Fresh off a hotly contested semifinal win over "Saving Private Ryan," Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" remained in command throughout the title matchup of Military Times' Military Movie Madness, downing "Patton" by a sizable margin late Tuesday in the final reader vote to determine the best military movie ever made.
See the full bracket here.
The vote ends a nearly monthlong process, starting a day before the men's college basketball tournament and ending a day after it. About 275,000 votes were cast to fill out the bracket, which featured films from 1930's "All Quiet on the Western Front" to the recently released "American Sniper" and "Fury."
The movie's path to the championship contest:
- A 68 percentage-point win over a contemporary Vietnam film, "Hamburger Hill," which featured Don Cheadle and Dylan McDermott early in their Hollywood careers.
- A second-round demolition of "Aliens," with "Full Metal Jacket" picking up more than 90 percent of the vote. The Colonial Marines never had a shot.
- A round-of-16 win over "A Few Good Men" in an unofficial "Who is the most quotable Marine?" contest.
- Another win over a contemporary Vietnam saga, this time downing Oliver Stone's "Platoon" by a wide margin to claim, fittingly, the bracket's "Vietnam and Beyond" category of movies released from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s.
- A semifinal stomping of "Saving Private Ryan" in a matchup that began fairly even, but moved away from Tom Hanks and Co. over the weekend, becoming the most-voted-upon showdown of the tournament.
The field included films selected by a panel made up of Military Times staff and active-duty service members, as well as some movies suggested by readers via email and Facebook. Only documentaries were excluded from the selection process. The movies were sorted by release date into regions and seeded.
Readers were asked to vote on each round of matchups, leading to a number of surprises — at least based on the seeding from our experts:
- Another Kubrick venture, "Dr. Strangelove," fell in the first round of voting despite its top seed. No. 16 "In Harm's Way" earned the upset, then fell to John Wayne and "The Longest Day" in the next round. The D-Day epic would make the semifinals before falling to "Patton."
- Other unexpected first-round exits included "Lawrence of Arabia," "MASH" and "Inglourious Basterds." "MASH" went down to 14th-seeded "Midway," which also upended Robert De Niro and "The Deer Hunter" before losing to "Patton."
- Top seed "Apocalypse Now" fell in the round of 16 to "Top Gun." Fans of Navy aviation had their bubble burst in the next round, again by "Patton."
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.