnapper
2002
No Score Yet Frank McKlusky, C.I.
  • Jockey Master
2002
10% Megiddo: The Omega Code 2
  • Pres. Richard Benson
$5.7M 2001
No Score Yet Jericho
  • Marshall
2001
61% Recess: School's Out
  • Colonel O'Malley
$34.9M 2001
No Score Yet On the Borderline
  • Capt. Elias
2001
18% Saving Silverman
  • Football Coach
$19M 2001
No Score Yet The Chaos Factor
  • Col. Ben Wilder
2000
No Score Yet Skipped Parts
  • Caspar Callahan
2000
No Score Yet Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins
  • Actor
2000
100% Toy Story 2
  • Sergeant
1999
50% Life
  • Older Sherriff Pike
1999
No Score Yet You Know My Name
  • Nix
1999
No Score Yet The Apartment Complex
  • Frank Stanton
1999
20% Gunshy
  • Jerry
1998
32% Switchback
  • Sheriff Buck Olmstead
1997
No Score Yet Dead Men Can't Dance
  • Sen. Pullman Fowler
1997
59% Prefontaine
  • Bill Bowerman
1997
No Score Yet The Sender
  • Col. Rosewater
1997
No Score Yet Weapons of Mass Distraction
  • Titans' Owner
1997
64% The Frighteners
  • Sgt. Hiles
1996
67% Soul of the Game
  • Wilkie Wilkinson
1996
No Score Yet Chain of Command
  • Benjamin Brewster
1996
95% Dead Man Walking
  • Clyde Percy
1995
100% Toy Story
  • Sergeant
1995
90% Leaving Las Vegas
  • Conventioneer
1995
80% Seven (Se7en)
  • Police Captain
1995
No Score Yet The Rift (La Grieta)
  • Actor
1995
No Score Yet Savate
  • Benedict
1995
No Score Yet Under the Hula Moon
  • Colonel McIntire
1995
50% Murder in the First
  • Judge Clawson
1994
No Score Yet Love Is A Gun
  • Frank Deacon
1994
10% On Deadly Ground
  • Stone
1994
No Score Yet French Silk
  • Chief Crowder
1994
63% Sommersby
  • Dick Mead
1993
71% Body Snatchers
  • General Platt
1993
10% Hexed
  • Ferguson
1993
43% True Identity
  • Houston's Boss (uncredited)
1991
36% Toy Soldiers
  • General Kramer
1991
No Score Yet 83 Hours 'til Dawn
  • Glen Fairling
1990
No Score Yet Kid
  • Luke
1990
No Score Yet I'm Dangerous Tonight
  • Actor
1990
No Score Yet Endless Descent
  • Randall Phillips
1990
No Score Yet The Take
  • Weller
1990
No Score Yet The Terror Within II
  • Actor
1990
37% Fletch Lives
  • Jimmy Lee Farnsworth
1989
No Score Yet The Siege of Firebase Gloria
  • Hafner
1989
No Score Yet Demonstone
  • Col. Joe Haines
1989
89% Mississippi Burning
  • Mayor Tilman
1988
95% Full Metal Jacket
  • Hartman
1987
No Score Yet Purple Hearts
  • Gunny
1984
98% Apocalypse Now
  • Heliocopter Pilot
1979
No Score Yet The Boys in Company C
  • Sgt. Loyce
1978

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Family Guy
1999
  • Voice
  • 2011
  • 2001
No Score Yet Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
1999
  • Walter Burlock
  • 2010
No Score Yet Eleventh Hour
2008-2009
  • Bob Henson
  • 2008
No Score Yet House
2004-2012
  • John House
  • 2008
  • 2005
No Score Yet Scrubs
2001-2010
  • Janitor's Father
  • 2002
No Score Yet The Simpsons
1989
  • Voice
  • 1995
No Score Yet The X-Files
1993-2016
  • Rev. Finley
  • 1995

Quotes from R. Lee Ermey's Characters