The characters of the film Full Metal Jacket, and associated tropes.
Private/Private First Class/Corporal/Sergeant James T. "Joker" Davis
The protagonist. He works as a combat correspondent in Vietnam.
- Blood Knight: Joker claims that he joined the Corps to be a killer. However, he's probably being sarcastic, since he's a military journalist, and when he has to perform a Mercy Kill, he finds it very hard.
- Deadpan Snarker: How he got his nickname. He quoted John Wayne for a joke at basic training, which Hartman overheard; Hartman gave him the Joker nickname for this and he ran with it. Which sticks with him after boot camp which usually doesn't happen since most nicknames are derogatory. In this case, Joker probably liked the name enough to possibly introduce himself to the other Marines at Stars and Stripes, making himself even more a Joker.
- I Know Mortal Kombat: Joked about when he meets Animal Mother.
- Joker puts a peace sign in his collar, while on his helmet is written "Born to Kill", which doesn't endear him to a field colonel. ("I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir.")
- In the book, that peace sign gets him reassigned to Cowboy's squad as a rifleman, putting him even closer to the war.
- During their introduction to each other, Animal Mother questions if Joker has seen any combat. Not only has Joker seen combat, he defended his base from an NVA attack using an M60 Machine Gun just like Animal Mother carries.
- Joker puts a peace sign in his collar, while on his helmet is written "Born to Kill", which doesn't endear him to a field colonel. ("I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir.")
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Best seen during his interactions with Cowboy and Gomer Pyle.
- Mercy Kill: Ends up giving one to the Vietnamese sniper.
- And also to Cowboy in the book.
- Mildly Military: Due to his position as a reporter, he falls outside Lusthog Squad's chain of command. In general, he doesn't really care much for rank structure, often snarking at Lt. Lockhart during briefings and wearing a peace button on his flak jacket.
- Miles Gloriosus: He often brags about his "killer instincts" (though most, if not all of that is probably meant to be deliberately ironic) and, once in Vietnam, of his previous combat experience, claiming to be a hardened veteran to the other correspondents. He maintains it in combat as long as all is going well, but turns into a stuttering wreck when he gets really scared. The actual veterans of Cowboys platoon get progressively less impressed with him. When they encounter the sniper, Cowboy (his best friend) has to very pointedly tell him to shut the fuck up, and Animal Mother looks like hes considering shooting Joker himself.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Private Joker, "a fucking comedian".
- Tagalong Reporter: To the Lusthog Squad alongside Rafterman.
- Third-Person Person: In basic training, probably enforced to reduce individuality. "Sir! It is the private's duty to avoid first person pronouns, sir!"
- Thousand-Yard Stare: At the end, after killing the sniper.
- Would Hit a Girl: In the end he's forced to do this, though he finds it extremely difficult to do.
Private//Private First Class/Sergeant Robert "Cowboy" Evans
Joker's best friend from basic training.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: In the novel he has his crotch blown off (at which point he shits himself) and his hand when he goes to kill himself. All after being wounded multiple times. Joker has to finish him off.
- Deep South: How he got his nickname. "Only steers and queers come from Texas!"
- Dies Wide Open: After getting sniped.
- Famous Last Words: "I can hack it."
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Subverted. While cleaning the head (bathroom) Joker says to Cowboy "I wanna slip my tube steak into your sister. What'll you take in trade?" to which Cowboy simply replies "What've you got?". Cowboy later brings it up again in Vietnam, when he asks if Joker has been getting any to which Joker replies, "Only your sister".
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Nicknamed Cowboy by Hartman and keeps the nickname even after basic training is over.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Cowboy is spared in the sense that his death is much quicker (by a single shot) in the film. In the book, he runs into the ambush and mercy-kills the wounded men, but before he can kill himself, the sniper shoots his pistol out of his hand and wounds him repeatedly. Joker then mercy-kills him in turn.
- Too Dumb to Live: Hey, Cowboy, maybe you shouldn't hide behind the part of the wall with a big hole in it. *BAM* Never mind.
- You Are in Command Now: After his squad leader is killed in action.
Sergeant "Animal Mother"
The nihilistic M60 machine gunner in the squad.
- The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People: Eightball claims this about him, and Animal Mother shows why when he refuses to leave Doc Jay and Eightball to die.
