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Heartbreak Ridge (1986)

Duration2h 10m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Spain: 13 
Source of storyAn original screenplay inspired by an event in the Granada invasion.
DirectorClint Eastwood
Writers/ScriptJames Carabatsos
StarringClint Eastwood, Marsha Mason, Moses Gunn, Mario Van Peebles, 
RatingsIMDb: 6.8/10 by 44,394 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 68% by 28 reviewers. Review2view: 6.5/10.

Summary: Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway, nearing retirement is a divorced heavy drinker who gets into bar fights and if often jailed overnight. However, he is re-assigned to a marine base and put in charge of the recon. company and bunch of ill disciplined marines, only used as cannon fodder during training exercises. He sorts the guys out and turns them into an elite team. Meanwhile he romances his former wife. It is 1983 when the invasion of Granada takes place and the recon platoon are first ashore from a helicopter. They engage with the enemy and by various means overcome them, including calling in air support by using a landline back to their base.

Content: No sex, but one flash of female nudity. Lots of drinking since several scenes take place in a bar where Highway’s ex-wife is a waitress. Mostly a sort of boot camp presentation where the marines are, if anything, retrained in the basics since surely they have been through it all before. Highway is at odds with the camp’s commandant who always wants the recon company to be beaten by his First Platoon in exercises. Once the invasion is taking place some quite stirring scenes of the fleet offshore deploying DUKWs. Then some firefights with enemy troops.

A View:  This is a film stamped into a familiar mould. Having read “The Naked and the Dead” I found it interesting that the marines who are central to the plot are the “Recon Company”.  There are absolutely no surprises, which could be a good thing, but maybe as a result I found the invasion strangely lacking in tension. You could read up on the actual invasion of Granada, America dissed by the rest of the Western world for doing it. So, in summary, this is a film you could have on while doing something else.

Three other films reviewed on this site highlighting the boot camp experience include Jarhead, Full Metal Jacket and just for fun, Stripes.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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