Stripes (1981)

R | 106 mins | Comedy | 1981

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HISTORY

The following acknowledgements appear in the end credits of the film: " The producers would like to thank the U.S. Dept. of Defense, the soldiers of Fort Knox, Kentucky, and members of the Kentucky National Guard for their cooperation in the production of this motion picture. The producers would also like to thank Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown and Phyllis George Brown, the Kentucky Film Commission, the Kentucky Department of Human Resources, The Kentucky Bureau of Manpower Services, Louisville Mayor William Stansbury and the people of Kentucky for their warm hospitality." End credits also include the following “special thanks”: “Nick Albrecht, Victor Cox, Richard Harris, Dewey Kays, Charles Mudd, Orlando Fernandez, Larry Shircliff, James Sparks, Steve Havens, Wayne Maeser, Dennis Thorp, Leroy Lay, and the James P. Beam Distilling Co."
       According to a 22 Jun 1981 Fim Tour story, director Ivan Reitman said that Lorne Michaels had handpicked most of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live from an Off-Broadway review titled The National Lampoon Show! , except cast member Harold Ramis. Reitman pushed for Ramis to co-star with Bill Murray in the film but Columbia Pictures was unenthusiastic, especially after Ramis filmed a poor screen test. However, Reitman delivered an ultimatum that if there was no Ramis, there would be no Murray. Reitman said that the studio relented, which worked in the director’s favor because Ramis helped out “with script rewrites” during the shoot. Reitman also spoke about hiring choreographer Ronn Forella, who had never created a drill sequence before, to carefully plan the graduation sequence. The actors rehearsed for two weeks doing real drills because Reitman wanted them to ... More Less

The following acknowledgements appear in the end credits of the film: " The producers would like to thank the U.S. Dept. of Defense, the soldiers of Fort Knox, Kentucky, and members of the Kentucky National Guard for their cooperation in the production of this motion picture. The producers would also like to thank Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown and Phyllis George Brown, the Kentucky Film Commission, the Kentucky Department of Human Resources, The Kentucky Bureau of Manpower Services, Louisville Mayor William Stansbury and the people of Kentucky for their warm hospitality." End credits also include the following “special thanks”: “Nick Albrecht, Victor Cox, Richard Harris, Dewey Kays, Charles Mudd, Orlando Fernandez, Larry Shircliff, James Sparks, Steve Havens, Wayne Maeser, Dennis Thorp, Leroy Lay, and the James P. Beam Distilling Co."
       According to a 22 Jun 1981 Fim Tour story, director Ivan Reitman said that Lorne Michaels had handpicked most of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live from an Off-Broadway review titled The National Lampoon Show! , except cast member Harold Ramis. Reitman pushed for Ramis to co-star with Bill Murray in the film but Columbia Pictures was unenthusiastic, especially after Ramis filmed a poor screen test. However, Reitman delivered an ultimatum that if there was no Ramis, there would be no Murray. Reitman said that the studio relented, which worked in the director’s favor because Ramis helped out “with script rewrites” during the shoot. Reitman also spoke about hiring choreographer Ronn Forella, who had never created a drill sequence before, to carefully plan the graduation sequence. The actors rehearsed for two weeks doing real drills because Reitman wanted them to become familiar handling rifles the way real soldiers handled them.
       According to an 11 Aug 1980 LAT article, a Screen Actors Guild strike postponed the start date for the filming of Stripes . However, Film Tour stated that principal photography began Nov 1980 and wrapped up, according to a 2 Feb 1981 HR news item after six weeks at Fort Knox in Kentucky and another six weeks in Los Angeles, CA. Additionally, a 3 Apr 1981 DV reported that tripes went slightly over its budget and schedule, which ended up at $10 million and ten weeks respectively because of the need for more extras and the added cost of authentic Army vehicles.
       According to a 10 Sep 1981 LAHExam news item, Columbia reworked a famous US Army WW I recruitment poster bearing the image of Uncle Sam and substituted a photo of Bill Murray, pointing his finger outward with the message “I Want You,” for the film’s advertising campaign. On 7 Jun 2005, a DV news brief stated at a party celebrating the film’s DVD release, Reitman mentioned that the popularity of the original film had boosted army recruitment back in 1981.
       The film did brisk business its opening weekend, according to a 30 Jun 1981 LAHExam article, earning $6.1 million in 1,072 theaters. On 10 Sep 1981, an LAHExam , news item stated that Stripes had become “the most successful summer release in Columbia’s history, with a gross of close to $72 million in less than 11 weeks of release.” Later, a 23 Nov 1981 Columbia press release announced that the film had earned $84,151,136 in 271 theaters to the time (but that number did not represent all the theaters during the film’s run) after twenty-two weeks and three days in domestic release.
       In a May 2005 DVDX Academy article, it was announced that an extended version of Stripes would be released on DVD 7 Jun 2005. Reitman said that the DVD made it possible to include explanatory scenes that could not be included at the time of its theatrical release, and eighteen minutes had been added to the run time.
The DVD included “18 minutes of film” that didn’t make it into the original movie.
       According to a Jul 2006 GQ news item that paid tribute to the twenty-five year anniversary of the release of Stripes , the movie was originally written for comedy duo, “Cheech and Chong”.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
3 Apr 1981
p. 2.
Daily Variety
7 Jun 2005.
---
DVDX Academy
May 2005
p. 22.
Film Tour
22 Jun 1981
p. 8, 51.
GQ.com
Jul 2006
p. 90.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 1981
p. 3.
LAHExam
30 Jun 1981.
---
LAHExam
10 Sep 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
26 Jun 1981
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
11 Aug 1980.
---
New York Times
26 Jun 1981
p. 16.
Variety
17 Jun 1981
p. 14.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Starring
P.J. Soles
Starring
Starring
Starring
Starring
Robert J. Wilke
[and]
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Ivan Reitman Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Casting asst
WRITERS
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
Still photog
Key grip
2d grip
Dolly grip
Crane grip
Best boy
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Men`s cost
Women`s cost
MUSIC
Scoring mixer
Mus ed
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boomman
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff
Title des
DANCE
Graduation seq choreog
Asst choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod office coord
Script supv
Unit pub
Prod accountant/Auditor
Transportation coord
Transportation coord
DGA trainee
Secy to the prod
Secy to the prod
Kentucky casting
Casting asst
Casting asst
Casting asst
Kentucky liaison
Prod secy
Newspaper and magazine graphics
STAND INS
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stunt coord
SOURCES
SONGS
"Rubberband Man," performed by The Spinners, written by Thomas Randolph Bell and Linda Epstein, courtesy of Atlantic Records.
DETAILS
Release Date:
1981
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 26 June 1981
Production Date:
17 November 1980 -- February 1981
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
25 August 1981
Copyright Number:
PA112320
Physical Properties:
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Metrocolor®
Duration(in mins):
106
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26307
SYNOPSIS