- Badass Bandolier: He has two bandoliers of ammo for his M-60 crossed over his torso.
- The Big Guy: He's Lusthog Squad's machine gunner, armed with an M-60.
- Blood Knight: Oh yeah. Lampshaded by Eightball, who notes that Animal Mother is one of the finest human beings alive under fire. He just needs someone to throw hand grenades at him for the rest of his life.
- Hidden Depths:
- While appearing as a racist yokel, he actually does care about his comrades regardless of their skin colour and also points out the hypocrisy of what the US forces are doing in Vietnam is for 'freedom'.
- Has the famous Oppenheimer 'I am become Death' quote enscribed on his helmet, suggesting he is somewhat more educated or well-read then his behaviour would indictate.
- Jerkass: He's openly racist and immediately antagonizes Joker.
- Leeroy Jenkins: When Doc Jay and Eightball get shot, he defies Cowboy's orders and charges in to attempt a rescue. He doesn't get himself shot, though, because he riddles the building with so much suppressing fire that the sniper can't fire back.
- Military Maverick: Responds to Cowboy's order to stay put with "Fuck you".
- More Dakka: With his M60 machine gun.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: His nickname.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Refuses to leave Doc Jay and Eightball behind. It's pretty much his one redeeming quality.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Animal Mother never mentions his actual name to anyone.
- Psycho for Hire: He's a Sociopathic Soldier who enjoys killing, so this goes without saying.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: His hail of gunfire, punctuated by bellicose swearing as he chases after the sniper.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Qualifies to a fault, especially when pissed.
- Sleeves Are for Wimps: He goes sleeveless to show his large arms, which cements his position as The Big Guy.
- Sociopathic Soldier: Probably one of the best examples.
- Token Evil Teammate: Of the Lusthog Squad.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: The films ends with Animal Mother in charge of the squad.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Eightball to some extent.
An African-American member of the squad who is not overly sensitive about his ethnicity, and is Animal Mother's closest friend.
- Black Dude Dies First: He's the one sent to do recon and the first to be gunned down by the sniper. He's helplessly aware of the trope. Black soldiers in the Vietnam War often got assigned the less desirable or more dangerous tasks as a matter of course.
- Black Is Bigger in Bed: "No boom-boom with the soul brother". Eightball has to graphically debunk it.
- Deadpan Snarker: Just see his quote above.
- Mauve Shirt: Gets a decent amount of characterization and screen-time before biting it.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: One of the characters whose real name is never even mentioned.
- Soul Brotha: He acts cooler than most of his white comrades.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Animal Mother to some extent.
Private First Class "Rafterman"
A combat photographer who works with Joker.
- Armchair Military: Laments having to be this when he's first introduced.
- Big Damn Heroes: Saves Joker from the VC sniper at the end.
- Camera Fiend: Can often be seen taking pictures of the squad - even during battle.
- Mama Bear: His mother, according to Joker.
- Naïve Newcomer: Rafterman receives a healthy dose of exposition.
- New Meat: Rafterman is the lowest ranked Marine in the squad, being only a PFC (in the book, a lance corporal); the other members are identified as at least being corporals.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: His real name is never mentioned.
- Partly averted in the book; his last name is given as Compton.
- Red Herring Shirt: His insistence to go to the field with Joker, while Joker fails to convince him to not, is obvious foreshadowing that Rafterman will die, right? Wrong. He survives the whole movie and even saves Joker from being shot by the sniper.
- Spared by the Adaptation: He's run over by a tank in the book.
- Tagalong Reporter: To the Lusthog Squad alongside Joker.
Sergeant "Crazy Earl"
The squad leader before Cowboy takes command.
- Blood Knight: The quote above pretty much says it all.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: To a disturbing extent.
- Mauve Shirt: He's given some personality before dying.
- Schmuck Bait: He falls for a booby-trapped stuffed rabbit in the middle of a wrecked building, and dies when he trips the bomb.
- Talking to the Dead: Has "befriended" a dead Vietnamese soldier.
- Worthy Adversary: Believes the Vietnamese to be this.
A medic attached to the squad.
- Character Death: He's mowed down by the sniper when he tries to signal Animal Mother the sniper's location.
- The Generic Guy: He isn't given much of a personality.
- The Medic: The squad's medic.
