Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 18
  3. Negative: 3 out of 18
  1. May be the best war movie ever made...Different is Kubrick's artistry and control, and his almost perverse, but philosophically progressive, refusal to impart to chaos a coherent narrative contour.
  2. What makes the film stunning is less its metaphorical scheme than its cinematic style. Always a matter of flowing camera movement, Kubrick has photographed much of the action with long "traveling shots" that capture time and space as a seamless whole, not fractured into the bits and pieces of standard editing techniques. [26 June 1987]
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    A contender for the year's best film.
  4. Reviewed by: Vincent Canby
    Kubrick's harrowing, beautiful and characteristically eccentric new film about Vietnam, is going to puzzle, anger and (I hope) fascinate audiences as much as any film he has made to date... A film of immense and very rare imagination.
  5. Reviewed by: Jack Kroll
    As brutally unsparing as "Platoon" was, it was ultimately warm and embracing. Kubrick's film is about as embracing as a full-metal-jacketed bullet in the gut. [29 June 1987]
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    A technical knockout. [29 June 1987]
  7. 100
    The most eloquent and exacting vision of the war to date... Inspired with technique rather than overblown with it, Kubrick, the filmmaker's filmmaker, lays one on you.
  8. Elliptical, full of subtle inner rhymes...and profoundly moving, this is the most tightly crafted Kubrick film since "Dr. Strangelove," as well as the most horrific; the first section alone accomplishes most of what "The Shining" failed to do.
  9. In a superb cast of mostly unknowns -- with the exception of Matthew Modine and Dorain Harewood -- D'Onofrio, who put on 60 pounds for this pivotal role, and Ermey are exceptional. [26 June 1987]
  10. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    An intense, schematic, superbly made Vietnam War drama.
  11. 90
    We've seen it all before, most recently in "Gardens of Stone," most romantically in "An Officer and a Gentleman," but never more elegantly than here as Kubrick sustains the athletic ballet of obstacle courses and white-glove inspections for a breathtaking 40 minutes.
  12. 88
    The film has undeniable power, but it's an unusual and unsettling power, a product of a collision between red-hot material and the cool serenity with which Kubrick observes and accepts it. [26 June 1987]
  13. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    A perversely fascinating movie--one that answers no questions, offers no hope and has little meaning. In a way this is perfect for what the film has to say about war, but you find yourself numbed and apathetic as the film progresses.
  14. Reviewed by: Judy Stone
    The concluding image of men silhouetted against the dying flares of explosives, as they march to the raucous refrain of the Mickey Mouse Club theme, is masterly, but leaves a viewer curiously discomfited. Whereas "Platoon" shattered civilian complacency about that war, Full Metal Jacket is merely numbing. [26 June 1987]
  15. 63
    The footage on the Paris Island obstacle course is powerful. But Full Metal Jacket is uncertain where to go, and the movie's climax, which Kubrick obviously intends to be a mighty moral revelation, seems phoned in from earlier war pictures.
  16. By most standards of conventional film narrative, this movie is a mess. [25 June, 1987, p.22(E)]
  17. 30
    What happened to the Kubrick who used to slip in sly, subtle jokes and little editing tricks? This may be his worst movie. He probably believes he's numbing us by the power of his vision, but he's actually numbing us by its emptiness. [13 July 1987, p.75]
  18. After years of preparation in the hands of a man celebrated for his penetration and style, the picture adds almost nothing to our knowledge of its subject and adds it in a manner almost devoid of visual distinction. [27 July 1987]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 183 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 41
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 41
  3. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. Sep 26, 2011
    Is not only about of what does a soldier lives on the battle field is also all the process it take to become a man a killing machine, an excellent psychological movie that show you other side of the war stories Full Review »
  2. Sep 19, 2013
    Kubrick's best film in my opinion, FMJ delivers the goods: it has action, war, drama, and a verbally abusive drill sergeant whose lines will remain as some of the best movie quotes of all time. Full Review »
  3. Jun 16, 2013
    Overrated is the word. Not bad. Definitely not bad, but it's quality degrades as the movie goes on. It starts out as a vicious, surreal, and engagingly strange vision when it's in the boot camp stage of things, but when the characters go to war it starts to fall apart. You can definitely tell that it's a Kubrick movie. It has all of his signature style, such as his use of the wide angle lens and backwards moving cameras. But this movie can't escape its second half. Its second half feels empty and lifeless. It also doesn't help that it ends on an anti climactic note. It starts out feeling like it's going to be something epic, but ends being contrived, and forgettable, and therefore Kubrick's vision loses most of its power. Full Review »