Stripes

"Extraordinary"

Stripes Review


This sloppy but popular comedy stands just behind Bill Murray's best movies -- Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Lost in Translation -- in quality, but stands with them in establishing the film comedy as we now know it: irony-soaked, lowbrow, and funny. As late as the mid-'70s, too many film comedies were earnest, cute throwbacks without a single real laugh. (Thank God for Mel Brooks, who made the only consistently funny comedies of the decade.) Supposedly hilarious films like Shampoo and The Goodbye Girl (or insert another '70s comedy here... I'm having trouble remembering any of them) now seem naïve and lame -- all the more so for trying to be trendy and sophisticated. Such films tried harder to please the critics than the crowds, not by being highbrow but by being frothy.

All that was dead the moment Bill Murray threw the candy bar in the pool in Caddyshack. Critics hated Caddyshack, and called Saturday Night Live skits "mean-spirited," but for everyone else, it was finally OK to be crude, clever, offensive -- and funny. Subsequent films like Stripes, often featuring one or more cast members from SNL (Murray, et al.) or Second City TV (Harold Ramis, John Candy), set the mold. The formula hasn't needed much tweaking since then, either; the successful comedies of recent years (There's Something About Mary, American Pie, etc.) owe everything to them.

Compared to the glibness of Caddyshack or the anarchy of Animal House, Stripes may seem like something of an underachievement, but it's still a pretty funny movie. (It's a lot better than the first Murray/Ramis/Reitman collaboration, Meatballs). Lazy loser Murray can't hold down a job as a cab driver, so he and his friend (Ramis) join the Army. Their platoon is predictably full of wacky characters and their drill sergeant (Warren Oates) predictably chews Murray's butt. Then the sergeant gets wounded by friendly fire, and Murray pulls the platoon together with an appropriately stupid speech ("We're American soldiers... We're 10 and 1!"). They graduate from basic training and in a gratuitous plot turn (one of the worst third acts in movie history), they are rewarded by being shipped off to Europe to guard the Army's new "urban assault vehicle," a motor home with mounted machineguns. (Apparently screenwriter Ramis got tired of milking stock Army gags before he had filled up two hours of screen time.)

Murray's insouciant performance carries the movie and has inspired countless imitators, from the young Tom Hanks to Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell. His ever-ironic delivery made even throwaway lines ("Chicks dig me because I rarely wear underwear and when I do, it's usually something unusual.") instantly quotable. Too funny to be forgotten, Stripes is still enjoyable two decades later.

The new extended cut restores 18 minutes of deleted scenes (viewable separately, as well), including P.J. Soles' soon-to-be-famous nude scene and some truly bizarre side stories. Interviews and making-of documentaries round out the disc.



Stripes

Facts and Figures

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th June 1981

Box Office Worldwide: $85.3M

Budget: $10M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures Industries

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 30 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as John Winger, as Russell Ziskey, as Sgt. Hulka, P.J. Soles as Stella Hansen, as Louise Cooper, as Dewey 'Ox' Oxberger, as Capt. Stillman, as Stillman's Aid, as Cruiser, as Col. Glass, as Anita, as Psycho, as Elmo, as Hector, Nick Toth as Border Guard

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.