Full Metal Jacket (1987)

R | 116 mins | Drama | 26 June 1987

Director:

Stanley Kubrick

Producer:

Stanley Kubrick

Cinematographer:

Douglas Milsome

Editor:

Martin Hunter

Production Designer:

Anton Furst

Production Companies:

Warner Bros. Pictures , Natant Films, N.V., Harrier Films
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HISTORY

The film begins and ends with voice-over narration by Matthew Modine as his character, “Pvt. Joker.”
       On 19 Jan 1984, HR announced that filmmaker Stanley Kubrick had committed to write, direct, and produce Full Metal Jacket, a motion picture adaptation of Gustav Hasford’s 1979 Vietnam War novel, The Short-Timers. The project marked Kubrick’s first film since The Shining (1980, see entry), and was the first in a three-picture deal with Warner Bros. Although Warner Bros. hoped to begin filming later that year, preproduction was prolonged while Kubrick completed the script. According to the 28 Jun 1987 LAT Magazine, Kubrick formally invited Michael Herr to help write the screenplay in 1985. Herr, a former war correspondent and author of the renowned Vietnam War novel, Dispatches (1977), lived near Kubrick’s home in England and frequently met the director there to work. Meanwhile, Kubrick continued to consult with Gustav Hasford over the telephone three to four times a week, often for several hours at a time. The indirect collaboration ultimately led to a dispute over the final credits, as Kubrick and Herr reportedly objected to Hasford sharing screenwriting credit. Kubrick told the 21 Jun 1987 LAT that the title was changed to Full Metal Jacket because he worried that the term “Short-Timer,” which referred to soldiers marking off their days of duty on a calendar, might not be understood by general audiences.
       Meanwhile, Kubrick conducted a nationwide search for young actors to play the U.S. Marine recruits. Items in the 24 Oct 1984 LAHExam, 7 Nov 1984 HR, and 9 Jul 1985 ... More Less