In one morning, John Winger, a taxi cab driver, loses his job, his girlfriend, his car and his apartment. Realizing that his life lacks direction, he enlists in the army and convinces his friend, Russell Ziskey, an English language instructor, to join him. At Fort Arnold, Drill Sgt. Hulka’s orientation speech informs the new recruits that they are going to be transformed into a United States soldier no matter how bright or stupid they are. During introductions, a recruit named Francis, nicknamed “Psycho” doesn’t want his things touched. Dewey Oxburger aka “Ox”, who couldn’t afford the EST motivational seminar designed to transform his life, joins the army for free to become fit. At dawn, when Hulka announces a five-mile run, John suggests that it should be postponed until they are more rested. Hulka stares him down and changes the exercise to a ten-mile run. Meanwhile, Capt. Stillman is bored and plays war games in his office, yearning more action and less paperwork. Later, when Russell’s glasses are cracked during exercises, he tells John he wants to quit. John sneaks them aboard a transport plane amidst a training mission, but they end up back at boot camp. Col. Glass puts Stillman in charge of a new piece of equipment, the EM-50, an urban assault vehicle. Later, Hulka questions his men about which trainees left the base without permission. Only Russell confesses and earns twenty-four hours of kitchen patrol aka KP duty, but since no one else comes forward, Hulka assigns the rest of the unit KP duty for the next two weekends as well. Afterward, Hulka invites John into the latrine for a private talk, and ... +


