Purple Hearts (1984)


Purple Hearts is a 1984 war film directed by Sidney J. Furie and starring Ken Wahl and Cheryl Ladd.

The screenplay concerns a Navy surgeon and a Navy nurse who fall in love while serving in Vietnam during the war. Their affection for one another provides a striking contrast to the violence of warfare.

Also known as The Soldier (working title, US) and no relation to Purple Hearts (2022).


A Navy doctor (Ken Wahl) and a nurse (Cheryl Ladd) fall in love in Vietnam; each thinks at times the other has been killed.


  • Ken Wahl as Don Jardian.
  • Cheryl Ladd as Deborah Solomon.
  • Stephen Lee as “Wizard”.
  • Annie McEnroe as Hallaway.
  • Paul McCrane as Brenner.
  • Cyril O’Reilly as Zuma.
  • David Harris as Hanes.
  • Hillary Bailey as Jill.
  • R. Lee Ermey as Gunnery Sergeant “Gunny”.
  • Drew Snyder as Lieutenant Colonel Larimore.
  • Lane Smith as Commander Markel.
  • James Whitmore Jr. as Bwana.
  • Kevin Elders as CIA Driver.
  • Sydney Squire as Nurse.
  • David Bass as Lieutenant Grayson.
  • Rudy Nash as Hartman.


  • The picture opens with a dedication to the 347,304 Purple Heart recipients from the Vietnam War.
  • Third of five Vietnam War cinema movies made between the late 1970s and late 1980s that featured actor R. Lee Ermey. The films include Purple Hearts (1984), Apocalypse Now (1979), Full Metal Jacket (1987) The Boys in Company C (1978) and The Siege of Firebase Gloria (1988).
  • First of two consecutive back-to-back war movies for actor Ken Wahl whose next film would be the World War II tele-film The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission (1985).
  • The lead female role of Deborah Solomon was played by Cheryl Ladd who was then the sister-in-law of Alan Ladd Jr. of the production company producing the film; The Ladd Company.
    • Director Sidney J. Furie insisted at the time of its release that casting Cheryl Ladd was his own decision and nepotism was not a factor.
  • The film’s title, “Purple Hearts”, refers to one of the highest military decorations that can be awarded to a soldier of the US military, “Being wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces”.
    • About forty years before this film was made, another Hollywood movie utilised the medal as a movie’s title, with the release of the World War II picture The Purple Heart (1944).

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Sidney J. Furie.
  • Producer(s):
    • Sidney J. Furie … producer.
    • Lope V. Juban Jr. … producer.
    • Rick Natkin … associate producer.
  • Writer(s):
    • Rick Natkin.
    • Sidney J. Furie.
  • Music:
    • Robert Folk.
  • Cinematography:
    • Jan Kiesser.
  • Editor(s):
    • George Grenville.
  • Production:
    • The Ladd Company.
  • Distributor(s):
    • Warner Bros. (1984) (USA) (theatrical).
    • CBS (1989) (USA) (TV) (broadcast premiere).
    • Roadshow Films (1984) (Australia) (theatrical).
    • The Ladd Company (1984) (USA) (theatrical).
    • Warner-Columbia Filmverleih (1984) (West Germany) (theatrical).
    • Audio Visual Enterprises (1988) (Greece) (VHS).
    • Warner Home Video (1989) (Japan) (VHS).
    • Warner Home Video (Germany) (VHS).
    • Warner Home Video (1993) (USA) (VHS).
    • Warner Home Video (2009) (USA) (DVD).
    • Warner Home Vídeo (Brazil) (VHS).
  • Release Date: 23 March 1984 (USA Film Festival, US).
  • Running Time: 116 minutes.
  • Rating: 15.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link(s)

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