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Full Metal Jacket: The Story of How R. Lee Ermey Made Sgt. Hartman an Icon


The character of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket was made iconic by the actor R. Lee Ermey.

Ermey spent thirty months as a drill instructor in San Diego and then he was sent to the front lines of the Vietnam War where he took shrapnel from an enemy rocket, which “ended his dream of a long career in the Corps.”

He would never leave the Marine Corps behind, but it wasn’t until making Full Metal Jacket in the 80s that he would bring not only a real sense of authenticity to a Vietnam War film, but draw on his past experiences to create one of the most memorable characters of all time. Here’s how it happened…

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