The protagonist is J.T. Davis, nicknamed \"Joker\" (Matthew Modine), a member of 3092 platoon, beginning recruit training as a Marine on Parris Island, South Carolina.
The brutal command of Senior Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey, a former drill instructor in real life) shows the harsh indoctrination of Marine recruits. The Vietnam War is in full swing, and his job is to produce trained killers who will not hesitate when the decisive moment arrives. The film\'s first section is about the physical and psychological mistreatment of recruit Leonard Lawrence (Vincent D\'Onofrio), whom the drill instructor has nick-named Gomer Pyle.
Hartman immediately pegs Pyle as a misfit. He is socially awkward, overweight and out of shape. He has trouble meeting the physical rigors of boot camp. He also does not adhere well to orders and procedures. Whether this is from carelessness, anxiety, or lack of intelligence is never made clear. His deficiencies seem to personally offend Hartman, and he punishes him as a kind of lesson to the others. Hartman ultimately appoints Joker as Pyle\'s mentor, stressing that Joker will set Pyle straight. During an inspection, Hartman discovers a contraband jelly doughnut in Pyle\'s foot locker, and decides to administer collective punishment for the platoon. After numerous collective punishments, the platoon give Pyle a blanket party, discharging their anger upon him while simultaneously achieving team cohesion. Even Joker joins in, but he is obviously moved by Pyle\'s pitiful sobs of pain and grief.
Crazy Earl expresses his views of the war.
Crazy Earl expresses his views of the war.
The next morning, Joker realizes that Pyle has become sullen and withdrawn; he begins to detach himself from the platoon as well as the rest of reality. His expert marksmanship impresses Hartman, but worries Joker, because Pyle converses with his rifle \"Charlene\". On completing their training, every one in 3092 platoon is assigned a Military Occupational Specialty, the most common being 0300-Infantry (one notable exception is Joker who is assigned to 4212-Basic Military Journalism). On the platoon\'s last night on Parris Island, Joker is slated firewatch duty, during which he discovers Pyle in the head (toilet in Marine jargon), loading his rifle with live bullets. Frightened, Joker attempts to calm Pyle; he fails and Pyle\'s screaming rousts Hartman to them. He orders Pyle to put down the rifle and step away from it; misreading Pyle, Hartman is shot dead; then Pyle kills himself while Joker watches.
The second part of the story occurs in Vietnam, in 1968; Joker, is Corporal and a Marine Combat Correspondent with Stars and Stripes, assigned to a Marine public affairs unit, and his new partner, a combat photographer called Rafterman, being propositioned by a Vietnamese prostitute. The action is quiet where they are, as the Grunts are the ones who are in the \"shit\" (battlefield); until the Tet offensive begins, and the Marine base is attacked. That night, Joker fights his first battle when the Viet Cong attempt to overrun the base. Next day, the PA staff learn about the situation from their superior. Joker is sent to the front lines because of his ironic sense of humor, and Rafterman tags along looking for some \"trigger time.\"
Joker links up with \"Cowboy,\" his friend from boot camp, who is second in command of the Lusthog Squad, and accompanies Cowboy\'s squad on patrol in the city of Hu?. A vicious battle breaks out, initially resulting in the death of Cowboy\'s platoon leader, which leaves a Marine nicknamed Crazy Earl as the new squad leader. Earl leads the Lusthog Squad through a ruined section of the city. One of the film\'s standout sequences shows the squad being interviewed individually by a television news crew and expressing their thoughts on the war.