- Military Maverick: Though to a much lesser extent than Animal Mother.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Disobeys Joker's orders and goes to help Eightball when he's wounded by a sniper.
- Red Shirt: Does little else but get killed trying to save Eightball.
Another African-American member in the squad who works as the radio operator.
- Black Dude Dies First: Played straight with Eightball, averted however with Donlon, who survives the film.
- The Generic Guy: He doesn't get much characterization.
- Those Two Guys: With Rock.
Another member of the squad.
- The Generic Guy: Along with Doc Jay and Donlon.
- Iconic Item: In the book, he wears a small piece of quartz on a cord around his neck, supposedly so that he can be identified if he gets killed.
- Spared by the Adaptation: He's killed by the sniper in the book.
- Those Two Guys: With Donlon.
- Weapon of Choice: A grenade launcher.
Another member of the squad
Joker's Commanding Officer on the Stars & Stripes Vietnam branch.
- Armchair Military: Lockhart only appears in two scenes, and mentions that he's already been in the field. His opinion on it?"Can't say I liked it much. Lots of bugs and too dangerous. As it happens, my present duties keep me where I belong; in the rear with the gear."
- Cassandra Truth: When Joker mentions that the Tet Ceasefire may not take place based on rumors he's heard, Lockhart plays it down, saying the Tet is too important of a holiday to the Vietnamese to do anything rash on it. Sure enough, their base is one of the targets in the Tet Offensive, but all of the journalists survive.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: In sharp contrast to Sergeant Hartman, Lieutenant Lockhart is less formal/harsh and more laid back and friendly, though he still uses the Joker nickname Hartman gave to now-Corporal Davis when addressing Joker.
The Door Gunner
A gunner on the helicopter that takes Joker and Rafterman from Da Nang to the combat zone.
- Ax-Crazy: The first thing he does onscreen is shoot wildly at a bunch of Vietnamese farmers, passing them off as VC. This immediately identified him as a monster to Joker.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": He's never named.
- Hate Sink: The door gunner is a sociopathic sadist who enjoys warfare far more than he should. While transporting Joker to his destination, he picks off every Vietnamese person he sees, soldier or civilian, with a smile on his face. claiming they're all the enemy whether it's true or not. His last line is him jokingly asking "Ain't war hell?," despite clearly loving it.
- Karma Houdini: It's presumed he never is called out for essentially murdering innocent Vietnamese; he only appears in one scene and is never mentioned again.
- Knight of Cerebus: Starting with this guy's appearance and his gunning down of innocent people on the Marines' payroll, the film and Joker become much more serious and people start dying, showing just why War Is Hell.
- Large Ham: Proudly proclaims that anyone on the ground is VC, and shouts it too.
- Laughably Evil: As heinous as his actions are, his casual, unapologetic delivery in response to Joker asking how he can shoot women and children is actually so good that it ends up crossing into Comedic Sociopathy territory: "Ha ha ha! Ain't war hell?! Ha ha ha!"
- Sociopathic Soldier: Is definitely not right in the head, if his merciless gunning down of people the Marines are supposed to protect is any indication.
- Verbal Tic: "Get some, get some, yeah, get some, get some, get some, get some!" Interestingly enough, in the time it takes him to say "get some", three shots are fired. Not just a tic, but fire discipline.
- Would Hit a Girl/Would Hurt a Child: When Joker asks if he shot any women or children, he replied, "Sometimes!"
- Also this exchange:Joker: How can you shoot women and children?Door Gunner: Easy. You just don't lead 'em so much. (Laughing) Ain't war hell?
- Also this exchange:
- Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Averts this big time."Anyone who runs is a VC! Anyone who stands still is a well-disciplined VC!"
Lieutenant Walter J. "Touchdown" Schinoski
The commander of the Lusthog Squad's platoon.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Implied to be this thanks to his friendly conversation with Joker.
A lieutenant present at the uncovering of the mass grave.
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Played with. He smiles for the camera while graphically describing the murder of several Vietnamese citizens by the NVA - it's not evil, but certainly unsettling."[With a big grin] It seems the NVA came in with a list of gook names.[Grin.] They went round their houses real polite and asked them to report the next day for political re-education. [Grin.] Everybody who turned up got shot. [Grin.] Some they buried alive. [Still grinning].
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Identified only as "Colonel".
