We're all very, very different, but there is one thing that we all have in common: we were all stupid enough to enlist in the Army!
A 1981 movie starring Bill Murray and Harold Ramis. Stripes was a war comedy about a slacker named John Winger (Murray) who convinces his friend Russell Ziskey (Ramis) to join the army. The two of them have a miserable time in basic training, but eventually their drill sergeant gets injured in a training exercise and they have to finish the training on their own. The night before graduation day they stay up all night, show up late for the parade, and put on one hell of a show for the generals. In the end, they are assigned to guard the new EM-50 urban assault vehicle in Italy.While John and Russell are guarding it, they decide to steal it and go for a joyride to Germany. The rest of their squad comes after them, thinking that they're communist spies, but they take a wrong turn and get captured by the Soviets in Czechoslovakia. Winger and Russell come back to save their squad. When they come back to the states, somehow they all end up getting medals.The movie was well-liked by critics, with an 88% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was also fairly successful financially, grossing $85 million in North America on a $10 million budget.
This movie provides examples of:
Actually Pretty Funny: Sgt. Hulka can't help but let out a few guffaws at Winger's smart-assed "Big Toe" speech before promising to come back at 0500 to put that Big Toe where the sun don't shine.
Badass: Sergeant Hulka isn't just a Drill Sergeant Nasty - during the climax of the film he also proves himself to be a legitimate badass when he sneaks behind the Iron Curtain to recover the EM-50.
Butt Monkey: The movie's loaded with them, but special mention has to go to the two Russian guards at the Czech checkpoint. They couldn't buy a break with all the vodka in Russia. Finally, completely fed up, they have this exchange:
Guard One: I hate tourist season!
Guard Two: Such a truck would be good for picking up girls in Minsk...
Enforced Method Acting: While shooting the boot camp scenes, director Ivan Reitman secretly told the actors as recruits to drag actor Warren Oates (Hulka) into the mud with them. Oates ended up chipping a tooth, and upon learning Reitman manipulated the whole thing, furiously chewed him out. Since then, Reitman has never used enforced method acting in his films.
Improperly Placed Firearms: "Soviet" troops carry a motley collection of dressed up MAC-10s, Uzis, and Finnish Valmet assault rifles in lieu of anything that they would normally use— excusable in this case, given that the movie was filmed at the height of the Cold War.
Incoming!: Sgt. Hulka when Capt. Stillman's carelessness on the range results in the platoon coming under fire.
Jerk Ass: Winger. Most of the platoon (initially) hated him for his failed attempts at playing smart with Hulka.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sgt. Hulka. Sure, he's your average loud and rough army sergeant, but he's willing to go to great lengths to protect his men.
"Join the Army," They Said: It was Winger's idea to enlist, and he talked Ziskey into signing up by promising him that military life was going to be a total blast. As you might reckon, Ziskey gets pissed off later on when he catches Winger trying to go AWOL.
Kentucky Doubling: Pretty much the entire movie was filmed in and around Louisville, with Fort Knox portraying the Army base and a disused Jim Beam distillery playing the Czech Red Army outpost.
Only Sane Man: Hulka. The fact he's the only character played seriously makes his character stand out.
Open Says Me: Subverted then hilariously played straight - John and Russell try to rescue their captured unit from a cell by blowing up the locked door with a bomb, which fails. Then John Candy's character Ox (who's inside the cell among the prisoners) decides to run screaming at the door, and smashes it open.
Rousing Speech: Winger gathers up the platoon as they pull an all-nighter to prepare for the graduation marching presentation, and gives them an inverted "The Reason You Suck" Speech.The speech! Cut it out! Cut it out! Cut it out! The hell's the matter with you? Stupid! We're all very different people. We're not Watusi. We're not Spartans. We're Americans, with a capital 'A', huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We're the underdog. We're mutts! Here's proof: his nose is cold! But there's no animal that's more faithful, that's more loyal, more loveable than the mutt. Who saw "Old Yeller?" Who cried when Old Yeller got shot at the end? I cried my eyes out. So we're all dogfaces, we're all very, very different, but there is one thing that we all have in common: we were all stupid enough to enlist in the Army. We're mutants. There's something wrong with us, something very, very wrong with us. Something seriously wrong with us - we're soldiers. But we're American soldiers! We've been kicking ass for 200 years! We're 10 and 1! Now we don't have to worry about whether or not we practiced. We don't have to worry about whether Captain Stillman wants to have us hung. All we have to do is to be the great American fighting soldier that is inside each one of us. Now do what I do, and say what I say. And make me proud!
Sound Off: A hilarious version, where the platoon uses the song "Doo Wah Diddy" as a jody call.
Star-Making Role: Warren Oates, despite a long career in film prior. He died a year after the film's release, making two films that were released posthumously.
Tanks, But No Tanks: While in the Czech Red Army outpost, we see a "Russian" tank that is clearly a US built M48/M60 series tank with a few visual mods tacked on.
Unintentional Period Piece: Besides the Cold War setting, John and Russell are asked by an army recruiter whether either of them are homosexual, which points itself to pre-1994, before "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" first allowed LGBT people to serve in the military.
"Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Standard for an Ivan Reitman film. Represented by humorous magazine covers: Hulka opens a burger chain, Stella is a Penthouse covergirl, Louise and Russell are interviewed by the fictional magazines Road Life and Guts, Ox becomes a teen heartthrob, and John graces the cover of a news magazine that asks "The New Army: Can America Survive?"
Oh yeah, and a small news blurb about Stillman getting assigned to a snowbound doom.
Yanks with Tanks: Specifically, the aforementioned EM-50 armored recreational vehicle.