The squad is called up for patrol again, this time north of the Perfume River (which divides the city of Hu??), where enemy forces are believed to be hiding. Crazy Earl comes across a stuffed animal and picks it up. The toy is a booby trap, and the ensuing blast kills Earl and leaves Cowboy the reluctant squad leader. The squad quickly becomes lost in the ruined city, and a sniper wounds two of their comrades, Doc Jay and Eightball, with the intention of drawing more of them in. As the squad moves up to try to locate the hidden position, the sniper kills Cowboy too. With his Marines by his side, Cowboy dies in Joker\'s arms. Using smoke to conceal their movements (effectively depicted with a hand-held camera running alongside the Marines), the squad closes in and Animal Mother assumes control of the remaining Marines. As they fan out through the likely building, Joker finds the sniper. At the critical moment his rifle jams and the sniper, a young Vietnamese girl, opens fire, pinning Joker behind a column, making it impossible for him to escape or shoot back. Rafterman arrives and shoots the sniper, saving Joker. As Joker, Rafterman, Animal Mother, and the rest of the remaining Marines gather around the girl she begins to pray, then begs the Marines to kill her. Joker and Animal Mother argue over leaving her to suffer and die slowly. Ultimately, he allows a mercy killing, but only if the combat-deprived Joker performs it, who finishes her off after a long pause.
Cast and characters:
* Matthew Modine as Private / Sergeant James T. \"Joker\" Davis, the protagonist-narrator who claims to have joined the Corps to see combat and to be the first one on his block with a confirmed kill. He witnesses Pyle\'s insanity occur in boot camp, but ostensibly becomes a squared away Marine. He later is an independent-minded combat correspondent accompanying the Lusthog Squad to report combat from the field.
* Adam Baldwin as \"Animal Mother\": The nihilistic M-60 machine gunner of the Lusthog Squad, Animal Mother is contemptuous of any authority but his own, ruling by intimidation. At first, he is contemptuous and scornful of Joker as a REMF (rear-echelon mother fucker) Marine. Animal Mother believes victory should be the only object of war. In The Short Timers, he is a New Yorker who went to war instead of jail.
* Dorian Harewood as \"Eightball\": The Black man of the Lusthog squad, insensitive about his ethnicity (i.e. \'Put a nigger behind the trigger\'), and Animal Mother\'s pal. The woman sniper kills him.
* Kevyn Major Howard as \"Rafterman\": Rafterman is a combat photographer with the Stars and Stripes office with Joker. He requests permission to accompany Joker into Hue City.
* Arliss Howard as the Texan Private / Sergeant \"Cowboy\" Evans who goes through boot camp with Joker. He becomes a rifleman, and later encounters Joker in Vietnam, having become a rifle squad leader. In The Short Timers, Joker kills Cowboy, in sacrifice, after being severely wounded by a sniper expecting to trick the squad to rescue so he may shoot them all. In Full Metal Jacket, he quickly dies of a sucking chest wound, while in Joker\'s arms, surrounded by the remainder of his platoon.
* Ed O\'Ross as Lieutenant Walter J. \"Touchdown\" Schinowski: The platoon leader of the Lusthog squad\'s platoon, He was a college football player at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
* John Terry as Lieutenant Lockhart: The PIO officer-in-chief and Joker\'s assignment editor. He has combat-reporting experience, but uses his officer rank to avoid returning, on account of the danger and the bugs, rationalizing that his journalistic duties keep him where he belongs, \"In the rear with the gear\".
* Kieron Jecchinis as \"Crazy Earl\": The squad leader, he is forced to assume platoon command when Platoon Leader Lt. Touchdown is killed. A booby-trapped toy kills him.
* Jon Stafford as Doc Jay: A Navy corpsman attached to the Lusthog squad; he is shot and killed by the sniper while attempting to drag Eightball to safety.
* Kirk Taylor as \"Payback\": A veteran correspondent with the Marine PIO unit, Payback brags of having been out in the shit (combat), telling Joker and Rafterman he has the thousand-yard stare of the burnt-out combat infantryman.
* Bruce Boa as The Pogue Colonel: The Marine colonel who berates Joker at the edge of the mass grave of civilians, reprimanding him for wearing a peace symbol. He suggests Joker be more enthusiastic about winning the war or he will court martial him. Notably, \"pogue\" is a military slang insult for poseur non-infantry soldiers and marines.