- General Ripper: "Inside every Vietnamese is an American fighting to get out."
- Jerkass: Is stuck up, which is to be expected of someone of his rank.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Notes the irony of Joker writing both a "Born to Kill" message on his helmet and wearing a peace symbol, given where they are.
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman
A drill instructor at Parris Island who trains his recruits to transform them into marines.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the original book "The Short-Timers", Sergeant Gerheim is a heartless monster who merely tortures recruits out of sheer sadism. By contrast, Hartman (due to input on the character by R. Lee Ermey) is a reasonable-ish figure whose torment of the recruits serves the purpose of making them more suited to the battlefield and is just doing his job, albeit poorly. His main failure is his inability to recognize that Pyle is unfit for service and should be sent home.
- R. Lee Ermey himself stated that Hartman is a poor DI who often does things that are unethical and counterproductive. The book version is nonetheless vastly worse. Ermey, on the other hand, has been recognized as a very good DI in real life.
- Hartman is a jerk and treats his recruits like shit. But after all he's just doing his job to motivate the recruits properly to turn them into Marines.Hartman: My orders are to weed out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved Corps. Do you maggots understand that?
- The gunny himself lampshades this:Hartman: Because I am hard, you will not like me! But the more you hate me, the more you will learn.
- He also expresses genuine happiness when Pyle demonstrates his marksmanship with the M14. Unfortunately, by then, Pyle's already gone nuts.
- Hartman is a jerk and treats his recruits like shit. But after all he's just doing his job to motivate the recruits properly to turn them into Marines.
- Arc Villain: He's the antagonist of the Basic Training segment of the film.
- Asshole Victim: As much as Sgt. Hartman is just trying to do his job, it may be hard to feel sorry for him when he gets killed by Private Pyle.
- Bad Boss: He's an unforgiving sergeant who goes around insulting, punching, punishing, and yelling at his recruits, would-be marines he intends to weed out.
- Bullying a Dragon: Still goes Drill Sergeant Nasty up to the end on Pyle, despite being already pushed too far that leads to the latter killing Hartman.
- Deadpan Snarker: Far from deadpan, but he's a king at the snarking part."Private Pyle, whatever you do, don't fall down! That would break my fucking heart!"
- Death by Irony: Trains his recruits to be killers. It certainly shows with Private Pyle after Hartman gets gunned down with a rifle shot to the chest.
- Deconstructed Character Archetype: Despite being perhaps the most famous Drill Sergeant Nasty in cinematic history, he is actually the trope gone wrong. His non-stop insults and abuses wear down the psyche of Private Pyle, whose signs of mental instability go unnoticed by the sergeant. When Pyle finally snaps and waves around a rifle, Hartman continues to shout at him instead of calling on other officers to detain him. Pyle promptly shoots him before killing himself.
- Decoy Protagonist: His first scene sets him up as an Anti-Hero and main character in his own right. It doesn't take long for him to become the Arc Villain of the first half.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: The Trope Codifier, and probably the best known example. He physically abuses his recruits, gives them Embarrassing Nicknames that stick even after basic training is over. Close to an Unbuilt Trope since he fails to notice the Sanity Slippage of one of his recruits and the instruction goes horribly right for him. Hartman also seems to take pride in the fact that a Marine Corps sniper, Lee Harvey Oswald, killed President Kennedy because of how impressive his shooting was.
- R. Lee Ermey was an actual Marine Drill instructor in the sixties and his performance is Truth in Television; Marine drill instructors regularly use very similar hilariously over-the-top instruction in an attempt to get officer candidates to smile, laugh, or otherwise break attention. Originally brought in to advise the actor playing GySgt. Hartman on how to be more convincing, he recorded a videotape of himself yelling insults at a group of British Royal Marines. His performance was so impressive that he got the role instead. Ermey was allowed to write or ad-lib many of his own lines by acknowledged Control Freak Stanley Kubrick and later got promoted to Gunnery Sergeant - in 2002, 30 years after he had already been discharged.
- Dying Smirk: In the novel, as he dies satisfied that he'd finally managed to turn Private Pyle into a cold-blooded, ruthless killer.
- Expy: He is basically one to Emil Foley.
- Famous Last Words:
- "What is your major malfunction, numbnuts?! Didn't Mommy and Daddy show you enough attention when you were a child?!" Then, proving just why insulting a mentally unstable person with a gun is a bad idea, Hartman is shot through the heart by Private Pyle.
