Johnny Got His Gun

Watch Johnny Got His Gun

"The most shattering experience you'll ever live."
  • R
  • 1971
  • 1 hr 51 min
  • 7.8  (17,995)
  • 71

Johnny Got His Gun is an emotional and thought-provoking war drama directed by Dalton Trumbo, a writer and filmmaker who was blacklisted during the McCarthy era. The movie is an adaptation of Trumbo's anti-war novel of the same name published in 1939. The film tells the story of Joe Bonham (played by Timothy Bottoms), a young soldier who gets severely injured during World War I. Joe loses his arms, legs, sight, hearing, and ability to speak, which leaves him in a vegetative state. He is stuck in a hospital bed with no way to communicate with the outside world, except through his thoughts.

Throughout the movie, we are taken on a journey through Joe's mind, as he reflects on his past, present, and future. We see flashbacks of him as a carefree young man before the war, hanging out with his friends, and falling in love with his girlfriend, Kareen (played by Kathy Fields). We also witness his gruesome experience in the war, where he witnesses the death of his fellow soldiers, and gets trapped in a tunnel after a bomb explosion.

The audience is presented with a series of powerful and haunting scenes, as Joe tries to make sense of his situation. He hears his doctors and nurses talking about his case, but they don't realize that he can still think and feel. He tries to move his body and shout out, but to no avail. His only hope is his internal monologue, where he begs for mercy and wishes for death.

The film explores the themes of war, death, and the human condition, with a strong anti-war message. It raises questions about the morality of war and the value of individual human life. The scenes of soldiers marching and fighting are contrasted with Joe's internal struggle, highlighting the futility and absurdity of war.

The portrayal of Joe's character is exceptional, with Bottoms delivering a heart-wrenching performance. He successfully captures the physical and emotional pain of his character, without being able to rely on his body language or dialogue. Instead, he uses his eyes and his thoughts to convey the intensity of his feelings, making the audience empathize with his plight.

Kathy Fields, who plays Joe's girlfriend, Kareen, also delivers a strong performance. Her character is torn between her love for Joe and her fear of taking care of him for the rest of his life. Her internal struggle is palpable, adding an extra layer of emotional complexity to the story.

Marsha Hunt plays Joe's mother, whose agony at seeing her son trapped in a hospital bed is palpable. Her character is desperately seeking answers for her son's condition from the military officers, who seem more concerned with covering up the truth than with helping the injured soldiers.

The movie's direction is also noteworthy, with Dalton Trumbo making use of creative camera angles, hallucinatory imagery, and surreal dream sequences to depict Joe's inner world. The sound design is also excellent, with the audience being able to hear what Joe hears, such as the ticking of a clock or the distant sound of an explosion.

Overall, Johnny Got His Gun is a powerful and unforgettable movie that challenges its audience to think about the human cost of war. It is a poignant and heartbreaking story that raises important questions about the meaning of life and the value of individual human dignity. The film is still relevant today, and its message is as urgent and necessary as it was when it was first released.

Johnny Got His Gun is a 1971 war movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 51 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.8 and a MetaScore of 71.

Johnny Got His Gun
Where to Watch Johnny Got His Gun
Johnny Got His Gun is available to watch free on Plex and Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, The Roku Channel, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Johnny Got His Gun for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 51 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.8  (17,995)
  • Metascore