7.9/10
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Johnny Got His Gun (1971)

R | | Drama, War | 4 August 1971 (USA)
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In this tragic, dark, anti-war satire, a patriotic young American in WW1 is rendered blind, deaf, limbless, and mute by a horrific artillery shell attack. Trapped in what's left of his body, he desperately looks for a way to end his life.

Director:

Dalton Trumbo

Writers:

Dalton Trumbo (novel), Dalton Trumbo (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Timothy Bottoms ... Joe Bonham
Kathy Fields Kathy Fields ... Kareen
Marsha Hunt ... Joe's Mother
Jason Robards ... Joe's Father
Donald Sutherland ... Christ
Charles McGraw ... Mike Burkeman
Sandy Brown Wyeth Sandy Brown Wyeth ... Lucky
Don 'Red' Barry ... Jody Simmons (as Donald Barry)
Peter Brocco ... Ancient Prelate
Kendell Clarke Kendell Clarke ... Hospital Offical
Eric Christmas ... Corporal Timlon
Eduard Franz ... Col. / Gen. Tillery
Craig Bovia Craig Bovia ... Little Guy
Judy Howard Chaikin Judy Howard Chaikin ... Bakery Girl
Dalton Trumbo ... Orator (as Robert Cole)
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Storyline

Joe, a young American soldier, is hit by a mortar shell on the last day of World War I. He lies in a hospital bed in a fate worse than death - a quadruple amputee who has lost his arms, legs, eyes, ears, mouth and nose. He remains conscious and able to think, thereby reliving his life through strange dreams and memories, unable to distinguish whether he is awake or dreaming. He remains frustrated by his situation, until one day when Joe discovers a unique way to communicate with his caregivers.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Made love - he did. Make war - he did. Make it - he didn't. Johnny got his gun. See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 August 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun See more »

Filming Locations:

Lake Tahoe, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,735
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

World Entertainment See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Glen Glenn Sound)

Color:

Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jason Robards was paid $40,000 for his role as Joe's dad. See more »

Quotes

Christ: No arms?
Joe: I havn't got anything. I'm just like a piece of meat that keeps on living.
See more »

Crazy Credits

War Dead Since 1914: Over 80,000,000 Missing or Mutilated: Over 150,000,000 "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" See more »

Alternate Versions

On the Laserdisc version the scene where Joe gets the phone call about his fathers death is extended after his boss walks up to him and Joe explains his situation, afterward his boss gets another worker to drive him home. See more »

Connections

Featured in Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Keep the Home Fires Burning
(uncredited)
Music by Ivor Novello
Lyrics by Lena Guilbert Ford
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
It's been a long time...
4 June 2006 | by gvfSee all my reviews

...since a film has actually moved me quite like this. I had read about half of Dalton Trumbo's original novel before seeing the film. The book is sort of difficult to read, but the movie is one big revelation. It may be because Dalton Trumbo wrote the screenplay for it and directed his own original brainchild that this film is so incredibly dense and gripping.

Much has been said about the plot and storyline, so I won't get on that here. The bottom line is, this movie is as original and authentic today as in 1971 when it was made (Vietnam war era, no less!), or even as in 1939 (at the eve of WW II!), the year the novel first appeared on bookshelves. A timeless classic if there ever was one, and a glowing testimony to the eternal insanity of war. Oftentimes subtle and subversive, its dialogs fully expose the madness of the whole concept of it. But it doesn't stop there, the film also examines the conflict between religion and war and the absurdity that ensues from justifying bloodshed through creed.

I could go on forever trying to explain here why this movie is such a masterpiece to me, but maybe it's enough to tell whoever will read this to go buy the DVD. Like I said, it's a timeless anti-war classic that's worth every cent.


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