Johnny Got His Gun

Synopsis: Joe, a young American soldier, is hit by a mortar shell on the last day of World War I. He lies in a hospital bed in a fate worse than death - a quadruple amputee who has lost his arms, legs, eyes, ears, mouth and nose. He remains conscious and able to think, thereby reliving his life through strange dreams and memories, unable to distinguish whether he is awake or dreaming. He remains frustrated by his situation, until one day when Joe discovers a unique way to communicate with his caregivers.
Genre: Drama, War
Director(s): Dalton Trumbo
Production: Cinemation
  Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
111 min

How did you get him

so quickly?

A medical team heard

the shell coming in.

Apparently, he did, too.

Chest and belly

practically unmarked.

Curious how they always

double up in the fetal position.

What's curious about it?

They're trying to

protect their genitals.

Well, this young man

unfortunately succeeded.

Any identification?

No, sir.

Then we'll assume he's ours.

I'll need to take personal

charge of this case

until repairs are completed.

That could be

rather a long time,

Colonel Tillery.

Wouldn't you say, Captain,

that it's worth a year

of any doctor's life

to observe

a case like this?

You'd never know what

has happened to him.

The one part of his brain

that has escaped damage

is the medulla oblongata.

It is only because of this

that his heart, vasal, motor,

and respiratory centers

still function.

In short, that he lives.

Unidentified casualty

number 4-7.

Post-operation orders,

Colonel M.F. Tillery,

U.S. Army Medical Corps.

Although the cerebellum

still permits

limited physical movement,

said movement

signifies nothing.

Bodily actions

have become violent,

and are persistently


and must be treated as

reflexive muscular spasms--

which is to say, by sedation.

The cerebrum has suffered

massive and irreparable damage.

Had I not been sure of this,

I would not have

permitted him to live.

There's no justification

for his continued existence

unless we learn from him

how to help others.

Care for him as gently

as if he knew

what you were doing

and would feel the pain

if you did it badly.

Attending personnel

will remember that

good medical care forbids

emotional involvement

with the patient.

Avoid such involvement

by remembering

that it is impossible for

a decerebrated individual

to experience pain,

pleasure, memory,

dreams, or thought

of any kind.

It follows, therefore,

that this young man

will be as unfeeling,

as unthinking as the dead

until the day he joins them.



What happened?

Where am I?

It's dark in here.

Shouldn't have

turned the lights out.

Your old man

will be sore.

Oh, Mike won't care.

He loves me.

Only could I just

ask you one thing?

Why'd you have to volunteer?

Only six months

from the draft anyhow.

Pinkie and Larry

have already gone.

You could have been exempt

because of your sisters.

My mother's got a job.

Besides, when the country

needs you, you've gotta go.

You should go.

I don't think

anybody should go.

They'll kill you.

Oh, I could get killed

at the bakery, too,

or crossing the street.

I can take care of myself.

Don't worry.

Lots of people get killed

who don't think they'll be.

Lots of people come

back, too. Most of 'em.

Most of them, Joe,

they never come back.

Oh, if anything ever

happened to you,

I'd just die.

Ah, you're only

saying that.

I love you.

I do love you.

Stop it.

I won't have this

in my house.

You think you're sitting in

the back seat of a flivver?

Now get up. Both of you,

get up like decent people.

Come on, get up.

But he's going away

in the morning.

I know, I know.

Get in the bedroom.

Both of you.

I ain't much.

in the coal mines,

carryin' an IWW card.

Now, what am I?

Goddamn railroad

bull, that's what.

Oh, anyhow.

Go on in there

with her. She's scared.

Go-- Go on in.

Yes, sir.

Put your arms around her.

You know how to

treat her, don't you? Yes, sir.


She isn't a whore.

You know that, don't ya?

Yes, sir.

Eh, go to bed, son.

Yes, sir.


I see you.

Nice room.

Mike fixed it up

for my graduation.

Picture's crooked, though.

It was my mother's.

Why don't you

take your shoes off?




Could you turn your back?


I have to get out of bed.

No. I want to see you.

I won't let you see me.

Would you get me my robe?


It's on the closet

door. It's red.


Why'd you do that?

Hot night.

Here it is.

Bring it

closer, silly. Uh-uh. Reach for it.

All right, here.

I'll help you.


Let's get it

through here.

There. There you go.

I'll get it right.

Here, let me show you.

Now we got it. There.



We should have flowers.

Hm? Sure.

If you really

want to see me--

Oh, if you don't

want me to,

I don't want to, either.

Well, fair is fair.


It's nice like this,

isn't it?


Have you ever been this

way with anyone else?

Not with anyone I loved.

I'm glad.

Have you?

You shouldn't

ask that.

Why not?

Because I'm a lady.

You're a mick.

No, I've never

been this way

with anyone

else before.

I know.

But you couldn't have known.

Not really.

Joe, I don't

want you to go.

I want you

to run away.

You don't want me

to see Paris, France,

that's all.

Don't go, Joe.

Please don't go.

Run away.

Where to? Shipyards?


I'll hide you,

honest I will.

Want me to be

a slacker, huh?


Oh, they'll kill you,

Joe. I know they will.

In the words of

that great patriot

Theodore Roosevelt--

I love you, Joe.

Hold me closer.

Put both your arms

around me.

Both of them.

Let us pray.

Our Father--

I can't pray like that.

All I can say is

dear God,

don't make him go away.

Don't let him be killed.

I won't be.

All aboard!

All aboard!

Why don't they turn the lights on?

It's dark in here.

It's dark and still,

and I can feel the blood

pumping through my veins.

But I can't hear

the pulse in my ears.

If you can't hear

Rate this script:4.0 / 4 votes

Dalton Trumbo

James Dalton Trumbo (December 9, 1905 – September 10, 1976) was an American screenwriter and novelist who scripted many award-winning films including Roman Holiday, Exodus, Spartacus, and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. One of the Hollywood Ten, he refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947 during the committee's investigation of communist influences in the motion picture industry. He, along with the other members of the Hollywood Ten and hundreds of other industry professionals, was subsequently blacklisted by that industry. His talents as one of the top screenwriters allowed him to continue working clandestinely, producing work under other authors' names or pseudonyms. His uncredited work won two Academy Awards: for Roman Holiday (1953), which was given to a front writer, and for The Brave One (1956) which was awarded to a pseudonym of Trumbo's. When he was given public screen credit for both Exodus and Spartacus in 1960, this marked the beginning of the end of the Hollywood Blacklist for Trumbo and other screenwriters. He finally was given full credit by the Writers' Guild for all his achievements, the work of which encompassed six decades of screenwriting. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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