In one morning, John Winger, a taxi cab driver, loses his job, his girlfriend, his car and his apartment. Realizing that his life lacks direction, he enlists in the army and convinces his friend, Russell Ziskey, an English language instructor, to join him. At Fort Arnold, Drill Sgt. Hulka’s orientation speech informs the new recruits that they are going to be transformed into a United States soldier no matter how bright or stupid they are. During introductions, a recruit named Francis, nicknamed “Psycho” doesn’t want his things touched. Dewey Oxburger aka “Ox”, who couldn’t afford the EST motivational seminar designed to transform his life, joins the army for free to become fit. At dawn, when Hulka announces a five-mile run, John suggests that it should be postponed until they are more rested. Hulka stares him down and changes the exercise to a ten-mile run. Meanwhile, Capt. Stillman is bored and plays war games in his office, yearning more action and less paperwork. Later, when Russell’s glasses are cracked during exercises, he tells John he wants to quit. John sneaks them aboard a transport plane amidst a training mission, but they end up back at boot camp. Col. Glass puts Stillman in charge of a new piece of equipment, the EM-50, an urban assault vehicle. Later, Hulka questions his men about which trainees left the base without permission. Only Russell confesses and earns twenty-four hours of kitchen patrol aka KP duty, but since no one else comes forward, Hulka assigns the rest of the unit KP duty for the next two weekends as well. Afterward, Hulka invites John into the latrine for a private talk, and suggests that a fight will clear the air. When John swings and misses, Hulka lands a solid punch to John’s midsection and he drops to the floor. Hulka says he’ll forget about what just happened but John should reflect on what duty and honor mean. Soon after, Russell discovers that John is missing. When he finds his AWOL friend, he reminds him that it was John’s idea to enlist in the first place and insists that they finish basic training. At a training exercise, Stillman orders a soldier to fire a mortar even though the soldier doesn’t know how to program it. After demonstrating a rope climbing exercise, Hulka is hurt when the mortar shell topples the rope apparatus he stands on. Later, the unit goes to a club to watch women mud wrestlers, and John pushes Ox into the ring when the emcee asks for a volunteer. During Ox’s wrestling match, military police raid the club and round up the men. Some military policewomen save John and Russell from getting arrested. Stillman wants an explanation and plans to throw the unit in the stockade for a few days until a soldier reminds him that graduation is the next day. He warns the men that they will have to repeat basic training when Gen. Barnicki sees how bad they are. Instead of going back to the barracks, John and Russell crash Gen. Barnicki’s private quarters with the military policewomen in tow, who become their girlfriends. When John and Russell return to the barracks, they find their unit depressed at the thought or repeating basic training. Russell convinces the other men that three hours is enough time to cram for their graduation, and they practice formation exercises until the wee hours of the morning. When they wake up, the unit realizes graduation has started without them. They show up and perform their formations with verve. When Barnicki asks where their drill sergeant is, they tell him he was injured and they completed training without him. The general rewards their initiative by assigning them to Italy immediately as part of the EM-50 project. Hulka is also sent to Italy. In Italy, the men are shown the EM-50 vehicle and Hulka orders John and Russell to guard it all weekend. John and Russell hatch a plan to visit their MP girlfriends in the Alps, driving the EM-50. When Stillman brings his date to the hangar to show off the EM-50, a guard tells him the men took the vehicle to the car wash. Stillman organizes a secret rescue mission so that word of the missing vehicle doesn’t spread. Meanwhile, John and Russell meet their girlfriends for some fun, while Stillman breaks through checkpoints into Czechoslovakia and gets shot at by border guards. Further on, Russian tanks capture Stillman and his men, but Hulka escapes into the woods. John, Russell, and the girlfriends hear Hulka’s distress call, and realizing that their unit was looking for them and got captured, they steal a couple of Russian military vehicles at the border. At the Czech base, Russell activates the EM-50’s armored plates and launches a rocket that destroys the tower. Russell activates a wall of fire, causing more Russian soldiers to flee. When John and Russell find their unit behind locked doors, Ox uses his strength to break down the door, and the Americans escape to the EM-50. A Russian tank attempts to stop the Americans, but is destroyed. As protective armored plates of the EM-50 slide back into place, the vehicle crashes through the border gates to safety. Back in the U.S., the unit receives a heroic welcome. Later, Hulka retires to start a burger franchise, one of the military policewomen is featured on a Penthouse cover, and the other makes the cover of RoadLife magazine; Russell is the subject of a cover story for Guts magazine, and John is featured on the cover of Newsworld . Meanwhile, Stillman is sent to the Artic to be the new military weatherman.
+

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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