Longhaired 1970s actors refusing to cut their hair for military roles

I can’t remember where I heard it, but some film historian spoke disparagingly of actors who refused to cut their hair for military roles during the 1960s and 1970s. This, incidentally, excludes that *Ur-*longhair John Lennon, who quite willingly took a buzz cut to play Private Gripweed.

But anyhow, my question is whether there’s any truth to that. Did actors’ reluctance to cut their hair affect the accuracy of movies that were set in times and situations where men were expected to wear short hair? Did this reluctance even prevent some films from being made?

And on a related note, to what extent did soldiers and medical offiicers, as in MASH*, adhere to the grooming regs when they were in forward areas? Did enforcement get a little bit more relaxed, what with everyone being, shall we say, preoccupied with weightier matters?

I think he may be referring to the out of reg haircuts in “Coming Home.”

Well into the 80s, TV shows that showed military life had actors with hair well too long. “JAG” seems to get haircuts right from what little I have seen.

Sir Rhosis

I asked my Dad about this…he served in Vietnam.

He told me that regs were quite often relaxed in time of war. Your NCOIC is not about to send you off to get your hair cut when there’s a plane that needs to be fixed and sent on its way.

However, Goldie Hawn’s bangs in “Private Benjamin” have always pissed me off. I caught so much shit in my AF basic training when my bangs touched my eyebrows.

It was Lennon’s WWII British Army issue steel rimmed glasses, incidentally, that really set off the hippy granny glasses fashion. Great film, with nearly every classic old British Army joke in it. (“Am I hurting you Private?” “No Sergeant.” “I should be–I’m standing on your hair!”)

“May I rub your balls sir? It gives me great pleasure.” - Private Gripweed

There’s a movie that needs to be out on DVD!

And so it is.

Whoops. Not technically out, but you can pre-purchase it at Amazon.

The worst examples I can think of for unhistorical hair styles were on the TV series MASH*, set in the early 1950s. One '70s hair style after another. Margaret Houlihan and B.J. Hunnicut were probably the worst offenders.


Although, now that I read the fine print, the Amazon release date for the DVD is “January 1, 2010.” Surely shome mishtake?

I believe that is just the date they use when an official release date hasn’t been announced. Don’t know if it generally means a very long wait.

What about Nic Cage in that turkey Con Air? As the film opens, he is supposedly an Army Ranger being discharged, and he’s got a ton of hair!

Sorry Mr. Big Shot Actor, but my brother was a non-wartime Ranger (as was your character) and in that regiment, everybody is either high-and-tight or bald. Period.

“This is our monthly “At Ease” weekend. It gives us a chance to let our hair down, although I see you’ve got a head start in that department. I shouldn’t talk, though, I’m getting a little shaggy myself. I’d better not stand too close to you, people might think I’m part of the band. I’m joking, of course.”

-Lt. Hookstratten (Fred Willard), This is Spinal Tap

Was your brother also in prison for eight years? He had Army hair in the opening scene before he went to jail.

If you want to nitpick something, nitpick Cage being sent to prison for eight years in the first place for accidently killing one of a gang of knife wielding drunks who were trying to kill him and rape his wife.

Walloon writes:

> The worst examples I can think of for unhistorical hair styles
> were on the TV series MAS*H, set in the early 1950s.

MASH was full of unhistorical attitudes. MASH was supposedly about the Korean War, but really it was a commentary on the Vietnam War. Despite the use of Korean War references to places and people, hardly anything about the show made sense in an early 1950’s sensibility.

I always hate how Major Hulihan is So Army, always having her hair up in the beginning years of the show then middle an later you see her hair is always down, except in Surgery. How did she get so un-Army?

How about Donald Sutherland in “Kelly’s Hero’s”. I didn’t think there were too many hippy beatnick tank commanders during WWII.

That is the hair I was referring to in my post, not the “eight years in jail” hair.

That hairdo may have been ok for the regular Army (don’t know, my brother wasn’t a leg), but not a Ranger. Again, he should have had the sides & back shaved with the top about 1/4 to 1/2 inch, or completely shaved.

Not egregious, but I was thinking of Bill Murray in Stripes.

The whole platoon gets sheared like sheep and he get’s a trim. It’s not like there was whole lot to work with in the first place; you’d think he would have ended up as bald as Ox.

They should have cast a black actor in the role; then, no nitpicking would be necessary.

Simple, she had been cozying up to Frank. After he went off the deep end and her marriage went kaput, she had no reason to be so gung-ho.

I was always curious about Robert DeNiro’s goatee in The Deer Hunter. I gather he was supposed to be in some sort of elite unit or something, but did soldiers ever wear beards in Viet Nam, particularly when they were on leave?