Stripes (1981)

Stripes (1981)

Taglines: The story of a man who wanted to keep the world safe for democracy… and meet girls.

At the end of a very bad day when he realizes his life has gone and is going nowhere, John Winger is able to convince his best friend, Russell Ziskey, whose life is not much better, to enlist in the army, despite they not being obvious soldier material. In basic training, they are only two of a bunch of misfits that comprise their platoon. However, it is still John that is constantly butting heads with their drill sergeant, Sergeant Hulka.

Two of their saving graces are Stella and Louise, two MPs who get them out of one scrape after another. Their entire platoon is in jeopardy of not graduating. But what happens during basic leads to their entire platoon being assigned to an overseas mission in Italy, to test a new urban assault vehicle, the EM-50 project. John and Russell decide to take the EM-50 for an unauthorized test drive to visit Stella and Louise who have been reassigned to West Germany.

Stripes is a 1981 American buddy military comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman, starring Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, P. J. Soles, Sean Young, and John Candy. Several actors including John Larroquette, John Diehl, Conrad Dunn and Judge Reinhold were featured in their first significant film roles. Joe Flaherty, Dave Thomas, Timothy Busfield and Bill Paxton also appeared early in their careers.

About the Story

John Winger is a cab driver and everyman who, in the span of a few hours, loses his job, his apartment, his car, and his girlfriend. Realizing that he is a loser with no prospects, he decides to join the United States Army. Talking his best friend Russell Ziskey (a teacher of English as a second language) into joining with him, they go to a recruiting office and are soon sent off to basic training.

Upon arriving at Fort Arnold, they meet their fellow recruits, and their drill sergeant, Sergeant Hulka. Moments after arriving, John angers Sgt. Hulka and is ordered out to do push-ups. He stands out as a slacker throughout the rest of basic training. Their commanding officer is the arrogant and incompetent Captain Stillman. As basic training progresses, Russell and John become romantically linked to female MPs Louise Cooper and Stella Hansen. Not long before graduation, Sgt. Hulka is injured when Stillman, trying to impress a visiting colonel, orders a mortar crew to fire without setting target coordinates.

The men go to a mud wrestling bar, where John convinces Dewey “Ox” Oxberger to wrestle a group of women. When the club is raided by MPs and police, Stella and Louise cover for John and Russell. The rest of the platoon are returned to base, where a furious Stillman threatens to make them all repeat basic training.

Stripes Movie Poster (1981)

Stripes (1981)

Directed by: Ivan Reitman
Starring: Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, P. J. Soles, John Candy, Sean Young, John Larroquette, Roberta Leighton
Screenplay by: Len Blum, Daniel Goldberg
Production Design by: James H. Spencer
Cinematography by: Bill Butler
Film Editing by: Harry Keller, Michael Luciano, Eva Ruggiero
Costume Design by: Richard Bruno
Set Decoration by: Carl Biddiscombe
Music by: Elmer Bernstein
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: June 26, 1981