- "Private Pyle, I'm proud..." in the novel, just before Pyle shoots and kills him.
- Fatal Flaw: His Lack of Empathy, specifically regarding Pvt. Pyle. He doesn't notice that Pyle's mental health has eroded and thinks that he can shout Pyle down when he's holding a loaded rifle.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: All it takes to set Hartman off is a bad word or making a mistake such as forgetting to lock your footlocker.
- Hate Sink: Gunnery Sergeant Hartman was specifically played by ex-drill sergeant R. Lee Ermey as a bully who sucks at his job. Hartman spends his time berating his recruits more than instructing them, eventually latching onto one who's clearly out of his element. Nicknaming him after a dimwit from a popular TV show, Hartman proceeds to encourage the rest of his trainees to mistreat the poor guy in an attempt to break his mind.
- Hates Everyone Equally: Part of the job for a Drill Sergeant Nasty. Claims that "I am hard, but I am fair! There will be no racial bigotry here! I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops or greasers! Here, you are all equally worthless". Proves it too, as he appoints the African-American Private Brown to squad leader, at least at first, and never shows any outright bigotry or racial favouritism, demonstrating it's really just a testing tactic to "weed out any non hackers."
- Hot-Blooded: Yells, hates being defied, never happy and training people to be killers.
- Immediate Self-Contradiction: In his opening speech, he goes straight from saying that he doesn't discriminate based on race and Hates Everyone Equally, to screaming racial epithets at Pvt. Brown.
- Jerkass Has a Point: To say the least, though he's just doing his job to motivate the recruits properly to turn them into Marines.
- Large Ham: Makes a lot of cruel snarks, but also provides funny relay quotes in the jogging scenes, one of which puts a smile on Joker's face.
- The Neidermeyer: Shows zero respect for the privates, except a little when they graduate, and gets in everybody's faces and punches them in the gut. Hartman seems oblivious to the fact that this isn't working, even when Pyle has lost his mind and holding a loaded gun.
- Nice Hat: Is never once seen without his hat. Even in the bathroom confrontation. (Truth in Television: Try and find a USMC Drill Instructor without his campaign cover. While Marines don't wear covers indoors except under arms, DI's are a notable exception.)
- The Nicknamer: He's the one who gives the nicknames to Privates Snowball, Joker, Cowboy and Pyle. Most of his nicknames stick even after basic training is over.
- No Indoor Voice: He never speaks lower than at a speech volume until the very end, and is mostly a shouter.
- Pet the Dog: He does congratulate Pyle when he starts making progress.Hartman: Outstanding, Private Pyle. I think we finally found something that you do well.
Hartman: Private Pyle, you are definitely born-again hard! Hell, I may even allow you to serve as a rifleman in my beloved Corps.
- He also promotes Joker to squad leader after being impressed by his guts to talk back to him.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Outwardly, he is misogynistic, homophobic, and racist, despite claiming he Hates Everyone Equally. It should be noted however that there is truth to this latter point: the first recruit to act as squad leader is Private Snowball, who is black and who is only fired because Hartman was genuinely impressed with Private Joker. It's basically just a testing tactic to ready the troops for the harshness of Vietnam. Hartman also claims that a Marine (Lee Harvey Oswald) killed the president as a point of pride.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Jerkass he maybe, but he's just doing his job as a Drill Sergeant Nasty.
- Real Men Love Jesus: Once Joker denies believing in the Virgin Mary, Hartman gets angry and slaps him. When Joker doesn't back down from his beliefs, Hartman makes him a squad leader.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Loves dishing these out. Private Pyle is a frequent target of Hartman's fury.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Claims to be this early on. He's really not - he's a bigot and has a complete lack of empathy for his recruits.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: His dialogue is peppered with f-bombs and other expletives alongside Flowery Insults.
- Sociopathic Soldier: To an extent in that some of the disciplinary tactics he reserves for Pyle arguably cross into psychological abuse territory.
- Starter Villain: He's what the recruits have to deal with before they get to the actual war in Vietnam.
- Too Dumb to Live: Fails to realize that he's driven Private Pyle to a psychotic break even when the man is sitting in front of him with a loaded rifle, looking like a grenade with its pin pulled. He thinks the appropriate response to the situation is to dish out more verbal abuse at Pyle, rather than get out of there and get the Military Police. He's wrong.
