Johnny Got His Gun

Johnny Got His Gun

DVD - 2009
Average Rating:
Rate this:
After a shell leaves his body mangled on the final day of World War I, young Joe Bonham lies trapped in a hospital bed. He is a fully conscious quadruple amputee who cannot speak, hear or see. He is left to wander within his own mind and goes between his harsh reality and memories of a happier life long gone. Delve into the mind of a man lost somewhere on the edges of sanity and insanity, life and death.
Publisher: Los Angeles, Calif. : Shout! Factory, 2009, c1971
ISBN: 9781603992602
Branch Call Number: DVD DRAMA JOH
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (ca. 106 min.) : sd., col. and b&w ; 4 3/4 in


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 16, 2019

Set in the year 1918 - 1971's "Johnny Got His Gun" is an anti-war picture about character Joe Bonham, a young soldier who (due to serious injuries and limb amputations) finds himself to be a prisoner in his own body.

Though he is fully conscious, Joe's ability to communicate to the doctors is extremely limited.

As an invalid, Joe (who is often semi-unconscious) frequently slips into states of fantasy where he reflects on his life before his debilitating injuries altered everything, forever.

Mar 15, 2019

Written and directed by Dalton Trumbo in 1971 based on his novel of the same name, this American ant-war drama depicts the life of a WWI-soldier who lost arms, legs, eyes, ears and a mouth.
It turns out to be an extraordinarily touching and profoundly heart-wrenching story.

Mar 09, 2019

Released back in 1971 - Dalton Trumbo's WW1 drama "Johnny Got His Gun" was (IMO) pretty terrible entertainment (for the most part).

As the story goes - Due to an explosion - Infantryman, Joe Bonham is left a quadruple amputee who not only cannot speak, but he also has no eyes, no ears, or nose, either.

To communicate to the doctors in the hospital (where he is being kept alive) - Joe uses his head to tap out his messages in Morse Code.

Well - Let me tell ya - Had this sort of premise for a story not been so downright ridiculous - Then - It would've been absolutely laughable to watch as Joe's head bobbed back and forth in desperate attempts at communication.

Anyway - It sure didn't help matters much that the Joe character was portrayed by that despicable Hollywood actor, Timothy Bottoms (whose career was thankfully a short one).

Mar 09, 2019

@ManMachine says "Had this sort of premise for a story not been so downright ridiculous..." Sad to say, Johnny Got His Gun was based on a true story.

"Trumbo was inspired to write his antiwar book during the 1930s after learning about two severely injured WWI veterans: a British major who had been so mutilated that the army reported him as missing in action to his family, and a Canadian soldier left dismembered, blinded, deafened, and tube-fed by the conflict. As Trumbo described the latter's story: "In the mid-thirties, the Prince of Wales visited a military hospital in Canada. At the end of a hallway, there was a door marked "No Admittance." "What's in there?" he asked. "We'd rather you not go in there,' they told him. But the Prince of Wales insisted, and when he came out of the room, he was weeping. 'The only way I could salute, the only way I could communicate with that man,' he said, 'was to kiss his cheek.'" -from The Cinema of Isolation: A History of Physical Disability in the Movies, by Martin F. Norden, Rutgers University Press, September 1, 1994."

Maybe not such a "ridiculous premise" after all.

Apr 28, 2016

'the system' is cruel beyond measure.

Mar 06, 2010

Not quite as good as the book it was based on. Some parts were well-done, but a lot of it had a very 70s feel that I don't think stood up to now. It's a story that's difficult to translate to film though, so I can appreciate the attempt.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at WVML

To Top