Critics Consensus

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



Reviews Counted: 197

liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 392,713


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.3/5

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Jarhead Photos

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 against an enemy they can't see for a cause they don't fully fathom.

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Jake Gyllenhaal
as Anthony Swofford
Peter Sarsgaard
as Allen Troy
Lucas Black
as Chris Kruge
Chris Cooper
as Lt. Col. Kazinski
Jamie Foxx
as Staff Sgt. Sykes
Dennis Haysbert
as Maj. Lincoln
Laz Alonso
as Escobar
Evan Jones
as Fowler
Ming Lo
as Bored Gunny
Kevin Foster
as Branded Marine
Scott Macdonald
as D.I. Fitch
James Morrison
as Mr. Swofford
Craig Coyne
as Young Mr. Swofford
Rini Bell
as Swoff's Sister
Dendrie Taylor
as Mrs. Swofford
Brianne Davis
as Kristina
Arman Zajic
as Boy Swoff
Brian Casey
as Paintball Marine
Ernest Ozuna
as Sergeant Major
Jocko Sims
as Julius
Jonathon R. Mize
as STA Graudate
Joel Prato
as STA Graudate
Peter Gail
as Doc John
Donna Kimball
as Reporter
Mark Davis
as Dettman's Neighbor
John Krasinski
as Corporal Harrigan
Mike Akrawi
as Bedouin
Jubin K.
as Bedouin
Hari Bali
as Bedouin
Kurt Larson
as Arguing Corporal
Ammar Daraiesh
as Iraqi Officer
V.J. Foster
as Vietnam Vet
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News & Interviews for Jarhead

Critic Reviews for Jarhead

All Critics (197) | Top Critics (48)

  • 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.

    Feb 10, 2006 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Ben Walters

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Jarhead takes a perverse pleasure in confounding your expectations of what a war movie should be.

    Jan 17, 2006 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Paul Arendt

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

    Jan 14, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Jarhead is utterly predictable (boys endure tough training; boys encounter another culture and are baffled), studded with first-rate performances.

    Dec 9, 2005
  • 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.

    Dec 6, 2005

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Jarhead

Interestingly, a war film about training for a war that kinda never happens. Fully aware and borrowing heavily from Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket, the cast trains and prepares but never actually see combat. So the film focuses on how frustrating that can be.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

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.

Kase Vollebregt
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

i almost gor drafted last year so this is like a horror movie

Coxxie Mild Sauce
Coxxie Mild Sauce

Super Reviewer

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

Bob Stinson
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

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