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|“||I am in a world of shit!||„|
|~ Private Gomer Pyle|
|“||7 6 2 millimeter.... full metal jacket.||„|
|~ Private Gomer Pyle|
|“||I must master it as I must master my life! Without me...||„|
|~ Private Gomer Pyle's last words before shooting Hartman and eventually killing himself.|
Private Leonard "Gomer Pyle" Lawrence is one of the two main antagonists (along with Gunnery Sergeant Hartman) of the 1987 war film Full Metal Jacket.
He was portrayed by Vincent D'Onofrio, who also played Edgar the Bug in Men in Black, Carl Rudolph Stargher in The Cell, David Hagan in Fire With Fire, Kingpin in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Commander Vic Hoskins in Jurassic World, Bob Fittler in Chained, Lester Clark in Escape Room, and Luca Abele in Dishonored 2.
Private Gomer Pyle is a large, obese, and slightly dimwitted man who earns the name "Gomer Pyle" after incurring Gunnery Sergeant Hartman's wrath. Unresponsive to Hartman's harsh discipline, Pyle is eventually assigned to Joker's squad. Pyle improves with Joker's help, but his progress halts when Hartman discovers a contraband jelly doughnut in Pyle's footlocker. Believing the recruits have failed to improve Pyle, Hartman adopts a collective punishment policy: every mistake Pyle makes will earn punishment for the rest of the platoon, with Pyle being spared. In retaliation for their misery caused by Pyle's failures, the platoon (including a reluctant Joker) hazes and brutalizes him with a blanket party (or soap party in military slang), restraining him in his bunk while beating him with bars of soap wrapped in towels and used like blackjacks. Although hesitant at first, Joker ultimately struck Pyle harder than the rest of the platoon. After this incident, Pyle reinvents himself as a model Marine. This impresses Hartman but worries Joker, who recognizes signs of mental breakdown in Pyle, such as him talking to his M14 rifle.
After they graduate, Pyle suffers a severe mental breakdown in the bathroom at the camp, loading his rifle with live ammunition. Joker attempts to calm Pyle, who executes drill commands and loudly recites the Rifleman's Creed. This wakes up the platoon, including Hartman who comes into the bathroom, and notices Pyle with his rifle. He tries to get him to surrender by yelling more insults at him, only for Pyle to shoot him dead, he then proceeds to aim his rifle at Joker and considers killing him as well, however Joker calms him down by calling him Leonard and saying "take it easy man" - seeming to trigger memories in Pyle of how Joker had been his sole friend and mentor, broken by his experiences he lowered his rifle and sat down, sparing Joker's life but then promptly taking his own via a shot to the head as he adjusted the rifle and put it in his mouth before pulling the trigger, much to Joker's horror.
- Initially Pyle was going to be a "skinny ignorant redneck." Director Stanley Kubrick decided it would be more impactful if Pyle was an obese, clumsy man. D'Onofrio was required to put on 70 lb (32 kg) of weight for the role of Pyle bringing his total weight to 280 pounds. The weight exacerbated a knee injury he suffered while filming.
- While in the past, soldiers did turn on their regiments and commanders during many wars, the likelihood of Pyle being able to get his hands on a fully loaded rifle in the bunkers is extremely small. Live-rounds would be locked away and security paramount (to prevent just such a scenario): however such things would obviously be excluded for sake of the film's plot and to show the brutality of war and its dehumanizing nature.
- In The Short-Timers by Jerry Gustav Hasford, which was the source material for the film, the same character appears but is named Leonard Pratt and not Leonard Lawrence.