"We are the wretched refuse. We’re the underdogs..."
Description: Bill Murray as Pvt. John Winger addresses a group of US Army boot camp recruits in the military comedy Stripes (1981).
John Winger impulsively joins the US Army after losing his job, his apartment, his car, and his girlfriend. John's philosophy: a hundred-dollar shine on a three-dollar pair of shoes.
Along for the ride is John's pacifist buddy, Russell Ziskey (Harold Ramis) whose father told him as a kid, "Never hit anyone in anger, unless you're absolutely sure you can get away with it."
"When I tell you move, you'll move fast. When I tell you to jump, you're gonna say, "How high?" And make no mistake. I don't care where you come from, I don't care what color you are, I don't care how smart you are, I don't care how dumb you are, 'cause I'm gonna teach every last one of you how to eat, sleep, walk, talk, shoot, shit like a United States soldier. Understand?" - Sgt. Hulka
During basic training at Fort Arnold, by-the-book drill Sgt. Hulka (Warren Oates) gives wiseguy Winger the responsibility of improving and organizing a gaggle of goofy misfit grunts in his platoon. In a speech meant to inspire, Winger addresses his troops:
"Cut it out! Cut it out! Cut it out! The hell's the matter with you? Stupid! We’re all very different people. We’re not Watusi, we’re not Spartans, We’re Americans, with a capital A. huh? Do you know what that means? Do You? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We’re underdogs. We’re mutts. Here’s proof [touching a soldier’s nose] His nose is cold. But there’s no animal that’s more faithful, that’s more loyal, that’s more lovable than the mutt. Who saw Old Yeller? Who cried when Old Yeller got shot at the end? I cried my eyes out. So we’re all dog faces. We’re all very, very different. But there is one thing that we all have in common: we were all stupid enough to enlist in the army. We're mutants. There's something wrong with us, something very, very wrong with us. Something seriously wrong with us - we're soldiers. But we're American soldiers! We've been kicking ass for 200 years! We're 10 and 1! Now we don't have to worry about whether or not we practiced. We don't have to worry about whether Captain Stillman wants to have us hung. All we have to do is to be the great American fighting soldier that is inside each one of us. Now do what I do, and say what I say. And make me proud.”
John's fellow recruits include overweight Pvt. Dewey "Ox" Oxburger (John Candy), naive Pvt. Cruiser (John Deihl), stoner Pvt. Elmo Blum (Judge Reinhold), and a guy nicknamed Psycho (Conrad Dunn) who exclaims, “The name’s Francis Soyer, but everybody calls me Psycho. Anyone calls me Francis, and I’ll kill ya...And I don't like nobody touching my stuff. So just keep your meat-hooks off. If I find any of you guys in my stuff, I’ll kill ya. And I don’t like no one touching me. Any of you homos touch me, and I’ll kill ya.”
After graduating boot camp, John and Russell are given a special assignment to guard a top-secret EM50 Urban Assault Vehicle disguised as a RV that is warehoused in an empty hangar in Italy. But John and Russell get bored and drive the device to Germany for a date with two pretty female MPs, Stella Hansen (P.J. Soles) and Louise Cooper (Sean Young).
With the EM50 missing, the incompetent Captain Stillman (John Larroquette) and the men in John's platoon search for the stolen vehicle and accidentally enter Soviet occupied Czechoslovakia and get captured. But John, Russell, their dates and Sgt. Hulka initiate a daring rescue attempt and liberate their friends from a Russian base with the help of the top secret military EM50 weapon.
In the end, Winger, Ziskey and Hulka are hailed as heroes and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Sgt. Hulka retires and opens a HulkaBurger Franchise. Winger is featured on the cover of Newsworld and Captain Stillman is sent to a weather station near Nome, Alaska.
Note: In the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) Vas Blackwood as Rory Breaker tells Nick the Greek (Stephen Marcus), “If you hold back anything, I’ll kill ya. If you bend the truth or I think you’re bending the truth, I’ll kill ya. If you forget anything I’ll kill ya. In fact, you’re gonna have to work very hard to stay alive, Nick. Now do you understand everything I’ve said? Because if you don't, I’ll kill ya.”