Heartbreak Ridge

Tagline : ...the scars run deep.

Runtime : 130 mins

Genre : War Drama

Vote Rating : 6.9/10

Budget : 15 million $ USD

Revenue : 42.7 million $ USD

Plot : A hard-nosed, hard-living Marine gunnery sergeant clashes with his superiors and his ex-wife as he takes command of a spoiled recon platoon with a bad attitude.

Cast Members


***A more comedic version of “The Dirty Dozen,” but taking place in 1983 and starring Clint Eastwood*** Clint Eastwood’s "Heartbreak Ridge" (1986) stars Eastwood as a tough, soon-to-retire Marine gunnery sergeant who conflicts with the brass and his former-wife (Marsha Mason) as he takes command of a spoiled recon squad. The platoon is eventually deployed to Grenada in late October, 1983, in order to prevent a communist takeover and rescue some med students. Thirteen years after “The Dirty Dozen,” Eastwood recycles the plot and adds a lot of hip comedy. Although it’s not a great military flick like “Dozen” it has its points of entertainment, but you have to roll with the odd mixture of believable military training drama with heavy doses of amusement, mainly revolving around the cartoonish character of Cpl. Stitch Jones, played with fervor by Mario Van Peebles. If you can acclimate to this odd mixture, there’s a lot to enjoy here. It helps that the movie hooks you in with the opening jail fight involving the hard-living Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Highway (Eastwood). His reunion with his ex-wife and their potentially developing relationship is another hook. Some parts are kinda meh, but there’s enough good here if you’re in the mood for a military training flick in the form of “The Dirty Dozen” meeting “Top Gun” (1987) mixed with an edgier version of Gomer Pyle. The film runs 2 hours, 10 minutes and was shot at Camp Pendleton, Southern Cal, as well as Santa Clarita (café), San Clemente (bar), El Toro (airfield homecoming) and Vieques, Puerto Rico (Grenada). GRADE: B-

Crusty Clint is still not to be messed with. One of Clint Eastwood's most accessible 80s movies, Heartbreak Ridge sees the gruff actor on very fine form, this even though the "war is hell" core that fills out the last quarter via a rather silly gun toting rescue mission in Grenada does lack conviction. The film wins its stripes courtesy of James Carabatsos' razor witty script and the sub plot involving ex wife Aggie (Marsha Mason). For all its macho posturing and training routine shenanigans (you will wish we could have stayed at boot camp once Grenada arrives), at its heart is a very tender movie about a man who can't let the career go, and simultaneously the wife (ex) who simply lived hell each day as her man was off at war (Korea/Vietnam et al). That said, it's the comedy that has made the film one of the most quoted film's of big Clint's career. Be it Eastwood himself tossing off witty put downs to his rag tag band of men, or the likes of Mario Van Peebles hilariously looking like some punk version of Michael Jackson, there's a lot of fun to be had in every other frame. There's even a guy here whose thighs are bigger than Sly Stallone! So yes there's many stereotypes here, none more so than Everett McGill's fresh out of school prig Major Powers, and for sure the ending is never in any doubt what so ever. But get in line and enjoy the fun whilst noticing that it does have under the surface themes well worth time investment as well. 7/10

'Heartbreak Ridge' is a rather good war film, one I enjoyed a fair bit. Clint Eastwood, to no-one's surprise, is the best performer from the onscreen talent, though I did like the support cast - namely Mario Van Peebles, Boyd Gaines and Arlen Dean Snyder. The plot is, although obvious in where it is heading, fun and holds one's attention. The score doesn't particularly stand out but there is one part around the middle which is neat. Some of the dialogue is a little cringe, but there are some good lines in there for Mr. Eastwood to quip.

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