Follow TV Tropes


Headscratchers / Full Metal Jacket

Go To

  • "I'll PT you until your assholes are sucking buttermilk!" WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?
    • You don't want to know.
    • PT = Physical Training.
    • Physical Torture to those who get paid to do it.
    • I think he was referring to the "assholes are sucking buttermilk" part. What the hell DOES that mean?
      • Until something totally incomprehensible happens, obviously.
      • Buttermilk was once a hick remedy for really bad sores.
      • It means he'll beat your ass until your anal cavity puckers with enough force to suck up buttermilk.
    • Advertisement:
    • PT technically means physical training but not the typical amount they are used to doing. The way he means it "torturous exercise for a longer than normal time used as punishment." In other words, their usual exercise routine cranked Up to Eleven.
    • Quite frankly, after a while you end up saying strange things that just kinda sound intense. The tone conveys more than the words themselves.
  • Is Private Pyle going insane supposed to be An Aesop that brutal discipline isn't for everyone?
    • That, or it's an aesop that brutal dehumanization isn't for anyone. His name wasn't Gomer Pyle, it was Leonard Lawrence. Only one person bothered to remember that.
    • I don't think obvious moralisation is really Kubrick's style...
    • It happens often in training like that, I experienced it first-hand even in the "milder" Army. I think him going insane is supposed to show the reality of life in training.
      • That's true. People go crazy based on their own timing. Being away from home for the first time (for many recruits) is stressful. Those who go to milder training (as pointed out above) only know how much their own situations suck. When I went to Boot Camp in 1987, we had our share of crazies, too. At that time, Marine Corps Boot Camp was very similar to what was shown in the movie, except that I never saw a senior drill instructor who was an E-7. All of them were E-5 or E-6. The senior drill instructor was usually the milder of the three or four assigned to the platoon. Only one of them was really known for hitting recruits and he was only temporarily assigned to my platoon, long enough to punch me in the head on one occasion, but he was best known for the time he butt-stroked a recruit right in the face. We started out with 84 recruits and ended up with 70, including a few who had been picked up from other platoons along the way. That means more than 14 original recruits were weeded out, either because of mental or physical problems, or they couldn't pass the training. We had one who refused to follow orders and two who deserted and we never saw them again. My point is, these were all volunteers in peace times. In fact, there was even a rule prohibiting recruits from taking weapons into the head (latrine/bathroom) for this very reason. Apparently, shooting yourself in the head while sitting on a toilet is appealing to depressed/crazy recruits.
      • How many other places can a recruit find (at least temporary) privacy? If someone is determined to commit suicide, what's "appealing" about the location is a reduced chance of being interrupted: therefore, greater chances of going through with it.
    • Advertisement:
    • It's possible it's meant to show that Joker isn't cut out for military service. He handles that whole situation horribly. Instead of either grabbing the (unloaded) rifle and running to the MPs, or even just running to the MPs, he does... nothing, and two Marines die as direct a result.
  • There's really nothing Joker could do (at least what I saw). The rifle was behind Pyle resting against the toilet tank, Pyle is significantly bigger and could overpower any attempt to wrestle the rifle away from him (or Joker would get shot), Joker didn't know the rifle was unloaded at first, screaming and running for Hartman could set Pyle off and potentially cause more casualties. It's a difficult situation to read; I'm not surprised Joker froze up, and yeah it's not ideal given the options (or lack of) but that doesn't necessarily mean he's not cut out for service.
  • What really bugs me is that there is so much pity and support from the audience for Pvt Lawrence (Pyle). From the opening scene you can tell that he shouldn't be there, and what he is, is a Non-hacker who, unable to cope with the stress of something he volunteered for, snaps and murders a man dedicated to serving his country, before killing himself. Next time you watch FMJ, watch it from the social standpoint of 1969, and realise that Hartman isn't evil at all, he is doing his job. Would anyone want someone like Pyle alongside them in a firefight? No. That's why Hartman is harsh, to get rid of all the people who would be incapable of operating as a Marine.
