Prime Video removes “BORN TO KILL” from Full Metal Jacket artwork

Amazon has removed the famous “BORN TO KILL” text from the purchase/rental page for Full Metal Jacket, catching ire from Matthew Modine.

Last Updated on June 21, 2024

Full Metal Jacket

If you were looking to rent or buy Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket on Amazon Prime, you might find yourself wondering if Private Joker was truly “BORN TO KILL” after all, as his helmet sarcastically says. That’s because the streamer has pulled a move that will make you angrier than R. Lee Ermey: they have removed that slogan from the promotional art.

This alteration caught the attention of Matthew Modine himself, who played J.T. “Joker” Davis in Full Metal Jacket. Taking to social media, the actor wrote: “Who decided to remove “BORN TO KILL?” Not only did they alter a piece of iconic art by Philip Castle, but they completely misunderstood the point of it being there. Pvt. Joker wears the helmet with “BORN TO KILL” and the peace button as a statement about “the duality of man.””

While the smaller icon (which you would click to be taken to the purchase page) does feature the “BORN TO KILL” mark, when you get to the next page it has suspiciously been scrubbed. However, the peace symbol does remain. Now, ironically enough, life has been taken out of the poster, with Amazon defacing the art by removing most of what makes it so powerful.

Initially it was unclear why Amazon would do this for the Full Metal Jacket art – it wasn’t as if Amazon is plucking a different design, as no international posters for Full Metal Jacket removed the text. This, really, committed a form of censorship against the art that diminishes the nature of the movie. But there might be a reason for it. According to one user who responded to Modine, Amazon has a rule where no text is allowed on the banner image in an attempt to keep critic blurbs from being plastered over the poster. If that’s truly the case, then make it a rule where any text outside of the original poster art is prohibited. As it stands, this is absolutely a case of Amazon needlessly and recklessly censoring one of the most iconic posters ever.

On the Full Metal Jacket design, early sketches indicate that the great Philip Castle – who also did A Clockwork Orange for Kubrick, always intended “BORN TO KILL” to be on the helmet, even if he was given more or less a blank canvas from the director. “[Stanley Kubrick] sent me a little drawing, a silhouette, and, on one of my visits, he handed the helmet over and I just brought it back. I did the helmet as though it had just been left on a desk, flat; I don’t know who had the idea but, just tilting it, as if it were being worn, made a whole difference — it put life into it.”

What do you think of Amazon Prime Video’s apparent rule against text? Do you consider this a form of censorship?

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About the Author

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.