Heartbreak Ridge (1986) from Tuna

Heartbreak Ridge (1986) is a Clint Eastwood film about a Marine gunnery sergeant near mandatory retirement age. After punching out an officer, he is transferred to a logistics job in lieu of the recon platoon he has been leading. Peace and quiet doesn't sit well with him, and he ends up drunk, fighting, and in jail most of the time. Through some of his many connections, he finally gets reassigned to the recon patrol, and his ex-wife lives in the town nearest the base.
The platoon he inherits was run by someone waiting for retirement, who let them become lazy. Gunny Highway resolves to turn them into Marines. There are obstacles, however, most notably the commanding officer, who is from the supply corps, and thinks the proper occupation for combat soldiers is filling out paperwork. Eventually Gunny's unit is ordered to Grenada, and his troops prove themselves.


It is during the student rescue that student Rebecca Perle steps out of the shower topless, and is surprised by a Marine.

I enjoy the film very much, as a character study of the career Marine near retirement, who is increasingly out of place in the new military, and realizes that he will be leaving the Corps, for which he sacrificed everything, and will need to adapt and build a new life. IMDB calls it an action comedy, and it has plenty of both, but it is also something of a character driven drama. At any rate, it is populated by interesting characters, and moves at a brisk pace. 

The Critics Vote

  • Roger Ebert 3/4


The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: a modest hit, it grossed $42 million in the USA


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, Heartbreak Ridge is a B-.

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