    • I agree, sorta. I mean I don't have a problem with obese people at all, they can do whatever they want, it's their life, they are not hurting anyone. But SERIOUSLY! He could not wait the whole 6 awake hours he had till he got to go to breakfast to get another doughnut? (He said he was hungry. Liar. He just loves sweets and wanted to have a snack) I don't really feel he deserves the sock beating that happens afterwards, but come one, show some mental fortitude dude. You're not supposed to have sweet snacks to munch on whenever you feel like in basic training, DEAL WITH IT.
      • That's the exact mindset that got the Sergeant shot, asshole.
      • It wasn't a case of waiting until breakfast; Pyle was banned from eating jelly donuts entirely (and presumably, other similarly fattening foods as well; it's a common practice in the US military to put overweight recruits on "special" rations to make them lose weight).
    • The movie portrays war as immoral and something civilized people don't participate in. Not having pity on someone who is unable to become a trained killer runs contrary to the message.
      • Sure you want to take that moronic and indefensible stance?
      • The movie doesn't really take any political stance on war, it just shows it for what it is, it's the viewer that makes the judgement about war, true though, that 90% of people agree, war is hell.
    • How do you know he volunteered? The movie was set during the Vietnam war; he could have been drafted.
      • The Marine Corps took virtually zero draftees (less than one thousand, total) during the entire Vietnam War. The only one of the services actually filling its quota via the draft for Vietnam was the Army, the Marine Corps was 99.9% volunteer.
      • Still, that doesn't mean that he did. I find it relatively likely that all the shit that happened to him, on top of being drafted, was what made him snap. If he'd volunteered, he would have been more likely to wash out conventionally. (Not sure how the draft worked in terms of washing out, but I would assume it would have been a lot harder to be allowed to leave if you were drafted than if you volunteered)
      • It worked the opposite way. Draftees had no choice about being there, so there wasn't as high a standard as the volunteers had to clear. He snapped because, well, it does happen. The military actively recognizes that it happens and takes steps to protect themselves and the Service Members [which is actually a good point made several times below, about Pyle managing to get ammunition and a magazine, and Joker's unwillingness to do anything about it.]
      • I don't think washing out would have been a good option. Washing out doesn't necessarily mean you get to go home and you're finished with your obligation. In the Marine Corps, if you "quit," or fail at something, it just means you will be recycled, which means at some point in the training, you're sent away to another platoon, often repeating two or three weeks of training you already had and spending more time in Boot Camp than you should.
      • It's extremely unlikely he was drafted. Period. And you don't just get to leave Basic if you're overwhelmed or fail. You signed a contract, and once you set foot on the plane or bus headed for Parris Island, you can't leave until you complete Basic. This applies in both peace and wartime. It works the same in the Army, regardless of whether you enlisted or were drafted.

      • Although I've only had the experience of Basic Training, in the 'kinder, gentler Army" no less, the drill sergeants definitely made the point that if we hoped to get out of our chosen obligations by flunking, we would be stuck there a lot longer than if we'd simply carried on and passed the training. Saw that happen first-hand when the medical failures were still stuck at Basic and waving us bye-bye when we left for AIT.
      • Volunteering for the Marines doesn't mean they wanted to be there. AIUI a lot of draftees pre-emptively joined the Marines before being drafted for the Army, the rationale being that if they had to serve anyway, they might as well serve with a highly-motivated force that would increase the odds of their survival.
    • Hartman wasn't just "doing his job". R. Lee Ermey, himself a former drill instructor, deliberately played him as a terrible drill instructor who used his position to be as abusive as he could get away with without technically breaking any rules. Even when Lawrence was threatening him with a loaded rifle, Hartman just kept yelling and insulting him, instead of trying to de-escalate the situation.
