Major Payne – Marine Corps Movie

Major Payne opening title shot
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Major Payne - Marine Corps Movie

Disclaimer: I know that I will get flack for two reasons, one being that I considered this a Marine Corps movie and two because all the bleeding-heart liberals out there will bitch because Major Benson Winifred Payne is mistreating those poor little children.

It’s not that I consider this a Marine Corps movie, when I started reviewing movies, I wanted to include movies where an actor portrayed a Marine, not just Marine Corps movies. and like it or not Damon Wayans is portraying a Marine in this movie.

This 1995 slap-stick comedy is based on Damon Wayans playing a Special Forces Marine Corps, Major Benson Payne who after returning from another successful mission, learns that he is being discharged because he can not be promoted. Major Payne is a natural-born killer and will certainly have a difficult time adjusting to civilian life. Benson Payne quickly finds out that he is not made for civilian life, as he ends up in jail. While applying to be a police officer, he ends up repeatedly assaulting a cop, landing him in jail. While in jail, General Decker gives him an offer for an opportunity to be the commandant of a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program at Madison Preparatory School in Virginia and lead a dysfunctional group of misfit students.

This movie is loosely based on the 1955 Charleston Heston film ‘The Private War of Major Benson‘.

Major cast members were:

  • Damon Wayans as Major Benson Winifred Payne, USMC
  • Karyn Parsons as Emily Walburn
  • William Hickey as Dr. Phillips
  • Steven Martini as Cadet Alex J. Stone
  • Michael Ironside as Lieutenant Colonel Stone
  • Orlando Brown as Cadet Kevin “Tiger” Dunn
  • Albert Hall as General Elias Decker
  • Andrew Harrison Leeds as Cadet Dotson
  • Damien Dante Wayans as Cadet Dwight “D” Williams

My Take On The Flick:
The film is meant to be a light-hearted comedy and not to be taken seriously, and I like Damon’s style of comedy. I do have to say, he does show much respect to the Marine Corps in general. He chooses not to disrespect the Corps and the uniforms of the Corps. In fact, he is properly wearing most of the uniforms, unlike most Hollywood movies. I give Damon a thumbs up for that and a big thank you for showing respect. I’m one of the few who actually liked the movie, but again, I like most of the things that Damon has put his name on.

My observations:
In order for Major Payne be to a Special Operations Officer (SOO), he would have likely been Force Recon, and the Raiders were not operational at the time this movie was filmed (filmed in 1995, Raiders became operational again in 2006 after a 62-year hiatus). As an officer, it would be unlikely that a Major would be slaying and stacking bodies like his character is portrayed, but it is a comedy, so have fun with it.

Yes, Marine Corps officers do see combat, and many of those that do are “Follow Me” instead of “Go Do It” type leaders, it is very unlikely that he would be stacking bodies like he was in the movie. As a Special Forces Officer, he would be more of a decision-maker than an operator. I’m not saying that he wouldn’t go out on missions, just not like the movie made it to be. But having him in a situation room briefing someone about something or planning a mission, does not work for the movie and I get it.

The sunglasses that Major Payne wears are certainly not authorized, but during my time in the Corps, sunglasses were not authorized, period and I understand that today’s Marine Corps allows sunglasses.

A few websites online stated that the Major’s belt loops on his Alpha jacket, when he is in General Decker’s office, are all jacked up. There are two loops on the blouse one on each side. The front loop is free-floating as it is supposed to be aligned with the blouse pocket. Anyone that has worn that uniform understands that the free-floating loop is a pain in the ass and is always all over the place at times. But his belt is most certainly backward. I recall seeing a small snap on the loop and the belt so the placement was more stationary.

I’m fairly certain that his gold tooth is not authorized. The same for the gold bracelet on his right arm. Well damn, I just checked and when this was filmed there was no policy against gold teeth.

There are few scenes, where Major Payne salutes while indoors, which is not authorized in the Marine Corps, but Hollywood often does in movies, as the other services allow it.

When Major Payne is wearing his Alpha uniform, the oak clusters are not in the correct location on his collar.

When Major Payne checks into the Academy, he should be wearing his Alpha uniform, not his Dress Blue uniform.

In Charlies, General Decker’s ribbons are all sorts of jacked up.

Terminology and Lingo:
In the movie, Major Payne got passed over two times and as a Major, he would have already been augmented (Navy and Marine Corps Officer Augmentation Act of 1955). Traditionally, Marines have been given two opportunities to be promoted. If they fail to be selected for promotion on a second attempt, their careers are over (Title 10 U.S. Code §)

Major Payne, used the knife hands, which is taught to drill instructors and when I was in NCO school, it was taught to us there as well.

