After one last dominating performance, a single military movie character stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Head and shoulders and campaign cover, that is.
Gunnery Sgt. Hartman took out Capt. John Miller (“Saving Private Ryan”) in the final round of Battle Bracket: Clash of Characters voting to claim the title of best fictional military movie or television character ever. R. Lee Ermey’s “Full Metal Jacket” DI wasn’t seriously challenged in any of his six contests.
It’s a run that’s tough to sum up in a single word, but Ermey himself might’ve done the trick.
“Oorah!” said the actor in an emailed statement to Military Times.
“Another victory for Gunnery Sergeant Hartman,” he continued. “First, I would like to thank my longtime fans. You have been loyal, and I thank you. I appreciate all of your support. Anything that I can do to honor our veterans and those who serve this great nation, I am always going to do.
“This victory feels pretty sweet, as I am a huge movie buff.”
Gunny Hartman racked up a little less than 69 percent of the vote in the final. Along with Hanks’ World War II captain, Hartman’s tournament hit list included characters portrayed by John Wayne, Mel Gibson, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Duvall and Clint Eastwood, in a first-round battle of the Gunnys — Hartman vs. Tom Highway (“Heartbreak Ridge”).
It’s not the first time Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 drama has taken top honors in our March polling. “Full Metal Jacket” was named the best military movie by the Military Times audience in 2015, taking down “Patton” in the final.
The role earned Ermey a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actor and would lead to dozens more on-screen appearances and several off-screen ones, where he provided voices for characters in the “Toy Story” franchise, “The Simpsons” and other properties.
The Marine veteran (he was medically retired in 1971 and received an honorary promotion from staff sergeant to gunnery sergeant in 2002) now hosts Outdoor Channel’s ” GunnyTime with R. Lee Ermey” and ” Military Makeover,” from the producers of Lifetime’s “Designing Spaces.”
He’s also written a book and established a million-strong Facebook following.