Most film aficionados don’t likely consider the 1981 movie “Stripes” a trailblazer. But that’s the fact, Jack! The Ivan Reitman-directed comedy, which just celebrated its 41st birthday in June, tells the story of indolent taxi driver/“typical low-life character” John Winger (Bill Murray), who joins the United States Army on a whim along with his best friend, inept ESL teacher Russell Ziskey (Harold Ramis).
Though silly, raunchy and certainly problematic at times, especially when looked at through a 2022 lens, the film, as described by Military.com, was one of the first of its kind, “released at a moment when theaters were still flooded with angsty dramas focused on the fallout from the Vietnam War.” Showcasing the Army in a positive light while hilariously poking fun at its many bureaucratic protocols along the way, “Stripes” became a veritable hit, earning a whopping $85 million at the box office, thereby paving the way for countless others like it, from “Good Morning, Vietnam” to “Renaissance Man” to “Sgt. Bilko” to even “Tropic Thunder.”
“Stripes” also has the distinction of being one of the first films to make use of a Steadicam! Invented by Garrett Brown in 1975 and now a standard fixture on productions of every kind, the then-revolutionary camera was utilized to capture the flick’s famed graduation sequence, with Brown seamlessly shooting right alongside Murray and his fellow castmates as they completed a rousing and rapidly-moving two-and-a-half-minute marching step routine. Yes, “Stripes” was indeed a trailblazer!
And now a house from the comedy classic has just hit the market!
Set at various far-flung locales, including Italy, Germany, Czechoslovakia and the fictional Fort Arnold military base, filming mainly took place in the Louisville, Kentucky area. Fort Knox, a historic base situated on the outskirts of Muldraugh, stood in for Fort Arnold, the movie’s central location where John and his fellow recruits attend basic training. The Czechoslovakia segment, where John and Russell daringly rescue their comrades, was lensed at the former Chapeze Distillery (now owned by Beam Suntory, of Jim Beam fame) in Clermont. And the early scene in which Winger abandons both his cab and its ornery passenger mid-ride was captured on the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge in Louisville.