- Villain Respect: When Joker refuses to back down from his proclamation that he doesn't believe in the Virgin Mary, even after Hartman slaps him and threatens to subject him to further violence, Hartman is quite impressed with Joker's bravery and promotes him to leader of his squad, saying that that it is courage, rather than brains, that makes for a good squad leader.
Private/Private First Class Leonard "Gomer Pyle" Lawrence
A overweight recruit who gains the ire of Hartman.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Hartman wasn't the only person who mistreated him. After the jelly doughnut incident, everyone in the platoon but Pyle himself had to take every punishment bestowed upon them every time the latter messed up. This led to subjecting Pyle to a blanket party hazing at night. Justified trope, as much as we hate to say it, because if one recruit in a platoon gets in trouble, the entire platoon does.
- Alliterative Name: Although his real name Leonard Lawrence is rarely used.
- Ambiguous Disorder: He seems to have some kind of developmental disability.
- Ate His Gun: Blows his brains out with his rifle after killing Hartman.
- Ax-Crazy: Becomes this near the end of the first part, though he only kills one other person.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: His abuse by the Drill Sergeant Nasty and a blanket party leads him to go off the deep end.
- Break the Cutie: He gets it worse than the rest of the recruits due to being overweight and mentally slow, most of it at the hands of the original Drill Sergeant Nasty. The worst of it comes when the other recruits, pissed off after the entire platoon was punished every time he screws up, throw him a blanket party by pinning him to his bunk with a blanket and beating the crap out of him with bars of soap wrapped in bath towels. All this eventually leads to his psychotic breakdown, his murder of Hartman and his ultimate suicide.
- Butt-Monkey: Never seems to get a break. Over the course of basic training, he:
- Gets choked by Hartman because he can't stop smiling even in the face of Hartman's tirades.
- Gets publicly humiliated by Hartman for shouldering his rifle on the wrong side.
- Has to march at the back of the formation, with his pants around his ankles and his thumb in his mouth.
- Earns yet more of Hartman's wrath when he can't get through the obstacle course.
- Gets caught with a jelly donut in his footlocker, prompting Hartman to start punishing everyone else in the platoon whenever he screws up (and said everyone else to give him a blanket party in revenge).
- Decoy Protagonist: One of the main characters of the movie's first half, along Hartman and Joker. He kills himself at the end of said first half.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Given one as part of his abuse by Hartman.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: He's never mentioned or alluded to again after his death, likely to the the rest of the recruits he was The Friend Nobody Likes for being The Millstone for getting them all in trouble and therefore they at best seemingly don't really care about him afterwards or at worst glad he was gone from their platoon, or would likely feel disturbed talking about the recruit who snapped and killed their drill instructor and avoid remembering him for their psyche. Still, Joker quoting him (and/or Hartman) in his parting narration implies that this incident did indeed leave an impact on his psyche.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: To the recruits for being The Millstone and later a Forgotten Fallen Friend after his Murder-Suicide.
- Kubrick Stare: Starts exhibiting these as signs of his descent into insanity, pulling off a chilling one◊ when receiving his Military Occupational Specialty assignment, and greeting Joker with an extremely disturbing one◊ when Joker finds him in the bathroom.
- Large Ham: A mentally unstable Pyle dramatically executing drill commands with his rifle and loudly reciting the Rifleman's Creed.
- The Load: He is the only one who can't pull his own weight in the group (quite literally), and this trope gets played even straighter when the rest of the recruits get punished on Pyle's behalf when he screws up, such as Hartman finding a jelly doughnut in Lawrence's foot locker.
- The Millstone: After he's caught with a jelly donut in his footlocker, the rest of his platoon is not happy about having to suffer for his screw-ups.
- Murder-Suicide: Kills Hartman before turning the gun on himself.
- Preppy Name: Leonard Lawrence. Lampshaded by Hartman, who declares "Only faggots and sailors are called Lawrence".
- Sanity Slippage: Goes off the deep end due to Hartman's abuse, in combination with being the victim of a blanket party which gradually turns him into a deranged and alienated sociopath afterwards.
- Slasher Smile: Sports one when he's found in the toilet by Joker.
