Purple Hearts

Photos from the filming of the movie "Purple Hearts" in the Philippines when Eric was in high school.

I spent the last two years of high school (1981-1983) living in the Philippines (my father was in the Navy). We lived near Manila and I went to the International School in Manila. During my senior year, the filming of the movie "Purple Hearts" took place in the Philippines. The filming required numerous American military "grunts" (young soldiers) and students from my high school were perfect.

Two or three dozen students got crew cuts, makeup and M-16's and spent one to two weeks running around airfields and rice patties looking tough.

The movie is not what I would call a masterpiece :-) In fact, I'm not sure it ever really made it into theaters, but I have seen it on TV several times. You can rent it on VHS. Unfortunately, it does not rank enough to make it to DVD yet and because the VHS has an aspect ratio of 4x3, one of my best scenes was pan and scanned out! Bastards! Oh well, perhaps it will make it to letterboxed DVD and I'll get a chance to see my big scene!

It did make it to DVD, see my scenes here.

I also got to spend some time talking to R. Lee Ermey early in his career. Ermey has become one of the most recognized character actors of his time.

Thanks to Brian for supplying the pictures!

Our film career began with being clothed in military garb. My brother Brian is pictured second from the left in the front row, shirtless. To his right is Kenneth Crowe, a good friend of mine at the time. The shirtless guy to Ken's left is Kurt Algayer who lived near my family in Magallanes Village, Makati.Here is one with me. I'm standing right behind Ken.

I spent one week filming at about $25 a day. One day we filmed in a rice patty. We all got M-16's with a cartridge of blanks. This was used in the initial scenes of the movie where there is a fire fight and some of the characters are introduced. M-16's are fun to shoot!The march to the rice patty.

I got to carry around an M-60 for a while too (not pictured here). Just call me Eric "Rambo" Vasilik. To simulate mortar explosions, the explosives people on the movie soaked chunks of cork in gasoline and ignited them next to us. The explosions were quite convincing!The guy with red hair is Adam Rice who got a speaking part in the film. I believe that he actually went into the military after high school.

This is Jim Hegarty. We both went to Purdue University after High School.Here is a shot of most of the extras. I'm standing on the left, Jim is next to me. Ken is at the bottom row on the right.

The big guy to the left is the prop manager. The guy in the middle was not from the high school, but worked as a professional basketball player in the Philippines.

On the first day of shooting, we went to a Philippino Air Force base where barracks were set up. I spent most of the days here in various scenes.

One of the first scenes involved an aircraft landing and wounded being taken off. In the movie, the first long shot of the plane when the doors are first opened, I'm the one sitting behind the doors. This is inside the plane.

I was the first extra to receive makeup on the Air Force set. In my case, evidently a bullet grazed my head!Adam has wrist problems.

Brian's got it worse on his back!Notice the tube hanging down which is used to pump blood into the wound.

The movie starred Ken Wahl and Cheryl Ladd.

Brian spent more time on the set and went to another location which I did not.

This was taken at a base in Cavite where my youngest brother, Kevin, was born.

Yes, that is real beer.

Here is the director, Sidney J. Furie. Ask me to tell you the story about when I almost kicked his face in!

Here's one of the posters made for the movie. I bought one of these online and had it framed.