    • Exactly. Part of being a drill instructor involves breaking down your recruits, but you're supposed to build them back up again. Hartman, either out of maliciousness or sheer incompetence, failed to do his job and build Lawrence back up once he'd broken him, and failed to notice even the most blatantly obvious signs that he was no longer mentally fit for the military.

In peacetime, at any point in your first 12 months, you can request a "failure to adapt to military lifestyle", which counts as a General Discharge (neither honorable nor dishonorable), not an Honorable Discharge.

  • It's not explained in the film, so who knows how he ended up there. It's also possible that he volunteered to avoid being drafted. Some people would do that, vounteering for a guaranteed MOS (such as supply or food service) to avoid the possibility of being drafted into the infantry.
  • Just pointing out that his MOS WAS infantry.
  • Maybe he had nowhere else to go? Hartman kept trying to get Lawrence to quit, but Lawrence really wanted to be a Marine, and never did anything bad enough to warrant getting kicked out. Recruit training is designed to be very difficult, to wash out those who can't make it. Ironically, his breakdown began when he started doing everything correctly.
    • That's not quite true, basic training is designed to be hard but not too difficult, even in the marines. The idea is that once the tasks are accomplished the men form a bond.
    • That's how it works today, but at that point in time, and especially for the Marines it was more about weeding out the weak, getting rid of those that would hinder or hurt other Marines
    • As far as I know, the Marines have never taken conscripts except for part of World War Two. That being said, some people did volunteer so as to avoid being drafted into the Army. But no, Hartman isn't evil at all. I don't think Leonard is evil either; it seems clear that he's insane by the time he murders Hartman.
    • According to several Web sources, some Army draftees found themselves being picked to "join" the USMC when they reported for induction.
  • From what we've seen of Pyle, he's not too bright, he's pretty heavy, and quite frankly, desperate for approval. Chances are, he's gotten this kind of abuse in the civilian world as well and the Marine Corps was his attempt to better himself and gain some respect. He probably had an idea of how hard it would be to get through the training, but he probably didn't think it would be this hard. After going through the physical and mental abuse, Pyle eventually figured that it would only get harder after this and more likely than not, he was going to die out in the field, never able to reap the fruits of his labor. He would be going from one hell to another. Since he couldn't handle the real world and the corps was going to kill him, Pyle decided to lash out at the one figure who he could immediately blame for his suffering: Sgt. Hartman. Once doing that, it was a matter of time before he killed himself.
  • If you were the drill instructor, would you verbally humiliate a visibly-disturbed man holding a gun you've been told is loaded? Not that he deserved it: but wouldn't it have made more sense not to escalate, in that lopsided scenario?
  • To Sgt. Hartman's credit, he did try to calmly tell Pyle to place the weapon on the deck and step away. But when Pyle didn't comply, Hartman reverted to his default method of persuasion (i.e. yelling and berating). But again, you're right. Hartman should have executed more caution when dealing with Pyle.
  • That's actually the way the military trains you to deal with someone who's wigging out. Nine times out of ten a show of strong force will cause a person to back down, even if they're behaving erratic or violent. Unfortunately, if the other person has a loaded M14, that means the other one time will probably end in you getting shot.
    • It's a pavlovian response. They just spent their entire time at basic puckering up everytime they heard an authoritative voice. Therefore, even when wigging out, there is a good chance that it would cause a similar reaction out of pure instinct.
  • The thing I don't get is why nobody ever gives Joker any shit for how he behaves. He just kind of stands there and watches as Pyle loads individual bullets into a magazine and then loads said magazine and racks the rifle’s charging handle and starts going through drills... I understand that he was panicked or whatever, but really, just screaming and running away would have been a better response. Maybe Hartman would have still stormed in and started berating Pyle, but then again maybe not; Hartman does seem genuinely surprised when Joker tells him that Pyle's weapon is loaded. If Joker had just immediately gotten out of there and warned everyone, maybe the MPs (or whatever, sorry, military noob here) would have been able to take Pyle out before he hurt anyone...
