If you served in the military, chances are you’ll never forget your Drill Instructor, Drill SGT or RDC. Regardless of your branch, we all regaled our loved ones and friends with spot on impressions of the most memorable moments. However, Hollywood has only recreated this perfectly on a few occasions, and here is our list of the top 3.
1. “What is your major malfunction numbnuts?”
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey), Full Metal Jacket
The beauty of this line is that “The Gunny” is declaring the recruit is the proud owner of multiple malfunctions. He begins by demoralizing his victim, and humiliating him in front of everyone. Additionally, he demands the recruit pick, and declare to the platoon, the largest of his own iniquities. To punctuate this barb, he throws in “numbnuts” to further stun the inept recruit. Despite this being ad libbed, it was pure poetry in motion.
2. “Killing is my business ladies, and business is good.”
Major Payne (Damon Wayans), Major Payne
The ultimate micro-manager, Major Benson Winifred Payne is far too intense. However, this produces some of the best one-liners in any military satire. The inflection and delivery of this line is perfect. Also, the fact the targets are children in the movie makes this too rich. This line could have easily come from Apocalypse Now or Platoon, but it came from a movie rated PG-13, classic.
Gunnery Sergeant Foley (Louis Gossett Jr.), An Officer and a Gentleman
Upon meeting Zack Mayo (Richard Gere), GySgt Emil Foley immediately begins to thrash him with insults. As a result of this brilliant performance, Louis Gossett Jr. won an Academy Award. Out of all his memorable lines, we picked this one because it highlighted a Drill Instructor’s uncanny ability to turn any recruit’s name into an insult. After being stripped of your civilian wardrobe, your hair (& most of your dignity), your name is all you have left. Thus, your family’s heritage is reduced to a punch line. This is the final step in breaking you down. All this right before he rips out your eyes and skull f… well, you know the rest…
Certainly, we realize there are many other great one liners out there. Drop your favorites in the comments below! Check out another movie line article, here.