The film begins and ends with voice-over narration by Matthew Modine as his character, “Pvt. Joker.”
       On 19 Jan 1984, HR announced that filmmaker Stanley Kubrick had committed to write, direct, and produce Full Metal Jacket, a motion picture adaptation of Gustav Hasford’s 1979 Vietnam War novel, The Short-Timers. The project marked Kubrick’s first film since The Shining (1980, see entry), and was the first in a three-picture deal with Warner Bros. Although Warner Bros. hoped to begin filming later that year, preproduction was prolonged while Kubrick completed the script. According to the 28 Jun 1987 LAT Magazine, Kubrick formally invited Michael Herr to help write the screenplay in 1985. Herr, a former war correspondent and author of the renowned Vietnam War novel, Dispatches (1977), lived near Kubrick’s home in England and frequently met the director there to work. Meanwhile, Kubrick continued to consult with Gustav Hasford over the telephone three to four times a week, often for several hours at a time. The indirect collaboration ultimately led to a dispute over the final credits, as Kubrick and Herr reportedly objected to Hasford sharing screenwriting credit. Kubrick told the 21 Jun 1987 LAT that the title was changed to Full Metal Jacket because he worried that the term “Short-Timer,” which referred to soldiers marking off their days of duty on a calendar, might not be understood by general audiences.
       Meanwhile, Kubrick conducted a nationwide search for young actors to play the U.S. Marine recruits. Items in the 24 Oct 1984 LAHExam, 7 Nov 1984 HR, and 9 Jul 1985 DV suggested that Anthony Michael Hall, Kelly Emberg, and Larry Wilcox were considered for roles. However, none appear in the final film, and the cast consisted of mostly unknown or little-known actors. According to Sheila Benson’s review in the 26 Jun 1987 LAT, Vincent D’Onofrio gained sixty pounds for the role of “Pvt. Pyle.” After being hired as a technical advisor, former drill sergeant Lee Ermey was videotaped interviewing a group of British Territorial Army paratroopers who were being considered to portray Marines. Impressed by Ermey’s insults and intimidation tactics, Kubrick cast him as “Gny. Sgt. Hartman” and transcribed some of his “best lines” to be included in the script.
       The 28 Sep 1985 Screen International included Manning Redwood among the cast and listed Howard Grigsby as the film’s associate producer. However, they are not included in onscreen credits, and their involvement could not be confirmed.
       A 27 Aug 1986 Var item indicated that principal photography took place from 27 Aug 1985 to 8 Aug 1986 in London, England. Kubrick claimed it was “cheaper and more accurate” to build “reality” than to shoot on locations in Vietnam. In addition to scenes shot at Pinewood Studios, the filmmaker received permission to use a property owned by British Gas in Beckton, East London, which was scheduled for demolition. Over six weeks, Kubrick’s art department selectively destroyed the buildings and dressed the set to double as the Vietnamese city of Hue. According to the 12 Sep 1987 Screen International, £120,000 worth of tropical foliage was provided by the U.K. supplier, Palmbrokers, which shipped palm and banana trees from southern Spain specially for the production. A 19 Sep 1984 Var item claimed that Kubrick asked to borrow ten armored tanks from Ropkey Graphics in Indianapolis, IN, but the vehicles were too wide to be shipped overseas. Instead, the Belgian Army rented out six M-47 tanks, which were barged across the English Channel. Roughly 5,000 members of the Vietnamese immigrant community in London were hired as background actors for the “Da Nang” street scenes. End credits acknowledge the Depot for the Queen's Division of the British Army at Bassingbourn, which stood in for the Parris Island training camp. The 12 Apr 1987 LAT listed a total production cost of $16.5 million.
       According to the 5 Jul 1987 LAT, several graphic scenes were removed from the film before its release, including an alternate ending in which Adam Baldwin’s character, “Animal Mother,” decapitates the female sniper.
       Full Metal Jacket was the first film scored by Kubrick’s daughter, Vivian, who is credited onscreen under the pseudonym “Abigail Mead.” A 28 Jan 1988 LAT article indicated that Kubrick gave her the job after she asked to compose music for the film’s trailer.
       On 19 Jun 1987, HR announced that the studio had launched a weekend of “sneak” preview screenings, which the 24 Jun 1987 Var considered to be extremely successful. According to the 5 Jun 1987 HR, Warner Bros. originally intended to open the film in wide release on 26 Jun 1987. However, Kubrick reportedly rejected several of the prints, thereby limiting the number of copies available for distribution. As a result, the studio opted for a platform release in twelve to thirteen major markets, with additional prints added throughout the following month.
       The Sep 1987 Box listed a domestic opening weekend gross of $2.2 million. After expanding to 900 theaters, the film went on to earn $21 million in twenty-four days. A 5 Sep 1987 Screen International article stated that U.K. release was scheduled for 11 Sep 1987, and the 21 Sep 1987 HR indicated that the picture was extremely popular among British audiences, having taken in $1 million after just one week in theaters.
       Praised by critics, Full Metal Jacket received an Academy Award nomination for Writing (Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium), and was ranked #95 on AFI’s list of “100 Years...100 Thrills.”
       In 1986, Vivian Kubrick produced a short documentary titled Shooting ‘Full Metal Jacket’, using behind-the-scenes footage taken during production.
       End credits state: “With grateful acknowledgment to: Depot Queens Division Bassingbourn, PSA Bassingbourn Barracks, British Gas PLC North Thames, The Vietnamese Community, National Trust Norfolk,” and, “Filmed on location and at Pinewood Studios, Iver, Bucks.”
       The actor who portrays "Rafterman" is listed as "Kevyn Major Howard" in opening credits and "Kevin Major-Howard" in end credits. The name of actor Jon Stafford is misspelled onscreen as “John Stafford,” while co-makeup artist Christine Allsopp is listed as “Christine Allsop.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Sep 1987.
---
Daily Variety
9 Jul 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jan 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Nov 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jun 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 1987