    • Hartman asks something along the lines of why isn't Pvt. Joker stomping Pvt. Pyle's guts out for that. Joker handled it horribly. The job of the watch is to be alert this very kind of stuff at night, especially in boot camp, and while unarmed, the watch is the first line of defense in boot camp. So as soon as he saw Pyle in there, he should've disarmed him and reported him to Hartman. His window was small but not that small. Or he could've just ran and got help. But to do nothing costed both Marines lives and possibly proves that it’s Joker who isn't fit to be a Marine. I personally witnessed a boot camp wig-out to a far less dangerous degree but equally loud. And it was the guy on watch while we were asleep. Talk about something potentially scary when you think of how bad it could've been with 50 sleeping recruits while an insane individual is supposedly watching you sleep. Lucky for us it was around 5 am and not closer to lights out. The watch commander(a recruit) was the first person to try calming him down and getting loud back did work better than being calm, and much much better than doing nothing.
  • Of course, the real question is how the hell Pyle got that rifle and ammo in the first place. Surely in a place like Parris Island, the guys in charge of the armoury would know better than to hand out a rifle and live ammo to a raw recruit (or one that had just passed out).
  • Ammo is highly tracked in training; the military knows training is stressful and keeping rounds accessible to recruits dealing with that stress is asking for a lot of trouble. Weapons are tracked carefully, bullets even more so, down to the individual round. When training requires shooting, the recruit is given a set number of rounds. They are expected to shoot the amount they are given, and instructors are there to make sure. There isn't any squirreling away possible; if you're given 20 rounds, you shoot 20 rounds. Otherwise there's gonna be trouble from D Is and M Ps because a round or several are missing.
    • If they know better than to hand out live ammo, what makes all those holes in all those pieces of paper? Especially powerful blanks?
    • Live ammo would have to be signed out by the drill instructors. How Pyle got it out without authorisation is the issue. Surely, also someone would have noticed him carry the rifle around the barracks with him.
    • It's possible the D.I's were simply dropping extra rounds out of their pockets, in case the trainees needed some help to make their targets, so that the D Is would meet their own graduation targets. Pyle happened to be good enough at shooting that the extra rounds were wasted, or he was able to trade jelly donuts (or his sister) to other privates enough to fill up a magazine.
    • All of them carry rifles. Everywhere. They're married to that piece of iron and wood, and they are faithful. As far as live ammo controls, the DI's are human, and they are overworked (this is set during Vietnam, when the 13-week recruit training was cut down to 7 weeks, and Hartman seems to be carrying out the normally 3-man training job by himself most of the time). They can't even stop Pyle from smuggling jelly donuts out of the mess hall.
    • Or he could have squirrled away rounds from their range sessions. He's able to smuggle in a jelly donut, so pocketing a few rounds during range sessions is a no brainer.
    • Or, Devil's Advocate suggests maybe the instructors *wanted* him to kill himself and they were the ones that supplied the ammo. Would possibly explain why Hartman goaded him, thinking he would be too weak to shoot him, but not too weak to shoot himself.
  • To the original question, while verbal abuse is just Hartman doing his job, him setting Pyle up to be beaten by his fellow privates is decidedly less so. What exactly did Hartman try to achieve by it anyway? Making Pyle quit? If a couple of entries above are to be believed he would either be sent to another boot camp or couldn't quit at all. In this case Hartman put the guy through an incredibly humiliating experience either just to make him someone else's problem or just For the Evulz. If that was an attempt to make Pyle really get his act together, well, it worked. Too well. Hartman failed to consider that while not wanting to get another blanket party would make a guy to push himself to his absolute limits, enough to make it, it couldn't be good for his mental health, let alone bonding with other recruits. Besides, since he did not 'get rid' of Pyle, it means, ironically enough, that he actually failed at his job and it got him killed. That and Joker not telling about signs of Pyle's mental breakdown to anyone but Cowboy and Cowboy not telling anyone else. To put it short, getting beaten down by a group of people will make you hate them and most of all the person you are smart enough to see being behind it. And you can't leave this group. And no one gets punished for it. Pyle's actions are pretty damn understandable.
