Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket is known for its wry and rather dark sense of humor, most apparent in the film’s dialogue. The film begins when a group of recruits arrives on an island ready to become Marines and serve in the Vietnam War. Their ruthless drill instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey), torments the recruits harshly, trying to wheedle out the weak.
He begins by stripping the young men of their identities and giving them new names. James T. Davis (Matthew Modine), the protagonist, now goes by “Private Joker”, but Hartman seems to respect him because he promotes him to squad leader when he cracks a rather audacious joke. The first act of the film takes place solely on the island. When they become Marines, they are flushed out into the real landscape of war, which they find to be a confusing motley of mayhem.
Still, the film – and its characters – never loses its sense of witty humor. Private Joker is an intriguing hero who doesn’t always fit into the mold of a hero but is admirable nonetheless. The first act remains the film’s most memorable, but the latter portion offers a totally new experience that is in line with the characters’. Here are twelve of the best quotes from Full Metal Jacket.
- Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: Holy Jesus! What is that? What the f*** is that? What is that, Private Pyle?!
Private Pyle: Sir, a jelly doughnut, sir!
Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: A jelly doughnut?
- Private Joker: Are those live rounds?
Private Pyle: Seven-six-two millimeter, full metal jacket.
- Private Joker: This is my rifle. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life …
- Private Joker: Sir, does this mean Ann Margret isn’t coming?
- Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: You’re so ugly you could be a modern art masterpiece! What’s your name, fat body?
Private Pyle: Sir, Leonard Lawrence, Sir!
Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: Lawrence? Lawrence what … of Arabia?
- Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: What is your major malfunction, numbnuts? Didn’t Mommy and Daddy show you enough attention when you were a child?
- Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle … Your rifle is only a tool. It is a hard heart that kills. If your killer instincts are not clean and strong you will hesitate at the moment of truth. You will not kill. You will become dead Marines and then you will be in a world of sh*t because Marines are not allowed to die without permission.
- Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: What’s your excuse?
Private Cowboy: Sir, excuse for what, Sir?
Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: I ask the f***ing questions here, Private!
Private Joker: The dead know only one thing: it is better to be alive.
Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: Do you think I’m cute, Private Pyle?
Private Pyle: Sir, no, Sir!Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: Then wipe that disgusting grin off your face.Private Pyle: Sir, yes, Sir!Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: Well, any f***ing time, sweetheart!Private Pyle: Sir, I’m trying, Sir!Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: Private Pyle, I’m gonna give you three seconds, exactly three f***ing seconds, to wipe that stupid grin off your face, or I will gouge out your eyeballs and skull-f*** you!
Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: How tall are you, private?Private Cowboy: Sir, five-foot-nine, sir.Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: Five-foot-nine, I didn’t know they stacked sh*t that high!
Private Pyle: I am in a world of sh*t.