p. 3, 10.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 1987.
---
LAHExam
24 Oct 1984.
---
LAT Magazine
28 Jun 1987
p. 20, 22.
Los Angeles Times
12 Apr 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
21 Jun 1987
Calendar, pp. 29-30.
Los Angeles Times
26 Jun 1987
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
5 Jul 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
28 Jan 1988
Section VI, p. 1, 6.
New York Times
26 Jun 1987
p. 3.
Screen International
28 Sep 1985.
---
Screen International
5 Sep 1987.
---
Screen International
12 Sep 1987.
---
Variety
19 Sep 1984.
---
Variety
27 Aug 1986.
---
Variety
24 Jun 1987.
---
Variety
24 Jun 1987
p. 12.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Stanley Kubrick Film
A Natant Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Lighting cam
Video op
Cam trainee
Cam trainee
Steadicam op
Steadicam op
Follow focus
Follow focus
Follow focus
Follow focus
Grip
Cam asst
Chief elec
Louma Crane tech
Louma Crane
London
Aerial photog
Samuelsons Australia
Cams by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
Art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Art dept research
FILM EDITORS
Montage ed eng
Ed trainee
Montage video ed system
London
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Armourer, Hills Small Arms Ltd
Armourer, Hills Small Arms Ltd
Modeller
Prop master
Const mgr
Asst const mgr
Prop buyer
Chargehand prop
Standby props
Standby props
Standby props
Dressing props
Dressing props
Dressing props
Supv painter
Painter
Painter
Rigger
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Plasterer
Plasterer
Stagehand
Stagehand
Stagehand
Stagehand
Standby const
Standby const
Standby const
Standby const
Standby const
Standby props
Standby painter
Standby rigger
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward master
Ward asst
MUSIC
Orig mus
SOUND
Boom op
Sd ed
Sd ed
Dubbing mixer
Dubbing mixer
Re-rec
Shepperton
Dial ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Sd transfers
Digital audio-post mus system
Time compressor/Expander
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff sr tech
Spec eff sr tech
Spec eff sr tech
MAKEUP
Co-makeup artist
Co-makeup artist
Hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the dir
Casting
Addl casting
Addl casting
Addl casting
Addl Vietnamese casting
Addl Vietnamese casting
Prod coord
Tech adv
Helicopter pilot
Prod accountant
Asst to the prods
Asst to the prods
Prods secy
Prod asst
Asst accountant
Accounts computer op
Prod runner
Prod runner
Spec computer ed programs
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Helicopters
Laboratory contact
Transport
Transport, D&D International
Transport, D&D International
Transport, D&D International
Facilities
Facilities, Willies Wheels
Unit transport
Action vehicle eng
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford (New York, 1979).
SONGS
"Hello Vietnam," performed by Johnny Wright, courtesy of MCA Records, written by Tom T. Hall, Unichappell Music, Inc., Morris Music Inc.
"The Marines Hymn," performed by The Goldman Band, courtesy of MCA Records
"These Boots Are Made For Walking," performed by Nancy Sinatra, courtesy of Boots Enterprises Inc., written by Lee Hazlewood, Criterion Music Group
+
SONGS
"Hello Vietnam," performed by Johnny Wright, courtesy of MCA Records, written by Tom T. Hall, Unichappell Music, Inc., Morris Music Inc.
"The Marines Hymn," performed by The Goldman Band, courtesy of MCA Records
"These Boots Are Made For Walking," performed by Nancy Sinatra, courtesy of Boots Enterprises Inc., written by Lee Hazlewood, Criterion Music Group
"Chapel Of Love," performed by The Dixie Cups, by arrangement with Shelby Singleton Enterprises, c/o Original Sound Entertainment, written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich & Phil Spector, Trio Music Co. Inc., Mother Bertha Music Inc.
"Wooly Bully," performed by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, courtesy of Polygram Special Products, a division of Polygram Records Inc., written by Domingo Samudio, Beckie Publishing Co. Inc.
"Paint It Black," written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, performed by the Rolling Stones, produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, courtesy of ABKCO Music and Records Inc.
"Surfin' Bird," performed by The Trashmen, courtesy of Dominion Entertainment, Inc., written by A Frazier, C White, T Wilson, Jr. and J Harris, Beechwood Music Corporation.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 June 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 26 June 1987
Production Date:
27 August 1985--8 August 1986
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 July 1987
Copyright Number:
PA333647
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
116
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28633
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the midst of the Vietnam War, a new class of U.S. Marine Corps recruits arrives at Parris Island, South Carolina, for eight weeks of basic training. Once their heads are shaved, the members of Platoon 3092 are assigned to their bunks and meet Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, who introduces himself with a barrage of expletives and verbal assaults. Among the first targets of his wrath are Privates James “Joker” Davis and the overweight, dimwitted Leonard Lawrence, who is derisively nicknamed “Gomer Pyle.” Seemingly unmotivated by the drill sergeant’s relentless abuse, Pyle struggles to complete the standard drills, and Hartman instructs Joker to supervise his performance. Although Pyle improves with Joker’s help, the entire platoon is punished when he is caught smuggling a jelly doughnut from the mess hall. In revenge, the other recruits haze Pyle in his sleep by beating him with bars of soap wrapped in towels. Over time, Pyle proves himself to be an excellent marksman and is assigned to an infantry unit. While Hartman is impressed by his transformation, Joker notices Pyle frequently talking to his rifle and worries he is suffering a mental breakdown. On the platoon’s final night at Parris Island, Joker finds Pyle in the latrine, loading his gun with live ammunition. As Joker tries to pacify him, Pyle recites the Rifleman’s Creed, rousing Hartman and the other recruits. When Hartman attempts to seize the weapon, Pyle shoots the officer in the chest, then kills himself. By January 1968, Joker has risen to the rank of corporal while working as a combat correspondent for the military newspaper, Stars and Stripes. ... +


