7 life lessons we learned from watching 'Full Metal Jacket' - We Are The Mighty

7 life lessons we learned from watching ‘Full Metal Jacket’

Considered one of the greatest military movies ever recorded on film, 1987’s Full Metal Jacket was much more than just a 2-hour war epic directed by the late Stanley Kubrick. It showed the world the journey of a recruit making his way through basic training and shoved in the dangerous, combative pit known Vietnam in the late 1960s.

Although Full Metal Jacket has its fair share of inaccuracies, there are many life lessons to learn from it that the audience may have overlooked:

1. Fearing the drill instructor

Marine boot camp is no walk in the park, especially in those days.  Gunny Hartman (played by R. Lee Ermey, a Marine veteran) presented a real look of how drill instructors treated their all-star recruits. Many who’ve watched this film prior to visiting with their local Marine recruiter might second guess their career choice.

7 life lessons we learned from watching ‘Full Metal Jacket’
Words of encouragement from your friendly neighborhood drill instructor (Image via Warner Bros.)

2. How to properly construct a “war face”

Marines are trained to fight and intimidate their enemies. Private Joker (Matthew Modine) found out the hard way how much his war face needs improving if he wants to intimidate anything.

7 life lessons we learned from watching ‘Full Metal Jacket’
That’s not a war face. (Image via Warner Bros.)


3. The difference between a rifle and a gun

It can get a little weird in the armed forces.

Don’t confuse these two. (

4. Grunts automatically don’t like POGs vice versa

This has been an ongoing rivalry for decades — with no signs of ending.

5. Victory might not be possible

If there’s a war, everyone loses.

Dark? Yeah, we think so, too. 

6. Respect is earned — never issued

If you want to get anywhere in life, stick to your guns and pick your words wisely.

7. You’re going to have to make do with what you got

“Improvise, adapt, and overcome” is one of the many mottos the Marine Corps uses.

Just because you need something, doesn’t mean life is going to issue it.


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