Corrected entry: Private Pyle would not have stayed with his original unit after failing so many tasks. If a recruit fails miserably at the basic tasks due to being lack of physical strength, they were separated and sent to a Physical Conditioning Platoon. It gives them another chance to physically improve or else be kicked out. No respectable DI would waste his time on someone like Pyle, especially during war time.
Correction: This isn't necessarily true. They would keep him for a while and in the movie he does improve after Joker "takes him under his wing."
Corrected entry: The first time I saw this movie was with my uncle who served in the Marines during the Vietnam War. He told me that the scene midday through basic training where you see the recruits running with their top buttons of their shirts open was incorrect. In the 60's, recruits were required to button their shirts all the way up until they graduated. After graduation, they would be allowed to "lighten up" and unbutton the top shirt button.
Correction: This isn't true. You kept your top button buttoned until the D.I. told you to unbutton it. I was in the marines in the 60's and in our platoon it was in the 3rd week of boot.
Corrected entry: When Animal Mother calls Cowboy to get the lone sniper, Cowboy chooses 4 guys to go with him: No-Doze, Stutten, Donlon and Rock. Then Joker and Rafterman say they wanna go too, so that makes 7 men (including Cowboy) but we only see 6.
Correction: Subliminally, the camera (audience) represents the final member of the Lusthogs squad.
Corrected entry: In the opening squad-bay scene, GySgt Hartman passes Pvt. Joker near one end of the room. The camera then pans around to show the two junior drill instructors at the same end. GySgt Hartman continues to the far end of the squad-bay to harass Pvt. Snowball. This is when Pvt. Joker says, "Is that you John Wayne." GySgt Hartman struts from the far end of the squad-bay to find out who spoke out of turn, but the junior drill instructors were much closer and would have pounced on Pvt. Joker long before GySgt Hartman could have.
Correction: This is their first day under Hartman's command and he needs to establish dominance immediately. The two junior DIs would understand this and let him handle the situation himself. Alternately, they may have worked with him long enough to know that he likes to handle insubordination like Joker's himself and to stay out of his way in this situation.
Corrected entry: In the movie Gunny Hartman tells the recruits that Lee Harvey Oswald was such a great shooter because he was trained by the Marines. In 1956 Oswald joined the United States Marine Corps, and was trained as an Aircraft Maintenance Repairman. Despite stories to the contrary, he never learned to fire his rifle as an "expert" and was never trained as a sniper.
Correction: Marines spend three to four weeks of their 12 week boot camp learning to shoot. The other three branches train for one. Marine marksmanship training is also more in-depth than any of the other services. Indeed, a basic tenant of Marine service is "Every Marine is a rifleman." which is repeated constantly during rifle training.
Corrected entry: When Joker and Rafterman are sitting outside in the first Vietnam scene, Rafterman has a pack of Marlboro Lights. Later, after he is robbed, he is seen walking through camp with a carton of Marlboro Reds. In the briefing room, later, he has Marlboro Lights again.
Correction: It's a warzone, you smoke what you can get.
Corrected entry: If Private Cowboy is from Texas, a state west of the Mississippi River, he'd be stationed for basic training in San Diego, not on Parris Island.
Correction: If he had a family member that went to Parris Island it could be possible that he could go there as well.
Corrected entry: When Cowboy's platoon commander is hit by shell fragments while walking behind the tank, focus your attention on the commander's back. You will notice that the light from the explosion is reflected onto his back, but the explosion was in front of him.
Correction: This is not a reflection on his back, but a 'lens flare' within the camera lens, similar to the light flares you'll see at night when headlights are moving left-to-right and a mirrored and flipped version of the lights travels right-to-left.
Corrected entry: When Pyle is sleeping, his covers are all rumpled and down past his waist. When the guy has the strap in his mouth a few seconds later, he is tucked in snug as a bug. Kinda hard to miss.
Correction: That's because at the same time the gag is placed in Pyle's mouth, two other Marines are clearly shown grabbing his covers and pulling down on them hard, effectibvely "tying" Pyle to the bed and preventing him curling up to protect himself.
Corrected entry: During the scene when Sgt. Hartman is asking Private Pyle if he knows the difference between his left and his right, keep an eye on the soldier behind Pyle. When Hartman slaps Pyles hat off you can see the recruit behind him trying not to laugh.
Correction: A character trying not to laugh, especially in those circumstances would be a character mistake. Not a mistake, not trivia.
Corrected entry: In the scene in when Sgt. Joker, Animal Mother and the other Marines are outside in the ruins at twilight time getting ready for the final assault on the sniper, you can see their breath in the cold night air when the speak. Obviously this scene was filmed in a cooler climate, as this would not happen in Vietnam.
