JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN (Cannes Film Festival (CFF) Cannes France 1971)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 2.8|5.0 Stars ìì

Johnny Got His Gun
—a psychological drama—plays like an experimental movie for a film festival. Dalton Trumbo’s script writing (Exodus, Spartacus, Roman Holiday, Hawaii) can be outstanding, but this unusual film makes one think that Dalton Trumbo took a bet that he could not write a script where the main character does not move or talk or have stage presence (due to being completely covered in bandages) and hold an audience’s attention for 111 minutes. Dalton wrote the script; it would be interesting to know how many people watched it through its entirety. The film reminds one of an experimental film that can be gagged on, not unlike the film, Rubber. Dalton’s concept for Johnny Got His Gun is interesting for about 10 minutes. The film may be rated as PG but is no less than PG-13 for nudity and graphic war scenes. With this film, Dalton does address two serious issues: 1) What does the mind do when it has no means to output/actuate thoughts? and 2) Should a person in this situation, without real quality of life, be forced to live when he doesn’t want to live? Is a person’s life his own to decide to leave or to keep?

Film Poster Courtesy Of Wikipedia


World War I soldier Joe Bonham (Timothy Bottoms) has been hit by an artillery shell and has lost all four of his limbs as well as his mouth, eyes, ears, and nose which leaves him with no means of communicating with the world. 

Additional Thanks

Cast includes: Kareen (Kathy Fields), Joe’s Mother (Marsha Hunt), Lucky (Sandra Brown Wyeth), Colonel/General Tillery (Eduard Franz), and Donald Sutherland (Christ).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Maybe. This movie performs more as an artistic effort than entertainment.

Video Critique Available Here:

Ben Meyers

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