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 | 130 minutes | 1986
Writers: Jim Carabatsos, Joseph C Stinson
Director: Clint Eastwood
Eileen Heckart as Little Mary Jackson
Moses Gunn as Staff Sergeant Webster
Arlen Dean Snyder as Sergeant Major Choozoo
John Hostetter as Reese
Everett McGill as Major Malcolm A. Powers
Lloyd Nelson as Deputy
J.C. Quinn as Quartermaster Sgt.
Clint Eastwood as Gunnery Sgt. Tom ‘Gunny’ Highway
Marsha Mason as Aggie
Mario Van Peebles as Corporal ‘Stitch’ Jones
Bo Svenson as Roy Jennings
Boyd Gaines as Lieutenant M.R. Ring
Vincent Irizarry as Fragetti
Ramón Franco as Private Aponte
Tom Villard as Profile
Begonya Plaza as Private Aponte’s Wife
Peter Jason as Major G.F. Devin
Mike Gomez as Private Quinones
Rodney Hill as Private Collins
Peter Koch as ‘Swede’ Johanson
Richard Venture as Colonel Meyers
John Eames as Judge Zane
Thom Sharp as Emcee
John Gallagher as Emcee
Holly Shelton-Foy as Sarita Dwayne
Nicholas Worth as Jail Binger
Timothy Fall as Kid in Jail
Jon Pennell as Jail Crier
Trish Garland as Woman Marine Officer
George Hartmann as Bar Tough Guy
Darwyn Swalve as Bar Tough Guy
Christopher Michael as Marine
Steve Halsey as Bus Driver
Rebecca Perle as Student in Shower
Annie O’Donnell as Telephone Operator
Elizabeth Ruscio as Waitress
Michael Maurer as Bouncer in Bar
Tom Ellison as Marine Corporal
Russell Appling as Dock Marine (uncredited)
Stan Rodarte as Dancer in Bar (uncredited)
Tom Willett as Bus Passenger (uncredited)
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