Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Stripes Movie Poster Image
Comic '80s military romp has violence, nudity, language.
  • R
  • 1981
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Even nitwits can find redemption.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Unapologetic slacker comes through when the chips are down. Lots of ogling and leering at women, their breasts, their curves. Two women are competent (if giggly, demure) soldiers, behaving smartly and bravely. One army captain is the requisite buffoon; the other noncommissioned officer is responsible and brave. Some ethnic diversity.


Cartoon action: falls, punch-outs, injury-free brawls, wild car rides, falls. A final sequence is a comic shoot-out between Russian troops and a bumbling platoon of U.S. army: explosions, gunfire, flamethrowers, tanks, mortar fire. Weapons are fired; bodies fly.


Typical 1981 sexual antics: leering men, scantily clothed women, comic seductions, a Peeping Tom, "ditzy" females, embracing, kissing. Partial nudity in several scenes with bare female breasts, much leg, naked girls in shower. Mud-wrestling focuses on curvy females in a variety of suggestive poses. Two couples have sex off camera; some mild foreplay, and some post-sexual behavior.


Frequent swearing, obscenities, insults: "f--k," "s--t," "balls," "hell," "ass," "son-of-a-bitch," "crap," "p---y," "suckhole," "gutless punk," "idiot," "homo," "bum."


Yellow Cab, Stewart Dry Goods, Raisin Bran, Schlitz beer, Yuban coffee, GMC.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional drinking in bar, beer at home. Some smoking. Giggling young man solicits drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 1981's Stripes is comic mayhem with a young Bill Murray reprising the cheeky hapless character he created for television's Saturday Night Live and in Meatballs and Caddyshack on the big screen. This time, Murray takes his deft comic arrogance into the U.S. military, dragging BFF and frequent playmate Harold Ramis into the fray along with him. It's typical fish-out-of-water fare, with some rapid-fire cartoon action; sexy, big-breasted women (some of those big breasts are bare); and enough bawdy language ("f--k," "s--t," "p---y," "ass") to earn MPAA's R rating. Slapstick and exaggerated violence include a mini-war with armed Russian troops (explosions, gunfire, flamethrowers, armored tanks) and the usual falls, bonks, and mishaps. The "ditzy," voluptuous mud-wrestling "girls" are almost balanced by some coolheaded, female army MPS, but woman-as-sex-object scenes tip the scales in 1981's direction. The film's often-funny, juvenile humor would appeal to even young teens, but the language and nudity make it problematic for those audiences.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11, 13, and 17-year-old Written byWen O. May 23, 2017

Typical Bill Murray movie...

We all know Bill Murray loves the women and the less clothes the better, after all he is a big advocate of Chive, which is a huge disgrace to women. Some of it... Continue reading
Adult Written bySpencer H. March 23, 2017

Very funny early 80's Military Comedy, classic dialogue and situations but NOT for kids under the age of 16!!!!

Stripes is very funny and holds up overall very well, aside from the last 30 minutes where it turns into your typical military/action flick. But the first half... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 19, 2021

Okay for mature kids

Some nudity and a bunch of cursing some violence but no gore it is probably okay for muture 11 and 12 year olds.
Teen, 14 years old Written byClorox bleach December 24, 2020

Great bill Murray movie

Great bill Murray movie I recommend.

What's the story?

STRIPES opens on a particularly bad day in the life of John Winger (Bill Murray). He's quit his job; his car has been repossessed; his girlfriend has left him -- all of which he's brought upon himself. Seeking solace from his lifelong buddy, Russell (Harold Ramis), it's a time of self-pity and self-blame. John acknowledges that he's worthless. At that perfect moment, a recruiting ad for the U.S. Army appears on television before them. Its message is "You're going nowhere!" That resonates with John. The army is exactly what he needs and what Russell, an amiable if unambitious English teacher, needs, too. They sign, hoping for discipline, duty, honor, courage, and, of course, exotic travel. Alas, basic training is not at all what they expected. Instead they've joined a platoon of oddballs and misfits, including "Ox" (John Candy), an obese blowhard. Their sergeant is demanding but fair -- and is fair game for John Winger's comic wrath. They mess up. They meet beautiful MPs and fall in love. They mess up again. And, finally, in an adventure of farcical proportions, they drag their whole platoon, their sergeant, their captain, and their girlfriends into an armed battle with a Russian battalion in Czechoslovakia. Huh?

Is it any good?

Bill Murray is outrageous enough; the fish-out-of-water plot is bizarre enough; and the film is well-made enough to feel fresh and funny decades after it was made. Other than some old-school, "ditzy," half-dressed women and a few stale fat jokes, it's worth a look, if only to see a very idiosyncratic movie icon in his earliest incarnation. And everyone works hard to earn the laughs. Many of the scenes are known to have been improvised, with Murray, Ramis, and Candy in top form, so it must have been great fun to make. That shows, too. Sadly, it's one of those films that chose to keep the language salty and show off bouncing breasts, so it rightly earned its "R" rating. Appropriate for older teens and grown-ups only.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the women in this film are portrayed. Can you discern a shift in attitude since it was made in 1981? Which scenes are dated in their depictions of women?

  • What techniques do the filmmakers use to indicate that the violent action sequences in this film are not to be taken seriously? How do music, editing, and exaggeration help set the tone?

  • Without its edgy content, this film might have had strong appeal for both tweens and teens. How does your family deal with comic films that have issues such as language and nudity? Do your parents make exceptions, or are those movies always off-limits?

  • If you could remake this movie, how would you do it?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love to laugh

Themes & Topics

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