Release year: 1981
Director: Ivan Reitman
Screenwriter: Len Blum, Daniel Goldberg, Harold Ramis
Starring: Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, John Candy, Warren Oates, P.J. Soles, Sean Young, John Larroquette, Judge Reinhold
When John (Bill Murray) looses his work, girlfriend and apartment in the one and same day he convinces best friend Russell (Harold Ramis) to join the army. They end in Sergeant Hulka’s (Warren Oates) division where they fit perfectly among other misfits but does any of them have what it takes to get through even basic training?
Ivan Reitman’s 1981 comedy is a fish-out-of-water comedy typical for its time, with two unsuccesful friends ending up in the division of misfits where they fit in all too well. Murray (Groundhog Day, 1993) and Ramis (Ghostbusters, 1984) both manage their part very well with especially Murray excelling with his deadpan expression and a mixture of charm and attitude. The support sees Reinhold (Beverly Hills Cop, 1984) and Young (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, 1994) in early roles but also the late great Candy (Planes, Trains and Automobiles, 1987) at his prime. While not being short on stereotypes or predictability Stripes delivers when it comes to 1980s humour and takes a surprising turn in the last half of the movie that undoubtedly lifts the movie. A must for anyone serious about 1980s comedy or Murray fans.
Ivan Reitman originally thought of this as a vehicle for Cheech and Chong, but Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong demanded complete creative control leading to Reitman deciding to change to script to fit Ramis and Murray instead.