Full metal jacket film analysis

I think the film is split up in two parts, one being the training for the war and the second being the fight between the Americans and the Viet Cong, I think Stanley done this to show the reality of what it would of been like, soldiers training to fight and then eventually actually fighting the war.

There seems to be seven parts to the film. The first part when the men are getting their heads shaved which tells us that they have no identity now and their all equal. Next the harsh training which they go under which physically and mentally drains them which then links the then third part in which one trainee ends up shooting himself because the training was too hard for him. Fourth part shows Joker and rafterman in Vietnam  enjoying it as they are sitting and drinking in a street and are quite happy to chat to the locals. After the happy part the fifth part starts to introduce the real reason why the soldiers are there where they get attacked at their own base. Once the mood lowers it gets worse as true Vietnam war unravels as the hash realty of death impacts Joker and rafterman by seeing dead corpses of the Vietnamese realising that this is not all happy. The sixth part shows them getting ambushed constantly and them losing fellow soldiers which sends them angry as they start hating even more on the Vietnamese. lastly the part which shows that they have transformed from open minded soldiers to pure killing machines.

The characters in the film have different relationships with their rifles. Joker treats his rifle like something he’ll to protect himself and not waste it for no reason, the rafterman is showing us that he has no interest in killing he’s just there to take pictures but later on he becomes more attached to it when he gets interviewed,  animal mother shows that he loves his weapon as he carries the biggest one and never leaves it, its always by his side, as well as having large amounts of ammo for it.

During training the rifle is worshipped by the soldiers as this will be the only thing to save them and overs when fighting and this is portrayed in the film as each of the soldiers have their rifles close to them and no scenes with the soldiers with them with out their rifles.

Rifles in the film are considered as quite a controversial thing as they do save lives but also they take lives. In training when Pyle shoots himself we know how dangerous these weapons are and that its not the rifle that does the killing its the person pulling trigger that does the killing. I also think in the film that the rifles were considered as weapons that you hope to kill people with, in the film there was no regard to ammo they were using the rifles to scare off the Viet Cong or to eventually hit them when blind firing at them which shows that no matter how much training the American soldiers go through they’d rather spray ammo than getting a clean shot.

In the film you can talk about individuality as most of them have their own personality but they all have power to kill someone with they chose to do this is up to them. joker’s personality changes as he always jokey but at the end we can see that the war has changed in which sometimes its not alright to joke at things when it gets serious, animal mother is seen as a hard naïve and straight to the point as he doesn’t care if he gets shot and enjoys killing Vietnamese people, rafterman is considered as a wimp as he cant bare to watch the killing of soldiers and the Vietnamese.

In the film were supposed to think that all the trainees are being brainwashed but when we see joker and Rafterman they are still seen as human beings although at the end they seem to have changed in that they must kill to survive.

The signs on Joker such as born to kill and the peace sign takes the piss out of the whole situation as the Americans are their to kill the Viet Cong but they are literally killing the civilian Vietnamese people which shows that they will restore order however killing is all that they know and this is how they solve the situation.

I think part of Joker at the end is lost because he has lost close friends and has seen some brutal scenes in which effect his view on every think. He was considered as someone with a open mind but at the end of the film he has just grown know how to kill and that killing is always the right thing to do other wise you will be shot.

The reason that the mickey mouse was used at the end was because soldiers would sometimes sing it when they marched. It pissed off the sergeants, who would tell them to knock it off, and they would never sing it where an officer might hear.

In the 1960s, the term mickey-mouse was used as an adjective to describe an organization’s bothersome attention to unimportant detail (chicken-shit), and as a disrespectful criticism of the military. The Mickey Mouse Club TV show’s theme song, familiar to most baby-boomer young American men in the military, was commonly used as a marching song, as a change from jody-calls and other military cadence calls. (Rivera, no date)

I have watched other Vietnam war based films such as Platoon, tropic thunder, forest Gump, I have all so played Vietnam based games as well which are very violent and they all have the same violent and gruesome action in them which was a big part in that war.

The difference in FMJ is that Stanley Kubrick showed the harshness of the training which was used to brainwash and make soldiers more efficient when killing. However I think that they all have the same mood in which all the films show team work and soldiers lives and how they cope with the harshness of the war.


Rivera, F. (no date) What was the meaning of full metal jacket’s ending, when the soldiers are marching and singing the ‘Mickey Mouse’ song? Available at: https://www.quora.com/What-was-the-meaning-of-Full-Metal-Jackets-ending-when-the-soldiers-are-marching-and-singing-the-Mickey-Mouse-song (Accessed: 2 March 2017).



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