Full Metal Jacket

1987

Full Metal Jacket

Critics 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.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 78

94%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 324,231
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Movie Info

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

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Cast

Matthew Modine
as Pvt. J.T. 'Joker' Davis
R. Lee Ermey
as Hartman
Arliss Howard
as Pvt. Cowboy
John Terry
as Lt. Lockhart
Ian Tyler
as Lt. Cleves
Kevin Howard
as Rafterman
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
Jon Stafford
as Doc Jay
Kieron Jecchinis
as Crazy Earl
Ngoc Le
as V.C. Sniper
Leanna Hong
as Motorbike Hooker
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
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
Derek Hart
as Marine
Dave Perry
as Marine
Tony Smith
as Marine
Chad Dowdell
as Dying Soldier (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for Full Metal Jacket

All Critics (78) | Top Critics (15)

Audience Reviews for Full Metal Jacket

  • Aug 15, 2017
    Full Metal Jacket is not just about war, but rather the psychology behind it. A smart move from the legend that was Stanley Kubrick. We've all seen many war films, a genre that is well explored from a variety of different conflicts. Full Metal Jacket however chooses to go behind the scenes and focus on the training process that changes well intentioned men into trained lethal killers. You could easily split this in half and have two separate films, the first half being more psychologically charged whereas the latter showcasing the brutality of warfare. A ridiculously serious drill sergeant practically bullying a trainee marine so harshly that it slowly turns him into an unstable psychopath. That right there, was some really good psychology and made the film so much more interesting. Sure the Vietnam War scenes were depicted with a substantial amount of fire, blood and guns but it was the first half that really captivated me. Vincent D'Onofrio was the stand out for me, both convincing and expressive through his face. Matthew Modine was good, probably his best performance. Lee Ermey deserves recognition just for somehow managing to not lose his voice from all the shouting. Characterisation was present, perhaps not fully fleshed out as I would like but was just enough for me to care about them. Yet again though, it's the technical marvel that wins...Stanley Kubrick. His directing style is so damn flawless. The nice clean long takes, actors looking directly into the camera, slow motion deaths (particularly in the sniper shootout)...he is just phenomenal. Script was sharp as well. A great section of dialogue where our lead character wears a peace badge and a helmet that says "born to kill" for which he describes represents the duality of man. That really stuck with me. So whilst it might feel like two separate films (due to that ridiculously quick transition), it's hard not to appreciate everything that's shown to us. Another hit from Mr. Kubrick.
    Luke A Super Reviewer
  • May 17, 2016
    Born to Kill. From director Stanley Kubrick comes the nihilistic Vietnam War film Full Metal Jacket. The story follows a marine as he goes through basic training and does a tour in Nam as a war correspondent for Stars and Stripes. Unfortunately the storytelling is weak and disjointed, and uses randomly inserted voice-over, delivered ham-fistedly by Matthew Modine, to try to tie everything together. None of the performances are especially good, aside from R. Lee Ermey; whose performance as a drill sergeant has become iconic. However, Kubrick's directing is impressive, and features some incredibly evocative imagery. Yet without a compelling story, Full Metal Jackets ends up falling flat.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • May 05, 2016
    People definitely shouldn't take Stanley Kubrick for granted, 'cause every time he says that he wants to make a movie different from his previous one, he always deliver. "Full Metal Jacket" is as different from "The Shining" as two movies could possibly be, and yet they are also similar in some ways. The concept of insanity lures in both movies and are shown in very successful ways both times. The first half of "Full Metal Jacket" blew me away and I enjoyed every single insult that came out of the mouth of Sergeant Hartman's mouth, who were beautifully portrayed by R. Lee Ermey. The second half, however, was a bit disappointing, because it took some time for me to get used to the new warfare surrounding, which wasn't really present at all in the first half of the movie. Matthew Modine is really good in the movie and he is without a doubt the best thing in the second half of the movie. This movie is intense, it's dark and it's very good and can definitely be locked into the vault of great Stanley Kubrick movies.
    Lasse G Super Reviewer
  • Oct 12, 2015
    Far better and more complex than it's given credit for . . . conventional wisdom, that the boot camp section is great while the combat scenes are disappointing, fails to recognize how well the two halves mirror each other in both violent and sexual imagery.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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