Major Payne states, If the Marine Corps wanted me to have a wife, they would have issued me one.  I was told that many times while I was on Active Duty.

At one point he has the cadets at the ‘front leaning rest position‘, which is something every recruit in the Corps learns.

There are two main characters in the movie that have a military rank, and both appear to be correct, they are always wearing the correct rank and in the correct locations on the uniform.

I love it when the actors and actresses actually give a shit about the character they are playing in a movie. For Major Payne, Dean Lorey (he co-wrote the movie) and Damon Wayans both went to the real MCB Camp Pendleton,  before they wrote Major Payne. I’m fairly certain that they intended the sign at the beginning of the movie to portray the real Camp Pendleton, but since they were filming in Virginia, they simply put Virginia on the sign to pay homage to both Camp Pendleton and Virginia. ** Yes, I’m aware there is a Camp Pendleton in Virginia, it is a small base in Virginia Beach. We lived right down the road from there. Besides the shooting ranges located there, the rest is usually a park.

Damon also spent several weeks of Marine Corps Drill Instructor qualification training, learning the requirements of a Marine Corps Drill Instructor as well as aspects of Marine Corps recruit training. The style of his walk, his posture, talking in the face of each cadet, his speech, his voice modulation, etc. can clearly state the level of dedication he put into this part.

Though I love the scene where Major Payne has the boys buried neck deep, I know that this type of hazing is not authorized and as a parent, if that was my child, I’m fairly certain that I would be pissed off, but it was funny.

In the scene where they drug Major Payne’s cupcake, he farts, and Cadet Wuliger who is wearing an all-blue cadet uniform, falls to the ground, In the next scene they are trying to wake Cadet Wuliger up and he is now outside and in his camouflage uniform.

I love how he eats fast, as that was something every Marine picked up while in boot camp. My family says I still eat too fast.

In the scene where he is leaving the academy to go back to Active Duty, he climbs in the passenger seat of a Hummer and there is the muzzle of an M16 sticking up, the flash suppressor is not one that the Marine Corps used in the ’90s.

In the very last scene, we are made to believe that Major Payne and Emily Walburn, got married and adopted Tiger. 


Major Payne: You know, you remind me of the doughboy. If I poke your stomach will it make you go…?
Major Payne: One, tubby, tubby!
Cadet Heathcoat: One, sir.
Major Payne: Come on, pork chop!
Major Payne: Two, chubby, chubby!
Cadet Heathcoat: Two, sir.

Major Payne: Fee-fi-fo-fum.
Major Payne: What beanstalk did you fall from?

Major Payne: You think I owe you an apology?
Major Payne: Want me to take back some of those mean and hurtful little things I said?
Major Payne: OK.
Major Payne: I’m sorry you’re just a little turd
Major Payne: that can’t hold your liquid out in public
Major Payne: New get outta my face before I pick you up and toss you out that window!

Major Payne: I said, “Pop your titty out his mouth and stop babyin’ him!”
Emily Walburn: I don’t call it babying, I call it nurturing.
Major Payne: And I call it neutering.
Emily Walburn: And I call you an insecure, overbearing, psychopathic, dictatorial, egomaniacal, frigid, lunatic asshole!
Major Payne: I ain’t frigid.

Major Payne: From now on, my little group of shaved scrotum sacks, you will walk like me, talk like me, eat like me, and until you win those games, you will be bald like me.




The movie received mixed reviews and if it was released today, it would be canceled, because the main character is abusing children, plus it has a military theme and we can’t forget about the animal abuse in the end when the main character shaves a dog.


Credit goes out to the three Military Advisors for this film, sadly they are not Marines, but hey, I guess you go with who you can afford. 

  • SGM Nathaniel Frost, U.S. Army – 19 years of JROTC experience
  • 1SG Leslie Speight, U.S. Army – nearly 24 years of Active Duty in the U.S. Army and 13 years of JROTC experience
  • LTC C. David Richards

For those that care, I have a post dedicated to his medals and ribbons from this movie.

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Average Joe

Welcome to the Average Joe Weekly blog. This is basically my place on the web where I can help spread some of the knowledge that I have accumulated over the years. I served 10+ years in the Marine Corps on Active Duty, but that was some 25 years ago.


  • Average Joe

    Welcome to the Average Joe Weekly blog. This is basically my place on the web where I can help spread some of the knowledge that I have accumulated over the years. I served 10+ years in the Marine Corps on Active Duty, but that was some 25 years ago.

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By Average Joe

Welcome to the Average Joe Weekly blog. This is basically my place on the web where I can help spread some of the knowledge that I have accumulated over the years. I served 10+ years in the Marine Corps on Active Duty, but that was some 25 years ago.

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