Full Metal Jacket (1987)



Critic Consensus: Intense, tightly constructed, and darkly comic at times, Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket may not boast the most original of themes, but it is exceedingly effective at communicating them.

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Stanley Kubrick's return to filmmaking after a seven-year hiatus, this film crystallizes the experience of the Vietnam War by concentrating on a group of raw Marine volunteers. Based on Gustav Hasford's novel The Short Timers, the film's first half details the volunteers' harrowing boot-camp training under the profane, power-saw guidance of drill instructor Sgt. Hartman (R. Lee Ermey, a real-life drill instructor whose performance is one of the most terrifyingly realistic on record). Part two takes place in Nam, as seen through the eyes of the now thoroughly indoctrinated marines. Ironically, Full Metal Jacket was filmed almost entirely in England. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
R (adult situations/language, violence)
Action & Adventure , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Bros.

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Matthew Modine
as Pvt. J.T. 'Joker' Davis
R. Lee Ermey
as Hartman
Arliss Howard
as Pvt. Cowboy
John Terry
as Lt. Lockhart
Kevin Howard
as Rafterman
Ian Tyler
as Lt. Cleves
Adam Baldwin
as Animal Mother
Dorian Harewood
as Eightball
Ed O'Ross
as Touchdown
Kirk Taylor
as Payback
Papillon Soo
as Da Nang Hooker
Peter Merrill
as TV Journalist
Keiron Jecchinis
as Crazy Earl
Kieron Jecchinis
as Crazy Earl
Jon Stafford
as Doc Jay
Leanna Hong
as Motorbike Hooker
Ngoc Le
as V.C. Sniper
Leanne Hong
as Motorbike Hooker
Gil Kopel
as Stork
Herbert Norville
as Daytona Dave
Bruce Boa
as Poge Colonel
Tim Colceri
as Doorgunner
Sal Lopez
as T.H.E. Rock
Marcus D'Amico
as Hand Job
Keith Hodiak
as Daddy Da
Keith Hodlak
as Daddy Da
Nguyen Hue Phong
as Camera Thief
Du Hu Ta
as Dead NVA
Tony Carey
as Marine
Harry Davies
as Marine
David George
as Marine
Derek Hart
as Marine
Tony Smith
as Marine
Bill Thompson
as Marine
John Wilson
as Marine
Chad Dowdell
as Dying Soldier (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for Full Metal Jacket

All Critics (74) | Top Critics (14)

If his considerable achievement in this long- awaited film falls short of his Olympian standards, there is a reason that ought to give Kubrick some satisfaction. The world has caught up with Kubrick and what he has to say.

Full Review… | June 21, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

It may seem too spare, too clinical, its moments of war even too familiar for some. But, aiming for minds as well as hearts, Kubrick hits his target squarely.

Full Review… | June 21, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

What gives this story its power is not really its originality, but the relentlessness of Kubrick's black-comic vision and the tightness of his focus.

Full Review… | June 21, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

There is a real fear at the heart of this monstrously armored, desperately defensive film.

Full Review… | June 21, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

It's a great piece of filmmaking, diminished only by a second act that fails to live up to the first act of the Marines in training.

Full Review… | June 21, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Full Metal Jacket is not a realistic film -- it is horror-comic superrealism, from a God's-eye view -- but it should fully engage the ordinary movie grunt.

Full Review… | August 24, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Full Metal Jacket

While certainly qualifying as quality film-making, Kubrick's Vietnam entrée also shows signs of aging. Much of the dialogue has that grammar school feel of trying one-ups-manship that was tiring in grammar school (except for the remarkable Lee Ermey, who stills radiates like nuclear meltdown). Still a work worthy of your time.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

A powerful and cynical film that portrays with dark humor and acid criticism the dehumanizing side of war, with R. Lee Ermey and D'Onofrio stealing the show in the most memorable scenes. Still, the second part never achieves the level of excellence of the first half, turning into just another war movie.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Dark humor, sharp dialogue and R. Lee Ermey's terrifyingly excellent performance. Full Metal Jacket is a gripping portrayal of the dehumanization and transformation of the US soldier in the midst of the Vietnam War. Kubrick's tactical direction and nasty-good production on this film is one of his best. 5/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

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