Stripes

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
That's the fact, Jack!


A 1981 movie starring Bill Murray and Harold Ramis. Stripes was a war comedy about a slacker named John Winger (Murray) who convinces his friend Russell Ziskey (Ramis) to join the army. The two of them have a miserable time in basic training, but eventually their drill sergeant gets injured in a training exercise and they have to finish the training on their own. The night before graduation day they stay up all night, show up late for the parade, and put on one hell of a show for the generals. In the end, they are assigned to guard the new EM-50 urban assault vehicle in Italy.

While John and Russell are guarding it, they decide to steal it and go for a joyride to Germany. The rest of their squad comes after them, thinking that they're communist spies, but they take a wrong turn and get captured by the Soviets in Czechoslovakia. Winger and Russell come back to save their squad. When they come back to the states, somehow they all end up getting medals.

The movie was well-liked by critics, with an 88% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was also fairly successful financially, grossing $85 million in North America on a $10 million budget.

Tropes used in Stripes include:

Sergeant Hulka Lighten up, Francis.

  • Fanservice Extra: The women that Capt. Stillman spies on; all the girls at the topless mud wrestling bar.
  • Foreshadowing: "WHERE'S MY TRUCK?" The third act involves John and Russell stealing an armored, militarized Winnebago.
  • General Failure: Captain Stillman.
  • "Get Out of Jail Free" Card: Even though John and Russell stole the EM-50 on their own accord, they get heralded as heroes coming home since they demonstrated its effectiveness against the Soviets.
  • Glory Hound: Stillman.
  • Good-Looking Privates: John and Russell's MP girlfriends.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms: "Soviet" troops carry a motley collection of dressed up MAC-10s, Uzis, and Finnish Valmet assault rifles in lieu of anything that they would normally use-- excusable in this case, given that the movie was filmed at the height of the Cold War.
  • Incoming: Sgt. Hulka when Capt. Stillman's carelessness on the range results in the platoon coming under fire.
  • Jerkass: Winger. Most of the platoon (initially) hated him for his failed attempts at playing smart with Hulka.
  • Kentucky Doubling: Pretty much the entire movie was filmed in and around Louisville, with Fort Knox portraying the Army base and a disused Jim Beam distillery playing the Czech Red Army outpost.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: When Winger gives his rousing speech to his platoon.
  • New Meat: Most of the platoon.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Psycho during bayonet training. He knocks the dummy off the frame supporting it and stabs it over and over again while cursing furiously.
  • Oh Crap: Sgt Hulka during training of Winger's unit: "Oh, shit... INCOMING!"
  • One-Man Army: The Drill Sergeant Nasty Sergeant Hulka turns out to be this.
  • Only Sane Man: Hulka. The fact he's the only character played seriously makes his character stand out.
  • Open Says Me: Subverted then hilariously played straight - John and Russell try to rescue their captured unit from a cell by blowing up the locked door with a bomb, which fails. Then John Candy's character Ox (who's inside the cell among the prisoners) decides to run screaming at the door, and smashes it open.
    • Actually, Ox was charging at the whining Stillman, who had the good sense to get out of the way of a charging 300-lb avalanche.
  • Physical Fitness Punishment: Sgt. Hulka orders the men to go on a five mile run. Winger mouths off to him in protest, so he responds by having the men go on a ten mile run instead.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Our plucky heroes.
  • Reassigned To Nome, Alaska: Captain Stillman at the end.
  • Rousing Speech: Winger gathers up the platoon as they pull an all-nighter to prepare for the graduation marching presentation:

Cut it out! Cut it out! Cut it out! The hell's the matter with you? Stupid! We're all very different people. We're not Watusi. We're not Spartans. We're Americans, with a capital 'A', huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We're the underdog. We're mutts! Here's proof: his nose is cold! But there's no animal that's more faithful, that's more loyal, more loveable than the mutt. Who saw "Old Yeller?" Who cried when Old Yeller got shot at the end? I cried my eyes out. So we're all dogfaces, we're all very, very different, but there is one thing that we all have in common: we were all stupid enough to enlist in the Army. We're mutants. There's something wrong with us, something very, very wrong with us. Something seriously wrong with us - we're soldiers. But we're American soldiers! We've been kicking ass for 200 years! We're 10 and 1! Now we don't have to worry about whether or not we practiced. We don't have to worry about whether Captain Stillman wants to have us hung. All we have to do is to be the great American fighting soldier that is inside each one of us. Now do what I do, and say what I say. And make me proud!

  • Sound Off: A hilarious version, where the platoon uses the song "Doo Wah Diddy" as a jody call.
  • Uncle Sam Wants You: See poster above.
  • Weaponized Car: EM-50 "Urban Assault Vehicle" -- essentially a cruise-missile armed Winnebago!

Stillman: Where's my fucking truck?!

  • Where Are They Now? Epilogue: Standard for an Ivan Reitman film.
    • Represented by humorous magazine covers and a small news blurb about Stillman getting assigned to a snowbound doom.
  • Yanks With Tanks: Specifically, the aforementioned EM-50 armored recreational vehicle.