Stripes (1981)

Stripes (1981), produced and directed by Ivan Reitman.

When a cab driver loses his job, car and girlfriend in the same day (she's one of those casual nudity cuties found in 80s films -- that drives him over the edge) he convinces his pal to join the Army with him. They don't fit in at all but find love with some attractive (and female!) MPs and invade Czechoslovakia in an impromptu rescue mission.

It's a fine ensemble cast but mostly a Bill Murray vehicle. If you like his goofy persona and sarcastic quips you'll probably like the movie. It coasts along nicely enough. Quite a bit of improvised comedy. It's quotable.

Warren Oates has comic talent (see 1941 (1979)) but he's wasted as Sgt Hulka.

P.J. Soles does her own casual nudity just as she did in Carrie (1976) and Halloween (1978), bless her.

One of the charms of the film is picking out later famous faces, some very early in their careers:

I wish Conrad Dunn (Francis aka "Psycho") had gotten more work. He was a regular in the Nero Wolfe series.

The location filming was in and around Louisville and Ft Knox, Kentucky. The Army cooperated with the production; I wonder what they thought they were doing? On the other hand our heroes become real heroes and get heroically laid, so maybe it worked out as a recruiting tool.

Elmer Bernstein score.

The DVD has a happy commentary track by Reitman and one of the other writer/producers. This is the first time I've seen the extended cut: more background on the buddies, a drug-humor commando raid on South America, and a bit more light sex play with the girlfriends.

Those guys in pane #7 below: I always get them confused and there they are together.