Gwynne Dyer’s “Anybody’s Son Will Do” Documentary on YouTube

This morning I happened upon a mention of Gwynne Dyer's 1983 NFB documentary, Anybody's Son Will Do. In one succinct hour, it explains the motivation behind military basic training, using intimate footage from the U.S. Marine Corps' notorious Paris Island program.

The full documentary is available in piecemeal YouTube-sized portions: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, and part 6.

The article that first led me to the film seemed convinced that the US military was in some way suppressing the documentary, but I remember viewing it a couple of decades ago, so I guess the suppression didn't reach north of the 49th parallel. Not to mention that the US tends to ignore -- rather than suppress -- any cultural artefact created beyond the borders of the Lower 48.

One interesting tidbit, which has the full faith and credit of the intertubes behind it, is that Dyer's documentary influenced Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, or at least up until Pyle shoots the Gunny.

Like all of Dyer's work -- my favourite military and geopolitical writer -- the film is a matter-of-fact account of what has to be done to young men to make them soldiers. Regardless of what the article contends, it's not an anti-war piece. Just hang-dog Dyer tellin' it like it is.

Archived Comments

  1. rosemerry on 20100516.Sunday:
    I had not seen this film and found it fascinating. Always the talk of "the enemy" which must be found or constructed for these lads to have a job. Anti war? Only at the end when he talks about politicians.