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June 2017: The Resorts of North Devon

Devon is the only county in England with two separate coasts, north and south. It is the latter that is perhaps better known and more ...More
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Full Metal Jacket

Year: 1987
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Cast: Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D¹Onofrio, R Lee Ermey, Dorian Harewood, Kevyn Major Howard, Arliss Howard, Ed O'Ross, John Terry, Kieron Jecchinis, Kirk Taylor, Tim Colceri, Jon Stafford, Bruce Boa, Ian Tyler.

Set Locations:
The London Docklands (prior to the revamp!) and Becton Gasworks in East London did a remarkable job of doubling up as war torn Vietnam.
Stanley Kubrick's 1987 film 'Full Metal Jacket' tells the tale of the dehumanising effects of the Vietnam War on a bunch of young recruits. It follows their stories through basic training and into the conflict with the Viet Cong in Vietnam. For some the horrors of war take their toll whilst still in basic training on Parris Island. The tough drill sergeant Hartman (played by R. Lee Ermey) wastes no time in singling out a 'misfit' in the group. He gives the new recruit Leonard (played by Vincent D'Onofrio) hell in his attempt to turn him into a soldier. In the end the recruit does learn to use a rifle and become a cold blooded killer. Unfortunately, it is the drill sergeant on the receiving end!

The film then goes on to tell the stories of some of the others from the boot camp, including Leonard's bunkmate 'Joker'. During their struggles against the Viet Cong, the characters meet many soldiers whose minds have been warped by the Vietnam War. They also see many of these characters die during the bloody struggle. One of the last acts of the film sees Joker forced to shoot an adolescent girl who has been sniping on the platoon. The girl is wounded by the Platoon in their attempts to defend themselves and begs for them to kill her and put her out of her misery. The platoon leader agrees to the mercy killing, only if Joker performs it.

Although Parris Island boot camp and Vietnam are the settings in the film, the locations used are in England. The Parris Island camp is actually a British Army base, Bassingbourn Barracks. Situated near Royston in Cambridgeshire, the base was once an RAF airbase which housed bombers during World War II . Other training scenes were filmed in Epping Forest, an ancient area of woodland between London and Essex . This 6000 acre site was formed 10,000 years ago following the Ice Age.

Most of the Vietnam countryside was actually in the beautiful English county of Dorset . The tranquil beauty of Dorset, which includes a large slice of Thomas Hardy country , is a million miles from the oppressive heat of the Vietnam jungle! This meant Kubrick had to use a variety of imported vegetation and plastic trees from Hong Kong to recreate the jungle on English soil. The Da Nang scenes were filmed on the Isle of Dogs in London, now home to the prestigious Canary Wharf office complex. The beautiful Norfolk Broads were also used quite extensively during the filming. The ruins of Hue were recreated in Beckton in London at a British Gas Works due for demolition.

Places to stay nearby:
Hotels to stay around London Docklands include Express by Holiday Inn London Limehouse, Novotel London Excel, Travelodge London Docklands, Hilton London Docklands Riverside

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Brit Quote:
The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity. - Edmund Burke
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On this day:
Malt Tax Riots Begin - 1725, Battle of Plassey - 1757, First Regatta on the Thames - 1775, Deadly Laki Gas Fog Arrives - 1783, End of coal rationing announced - 1958, Darwin’s Tortoise Dies at 176 - 2006, Britain Votes Leave - 2016
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