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Full Metal Jacket begins at Parris Island for one platoon's first day of recruit training. We meet Sergeant Hartman (Lee Ermey), the senior drill instructor, and several privates he decides to pick out and nickname: Joker (Matthew Modine), Cowboy (Arliss Howard), and Gomer Pyle (Vince D'Onofrio). This initial nicknaming symbolizes the Corps' method of breaking down average men and rebuilding them as killers, removing their born identity. The most notable nickname is D'Onofrio's character, an overweight recruit who is on Hartman's bad side from the very beginning. Much of the boot camp scenes focus on Pyle's struggle to make it under Hartman, leading to a descent into insanity and an eventual showdown with the drill instructor. This conflict is the most well done part of the movie in terms of a coherent story, but unfortunately, it ends with the end of boot camp and the new Marines' shipment to Vietnam. At this point, the film is carried by its cinematography, though even that becomes repetitious in the end. The problem is, as Roger Ebert points out, that it becomes a series of short stories, all with beginnings, yet very few with middles or ends. There is a sexual tension played out with two prostitute scenes, but the scenes are set next to other scenes with very different themes. Joker, who becomes a combat correspondent, decides to pay for sex in one scene and is seen arguing his distaste in for false reporting in the next one. This incoherence stays for the rest of the film, but fortunately, Kubrick's intentions remain clear, and he manages to convey the distasteful irony between the desire for combat and the reality of war. Joker voices his urge several times to "get in the shit," yet when he finally does, his old buddy Cowboy is killed by a sniper's bullet. The final combat sequence is a captivating realization of fear, when Joker is almost killed, culminating in a rite of passage when he must put a bullet in the head of the sniper who killed Cowboy.

Starring ... Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio, Lee Ermey, Ngoc Le, Arliss Howard

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Producers: Stanley Kubrick & Jan Harlan


Year Released - June 1987

Length - 116 minutes

Music Composer: Vivian Kubrick

Movie Distributed by Warner Brothers



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'Full Metal Jacket' Music in MIDI format
Wooly Bully
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I Like It Like That (Chris Kenner)
Chapel Of Love (Dixie Cups)
Surfin' Bird (The Trashmen)
These Boots Were Made For Walkin' (Nancy Sinatra)


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