* Sal L??pez as T.H.E. Rock: The Mexican Marine.
* Marcus D\'Amico as Hand Job: so nicknamed for masturbating in the psychiatrist\'s office while pursuing a Section Eight discharge. He is killed by machine gun fire shortly after Lt. Mr Touchdown is killed.
* Vincent D\'Onofrio as Leonard \"Gomer Pyle\" Lawrence: A fat, clumsy, slow-witted recruit who is the focus of Hartman\'s abuse for being incompetent and fat, making him the platoon scapegoat. After a blanket party from the rest of the platoon for failing almost everything and earning them collective punishments, he turns psychotic and talks to his rifle, \"Charlene\", yet he becomes the most disciplined Marine. In The Short Timers, Leonard Pratt is a skinny, awkward Alabama boy who shoots Gerheim, then himself, in front of everyone in the bunkhouse section of the barracks. In Full Metal Jacket, he shoots Hartman in the toilet and then himself in front of Joker. The humiliating nickname, Gomer Pyle originates from a likable, but dim eponymous character from the American television program the Andy Griffith Show who eventually enlists in the USMC.
* R. Lee Ermey as Master Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: the stereotypical Parris Island drill instructor who abuses his recruits to transform them into Marines. In The Short Timers, the character\'s name is \"Gerheim\" and potbellied; he is a Second World War veteran of the Battle of Iwo Jima.
* Peter Edmund as Private \"Snowball\" Brown: A Black recruit so nicknamed by D.I. Hartman, and briefly Joker\'s squad leader.
* Gary Landon Mills as Private Donlon: A Black RTO (radiotelephone operator).
* Stanley Kubrick as Murphy: the unseen fire support REMF of Cowboy\'s platoon.
* Tom Colceri as The Doorgunner, the Loadmaster and machine gunner of the USMC H-34 Choctaw helicopter transporting Joker and Rafterman to the Tet Offensive front. Inflight, he shoots civilians, while enthusiatically repeating Get some!, boasting \"157 dead Gooks killed\". When Joker asks if that includes women and children, he admits it and jokes, \"Ain\'t war hell?!\" This scene is adapted from Michael Herr\'s 1977 book Dispatches.
* Papillon Soo Soo as Da Nang Hooker: This character is a prostitute pimped by an ARVN sergeant to the Marines. Though a minor character, she is memorable for the sales-pitch phrases: Me so horny and Me love you long time and Me sucky sucky, in exchange for fifteen dollars, each Marine, of course.
* Ngoc Le as the Female VC Sniper
Full Metal Jacket es la pen??ltima pel??cula de Stanley Kubrick y contiene su visi??n muy personal del conflicto de Vietnam. La pel??cula ha sido aclamada por la cr??tica y el p??blico, a pesar de su notable dosis de violencia.
La cinta est?? claramente dividida en dos partes: la primera en el campo de entrenamiento de un pelot??n del Cuerpo de Marines de los Estados Unidos que se preparan para la guerra; la segunda es ya propiamente el campo de batalla en Vietnam. En el primer segmento de pel??cula, Kubrick se centra en tres personajes: el sargento Hartman (interpretado, con un extenso y ofensivo lenguaje, por el militar real R. Lee Ermey) y los soldados Pyle (Vincent D\'Onofrio) y Joker (Matthew Modine), el primero un cadete gordo y torpe. En la segunda parte, los soldados, hechos \"m??quinas para matar\", se encuentran ya en la guerra, siendo Joker un corresponsal de guerra.
Matthew Modine: Recluta Buf??n
Adam Baldwin: Pedazo de animal
Vincent D\'Onofrio: Recluta Patoso
R. Lee Ermey: Sargento Hartman
Dorian Harewood: Γ??bano
Arliss Howard: Recluta Cowboy
Kevyn Major Howard: Rompetechos
Ed O\'Ross: Sargento Se??or Pelotazos