Censored War Classic On Prime Gets Restored After Controversy

By Britta DeVore | Updated

Throughout cinematic history, a small number of films have been able to capture the true brutality of war. One of the titles in this small but mighty club is Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, an award-winning feature that marched its way into cinemas in 1987. The movie found itself at the center of a controversy over the last few days after Prime Video decided to remove the words “Born To Kill” from its poster icon, a choice that has now been amended by the platform.

The Duality Of Man

Not only did fans point out the ridiculousness of Prime Video removing these three words from Full Metal Jacket’s cover, but so did one of the film’s leading stars, Matthew Modine. Modine’s character, a Private-turned-Sergeant nicknamed Joker, was the one who donned the helmet, which, along with the words “Born To Kill,” also showcased a peace sign. As Modine explained in an X post, the reason for the two very different markings was to show “the duality of man.”

Artistic Integrity Has Won Out

Since the drama surrounding Prime Video’s censorship of Full Metal Jacket began to circulate, Warner Bros. has allegedly reached out to the platform and asked them to return it to its original form. Following suit with their request, the words “Born To Kill” can once again be seen scrawled across the camo helmet along with the peace sign and several full metal jacket bullet casings.

Amazon Under Fire

Supporting one of the career-defining productions of his life, along with explaining the meaning of the sentiments shown on his character’s helmet, Modine had several other words for Prime Video. First giving a shout-out to Philip Castle, the artist who designed the cover art for Full Metal Jacket, Modine also slammed the streamer, writing that they “completely misunderstood the point of [Born To Kill] being there” before breaking down the symbolism just as his character did in the film. 

The Iconic Boot Camp

Based on Gustav Hasford’s 1979 novel, The Short-Timers, Full Metal Jacket centers around a platoon of U.S. Marines as they go through difficult days at a grueling boot camp in South Carolina and their lives after they’re deployed. The first half of Kubrick’s wartime movie stays primarily in the boot camp, as the rookie soldiers struggle to deal with their temperamental drill Sergeant, while the second half travels overseas to the front lines of the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War. 

Filled With Stars That Went On To Big Things

Along with Matthew Modine, who Stranger Things fans will recognize from his more recent role as Dr. Martin Brenner on the Netflix sci-fi series, Full Metal Jacket also features performances from Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil: Born Again), Adam Baldwin (Firefly), and R. Lee Ermey (the Toy Story franchise).

The movie would serve as Kubrick’s second to last film, wedged in between his take on Stephen King’s The Shining and the Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman-led Eyes Wide Shut, which would come out more than a decade after Full Metal Jacket

One Of The Best Vietnam War Movies Of All Time

Full Metal Jacket was an award circuit favorite, raking in acknowledgments left and right for its screenplay, sound, special effects, and leading performances. The movie found itself released during the same 10-year span as other Vietnam-centered classics, including Platoon and Apocalypse Now, allowing filmmakers, actors, and others involved with the production space to work through the trauma that many of them faced on the battlefield just years before.