A psychological study of a soldier's state of mind during the Gulf War. Told through the eyes of a U.S. Marine sniper who struggles to cope with boredom, a sense of isolation, and other issues back home.
Anthony "Swoff" Swofford, a Camus-reading kid from Sacramento, enlists in the Marines in the late 1980s. He malingers during boot camp, but makes it through as a sniper, paired with the usually-reliable Troy. The Gulf War breaks out, and his unit goes to Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield. After 175 days of boredom, adrenaline, heat, worry about his girlfriend finding someone else, losing it and nearly killing a mate, demotion, latrine cleaning, faulty gas masks, and desert football, Desert Storm begins. In less than five days, it's over, but not before Swoff sees burned bodies, flaming oil derricks, an oil-drenched horse, and maybe a chance at killing. Where does all the testosterone go?Written by
Most of Swofford's "anecdotes" are based on urban legends of the Marine Corps. He has made his unit the basis for "Did you hear about that guy who..." for most USMC legends. See more »
When Apocalypse Now is being watched by the Marines one of the Marines has a box of Hot Tamales candy that does not match the actual box that was available in 1989. See more »
Anthony 'Swoff' Swofford:
A story: A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands, love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper; his hands remember the rifle.
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The title of the movie is the only opening credit at the beginning of the movie. See more »
Military theatrical versions of the film remove some footage, including the scene where a soldier dies during training. See more »
At last - a movie that simply shows it like it is... No "Rambo" superhero-idiotic-nonsense; no overdone, melancholy, attempt at cinematic artistry at the cost of authenticity - such as is found in "Platoon", "FMJ", "Apocalipse Now" and "Deerhunter" - to name a few overrated war movies.
Finally a movie which captures the FEEL of being a Marine in the eighties... the sights, the sounds, the events - all brought back vivid memories. As the scenes unfolded, I found myself thinking "... I remember when that happened..." over and over, because my service somewhat paralleled Swofford's own, and I was aware of - if not a witness to - certain events that took place. A movie which portrays the Marine grunt for what he is... certainly no angel, but the absolute backbone of American military toughness. The barracks and field life portrayed in this movie is perhaps the most accurate portrait Hollywood has produced.
With only a few realtively minor technical inaccuracies, this is a movie whose full richness can probably only be experienced by those who were in the Corps at that time. And for that degree of accuracy, I am grateful to the author and those who produced the film. Too often producers and directors overlook the details that make a military film credible to veterans - such as the details of the uniform, the sounds and function of weapons, the behavior of the characters. Not so in "Jarhead". And the dialogue was right on.
Having read several of the other comments, it is clear to me that there are events depicted in the movie which may not be clearly understood or properly contextualized by someone who has not served in the Marine Corps infantry. Do not let that stop you from seeing the film - it is an excellent view into a world most people will never see. I left the theater feeling proud of my service, and although I miss the daily life of an active duty Marine, "Jarhead" left me feeling strangely happy to be able to look back on it - and to sleep in my own home, my own bed, tonight. Yet, for many Marine veterans, the hope remains in the back of our minds that the phone will ring tomorrow with an opportunity to go back and lead men once again - and yes, for those who might wonder, even in Iraq or anywhere else - as the line in the move so eloquently put it "Forget the politics. We're here now." Such is the fidelity of a rough-hewn few who are ready to fight when called upon. Grunts really don't expect most people to love us or understand us, but we hope there are some folks out there who might appreciate the fact that we are there. I think the movie captures that notion commendably.
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