Stripes (1981)

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Stripes (1981)

Stripes is the 1981 military comedy starring Bill Murray and Harold Ramis (both would later re-team with director Ivan Reitman for the 1984 comedy classic Ghostbusters) as two buddies who decide to leave their crumbling civilian lives and join the US Army. Despite being a broad farce with implausible situations, the film was indicative of the mindset of the U.S. Military Volunteer Army in the mid to late 1970s (i.e. the immediate Post-Vietnam War Years). Morale was not high, and despite an active Cold War with the Soviets, the military's budget was slashed under then President Jimmy Carter. Stripes was filmed with the cooperation of the U.S. Army who provided a Command Sergeant Major as technical adviser, and many of the scenes were filmed at the active Army base in Fort Knox, Kentucky (but nowhere near the famous "gold reserve"). Despite being irreverent, the film still depicted American Soldiers as brave and dedicated, albeit a little weird and goofy. It was that positive portrayal of the U.S. Army in general (despite some comical and incompetent characters) which allowed the Defense Department to approve lending assistance for the production. In 2005, a special edition DVD was released that included an extended cut of the film.


The following weapons were used in the film Stripes (1981):

Contents


Rifles

M16A1

During basic training, the recruits are seen with M16A1 rifles.

M16A1 with 20 round magazine - 5.56x45mm
During training the recruits hold M16A1 Rifles. What is interesting is that they still have their magazines locked, which is unnecessary since they are just on a forced march/run.
During bayonet training, we see a mix of M16A1 and M16 (SP1) rifles. Here, Ox (John Candy) engages in a bayonet charge with his M16A1.
Francis "Psycho" Soyer (Conrad Dunn) shoots live rounds at a flock of ducks and hits an observation tower. In reality, this kind of action would result in the immediate removal of such a 'recruit'.

M16 (SP1)

Mixed in the M16A1 rifles are M16 (AR-15 SP1) 'slab side' receiver rifles. Though there may have been some left over original M16s in Army inventory during the 1970s, when this movie was filmed, it would have been rare. These are 'movie' guns; SP1 rifles converted to full-auto by movie armorers.

M16 aka SP1 (flat "slab side receiver") with A1 "birdcage" flash hider, used to imitate the M16A1 in many Vietnam-era movies. This version has a 20 round magazine - 5.56x45mm
John Winger (Bill Murray) uses an original M16 (SP1) during bayonet training.
"All I know is, finally I get to kill somebody."
Private Francis "Psycho" Soyer (Conrad Dunn) loads a 20 round magazine into an SP1 'slab side' rifle.

M1 Garand 'Training Rifles'

During the boot camp sequences of the film, the recruits don't actually use real M1 Garand rifles. They instead use plastic & metal training rifles patterned after the M1 Garand.

M1 Garand semiautomatic Rifle with leather M1917 sling - .30-06
Winger leads his platoon with plastic & metal M1 Garand Training Rifles.
Some detailed shots of Winger's Plastic & Metal M1 Garand training rifle.

Valmet M71S

Many of the so called "Russian Soldiers" at the base in Czechoslovakia are carrying Valmet M71S rifles, since real AKs or AK clones were near impossible to get in the 1970s. Only with the advent of imported rifles from China and Egypt did American movies get to see closer versions of the AK rifle series. The Valmet M71S rifles used in the film appear to be the 5.56mm versions.

A Valmet M71S chambered in 5.56x45mm (.223). The Valmet was also offered in 7.62x39mm
Leading the RV into the camp, "Russian Soldiers" carry the Valmet M71S Rifle.
"Russian guards" carry their Valmet M71S rifles (both with 20 round magazines).
A pair of "Russian" guards, one with a Valmet M71S rifle, the other with a real Uzi submachine gun, not the fake 'MAC-Uzi'.

M1 Garand

In the Extended Cut, several of the South American rebels that capture Winger and Ziskey carry M1 Garand rifles.

M1 Garand semiautomatic Rifle with leather M1917 sling - .30-06
M1 Garand rifle seen on the far right.

Winchester Model 1894

In the Extended cut, several of the South American rebels carry Winchester Model 1894 lever action rifles.

Winchester 1894 - .30-30
South American rebels form a firing squad.

Handguns

M1911A1

The M1911A1 is seen as the standard sidearm of US Military personnel (officers, NCOs, Military Police) in the film. What is interesting is that the so called "Russian Soldiers" (i.e. the officers) at the end of the film also carry M1911A1 pistols. It is supposed that they couldn't get Tokarev TT-33 pistols or Makarov PM pistols. However, they still could have gotten Walther PP pistols though, which greatly resemble the Makarov PM (Indeed, the Makarov PM is based on it).

World War II issued Colt M1911A1 Pistol - .45 ACP
PVT John Winger (Bill Murray) threatens Czechoslovakian Border guard (Joe Flaherty) with his M1911A1 while PVT Russell Ziskey (Harold Ramis) thinks of the consequences. Note: This is a fictional uniform for the Czechoslovakian soldier, made up of obsolete American uniform parts - It looks nothing like the real uniform that a border guard would have worn.

