Full Metal Jacket (1987)


General Information:

The information below is taken from the following link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093058/

18  116 min  –  Drama | War   –  11 September 1987 (UK)


Stanley Kubrick


Stanley Kubrick; Michael Herr


Matthew Modine; R. Lee Ermey; Vincent D’Onofrio


A film showing how the marines are turned into trained killers who are ‘born to kill’. The first half of the film showing us how they are dehumanised by boot-camp, and the second half showing us how they cope with a cold, savage and at points: brutal – war.


Kubrick’s penultimate film before his untimely death is a Vietnam film like no other. Rather than recognising Vietnam as an ‘American tragedy’, Full Metal Jacket take a different more refreshing stance, as it represents it as what it really was: a human one. It is a film of two halves: the first half showing how the marines are turned from emotive humans into savage, mechanical (almost robotic) killers. The second half shows us how these marines cope in what they were training for in boot-camp: the Vietnam war itself.

Kubrick has often been criticised for making ‘cold’ and ‘inhuman’ films, yet perhaps – for me, anyway – this film doesn’t follow this rule. Take a quick look at the plot and the content, we can see that this is the above, yet the emotions it triggers are the opposite. Full Metal Jacket doesn’t leave you cold as it is triggers a variety of emotions. Perhaps the most obvious is sympathy. Throughout this film, we see the atrocities of war, and it is almost as if Kubrick is shouting out to us about what is ‘wrong’ about it. Yet, it doesn’t portray war as necessarily a bad thing (as this film rightfully stays out of the politics of Vietnam), it more or less portrays what happens in war (atrocities, blood-shed etc) to be the bad thing.

Full Metal Jacket presents us with the relationships of the soldiers perfectly, especially between Private Pyle and Joker. Their relationship is attached and detached simultaneously – most obviously detached when Joker takes part in the bullying of Pyle, and when he stands still and does nothing in the infamous bathroom scene.

However, I have only awarded it 4.5 stars, I feel that this film doesn’t have the hard-edge like Kubrick’s earlier war masterpieces such as ‘Dr Strangelove’ and ‘Paths of Glory’. Yet, I must point out that a Kubrick film tends to grow on you, you simply cannot just watch it once (I have only seen it once). Each time you watch a Kubrick you’ll notice something that you didn’t even see the previous time you watched it, so I imagine that if I watch this again, it will go from 4.5 stars to 5 stars.

Full Metal Jacket is a riveting tale about how war dehumanises soldiers to the extent of just making them ‘killers’. It is disturbing, entertaining, gripping and filled with scathingly dark wit – Full Metal Jacket is definitely not to be missed.


A film that strikes hard and makes a point straight off. Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket is savage in plot, sharp in dialogue and scathing in humour. It is powerful, satirical, disturbing and definately makes a point about how inhuman war is.

One thought on “Full Metal Jacket (1987)

  1. Pingback: A-Z of Film…PART TWO « Star Reviews

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