- Title Drop:Sgt. Joker: Are those live rounds?Pvt. Pyle: Seven-six-two millimeter. Full metal jacket.
- Took a Level in Badass: As part of his Sanity Slippage, he starts becoming more focused in training. He loses weight and learns how to act like a Marine. Unfortunately, he turns Ax-Crazy at the same time.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Pyle's mental breakdown, resulting in the death of Sergeant Hartman and himself, is the result of physical and verbal abuse from Hartman and bullying from the other recruits.
Private/Private First Class "Snowball" Brown
One of the recruits at Joker's basic training. He's the first recruit to be addressed by Hartman.
- Embarrassing Nickname: When he tells Hartman his name, Hartman immediately blows him off and gives him the "Snowball" nickname, along with a racist snark.
- Ironic Nickname: Hartman nicknames a black recruit "Private Snowball." Doubles as a Dehumanizing Insult, since "Snowball" is a (then outdated, now archaic) mild ethnic slur, and dehumanization, or at least depersonalization, is pretty much the whole point.
- No Indoor Voice: Is practically screaming at the top of his lungs whenever he addresses Hartman. None of the other recruits are shown similarly screaming when they reply to Hartman.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Apart from his last name being Brown, he does not give his first name and is forced to use the "Snowball" nickname otherwise.
- You Have Failed Me: Not a fatal example, but he becomes a squad leader at some point, only for Hartman to "fire" him and have Joker replace him, which is how Joker begins helping Gomer Pyle.
The Viet Cong Sniper
A Viet Cong child soldier who fires on the Lusthog Squad in the film's climax
- Action Girl: Is able to take several well-aimed shots that wipe out no less than three troops, including Cowboy.
- Asshole Victim: She intentionally wounds Doc Jay and Eightball multiple times, partly to draw the rest of the squad into her kill zone, but also as a form of torture.
- Big Bad: Being the final and most significant enemy Joker and his allies face in the climax of the movie, she is arguably the closest to being the primary antagonist of the film.
- Child Soldier: She doesn't look older than 15.
- Cold Sniper: Deliberately wounds soldiers to use them as bait for their comrades, and when that fails begins to shoot the wounded to enrage their comrades into action.
- Final Boss: Of a sort; the Viet Cong Sniper is the final antagonistic force of any sort encountered by Joker in Full Metal Jacket.
- Girlish Pigtails: And they're braided.
- Hero Killer: The sniper is the one to kill Cowboy, the squad leader and Joker's best friend from recruit training.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: At least partially justified in that we can assume she's a very practised shot, but she doesn't even have a sniper rifle. Look closely when she's revealed, and it's clear that she took out all those guys with an unscoped vz.58.
- Little Miss Badass: Is at the oldest a teenager, and brilliant and scary with her rifle, taking out three members of the Lusthog Squad and sending it into panic and confusion. Though it is still a downplayed example: once the initial confusion wears off and Animal Mother figures out her position, the squad manages to turn the tables on her in short order. Regardless, she survives Rafterman emptying a clip into her, and instead of begging for mercy she stoically requests Joker to finish her off.
- Mercy Kill: Joker eventually has to reluctantly perform a mercy shot on her after she is fatally wounded; Animal Mother wanted to leave her to die painfully.
- More Deadly Than the Male: She manages to give Lusthog Squad, who by the late point of the film have killed dozens of male NVA and Viet Cong in Hue, a much harder time, and kills three of their members easily.
- No Name Given: The Viet Cong Sniper is never identified by name, and dies before she could be identified.
- No Scope: Her weapon of choice is a vz.58 rifle with no scope whatsoever, as the squad find out after they've flushed her out.
- Oh, Crap!: She looks completely terrified once she realizes the squad found her
- Samus Is a Girl: Only at the end the Viet Cong sniper is revealed to be a young woman.
- Sniper Rifle: Averted. Rather than using something like a scoped Mosin-Nagant or an SVD, the standard NVA and Viet Cong sniper rifles, she's instead revealed to be using a humble old vz.58 to snipe her targets.
- Villain Decay: A rapid and somewhat justified example. She's a good shot with her rifle and terrorises the squad from her vantage point, killing three hardened marines who cross her sights, but resorts to recklessly unloading her ammo on the covered Joker when confronted directly and is taken out by a simple flanking maneuver.