There’s something very real about R. Lee Ermey’s performance as Marine Senior Drill Instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket.
Ermey’s performance dominates the first part of the film, where his character’s expletive-laden, motor-mouthed insults make up much of the movie’s dialogue, often dished out to a shell-shocked bunch of recruits led by Matthew Modine’s Private Joker.
And yet, Ermey wasn’t really an actor back then. Hired as a consultant on the film because of his military background, Ermey took it upon himself to lobby Kurbick for the part, submitting a video of himself in action that convinced the director he was more than capable of playing the part.
While on-set, Ermey was kept separate from the Marines making those initial, unrehearsed scenes in the Marine barracks all the more astonishing. So astonishing, in fact, that rumours persist Ermey ad-libbed most of his lines from experience – something still refuted by others involved in the project.
In any case, Ermey was responsible for some truly hilarious but totally savage insults during his time as Hartman on Full Metal Jacket – here are nine of the very best.
“If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death praying for war. But until that day you are pukes. You are the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human f*cking beings. You are nothing but unorganized grabastic pieces of amphibian sh*t! Because I am hard, you will not like me. But the more you hate me, the more you will learn. I am hard but I am fair.”
“Well it looks to me like the best part of you ran down the crack of your momma’s ass and ended up as a brown stain on the mattress! I think you’ve been cheated!”
“What have we got here, a f*cking comedian? Private Joker, I admire your honesty. Hell, I like you. You can come over to my house and f*ck my sister. You little scumbag! I got your name! I got your ass! You will not laugh! You will not cry! You will learn by the numbers! I will teach you! Now get up! Get on your feet! You had best unf*ck yourself, or I will unscrew your head and sh*t down your neck!”
“Private Pyle, I’m gonna give you three seconds; exactly three-f*cking-seconds, to wipe that stupid looking grin off your face or I will gouge out your eyeballs and skull f*ck you!”
“I bet you’re the kinda guy that would f*ck a person in the ass, and not even have the god-damn common courtesy to give him a reach-around!”
“Tonight, you pukes will sleep with your rifles. You will give your rifle a girl’s name because this is the only p*ssy you people are going to get. Your days of finger-banging ol’ Mary-Jane Rottencrotch through her pretty pink panties are over! You’re married to this piece. This weapon of iron and wood. And you will be faithful.”
“I want that head so sanitary and squared-away that the Virgin Mary herself would be proud to go in there and take a dump.”
“Get up here, fat boy! Quickly! Move it on! Move it on, Pyle! Move it on! You climb obstacles like old people f*ck. Do you know that, Private Pyle? Get up here; you’re too slow! Move it, move it! Private Pyle, whatever you do, don’t fall down. That would break my f*cking heart!”