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Stripes is a 1981 military comedy starring Bill Murray and Harold Ramis (both would later re-team with director Ivan Reitman for the 1984 comedy classic Ghostbusters) as two buddies who decide to leave their crumbling civilian lives and join the US Army. Despite being a broad farce with implausible situations, the film was indicative of the mindset of the U.S. military's volunteer army in the mid to late 1970s (i.e. the immediate Post-Vietnam War years). Morale was not high, and despite an active Cold War with the Soviets, the military's budget was slashed under then-President Jimmy Carter. Stripes was filmed with the cooperation of the U.S. Army who provided a Command Sergeant Major as technical adviser, and many of the scenes were filmed at the active Army base in Fort Knox, Kentucky (but nowhere near the famous Bullion Depository). Despite being irreverent, the film still depicted American soldiers as brave and dedicated, albeit a little weird and goofy. It was that positive portrayal of the U.S. Army in general (despite some comical and incompetent characters) which allowed the Defense Department to approve lending assistance for the production. In 2005, a special edition DVD was released that included an extended cut of the film.
The following weapons were used in the film Stripes (1981):
During basic training, the recruits are seen with M16A1 rifles.
Mixed in the M16A1 rifles are M16 (SP1) 'slab side' receiver rifles. Though there may have been some left over original M16s in Army inventory during the 1970s, when this movie was filmed, it would have been rare. These are 'movie' guns; SP1 rifles converted to full-auto by movie armorers.
M1 Garand 'Training Rifles'
During the boot camp sequences of the film, the recruits don't actually use real M1 Garand rifles. They instead use plastic & metal training rifles patterned after the M1 Garand.
In the Extended Cut, several of the South American rebels that capture Winger and Ziskey carry authentic M1 Garand rifles.
Many of the so called "Russian soldiers" at the base in Czechoslovakia carry Valmet M71S rifles, since real AKs or AK clones were near impossible to get in the 1980s. Only with the advent of imported rifles from China and Egypt (after 1983) did American movies get to see closer versions of the AK-47. The Valmet M71S rifles used in the film appear to be the 5.56mm versions.
Winchester Model 1894
In the Extended cut, several of the South American rebels carry Winchester Model 1894 lever action rifles.
In the "Extended Cut", the Army Special Forces unit leader is seen getting onto the transport with an ArmaLite AR-18 or AR-180 rifle over his shoulder. One of the other soldiers also appears to carry an AR-18.
The M1911A1 is seen as the standard sidearm of US Military personnel (officers, NCOs, Military Police) in the film. What is interesting is that the so-called "Russian soldiers" (i.e. the officers) at the end of the film also carry M1911A1 pistols, likely because the production could not acquire Tokarev TT-33 pistols or Makarov PM pistols. However, they still could have acquired Walther PP pistols though, which greatly resemble the Makarov PM (Indeed, the Makarov PM is based on it).
Fake Uzi Submachine gun aka "The MAC-Uzi" (modified MAC-10)
Seen in the film are the fake Uzi Submachine guns, fabricated out of MAC-10s (9x19mm versions) by Special Effects Unlimited, in the 1970s. There may have not been enough real blank adapted Uzis in the US at the time so these faux Uzis were used in several movies. These fake Uzis were famously used in the Christopher Walken film The Dogs of War as well as High Risk, The Killer Elite and Raw Deal and such 1980s television series as The A-Team.
The Fake Uzis in the film are equipped with fixed wooden stocks and are seen used mostly by "Russian" soldiers. The use of Uzis (represented by both the fake 'MAC-Uzis' and actual versions in the film) by Warsaw Pact forces during this period would have been quite unlikely. It is possible these weapons were standing in for the Sa 23 (9x19mm Parabellum) and Sa 24 (7.62x25mm Tokarev) Czech SMGs, which weren't available at the time of filming.
Standard MAC-10s are used by John Winger (Bill Murray) and Stella Hansen (P.J. Soles) during the rescue and by Russell Ziskey (Harold Ramis) at the end of the film.
A few real Uzis with full wooden stocks are briefly seen mixed in with the other weapons at the "Russian" base. Like their fake counterparts, the real Uzis in the film are equipped with fixed wooden stocks and are used mostly by "Russian" soldiers. The use of Uzis (represented by both the real versions and the aforementioned fake 'MAC-Uzis' in the film) by Warsaw Pact forces during this period would have been quite unlikely. It is possible these weapons were standing in for the Sa 23 (9x19mm Parabellum) and Sa 24 (7.62x25mm Tokarev) Czech SMGs, which weren't available at the time of filming.
In the "Extended Cut", an Army Special Forces soldier is seen getting onto the transport armed with an M60 machine gun with the bipod removed.
A Browning M2HB is briefly seen mounted atop an US Army M113 APC.
An M72 LAW is seen carried by Corporal Tyson (John Voldstad) when the platoon gets ready to go after Winger and Ziskey. The LAW rocket launchers are the M72A2 version, however, they have the large sticker on the side indicating that they are the trainers, not the standard rockets.
M224 60mm Light Mortar
Recruits at Fort Knox are seen firing M224 60mm Light Mortars at the range.
M67 Hand Grenade
Corporal Tyson (John Voldstad) must get rid of a supposedly 'live' M67 hand grenade of which Captain Stillman accidentally pulls the pin. But it is clear that he holds the blue painted M69 Training hand grenade. A few notes - (a) An Army officer would not be allowed to have live ordnance sitting on his desk, (b) the Corporal would probably have the presence of mind to not run with the grenade (and possibly trip) and just hold down the spoon until he can dispose of it (hopefully he is near the grenade range) or just take the pin and re-insert it into the fuse body and (c) in the film, Tyson yells "Grenade!" seconds after he leaves the office and we hear an explosion... one wonders where he threw the grenade since it was so near to an Army administration building full of people(?)
A yet unidentified American Field Gun (direct fire artillery versus a howitzer which is a high angle of fire weapon) is used by a "Russian" gunner who is dispatched by Sergeant Hulka (Warren Oates). It tries to destroy the American "Urban Assault Vehicle" with direct fire, but fails. Its second shot goes wild and destroys the remains of the Czech Border Guard Station.