    • Hartman's main failing is that he did it to the wrong guy at the wrong time. Humiliation such as Pyle's is all part and parcel of the recruit training experience, and recruit-driven punishment isn't unheard of (and in some places, tolerated). It may not work all the time to shape someone up, but it works enough to warrant doing it. Another thing, which was in "The Short-Timers" but didn't make it to the movie, is that Hartman isn't totally free to act in regards to Pyle; by the time Leonard's gone batshit-crazy, he's lost too many other recruits (due to injury or being more obviously batshit-crazy) and actually intimidates his own recruits to keep quiet about Pyle so he can send one more grunt to Vietnam and keep his superiors off his back.
    • What makes you think DI Hartman had anything to do with the blanket party? Do you seriously think he put them up to it? Hell no. A blanket party happened when I was in Basic, and when my dad was too. It is just something that happens sometimes. Unfortunate, but most certainly not something that the DI's put together. They were all being punished for Leonard's mistakes, and they took it personally and attacked him. I seriously doubt DI Hartmen knew anything about it. Also, while I was in Basic, us girls got collective punishment all the time for doing dumb shit. None of us had a blanket party over it (the guys did though. I think they used locks).
    • One line. "You have failed to properly motivate Private Pyle." Hartman didn't organize the blanket party, but he very blatantly made it clear that he expected the recruits to find a way to unfuck Private Pyle, or else.
  • Let's pretend for a moment that Pyle snapped out of it after shooting Hartman and surrendered immediately. What would have happened to him? Life imprisonment? Execution, even?
  • Why does Lawrence snap after successfully completing basic training instead of earlier while he's failing/being abused by the other trainees?
    • Snapping is only the last step in the process of a mental breakdown, and he'd been going through that process for a long time. That he finally lost it completely at that particular time didn't really have anything to do with it being that particular time. It isn't necessarily a factor where or when a ticking time bomb goes off, only that the timer has finally finished running down.
      • I'm thinking that from the point at which he gets that thousand-yard stare, he had every intention of doing what he did, and the training from then on was him psyching himself up.
      • I think he snapped immediately after his fellow soldiers beat him with the pillows.
      • Um, those were bars of soap. Not pillows. Really? Being beat with pillows?
    • I always wondered, would things have played out differently had he failed basic training?
      • He would have been "recycled" in the next training group.
      • I mean would he have still shot himself and Hartmann?
      • Depends on when it happened. If it happened before the blanket party, he would have been transferred, maybe out of the Corps and into the Army. After the blanket party, his mind was made up. As someone above posted, the point where he's staring off into space during Hartman's speech about Oswald and Whitman's marksmanship is probably the precise moment he decided how this all was going to end.
  • Hartman was portrayed as being evil in the movie, despite the fact that Ermey has said that for the most part, he was behaving pretty much the same way he did when he was actually a DI at Paris Island during Vietnam, and said actions for the most part were considered to be acceptable. And aside from the fact that DI's are not allowed to hit recruits (which most of them do anyway), his actions today would be considered acceptable. If a recruit can't hack it, he does not belong in the Marines. The Marines are elite. If you aren't up to the physical challenge, then join a less specialized branch of the military. Some people say he was wrong to single out Pyle, but he was absolutely right to. Pyle constantly failed at proper drilling exercises, he was in poor physical condition (he couldn't do one god damn pullup for chrissakes), and he violated the rules by having chow in the barracks. I personally would never opt to join the military, simply because the military isn't for everyone, but if you do join, the people training you are not there to hold your hand. They are there to train you so that when you go into battle, you don't die because you were trained improperly.
