ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

I first saw Starship Troopers when I was nine years old. At the time I remember being blown away by the massive arachnid battles, and, admittedly, that co-ed shower scene. I mean, I was nine after all.

A more recent viewing actually showed Starship Troopers for what it really is: a scathing satire of militarism, blind patriotism and jingoism... with boobs and gratuitous violence. To remind ourselves of this action classic, here are 10 things you may not have known as Starship Troopers.

Starship Troopers Used More Ammunition Than Any Other Film

According to the film's weapon coordinator, Robert "Rock" Galotti, over 300,000 blank rounds were used to film Starship Trooper's various battle scenes. This was a record for Galotti, and he believes it could also be a record for action movies in general.

When watching scenes like the one below, it's not hard to see why:

Director Paul Verhoeven Never Finished The Novel

Starship Troopers was originally based on a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, however it seems the director, Paul Verhoeven, never actually finished the book. Instead, he reportedly read the first few chapters before becoming "bored and depressed". He stated:

I stopped after two chapters because it was so boring,...It is really quite a bad book. I asked Ed Neumeier to tell me the story because I just couldn't read the thing. It's a very right-wing book.

This relates to the next point.

The Original Book Was Rather Controversial

Heinlein's original novel has had several accusations thrown against it, namely that it promotes fascism, militarism and even racism. Even Heinlein himself agreed that it did glorify warfare and that his personal political views were expressed within the book's many classroom scenes. From what I've gathered, many people both agree and disagree with this critique.

Verhoeven, who grew up in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands, decided to use the very language and imagery of the film to satire its supposed values. He claimed that his use of satire and hyperbole played "with fascism or fascist imagery to point out certain aspects of American society... of course, the movie is about 'Let's all go to war and let's all die.'" Furthermore, when asked by Michael Ironside why he was "doing a right-wing Fascist movie?" He responded:

If I tell the world that a right-wing, Fascist way of doing things doesn't work, no one will listen to me. So I'm going to make a perfect Fascist world: everyone is beautiful, everything is shiny, everything has big guns and fancy ships, but it's only good for killing fucking bugs!

The Federations Uniforms Were Based on World War II German Uniforms

Nearly every military uniform in the movie was based off of World War II German and SS uniforms. Furthermore, the flag of the Federation also closely resembles the Imperial Eagle used extensively by the Third Reich.

The opening Mobile Infantry propaganda recruitment video is also a shot for shot remake of a similar scene in Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda film, Triumph of the Will. Check it out below:

Mark Wahlberg and James Marsden Turned Down The Lead Role

Both the upcoming stars decided to pass on the role of Johnny Rico in Starship Troopers. Ultimately, the part went to Casper Van Dien.

Paul Verhoeven Directed Some Scenes Naked

The cast only agreed to star in the film's nude co-ed shower scene if Verhoeven and cinematographer Jost Vacano were also nude for one take. Apparently, this resulted as a dare from star Dina Meyer.

Verhoeven Likes Dismembering Michael Ironside

Michael Ironside, who stars as Lt. Jean Rasczak in Starship Troopers, also appeared in the Verhoeven directed action classic, Total Recall. In that movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger severs both of Ironside's arms in a fight. In Starship Troopers, Ironside instead loses both his legs to a 'tanker bug'.

Rasczak Quotes Frederick The Great

"Do you want to live forever?", the famous war motivator spoken by Lt Rasczak in the film, was actually originally attributed to Prussia's Frederick the Great during his wars with Austria in the 18th century (he originally stated, "Dogs, do you want to live forever?"). Verhoeven seems particularly keen on the quote as it also spoken by Emil in RoboCop.

Starship Troopers Features a President's Son

Steven Ford, the son of former US President Gerald Ford, plays the role of Lt. Willy in Starship Troopers. Unfortunately, Willy is speared by a Bug during the first attack on the Arachnid homeworld.

Did Starship Troopers Predict the Iraq War?

Not so much of a fact (more of an interesting theory), but a article has suggested the events of Starship Troopers fairly closely resemble the events in the lead up to the Iraq War, which took place 6 years after the movie was released.

In particular, they suggest the asteroid attack which launches Earth into a war frenzy was not actually caused by the Arachnids - who live fifty thousand light years away - but was either a natural event or potentially caused (or allowed to happen) by the government. However, the event was jumped on by the powers-that-be in order to create popular support for what was essentially a war of expansion against the Arachnid empire.

Of course, suggested this is eerily similar to the US-led attack on Iraq in 2003, in particular how 9/11 and claims of weapons of mass destruction were used to justify and gain support for the war. As we now know, Iraq and Saddam Hussein both had no weapons of mass destruction and had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 or Al Qaeda.

The fact Starship Troopers illustrates how blind patriotism and nationalism can lead to unjustified and unnecessary wars means Verhoeven could have been satirizing something that hadn't even happened yet.


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