3.6 19
Director: Sam Mendes

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Lucas Black


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A young man gets a crash course in the madness of war in this fact-based drama from director Sam Mendes. Anthony "Swoff" Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) decides to join the Marines, just like his father and his father before him, and signs on just in time to be sent to Iraq to fight in the Gulf War in 1991. After experiencing the rigors of boot camp, Swofford and his pal… See more details below


A young man gets a crash course in the madness of war in this fact-based drama from director Sam Mendes. Anthony "Swoff" Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) decides to join the Marines, just like his father and his father before him, and signs on just in time to be sent to Iraq to fight in the Gulf War in 1991. After experiencing the rigors of boot camp, Swofford and his pal Troy (Peter Sarsgaard) are trained to be snipers, and under the leadership of Sgt. Sykes (Jamie Foxx) and Lt. Col. Kazinski (Chris Cooper), the two land in the middle of a desert where they're up against an enemy they can't always see under a blazing sun with hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Swofford, Troy, and their fellow soldiers rely on the wits, their sense of humor, and their friendship of their brothers in arms to deal with a situation that doesn't much resemble what they saw on television at home. Jarhead was based on the memoirs of the real-life Anthony Swofford, who did serve as a sniper in the 1991 Gulf War; the title comes from military slang for a Marine enlistee.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
Based on the bestselling memoir by former Marine Anthony Swofford, Jarhead depicts the 1991 Gulf War to liberate Kuwait as an exercise in tedium punctuated by occasional bursts of savagery. Swoff (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his buddies in an elite Marine unit undergo rigorous training and are revved up by their commanding officers -- Staff Sgt. Sykes (Jamie Foxx) and Lt. Col. Kazinski (Chris Cooper) -- in preparation for what they believe will be a hard-fought campaign. But as Operation Desert Shield turns into a borderline siege, member of this elite killing unit are reduced to playing football in the desert and squabbling among themselves to burn off the adrenaline. "All dressed up with nowhere to go" is how you could describe the plight of Swoff and his bloodthirsty buddies, whose energies are gradually dissipated in often self-destructive ways. Operation Desert Storm finally unfolds in the film’s final 30 minutes, and the crew marches northward into Iraq only to encounter bodies roasted by air power and burning oil wells, rather than the expected ground-level combat. Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) doesn't grind any ideological axes with this engrossing film; instead he focuses on the absurdities of Swofford’s experience as a sniper whose deadly skills are rendered superfluous by whiz-bang smart bombs. Standouts among the impressive ensemble cast are Peter Sarsgaard as Allan Troy, Swoff's more mature partner and mentor, and Foxx, who finds the humanity in a Marine Corps lifer to whom this is just another mission. Mendes borrows a little -- especially in the boot-camp sequences -- from such war films as Full Metal Jacket, but for the most part his is an original, unique vision of armed conflict in the modern age. He's less concerned with the wounds to soldiers' bodies than with those to their psyches, and that makes Jarhead something offbeat and special.
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Sam Mendes' Jarhead does not tell a new story. Countless other films have shown how war affects soldiers. Mendes is savvy enough to know this and goes so far as to reference Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now early in the film almost as a way of admitting how pedestrian his basic story is. What sets this film apart is that although the story is old, the characters are new. The characters played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard become real people over the course of the film, making their experiences all the more compelling to an audience. In addition to developing a pair of specific characters, the film smartly teaches the audience more than a few aspects of what daily life was like during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The film demonstrates the pent-up energy of young men not allowed the release of either sex or war. The soldier's unique war experience is expressed beautifully in the film's final act when, once the men actually get close to real combat, cinematographer Roger Deakins lights the film by the shifting light from fires that burn in sabotaged oil fields. There has never been a film sequence that looks like that one does, just as there has never been a war film quite like Jarhead. The film lacks profundity, but it does contain a specificity that makes it a compelling experience.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Over 35 minutes of deleted scenes including more of Swoff's fantasy sequences; In-depth "Jarhead" interviews

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jake Gyllenhaal Anthony "Swoff" Swofford
Peter Sarsgaard Allen Troy
Lucas Black Chris Kruger
Brian Gberaghty Fergus O'Donnell
Brian Geraghty Fergus O'Donnell
Jacob Vargas Cortez
Laz Alonso Escobar
Evan Jones Fowler
Chris Cooper Lieutenant Colonel Kazinski
Dennis Haysbert Major Lincoln
Jamie Foxx Staff Sergeant Sykes
Scott MacDonald Detective Inspector Fitch
Ming Lo Bored Gunny
Kevin Foster Branded Marine
Damion Poitier Poitier
Riad Galayini Nurse
Craig Coyne Young Mr. Swofford
Rini Bell Swoff's Sister
Dendrie Allyn Taylor Mrs. Swofford
James Morrison Mr. Swofford
Arman Zajic Boy Swoff
Brianne Davis Kristina
Brian Casey Paintball Marine
Ernest Ozuna Sergeant Major
Tyler Sedustine Harris
Jocko Sims Julius
Jonathon R. Mize STA Graudate
Joel Prato STA Graudate
Kristin Richardson Stewardess
Ivan Fenyo Pinko
Peter Gail Doc John
Jaimie Martz Foster
Kareem J. Grimes Welty
Donna Kimball Reporter
Marty Papazian Dettman
Mark Davis Dettman's Neighbor
John Krasinski Corporal Harrigan
Christian Reeve Bedouin
Mike Akrawi Bedouin
Toufiq Tulsiram Bedouin
Jubin K. Bedouin
Hari Bali Bedouin
Kurt Larson Arguing Corporal
Ammar Daraiesh Iraqi Officer
Al Faris Iraqi Officer
V.J. Foster Vietnam Vet

Technical Credits
Sam Mendes Director
Steven E. Anderson Makeup
William Broyles Screenwriter
Willie D. Burton Sound/Sound Designer
John Chichester Set Decoration/Design
Bobby Cohen Executive Producer
Alan B. Curtiss Asst. Director
Roger Deakins Cinematographer
Lucy Fisher Producer
Steve Johnson's Edge FX Makeup Special Effects
Dennis Gassner Production Designer
Adrian Grunberg Asst. Director
Pippa Harris Co-producer
Industrial Light & Magic Animator
Dean Jones Makeup
Louis Lazzara Makeup
Dennis Liddiard Makeup
Sharon Mann Production Manager
Kyrsten Mate Sound/Sound Designer
Sam Mercer Executive Producer
Walter Murch Editor
Thomas Newman Score Composer
Marc Niro Art Director
Francisco X. Perez Makeup
Randall Poster Musical Direction/Supervision
Scott Ressler Camera Operator
Raul Sarmiento Rina Makeup
P. Scott Sakamoto Camera Operator
Doug Wick Producer
Christina Wilson Art Director
Albert Wolsky Costumes/Costume Designer
Debra Zane Casting

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Jarhead
1. Fresh Meat (Main Titles) [6:27]
2. Do You Have What It Takes? [6:06]
3. Getting the Fear Out [3:14]
4. Scout Sniper [1:46]
5. Operation Desert Shield [7:13]
6. Crude Politics [7:15]
7. Freedom of Speech [5:52]
8. A Small Demonstration [4:44]
9. Messages From Home [10:26]
10. No Standard Solution [4:34]
11. Happy Holidays [6:02]
12. First Contact [5:40]
13. Operation Desert Storm [8:23]
14. Commence Combat [5:00]
15. Hell of a Day [5:32]
16. I Love This Job [7:53]
17. Taking Orders [7:39]
18. My War [5:14]
19. Welcome Home [4:37]
20. End Titles [8:58]


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