    • I don't think he was being portrayed as evil. I think he was being portrayed fairly. Some could infer that he was evil, but I don't think that was the intent. He was just a DI doing his job.
    • Why so much talk about Hartman being evil or not? He is not the point of boot camp, however fun he may be to quote. The point is the things he did which were, presumably SOP - forcing a bunch of impressionable 18-year-olds to pray to be able to kill, to line up every morning and scream 'BLOOD!BLOOD!BLOOD!', implying that what's important is shooting straight, not who you're shooting(Lee Harvey Oswald). It's ugly and harsh and THAT IS THE POINT. War is evil and ugly, and this is what you have to do to men to make them fight it. Pyle goes nuts because the training works TOO WELL - he wants to kill, he CAN kill and... oops. He's killing the wrong thing, that's all. The helicopter gunner, later - is he disturbing because he's a murdering fuck? Well, yes, but more than that - he is the LOGICAL CONCLUSION of the training given at boot camp. He is what boot camp wanted to create, from what we see. Joker is our main character BECAUSE the training doesn't take to him - he retains humanity, until, it is implied, the very end when he executes the sniper. Hartman ain't the point folks - the system he's enforcing is.
      • No, the training takes to guys like Joker and Cowboy the way the Marine Corps intended. They're the guys they tend to want, and guys like Pyle and the door gunner are the exceptions. If the Marine Corps had wanted guys like the door gunner to fill their ranks, the Corps itself would have been drummed out years ago.
    • You do realize that R. Lee Ermey himself very explicitly said that Hartman was a bad drill instructor whose methods not only would have warranted a court-martial in real life, but were often impractical and counterproductive, don't you? So, yes, he is to blame. One of the main points of the film is to show how dehumanizing the military can be, but what if that process was being overseen by someone who was incompetent?
  • Why didn't the marines just use smoke grenades to obscure the view of the sniper, then rescue the wounded soldiers?
    • It's been over a year since I've watched the film, but smoke grenades aren't necessarily common. Also, there's the fact that they're inaccurate over a distance and you'd have to breath smoke in the process. Smoke grenades damage your ability to react to an attack as well as your enemy's. There might have been some concern about getting attacked while in the smoke cloud or the cloud dispersing too quickly or while they were moving the wounded soldiers.
    • A smoke grenade probably would have been a good idea, but the Marines in the scene were in a panic and, like mentioned above, might not have had any with them at the time.
    • By the time Animal Mother confirmed that they were dealing with a single sniper rather than the "strong enemy forces" Cowboy thought were hiding in the buildings, the wounded soldiers had already been killed.
    • In a situation like this throwing them as a distraction would do nothing. Throwing smoke grenades where you're going through is very bad for two reasons; one, even as early as World War II, people figured out "hey concealing smoke, they're going through that area now let's start firing" and two, the chemicals used in smoke grenades are very, very nasty to inhale; like extremely carcinogenic nasty. If you did what most people were doing by this time (and still do) throw them elsewhere to distract, well in a situation like this they know you're just trying to distract them to make a move for their wounded and all you just did was tip them off that you're about to move.
    • No, throwing smoke grenades is still a good idea, even today. It's not a distraction. It's used for concealment. It's less effective when you have an enemy with numerous weapons trained on you and plenty of ammo, especially if he has machine guns, but it's still better than nothing and it's especially effective when you're facing an enemy with few weapons or very little ammo. The smoke conceals your movement. The enemy knows (or thinks) you're going to go through there and he might even fire into the smoke and hope to hit you, but the difference is, he doesn't know exactly where you are (like he does when there's no smoke), won't know if he hit you, and won't know if you've moved. You could pop smoke, then stay where you are and try to draw him out, shift positions to get a better view of his position, flank him or bypass his position, or advance. Smoke is a good thing. I'd rather inhale the stuff than have him have an unobstructed view of my movement.