In the midst of the Vietnam War, a new class of U.S. Marine Corps recruits arrives at Parris Island, South Carolina, for eight weeks of basic training. Once their heads are shaved, the members of Platoon 3092 are assigned to their bunks and meet Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, who introduces himself with a barrage of expletives and verbal assaults. Among the first targets of his wrath are Privates James “Joker” Davis and the overweight, dimwitted Leonard Lawrence, who is derisively nicknamed “Gomer Pyle.” Seemingly unmotivated by the drill sergeant’s relentless abuse, Pyle struggles to complete the standard drills, and Hartman instructs Joker to supervise his performance. Although Pyle improves with Joker’s help, the entire platoon is punished when he is caught smuggling a jelly doughnut from the mess hall. In revenge, the other recruits haze Pyle in his sleep by beating him with bars of soap wrapped in towels. Over time, Pyle proves himself to be an excellent marksman and is assigned to an infantry unit. While Hartman is impressed by his transformation, Joker notices Pyle frequently talking to his rifle and worries he is suffering a mental breakdown. On the platoon’s final night at Parris Island, Joker finds Pyle in the latrine, loading his gun with live ammunition. As Joker tries to pacify him, Pyle recites the Rifleman’s Creed, rousing Hartman and the other recruits. When Hartman attempts to seize the weapon, Pyle shoots the officer in the chest, then kills himself. By January 1968, Joker has risen to the rank of corporal while working as a combat correspondent for the military newspaper, Stars and Stripes. Disillusioned by the war, he openly displays a peace sign on his uniform and writes “Born to Kill” on the front of his helmet in reference to Carl Jung’s philosophy about the “duality of man.” After several days of ceasefire, the Viet Cong launch the Tet Offensive, overrunning the U.S. installation at Da Nang and the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. As enemy attacks continue, Joker and combat photographer Rafterman are sent north to Phu Bai, where Joker reunites with a fellow recruit, Private “Cowboy,” who is now a sergeant in the Lusthog Squad. As the squad participates in the Battle of Hue, Joker and Rafterman collect footage and interview soldiers about their experiences. Many of the young men question the purpose of risking their lives for the Vietnamese people, who do not welcome U.S. interference. After receiving word that the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) has retreated, the Lusthog Squad leader, “Crazy Earl,” steps on a landmine. Cowboy assumes command, but the squad becomes lost on its way back to base camp. Several are wounded, and Cowboy realizes they have been ambushed by a lone sniper. Although he insists they withdraw, the group’s impetuous head gunner, “Animal Mother,” disobeys orders and runs into the line of fire to rescue two fallen comrades. As the rest of the team attempts to locate the sniper, Cowboy is shot in the chest and dies in Joker’s arms. Vowing to avenge him, the squad storms the shooter’s hideout. Joker sees a lone figure in the window and draws his weapon, but the sniper turns around, revealing herself to be a teenage girl. Rafterman shoots her, and the squad reconvenes over her crippled body. Although Animal Mother would prefer to let her suffer, he permits Joker to perform a mercy killing. After a momentary hesitation, Joker shoots her, and the other soldiers congratulate him on his first kill. Leaving the burning city behind, the troops move on to their next assignment, and Joker reflects that he is thankful to be alive. +

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

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