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Gunnery Sergeant Thomas "Gunny" Highway (Eastwood) is nearing mandatory retirement from the Marines. He finagles a transfer back to his old unit. On the bus trip to his new assignment, he meets fellow passenger 'Stitch' Jones (Mario Van Peebles), a flashy wannabe rock musician who stiffs him for a meal at a stop and steals his bus ticket, leaving him stranded. When Highway reaches the base, more bad news awaits. His new commanding officer, Major Malcolm Powers (Everett McGill), is an Annapolis graduate who transferred over from Supply and has not had "the privilege" of combat. He sees Highway as an anachronism in the "new" Marine Corps, and assigns him to the reconnaissance platoon, a bunch of undisciplined, undertrained men whose last platoon sergeant allowed the men to slack off. Among his new charges, he finds none other than a dismayed Corporal Stitch Jones. Highway quickly shows them who the boss is, and the men are forced to adapt to military discipline after months of idleness. They attempt to intimidate Highway with the gigantic, heavily-muscled Swede Johanson (Peter Koch), but their plan fails miserably and they eventually begin to shape up and develop esprit de corps. Highway repeatedly clashes with Powers and his toady, Staff Sergeant Webster (Moses Gunn) over his unorthodox training of Recon Platoon; however, he is supported by his old comrade-in-arms, Sergeant Major Choozhoo (Arlen Dean Snyder), and his nominal superior officer, the awkward and inexperienced Lieutenant Ring (Boyd Gaines). Powers makes it clear that he views Recon Platoon as only a training tool for his own elite outfit. After Highway's men learn that he had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in the Korean War, they gain new respect for him and close ranks against their perceived common enemy (Powers).

In addition to dealing with the unruly Marines, Highway also has more personal problems. Aggie (Marsha Mason), his ex-wife, is working as a waitress in a local bar and dating the owner, Roy Jennings (Bo Svenson), who hates Marines and views Highway's career as "bullshit heroics". Highway attempts to adapt his way of thinking enough to win Aggie back, even resorting to reading Cosmopolitan magazine to gain insights into the female mind. However, Aggie is still bitter over their marriage. The marines are activated for the invasion of Grenada. Highway's platoon is dropped by helocast in advance of the main force. Highway improvises, using a bulldozer to provide cover for his men so they can advance on and destroy an enemy machine gun nest. Next, they rescue American students from a medical school. When they are trapped in a building by an armored car and infantry, with their radio out of commission, they use a telephone to call in air support, using Stitch's "plastic" (credit cards) to pay for a long distance call. In combat, Lieutenant Ring shows previously unsuspected leadership qualities and gains the confidence of the men. Later, despite Powers' explicit orders to the contrary, they engage and take a key position - a historical fort - and force the enemy to surrender. Powers bawls them out and threatens Highway with a court-martial, but his commanding officer arrives and reprimands Powers for discouraging initiative and fighting spirit, saving Highway's career. When Highway and his men return to the U.S., they are met by a warm reception. Aggie is there to greet him and reconciliation is hinted at. To his dismay, Stitch informs him that he is going to make a career for himself in the Marines.

Starring ... Clint Eastwood, Marsha Mason, Everett McGill, Mario Van Peebles, Peter Koch, Moses Gunn, Arlen Dean Snyder, Boyd Gaines,
Bo Svenson

Director: Clint Eastwood

Producers: Clint Eastwood & Fritz Manes

Year Released - Dec. 1986

Length - 130 minutes

Music Composers:
Lennie Niehaus & Desmond Nakano

Movie Distributed by Warner Brothers

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