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Stripes Film Review

Updated on January 8, 2019

Stripes DVD cover


The army needs you!

  • Director: Ivan Reitman
  • Producers: David Goldberg/Ivan Reitman
  • Running time: 1 hour 46 mins
  • Genre: Comedy/War
  • Budget: $10,000,000 (approx)

Stripes is a DVD I've had in my collection for a number of years now. As a fan of Bill Murray, I enjoy watching his films, and with him and Harrold Ramis in Ghostbusters, they make for a good choice of partnership for ths film.

The film begins with John Winger in his job as a cab driver. His day gets off to a bad start with a rude and obnoxious passenger. To top it all his car gets stolen, his girlfriend leaves him and he loses his apartment. Then there's his friend Russell Zinskey, a teacher of English to foreign students. When Russell pops round to see his friend, the pair decide to join the army.

Roll on to Fort Arnold, where the pair begin their 13 week basic training, along with a bunch of other men who look like they've got out of bed the wrong side. Sgt Hulka, played by Warren Oates, is in charge of these men. He has his job cut out with this lot, and as we see, it's a long road to getting them shaped into men. John seems to get into quite a lot of trouble with Sgt Hulka and see him doing push-ups as punishment quite a lot.

Although John and Russell seemed to have join the army in a last ditched attempt to sort their lives out, it gave them the boost they really needed - well, John at least. I think Russell went along with John just because he is a friend and wanted to support him. But as the film progresses, we see how the men manage to make it to graduation at the end of their basic training after Sgt Hulka injures himself and the results of this are rather quite amusing.

A clip from the film

Main actors in the film

Bill Murray
John Winger
Harold Ramis
Russell Zinskey
Warren Oates
Sgt Hulka
John Candy
John Larroquette
Capt Stillman
Sean Young
P. T. Soles

The graduation scene

My views on the film

Now, along with this being a war film, it is also classed as a comedy. There are plenty of comedic moments in the film. Bill Murray is clearly a legend in the acting world (in my opinion!) And he doesn't let you down in this film. The graduation scene is a funny scene. And his relationship with Sgt Hulka is amusing too. They certainly start off very stale towards each other and with John Winger not starting off as the best soldier in the group, this leads to him being in all sorts of trouble with the Sergeant.

Murray and Ramis work well together as a team, and this is clear to see in the film. I've also been a big fan of John Candy and I think he played an excellent role. Watching him in the mud wresting scene was funny to watch too. Now, I've never been in the army, so I've no idea how realistic basic training is in this film. But what I do know is that this is a funny film with plenty of scenes that will have you laughing.

With their trip to Italy and all that went on there, it made for an amusing and comical film to watch. I can't believe this film is over 35 years old now, but I still think it's a watchable film.

There are no DVD extras except for subtitles.

A clip from the film

Stripes DVD on Amazon

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© 2017 Louise Powles


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    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 years ago

      Yes, it is a funny movie. I first saw it in the movies. Those magazine cover pages at the end were also very funny. I read an article in a military magazine which was about the U.S. military supporting movies. The U.S. military doesn't give support to movies that would give the military a black eye. While "Stripes" didn't show the military in the best light they liked the idea of a loser joining the military and getting some patriotism in the process. Originally screenplay had a scene where they would make off with a plane to South America and get some drugs. The military talked them out of doing that scene. This cleared the way for the military to give support to the movie. The concept is if they could get a movie that would score an F for its treatment of the military to a D it would be a good idea to give support to the movie.

    • Fullerman5000 profile image


      3 years ago from Louisiana, USA

      Such a classic comedy film. I enjoy this film. This and Ghostbusters. Such a great cast. Great review.

    • Craypoe profile image

      Bob Craypoe 

      3 years ago from New Jersey

      I went to basic training at Fort Knox (where part of it was filmed) just a few years after the movie came out. This movie always reminds me of my basic training.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      I love these old films! so much better than the new ones. I can't really remember this one, so now I have to go find it out! great review!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I did not know of this movie. You enlightened me and will have to watch it. A well-informed hub on Bill Murray

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I've never heard of this movie but enjoyed reading about it. Thanks for the review, Louise. I'll watch the movie if I get a chance.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Got to love a bit of bill murray!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      On your recommendation, I'd like to watch this movie. I can imagine the comedy acts of Bill Murray. Thanks for the review.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      I recall this movie fondly and have always liked Bill Murray. I haven't thought about it in years so thanks for reviewing it.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      3 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      May I suggest a better way to shape youth into "Men" is for them to join a different organization:

      National Guard (search and rescue),

      a fire department (learn to save lives, EMS), or

      Police Department, Peace Officers learn to restore order using the least amount of force.

    • Readmikenow profile image


      3 years ago

      Good article. A timeless classic! So many funny scenes.


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