Full Metal Jacket: An Accurate Portrayal of the Vietnam War.
The Vietnam War was one of the most controversial American military involvements of the twentieth century. There has always been much discussion as to why the Americans were forced into defeat and as to why so many American soldiers died for a purpose that was not achieved. Many directors have made attempts at recreating the horrors of this war, and many have been criticized for providing an unrealistic depiction of it. In 1987, Full Metal Jacket, a Stanley Kubrick film, dared to oppose these traditional expectations of failure. Beginning in a Parris Island boot camp and ending in the Vietnamese city, Hue, it attempts to show, "the distasteful irony between the desire for combat and true terror of war."1 The film, Full Metal Jacket provides its audience with a historically accurate picture of all aspects of the Vietnam War.
Although the screenplay is based on a fictional story line revolving around a Vietnam War journalist, Stanley Kubrick provides a variety of factional occurrences that would be expected of a Vietnam War movie, which create a realistic setting. First of all, the movie begins at the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island, South Carolina. This depot was actually used as a basic training area for the Vietnam War. The story line does follow actual war events such as the TET Offensive, the fall of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, and the battle of Hue. Also, Kubrick provides an accurate setting around American soldiers by using war code and racist slang such as "Charlie", "grunt", "dogpatch", "gooks", and "zipper-heads". Many of these terms were actually used as code over radio transmissions so that the North Vietnamese could not comprehend them, but they also were developed to give the American soldiers a sense of superiority and unity among themselves. Thus, factual occurrences were used to provide a realistic setting.