    • Yeah, because the sniper who has you pinned down and in all likelihood knows that stepping outside the building is basically signing her own death warrant is so going to leave cover and get drawn into the open.
      • Throwing smokes in an attempt to save Doc Jay and Eightball would have just drawn fire from an, at that point, unknown enemy force. Had they known before they got killed that it was just one sniper, they likely would have tried to flank the sniper position instead of directly trying to rescue the wounded Marines while leaving the sniper free to fire. In reality, Cowboy shouldn't have sent Eightball in by himself to begin with.
    • Did they even have smoke grenades?
      • They did, and used them when they were flanking the sniper position. But they didn't use them before, because they had no idea where the sniper was and Cowboy thought she was backed by a large enemy force (as discussed above).
  • If R. Lee Ermey improvised a great deal of his lines, how did he manage to improvise something that's about 99% similar to Gustav Hasford's original novel?
    • Most likely reason is that Ermey was on script for all the lines that are taken directly from the book. People can exaggerate about improvisation.
    • Because Hasford joined the USMC, and Ermey used to be a USMC Drill Instructor? Ermey was a DI from '65 to '67, Hasford joined the USMC in '67, depending on the exact dates and where Hasford went through Boot, it's entirely possible (although doubtful) that he had Ermey as a DI. The more likely explanation comes from the fact that there is a training course that teaches drill instructors how to properly train recruits.
    • One of the lines he apparently improvised included the phrase "major malfunction". Was that term in use in 1969? My understanding is that it became common after it was used by the NASA Public Affairs Officer in his live commentary of the Challenger accident in 1986.
  • How is Hartman killed with one shot to the gut immediately? Usually the victim of a shot to the gut would be in immense pain for a while and then die.
    • Dramatic effect. Then again, he is shot with a high-powered 7.62x51mm rifle, as opposed to a pistol.
      • At close-range a full metal jacket bullet does more damage than a distances. The main disadvantage of the FMJ bullets is their inability to expand fully once in a target at long distances. However, this is somewhat cancelled out when used at close range. Which also could have knocked him unconscious while he died. This could be why they named it Full Metal Jacket.
    • Hit to the abdominal aorta - the major artery running through your midsection, about the size of a garden hose and under about as much pressure, and which runs parallel to the inferior vena cava, an equally large vein. Severing both of them results in hypovolemia severe enough to cause loss of consciousness within about thirty seconds, with death by exsanguination following a few minutes thereafter.
    • If we assume he goes into shock or passes out immediately after being hit, then it doesn't matter if it actually took him a few more minutes to stop breathing.
  • Where did the doorgunner go? And the machine-gun? Okay I understand kicking out the doorgunner, but the M60 is worth something. Both were absent while the chopper landed.
    • The doorgunner is visible in the rear of the chopper through its window, he took a backseat with his gun at some point.
  • What does Hartman mean when he yells he'll motivate Pyle even if he has to short-dick every cannibal in the Congo? Castration of every aborigine? Great feat but motivating how?.
    • It can be seen as the Sgt. talking about the superlative efforts he'd do is meant more for the audience than for Pyle, in that he is also venting some of his genuine frustration for once, not only invoking a facade.
    • To "short-dick," means the same as "short-change." If he motivates Pyle to get fit, Pyle will lose weight, resulting in less food for the cannibals in the Congo to eat when they devour Pvt. Pyle. He will get Pvt. Pyle fit even if it means cheating the natives out of a meal.
  • There are several issues I have with the lead up to Pyle shooting Hartman dead. First of all how did Pyle get into the armory and attain ammunition for his gun? Why did Joker simply let Pyle get to the point where he could load bullets into the gun? The moment Hartman woke up from his sleep, due to Pyle chanting the Marine motto, why didn't he get someone to accompany him into the room to confront Pyle? There just appear to be so many things that could have been done to prevent this incident from happening.
