This 1980s Army Commercial Is The Hottest Thing To Come Out Of The Cold War

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

These days, U.S. military recruitment videos reek of Hollywood sensationalism, as if joining the armed forces will automatically transform you into Jason Bourne. There’s no heart. No soul. No balls. But back in the ‘80s, when men were men and women had mullets, the military’s recruitment strategy was all red, white, and blue. Take this 1988 country music-inflected Army commercial, for example. If this doesn’t make you want to serve your country, well, comrade, you might as well start saving up for that hammer and sickle tattoo now.

Titled “Freedom Isn’t Free,” the video harkens back to the good old days, long before Snapchat, “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” and pumpkin spice frappuccino lattes. The premise is simple: Life in Cold War-era small town America is perfect and beautiful in every way — like a slice of grandma’s apple pie, or a glass of sweet tea on a hot summer day, or a six pack of Budweiser tall boys after work, or a Sonic double bacon cheeseburger delivered right to the window of your F-150 by a bucktoothed kid on roller skates.

Related: This psychadelic 1970s airborne recruitment video is vintage gold »

But that kind of freedom isn’t free. No way. It must be earned, with bullets, bombs, and human blood. Yes, war sucks. There’s a lot of rain and mud involved, and the face paint gets messy. But those hippies up in New York City or San Francisco are too busy snorting cocaine and reading “The Communist Manifesto” to give a shit about freedom. So get your ass down to the nearest recruitment station and sign the fuck up, John…or Jim, or Bob, or Bill. There’s trouble brewing in Panama and Manuel Noriega isn’t going to depose himself.


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