Heartbreak Ridge (1986)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5

USA, 1986.  Jay Weston Productions, The Malpaso Company. Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Clint Eastwood.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1986.

Clint at his grizzled best as a survivor of many wars, now assigned to the task of training a group of unruly marines. He’s an old school tough guy who understands the value of discipline, though he himself has his own share of trouble with authority considering the amount of times he’s been thrown in the drunk tank. While trying to whip these mouthy men into shape he is also trying to rekindle his relationship with his bitter ex-wife (Marsha Mason) who has no desire to have anything to do with him. It’s an interesting combination of elements here, not comfortably stitched together by Eastwood as director but still compelling and entertaining viewing. There’s great military stuff (though Full Metal Jacket a year later would blow it out of the water), wonderful introspective characterizations and even a war movie (in Grenada to be exact) tacked on at the end. It’s hard to know what to make of it, but you won’t regret the selection; Eastwood is a wonderfully charismatic star and, while it concludes with far too much pat-happy resolve, at least it avoids all the opportunities for cheesy humour that many of the scenes provide.

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