Heartbreak Ridge (1986)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Having spent much of his directorial career emulating Don Siegel and John Ford, Clint Eastwood borrows a page from the catalogue of Sam Fuller in Heartbreak Ridge. Eastwood casts himself as an old-fashioned Marine Corps sergeant who is out of step with the new-fashioned military. He returns to his old outfit as a gunnery sergeant, where he runs afoul of 1980s-style superior officers to whom the words "Gung Ho" are foolish anachronisms. But through his tough tutelage, Eastwood's lackadaisical platoon is whipped into a first-rate fighting machine, favoring teamwork over such New Age gobbledygook as "self-fulfillment." Eastwood's men prove their mettle during the invasion of Grenada. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Action & Adventure , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Home Video

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Clint Eastwood
as Sgt. Thomas Highway
Everett McGill
as Maj. Powers
Moses Gunn
as Sgt. Webster
Eileen Heckart
as Little Mary
Bo Svenson
as Roy Jennings
Boyd Gaines
as Lt. Ring
Vincent Irizarry
as Fragetti
Ramon Franco
as Aponte
Tom Villard
as Profile
Mike Gomez
as Quinones
Rodney Hill
as Collins
Peter Koch
as `Swede' Johanson
Pete Koch
as "Swede" Johnson
Richard Venture
as Colonel Meyers
Peter Jason
as Major Devin
J.C. Quinn
as Quartermaster Sgt.
Begonia Plaza
as Mrs. Aponte
Thom Sharp
as Emcee
Nicholas Worth
as Jail Binger
Dutch Mann
as Bar Tough Guy
Darwyn Swalve
as Bar Tough Guy
Rebecca Perle
as Student in Shower
Annie O'Donnell
as Telephone Operator
Elizabeth Ruscio
as Waitress
Lloyd Nelson
as Deputy
Michael Maurer
as Bouncer in Bar
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Critic Reviews for Heartbreak Ridge

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (6)

Heartbreak Ridge offers another vintage Clint Eastwood performance.

Full Review… | July 7, 2010
Top Critic

The film belongs to Eastwood. Now looking increasingly like an Easter Island statue, he has a voice pickled in bourbon, a tongue like razor wire, and a body so full of shrapnel that he can't walk through airport metal detectors.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

As the gritty, raspy-voiced sergeant, Mr. Eastwood's performance is one of the richest he's ever given.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

A few Cubans with AK47s isn't exactly "The Guns of Navarone." At the end, you can't decide whether Eastwood and his platoon should get medals or merit badges.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

We have seen this story in a hundred other movies ... But Eastwood, as the producer, director and star, caresses the material as if he didn't know B movies have gone out of style.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

To tell the truth, the Grenada Incursion looks even sillier on film than it did in the headlines. War is not hell, it's big box office.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Heartbreak Ridge


Maybe because it's dated now, but I didn't think it was Eastwood's best performance.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

Being a lifelong Eastwood fan, I re-visited Heartbreak Ridge after reading that it was produced after Louis Gossett Jr. won an Oscar for An Officer and a Gentleman. In my opinion, Eastwood was at least equal to Gossett's performance, but Heartbreak Ridge garnered no Oscar attention. I wish Eastwood had made more movies like this one, something like John Wayne in Sands of Iwo Jima as a role model. Like "Iwo Jima," this is a sort-of basic training to battlefield story but with more of a back story to its protagonist. Its not a political film nor a comedy, although there many comedic moments. Mario Van Peebles adds several of them, and his pairing with Eastwood, while odd at first, works well in an opposites though strangely alike sort of way. The love story subplot is awkward, more humorous than poignant. This is Clint Eastwood, at his gravel-voiced toughest, getting relationship advice from women's magazines. I enjoyed Marsha Mason as Aggie, Gunny Highway's ex-wife and new flame. (Figure that out) Eastwood also displays his soft hearted side with compassion toward one of his troops with family issues. So, Gunny Highway , trying to re-claim his lost youth and saddled with military politics and ego cashes, succeeds in making "life takers and heart breakers" out of a bunch of cast-off misfits and reclaims American military superiority. Is Heartbreak Ridge clichéd? Absolutely, yes. Does that matter? No, it works great as an action/war movie and maybe even better as a hilarious commentary on the generation gap. Still looking for a reason to watch: I just like hearing the word "clusterfuck" as well.

Clintus Maximus
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer

Almost like the counterpart to A Few Good Men for some reason. This showcases the hard as nails Clint Eastwood as a drill sergeant who will do anything to whip his platoon into shape. He goes out of his way to trick and create schemes in order to hurt/help his men, making for a really classic bit of Clint. I think it's interesting to have a movie that's not really in the war genre, but not solely about training. It's more of a multi-layered drama that doesn't get enough credit. People either get bored with the lack of killing or lack of stereotypical Clint Eastwood catch phrases, but given the chance, it's a really cool movie.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

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