    • As to the ammo, I always assumed he squirreled it away when he was at target practice. I'm assuming that they had more than one day at the rifle range, and it wouldn't be impossible to take one or two bullets each time and hide them until you were ready to use them.
    • If a rifle went missing, the entire base would go into lockdown until they found it.
      • Except that they all slept with their rifles. So it was not exactly missing.
  • So the government invests lots of time and money into training Joker to be a ruthless and efficient US Marines killer. And at the end of it - they send him to Vietnam as a journalist. What, as the kidz would say, is all _that_ about?
    • They are also attempting to win "hearts and minds" and trying to appease the home front, so for that they need some people able to handle themselves in the shit and with half a brain. Hartman is in disbelief too, but it's only a small proportion of the trainees afterall, most of the privates are assigned grunt duties. One of the points of the movie is that the war is not an example of "managerial acumen" (read sanity), there is hardly a Reasonable Authority Figure in the whole picture; the senior officer shown in the movie (Colonel) is a joke and Joker's lieutenant disregards the Tet-offensive when Joker brings up the rumors.
    • The Marine Corps philosophy is "Every man is a rifleman". Every enlisted Marine, whether in combat arms, combat support, or combat service support, goes through infantry training in addition. Journalists, cooks, bandsmen, clerks, all of them get at least the basic infantry school as well. Plus, the entire point of 'basic training' is that it is basic — i.e., that everyone will have been through it. Pretty much the only people in the military who have not been through basic training are directly commissioned officer specialists, like doctors and lawyers.
  • I have been thinking about Hartman's mental state throughout the whole time Lawrence/Pyle was under him. Asking all of you people out there, do any of you think Hartman was starting to secretly lose his mind over Lawrence/Pyle while Lawrence/Pyle was going cuckoo too? (I say Lawrence instead of Pyle because his real name was Leonard Lawrence.)
    • Hartman was behaving exactly as he did with every other batch of recruits that passed through him. This one happened to have an incompetent idiot, but that's just a frustration - less so when Lawrence/Pyle actually started shaping up. May I know what your basis for this is?
      • I was reading on The Kubrick Corner and its section on the movie with essays like "Deconstructing Masculinity". And I believe some of them purported that Lawrence/Pyle was a reflection of Hartman's worst nightmare for training potential Marine grunts. Lawrence/Pyle was a slow, overweight, in-over-his-head, practically useless guy whose very image could take its toll on Hartman. Seeing him here could most likely bring Hartman's true inner rage out, and not his usual authoritarian facade. Some of the essays covering the movie on that website may agree with me in implying that Hartman was secretly losing his mind (or as they referred to it in the Corps back then; going Section 8) due to Lawrence/Pyle's screwing up before his eyes.
      • That's nice for you and for them, but it would help if you could point to a single shred of evidence for the thesis. If anything, Pyle's demonstrated lack of fitness for the Marine Corps would make his eventual turnaround a triumph on Hartman's part.
    • What I don't get is why Lawrence broke in the first place. If he signed up, then he knew that he would be going to Vietnam. He just graduated boot camp and did the parade march with the families watching. He was literally one night away from shipping out. Couldn't he just hold back from killing his DI for one night? Okay yeah, he snapped and he may not have planned on killing the guy until he was confronted by him, but it still seems odd to me. Did he just decide he didn't want to go to war like he had planned to? I mean, okay, you don't know what's going on in his head and that's probably intentional. Still, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
      • It's not exactly possible to choose at what point you snap. He couldn't really just go "Oh okay, I'm going a bit bonkers right now but if I can just hold off completely breaking down for one more night, then I can totally lose it over in Vietnam and it'll all be fine". He snapped there and then, plain and simple. It doesn't have to make sense because that is exactly how breaking down works. One second someone seems okay, the next they're clearly not. The fact that it was the last chance he had to get back at the guy who had been tormenting him probably just exacerbated the situation.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: