Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 war film by Stanley Kubrick, based on the novel The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford. The title refers to the full metal jacket bullet used by infantry riflemen. The film follows a squad of U.S. Marines through their training and depicts some of the experiences of two of them in the Tet Offensive (1968) during the Vietnam War.
During the Vietnam War, a group of new United States Marine Corps recruits arrives at Parris Island for recruit training. After having their heads shaved, they meet their drill instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey). Hartman, tasked with producing battle-ready Marines, immediately begins abusing his recruits in an attempt to harden them mentally and emotionally. The film focuses its attention on Privates 'Joker' (Matthew Modine) and 'Cowboy' (Arliss Howard), while the overweight and mentally slow Leonard Lawrence (Vincent D'Onofrio), whom Hartman nicknames "Gomer Pyle", draws the wrath of Hartman.
Unresponsive to Hartman's constant discipline, Pyle is paired with Joker. With this help, Pyle begins to improve, but progress is halted when Hartman discovers a jelly doughnut in his foot locker and Hartman punishes the entire platoon. As a result, the platoon hazes Pyle with a "blanket party," pinning him to his bunk with a blanket and beating him with bars of soap wrapped in towels. Joker reluctantly joins in and beats Pyle several times. In weeks following the beating, Pyle undergoes a transformation, becoming a model Marine and an expert rifleman, but he shows signs of mental breakdown - including social withdrawal and talking to his rifle.
After graduation, the Corps assigns each recruit to an occupational specialty, most being assigned to the infantry, though Joker is assigned to Basic Military Journalism. On the platoon's last night on Parris Island, Joker is assigned to fire watch, during which he discovers Pyle in the head loading his rifle with live ammunition. Joker attempts to calm Pyle, who begins shouting, executing drill commands, and reciting the Rifleman's Creed. The noise awakens Hartman, who confronts Pyle. Pyle murders Hartman, then commits suicide.
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Official Site: Warner Brothers
Links: Wikipedia: Full Metal Jacket IMDB: Full Metal Jacket Official R. Lee Ermey website