W: Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr & Gustav
Hasford [based on the novel "The Short-Timers" by Gustav Hasford]
DP: Douglas Milsome
Ed: Martin Hunter
Mus: Abigail Mead
PD: Anton Furst
Matthew Modine (Pvt. 'Joker' James Davis), Adam Baldwin
(Sgt. 'Animal Mother'), Vincent D'Onofrio (Pvt. 'Pyle' Leonard Lawrence), R. Lee Ermey (Gunnery Sgt. Hartman), Dorian Harewood (Cpl. 'Eightball')
Kubrick's war masterpiece is a film of two halves. The
first half of the movie concentrates on new recruits in boot camp, dehumanised and turned into killing machines by a bullying, brutal drill sergeant (memorably played by R. Lee Ermey). While
the majority of the boys become men during the harsh regime, one in particular isn't earning his stripes and suffers a mental breakdown as a result of the training.
The second half of the film becomes a rather standard tour
of duty Vietnam movie, focusing on a platoon on their daily grind without a shred of humanity or conscience as they march through the wastelands.
It's unfortunate that the second half of the film can't
match the quality of the first 45 minutes, which is quite simply classic cinema, featuring one of the truly great sadistic characters, one which has been aped and parodied in practically
every war movie since.