Heartbreak Ridge (1986, Clint Eastwood, Marsha Mason)

Heartbreak Ridge

Clint Eastwood stars and directs in this, Heartbreak Ridge, his twelfth film behind the camera but the first with a military setting. He plays Tom Highway, a tough Marine drill sergeant at odds with the new generation of officers who charge him with whipping a platoon of misfits into shape in his final year on the parade ground. Caught between the liberalism of the officers and the insubordination of the recruits (including Mario Van Peebles and Peter Koch), his rigidity eventually inspires them and, come the invasion of Grenada, they are a crack fighting unit.

Interspersed with the army action is Highway’s relationship with his ex-wife Aggie (Marsha Mason), who left him after too many nights of wondering if he’d come home from Korea and Vietnam. The two are starting to begin to rub along together again but then he receives his orders to join the invading troops. Eastwood’s film has been compared to Sam Fuller’s work; it’s tough yet knowing, taking the theme of a man out of time who must confront both authority and rebellion but has the strength of will to bend both his way.

USA / 1986

Writers: Jim Carabatsos, Joseph C Stinson / Director: Clint Eastwood

Cast: Clint Eastwood, Marsha Mason, Everett McGill, Moses Gunn, Mario Van Peebles

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