Correction: You don't always have to be in cold air to see someone's breath. If the humidity conditions are right you can see someone's breathe when it is very warm.
Corrected entry: Gunnery Sergeant Hartman enters the room yelling reveille. The first thing recruits always do is "count off." This is the same as in a prison/jail to make sure no one is missing.
Correction: This may be an individual DI's thing, because we never counted off until we ran out the barracks door for formation, which was after we dressed and made our racks.
Corrected entry: In the scene where Pyle shoots himself, the back of his head splatters against the tiles, implying that the bullet has exited his head. No tiles were broken - one would assume that the bullet would have caused some damage.
Correction: The bullet's trajectory isn't always the same exiting as it was entering. Even if the human matter does come out at the same angle as the bullet went in, the bullet may well be deflected in a wildly different direction when it strikes the last bit of bone on its way out. It may even be lodged in the ceiling, having never contacted the wall.
Corrected entry: In the scene with the sniper, Cowboy radios for tank support. At the end of this he says "Over and out". This is incorrect, as "over" means "message end, reply expected" and "out" means "message end, do not reply". I notice this in many war films or programmes.
Correction: Cowboy makes two statements using the radio, ending both with 'over'. When the person on the other end answers Cowboy's query, Cowboy finishes with 'Roger. Out,' which is perfectly acceptable use of terminology ('roger' is confirming that he understood, 'out' ends the conversation). He never says 'over and out' anywhere in the scene.
Corrected entry: In the Marine Corps, none of the men would have had any duty (including fire watch) the night of their graduation day. Also, never is any live ammunition allowed into the barracks (they count every cartridge at the firing range).
Correction: I had fire watch on graduation night. Plus, I personally saw one instance where a recruit got hold of live ammunition and brought it back to the squad bay, with the intent to kill himself. While the firing range is very cautious of these things, there is other ammunition to be had elsewhere. In this case, while on a work detail this recruit found a full magazine in an NCO's desk.
Corrected entry: In the scene where Joker and Rafterman are at the mass grave site in Vietnam, a colonel walks over and questions Joker about the writing on his helmet and about his peace sign. When the colonel is done and is about to walk away, the colonel salutes first. This is wrong because enlisted personnel always salute officers first.
Correction: This one is pretty iffy. While that is the general rule, an officer can always elect to salute first, usually as a sign of respect for the enlisted man. The colonel chastises joker at first, then tries to re-motivate him, by suggesting that he join the Hue city offensive. He even flat out says that all he expect from his marines is that they do everything that he says. Joker is pretty smart about it, and agrees to everything the colonel says, so I can see it's possible that the colonel would salute him; sort of saying "way to go marine, thats what I like to hear!", trying to keep his spirits high in an effort to motivate him.
Corrected entry: In the scene in boot camp where Joker is teaching Pile how to lace has boots, he tells Pile to lace them left over right then right over left. As a former marine i can tell you marines are taught to lace their boots left over right then left over right throughout the entire lacing.
Correction: As another former marine, I can never recall ever getting any explicit instructions on how the laces were supposed to be tied. As long as they were tied, that seemed to be fine enough.
Corrected entry: In the scene in boot camp where Joker is teaching Pile to make his bed, he tells Pile to fold his blanket and sheet back with a 4 inch fold. As a former Marine I can tell you this is wrong. Marines are taught to make their beds with a 6 inch fold.
Correction: As another former marine, I can say that the bed folding procedure varies from place to place. In boot camp, I recall one drill instructor in our platoon would always tell us 4 inches, and another would always tell us 6 (this caused quite a bit of confusion, and was probably intentional). I can even recall seeing another platoon's squad bay, where they weren't even required to make a fold, they simply drapped another blanket over the pillow and the regularly exposed portion of the sheets.
Corrected entry: When Private Joker and Rafterman are interviewing Lt. Cleves in front of the row of dead Vietnamese covered with lye, Private Joker introduces himself as "Sergeant" Joker.
Correction: There's a large gap of time that isn't accounted for between the first bootcamp segment of the film, and the later vietnam segment. It appears to be at least three or four years, obviously Joker earned some promotions between that time.
Corrected entry: R. Lee Ermey was an actual Marine Vietnam veteran, but never a drill instructor. He drew upon the DIs he met during basic training in performing his role.
Correction: This is just flat out false. R. Lee Ermey definitely was a drill instructor. He only served as one tour of duty as one, and never attained the position of senior drill instructor as shown in the film, but he was one.