Two bawdy, tough looking navy lifers - "Bad-Ass" Buddusky, and "Mule" Mulhall - are commissioned to escort a young pilferer named Meadows to the brig in Portsmouth. Meadows is not much of a thief. Indeed, in his late teens, he is not much of a man at all. His great crime was to try to steal forty dollars from the admiral's wife's pet charity. For this, he's been sentenced to eight years behind bars. At first, Buddusky and Mulhall view the journey as a paid vacation, but their holiday spirits are quickly depressed by the prisoner, who looks prepared to break into tears at any moment. And he has the lowest self-image imaginable. Buddusky gets it into his head to give Meadows a good time and teach him a bit about getting on in the world. Lesson one: Don't take every card life deals you. Next, he teaches Meadows to drink, and, as a coup de grace, finds a nice young whore to instruct him in lovemaking. Mule, who worries aloud about his own position with military authority, seems pleased ... Written by
Nancy Allen was originally offered the part of the "Young Whore". But she turned it down because she felt she would be too nervous to speak while being nude on-camera. See more »
Many of the actors playing Marines wear their hair too long. Additionaly, many sport sideburns. According to Marine Corps grooming regulations, sideburns will not extend below the top of the orifice of the ear. See more »
I read somebody's comment that this film isn't "deep." I think that viewer missed a whole layer of the story. you have to keep in mind that this was written and produced during the vietnam war and released during the early months of Watergate.
The story is about these two working class sailors, who are completely disenfranchised, just "doing their job." They're good guys but in the end, don't lift a finger to stop a massive injustice. They don't even take the time to think about it, because they feel there's nothing they can do about it. They pay lip services to how wrong things are about the situation, but in the end they do what "the man" says and they're just as much to blame for the problem as the commanding officers above them.
Through the course of the film, the sailors meet a lot of "chatting class" folks who are mad at Nixon and discussing politics, and they meet Hari Krishnas who are chanting to change things, but nobody is really taking any ACTION. Everyone is pissed off at the injustice of the world but nobody does anything about it. It's about inaction. And that inaction slowly boils up in the main characters and turns into anger that brings the film to a sad end. (It's one of those great stories that gets you pissed off at the injustice in the world...)
Having said all that, on a more tangible level, the performances and scripting are full of emotion and Nicholson's and Quaid's performance are amazing and hilarious to watch. But this isn't really a comedy in the end...more tragic really (with some good laughs along the way).
Check it out!
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