Puller: [addressing Marine NCOs] The uniform that you wear, the globe and anchor emblem that you've earned, can make the difference between freedom of the world, and its enslavement. You, non-commissioned officers, you are the sinew and the muscle of the Corps. The orders come from the brass and you get it done. Whenever this war is over, when we've swept upon the main isles of Japan and destroyed every scrap of that empire, the strategy would have been that of others, but victory will have been won by you. You, the NCO, with the chevrons on your sleeve and the instinct in your gut, and the blood on your boots. Those of you who are lucky enough to get home for Christmas, hold your loved ones dearly, join them in prayers for peace on earth and goodwill toward all men. Then report back here, ready to sail across God's vast ocean, where we will meet our enemy, and kill them all.
Robert Leckie: [Writing a letter to Vera Keller] Dear Vera, it seems a lifetime since we met outside Saint Mary's. This great undertaking for God and country has landed us in a tropical paradise, somewhere in what Jack London refers to as "those terrible Solomons." It is a garden of Eden. The jungle holds both beauty and terror in its depths, most terrible of which is man. We have met the enemy and have learned nothing more about him. I have, however, learned some things about myself. There are things men can do to one another that are sobering to the soul. It is one thing to reconcile these things with God, but another to square it with yourself.
Marine Cook: [in reaction to JP's disgust at maggots in the rice] Think of it as meat.
Edward Sledge, Sr: The worst part about treating those combat boys from the Great War wasn't that they'd had their flesh torn — it was that they had had their souls torn out. I couldn't bear to look into your eyes one day and see no love there no spark no... no life. That would break my heart.
Robert: [strolling around drunk, he sees Stella getting onto a tram] Hey, beautiful! [she smiles at him and the tram pulls away, and he runs after it]
Sidney: Oh, what the hell's he doing? Where's that tram go?
Girl in Bar: That's the Preston line, he'll end up in Perth!
Sidney: Oh, hey, hey Leckie, c'mon!
Lew: Leckie, what the hell! [they chase after him]
Leckie: [on the tram, pushing his way between people] Excuse me, sir, ma'am, I apologize. Excuse me. [he sees Stella and grins]
Sidney: Hey, Leckie! [Leckie turns quickly and falls at Stella's feet]
Lew: Whoa! Attaboy, Leckie!
Stella: Proposing already, Yank?
Leckie: [flirting] I'm proposing that you take a walk with me, you never know what the future may bring.
Stella: You know what 'take a walk' means?
Robert: Oh...[chuckles awkwardly] Ma'am, ma'am, ma'am — miss, miss, I'm a foreigner on your shores, forgive my ignorance of your customs, but... my invitation remains an offer.
Stella: [considers, then smiles] You're a bold one sotted, let's see you in the light of day. [she writes down her address and gives it to him. Chuckler and Sid watch from the doorway] Collect me at home. Being sober would be a plus. [she gets up to leave the tram] I'm Stella, in case you were wondering what to call me. [Leckie grins and bows proudly to his friends.]
Sidney: Well, you've got guts, Leckie. You'd better laminate that piece of paper.
Lew: Thank you very much! That made my night. That made my night!
[during a training exercise, Sledge "kills" two friendly dummies, named 'Bob' and 'Dave', instead of the enemy target dummies]
Instructor: What happened, Sledge? You find out Bob was drilling your girlfriend, Dave wouldn't give you more handjobs, what? You shot outside the correction!
Sledge: I thought you said drop 2-5, sir.
Instructor: You thought?! Aw, for Chrissakes, if you don't know, you ask, 'say again to your corrections, sergeant!' You've got artillery shrieking overhead, machine gun fire, so you yell it, you scream it if you have to, because you just killed two of your best friends, while Tojo and Fuck-Face over there continue to hose our line! [points to the Japanese dummies, who are 'Tojo' and 'Fuck Face'.]
Sledge: Have you heard the latest about the other war?
Leckie: There's another war?
Sledge: We invaded Europe. Landed last month in France.
Leckie: Well, unless you've got a brother over there, most guys don't give a shit.
Sledge: My brother landed in Italy, tank battalion.
Leckie: Well, I guess you get to give a shit. [offers Sledge water]
Sledge: Thanks. [picks up a Bible]
Leckie: Well, that explains it, you're a believer. [Sledge nods] Okay, question: God created everything, right? The heavens, the seven seas, the Marine Corps, [points to Runner], Sleeping Beauty over there?
Sledge: [laughs] Even him.
Leckie: Land crabs, rats, mosquitos?
Sledge: Mosquitos are a little tough to understand.
Leckie: [turns serious] God created Japs too, right? The yellow slants who've tried to kill me on many occasions? Japs come from the Garden of Eden too?
Sledge: Well, what we do is up to us, we're given a choice.
Merriell: Writin', too. Ain't supposed to write shit down, you know. Gives the Japs valuable intel if they find it.
Sledge: Guess I won't show it to 'em, then.
Shelton: [grins] Got a smoke? [Eugene hands him two cigarettes]
Shelton: Thanks, Sledgehammer.
Burgin: "Sledgehammer." I like that.
Leyden: [in mild disgust] Jesus Christ.
Shelton: Don't worry, we got a nickname for you too, Bill Leyden. We call you Ball-Peen Hammer. Like a little hammer, for a little man.
Leyden: All right, "Snafu." Shit... 'n' ass... fuck-up.
Shelton: Little joke from the little man. [They all smile]
Haldane: History is full of wars fought for a hundred different reasons, but this war, our war, I want to believe, I have to believe, that for every step across that airfield, every man's that's wounded, every man I lose, that it's all worthwhile, because our cause is just.
Sgt. Haney: Can you believe this bullshit about the dog? Some dog's supposed to smell a Jap before me? I don't think so. 'preciate the thought, but, ain't no dog going to make me sleep safe at night.
Sledge: I had a dog, his name's Deacon.
Haney: You keep fucking that stovepipe. The Nips come pouring through here with fixed bayonets, you nail 'em with HE and flares as fast as you can, think you can do that?
Snafu: We got it, gunny.
Haney: I was asking Sledgehammer.
Sledge: Yes, Gunny.
Haney: Huh [heads off, than turns back toward Sledgehammer] Woof.
Basilone: "Slap a Jap." How 'bout it, boys? I bet you all want to do more than "slap a Jap."
Marines: Yes, sir!
Basilone: [Scoffs] "Slap a Jap". Is that all the enemy is to you, eh: A fucking bucktooth cartoon dreamed up by some asshole on Madison Avenue to sell soap! Well let me tell you something: The "Jap" I know — the Japanese soldier — he has been at war since you were in FUCKING DIAPERS! He's a combat veteran, an expert with his weapon. He can live off maggoty rice and muddy water for weeks and endure misery you couldn't dream up in your worst nightmares! The Japanese soldier doesn't care if he gets hurt or killed, as long as he kills you. [Looks directly at Evanson] Now, you can call him whatever you like, but never, ever underestimate their desire to put you and your buddies into an early grave. ... IS THAT CLEAR?