6.3/10
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Jacknife (1989)

R | | Drama | 10 March 1989 (USA)
A conflict develops between a troubled Vietnam veteran and the sister, with whom he lives, when she becomes romantically involved with the Army buddy who reminds him of the tragic battle ... See full summary »

Director:

David Hugh Jones (as David Jones)

Writers:

Stephen Metcalfe (play), Stephen Metcalfe (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Megs (as Robert DeNiro)
Kathy Baker ... Martha
Ed Harris ... Dave
Sloane Shelton ... Shirley
Ivar Brogger ... Depot Mechanic
Michael Arkin Michael Arkin ... Dispatcher
Tom Isbell Tom Isbell ... Bobby Buckman
Kirk Taylor ... Helicopter Gunner
Jordan Lund ... Tiny
Charles S. Dutton ... Jake (as Charles Dutton)
Bruce Ramsay ... Corridor Student (as Bruce Ramsey)
Jessalyn Gilsig ... His Girlfriend
George Gerdes ... Tony
Josh Pais ... Rick
Lois Dellar ... Cocktail Waitress
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Storyline

A conflict develops between a troubled Vietnam veteran and the sister, with whom he lives, when she becomes romantically involved with the Army buddy who reminds him of the tragic battle they both survived. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No matter how hard you try...he will always be the best friend you ever had. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Since he starred The Deer Hunter (1978) in 1978, this is the second appearance of Robert De Niro in a film about Vietnam War victims thematic. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Joseph 'Jacknife' Megessey: Rise and shine cause it is time!
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Connections

References Song of the South (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

Beat Me Up
Written by Dyna Brein
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User Reviews

 
The Harsh Realities for Soldiers Coming Home
6 March 2007 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

JACKNIFE is a fine adaptation of Stephen Metcalfe's play 'Strange Snow' (the screenplay was also written by Metcalfe), sensitively directed by David Hugh Jones, that explores the too frequently forgotten effect of battle on veterans damaged permanently by the heinous cruelties of war. It is especially poignant to return to this 1989 film now as we watch the soldiers returning from the war in Iraq and the raw treatment they are receiving in our Veterans' Hospitals.

Three friends went off to the Vietnam War together and only two returned alive: the problem is that while both men suffered in battle the one David 'Highschool' Flannigan (Ed Harris) is so severely damaged by posttraumatic stress syndrome that he 'exists' in a drunken vacuum with his very plain schoolteacher sister Martha (Kathy Baker). As David deteriorates his buddy Joseph 'Jacknife' Megessey (Robert De Niro) returns to the town in an attempt to help his friend. In the course of events Jacknife at first offers succor to Martha and eventually the two date - at a Prom Martha must attend - and at that prom drunken David completely falls apart, destroying relics in the school and terrifying the townspeople and students. Jacknife makes Dave relive the moment in Vietnam when they lost their buddy and in doing so brings David to the point where he can begin his climb toward recovery. And the long-suffering Martha finds her needs tended by Jacknife, too.

All three actors give astonishingly fine performances: Ed Harris offers one of his most fully realized roles while De Niro and Baker maintain the high standards set by their careers. More people should help resurrect this all but forgotten film as it is a brittle reminder of the damages our wars bring to the men who fight them and to the families who receive them after battle's end. Highly recommended. Grady Harp


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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 March 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jacknife See more »

Filming Locations:

Connecticut, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$32,597, 12 March 1989

Gross USA:

$2,049,769

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,049,769
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (in selected theatres)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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