Submachine Guns

Fake Uzi Submachine gun aka "The MAC-Uzi" (modified MAC-10)

Seen in the film are the fake Uzi Submachine guns, fabricated out of MAC-10s (9x19mm versions) by Special Effects Unlimited, in the 1970s. There may have not been enough real blank adapted Uzis in the U.S. at the time so these faux Uzis were used in several movies. These fake Uzis were famously used in the Christopher Walken film The Dogs of War as well as High Risk, The Killer Elite and Raw Deal and such 1980's television series as The A-Team.

The Fake Uzis in the film are equipped with fixed wooden stocks and are seen used mostly by "Russian" soldiers. The use of Uzis (represented by both the fake 'MAC-Uzis' and actual versions in the film) by Warsaw Pact forces during this period would have been quite unlikely. It is possible these weapons were standing in for the Sa.23 (9mm Parabellum) and Sa.24 (7.62x25mm Tokarev) Czech SMGs, which weren't available at the time of filming.

Czechoslovakian Border guard (Joe Flaherty) with his mockup 'MAC-Uzi' with a full wooden stock.
Closeup of the 'MAC-Uzi' with a full wooden stock.
The "Russian" Soldier in the tower reacts to the RV's rocket launcher while holding a 'MAC-Uzi'.

MAC-10

Standard MAC-10s are used by John Winger (Bill Murray) and Stella Hansen (P.J. Soles) during the rescue and by Russell Ziskey (Harold Ramis) at the end of the film.

Ingram MAC-10 open bolt submachine gun - 9x19mm
John Winger (Bill Murray) and Stella Hansen (P.J. Soles) wield their MAC-10s during the rescue of their platoon.
Russell Ziskey (Harold Ramis) with the MAC-10.
Russell fires his MAC-10 at the charging Russians.

Uzi

A few real Uzi Submachine Guns with full wooden stocks are briefly seen mixed in with the other weapons at the "Russian" base. Like their fake counterparts, the real Uzis in the film are equipped with fixed wooden stocks and are seen used mostly by "Russian" soldiers. The use of Uzis (represented by both the real versions and the aforementioned fake 'MAC-Uzis' in the film) by Warsaw Pact forces during this period would have been quite unlikely. It is possible these weapons were standing in for the Sa.23 (9mm Parabellum) and Sa.24 (7.62x25mm Tokarev) Czech SMGs, which weren't available at the time of filming.

IMI Uzi with wooden buttstock - 9x19mm
Seen at the lower left of frame, a Russian soldier holds a wooden stocked Uzi. Note: observe the "Russian Officers" uniform - No Soviet officer would wear their rank like that; the ranks were on the shoulder boards (which this uniform lacks) and they did not have service hash marks on their sleeves.

Machine Guns

M60

In the "Extended Cut", an Army Special Forces soldier is seen getting onto the transport armed with an M60 machine gun with the bipod removed.

M60 machine gun with bipod extended - 7.62x51mm NATO
The solider carries an M60 with bipod removed.

Browning M2HB

A Browning M2HB is briefly seen mounted atop an US Army M113 APC.

Browning M2HB on vehicle mount - .50 BMG (12.7x99mm NATO)
An M2HB mounted on the M113 APC in the background.

Other

M72A2 LAW

An M72 LAW is seen carried by Corporal Tyson (John Voldstad) when the platoon gets ready to go after Winger and Ziskey. The LAW rocket launchers are the M72A2 version, however, they have the large sticker on the side indicating that they are the Trainers, not the standard rockets.

M72A2 LAW - 66mm
CPL Tyson (John Voldstad) loads a bunch of M72A2 LAW rockets (trainer rockets in reality).

M224 60mm Light Mortar

Recruits at Fort Knox are seen firing the M224 60mm Light Mortars at the range.

M224 Mortar with M7 baseplate - 60mm
Recruits checking out the M224.
Captain Stillman (John Larroquette) challenges a recruit to fire the M224.
Closeup of the M224 60mm Light Mortar.

M67 Hand Grenade

Corporal Tyson (John Voldstad) must get rid of a supposedly 'live' M67 hand grenade of which Captain Stillman accidentally pulls the pin. But it is clear that he holds the blue painted M69 Training hand grenade. A few notes - (a) An Army officer would not be allowed to have live ordnance sitting on his desk, (b) the Corporal would probably have the presence of mind to not run with the grenade (and possibly trip) and just hold down the spoon until he can dispose of it (hopefully he is near the grenade range) or just take the pin and re-insert it into the fuse body and (c) in the film, Tyson yells "Grenade!" seconds after he leaves the office and we hear an explosion... one wonders where he threw the grenade since it was so near to an Army Administration building full of people(?)

M69 training grenade - an inert version of the M67 High-Explosive Fragmentation hand grenade.
CPL Tyson (John Voldstad) nervously holds an M67 hand grenade (actually an inert blue M69 training grenade).

Field Gun

A yet unidentified American Field Gun (direct fire artillery versus a Howitzer which is a high angle of fire weapon) is used by a "Russian" gunner who is dispatched by Sergeant Hulka (Warren Oates). It tries to destroy the American "Urban Assault Vehicle" with direct fire, but fails. Its second shot goes wild and destroys the remains of the Czech Border Guard Station.

Sgt. Hulka (Warren Oates) knocks out the Russian gunner, causing the barrel to swing upwards and fire.



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