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Hideo Kojima made headlines by announcing “15 films that influenced the Metal Gear Solid series”. Some of the chosen movies range from obvious (Goldfinger) to obscure (Bourne Identity), but fear not readers! Gamer Limit takes an in-depth look at each of the films Mr. Kojima chose, and why he may have chosen them. Any spoilers outside of a general plot outline will be marked within the analysis. If you love the Metal Gear series, or classic film, this is a must read.

Disclaimer: This is not from Mr. Kojima’s mouth; this is one man’s opinion. I am a Metal Gear Solid and film fanatic, so I hope you enjoy the following read.

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Movie: The Guns of the Navarone
MGS games it applies to: All of them
Relevance: High

This is one of the more obvious choices for inspiration in the Metal Gear Solid series. The basic plot entails an allied commando team seeking to destroy an impregnable German fortress. The team disguises their unit as a Greek boat to sail across the Aegean Sea, much like Snake employs his many disguises to initially sneak into his mission location. A character in the movie is also named Corporal Miller, who may be a reference to McDonnell Miller, Snake’s radio “contact” in the first game. The actual “guns” of the Navarone are the targets the commando team is attempting to destroy. The “guns” in the Metal Gear Solid series can easily been viewed as the actual Gears themselves, and the title “The Guns of the Patriots” is perhaps derived from this classic movie.

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Movie: The Great Escape
MGS games it applies to: Metal Gear Solid 3
Relevance: Low

The great escape is perhaps the most classic of all “Nazi Internment camp escape” movies. Luftwaffe Colon von Luger claims that his new high security prisoner of war camp is escape-proof. (Spoilers) The POWs escape from the camp by digging a large tunnel system, while hiding it from the Germans. In Metal Gear Solid 3, Major “Tom” (Zero) explains that his code name was from the movie “The Great Escape”. He claims that he chose the name because out of the three tunnels the POWs dug, the “lucky” tunnel was named Tom. He finds out later that the Nazis found “Tom”, and changes his name back to Major Zero. There isn’t much in regards to the actual plot that can be applied to the series. The only real thing that can be seen in Metal Gear Solid from The Great Escape is the high amount of POW scenes found. The title characters of Metal Gear are subject to torture numerous times. The story also is similar to the Metal Gear Solid series in that it doesn’t particularly concentrate on the larger war at hand: it focuses on a small band of individuals.

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Movie: Goldfinger
MGS games it applies to: Mostly 3
Relevance: High

It all started with Big Boss. Kojima is a widely known James Bond fan. In the original retro Metal Gear, Big Boss is modeled after Sean Connery. James Bond’s iconic dinner suit tux is also an unlockable costume in just about all of the Metal Gear Solids. The theme for Metal Gear Solid 3 (Snake Eater) is modeled directly after a Bond theme. The entire “spy” concept, while derived from multiple movies, can mostly be attributed to Connery’s Bond. Auric Goldfinger is also an iconic Bond villain, and many situations that Bond gets into with Goldfinger can be compared to Snake’s meetings with Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 3. (Mild Spoilers) Both Goldfinger and Ocelot take Bond/Snake hostage, and both Goldfinger/Ocelot meet Bond/Snake in final battle aboard an aircraft. Connery’s Bond was also very forward with his love of smokes, despite his superior’s views; so is Solid Snake.

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Movie: 2001: A Space Odyssey
MGS games it applies to: All of them, but a lot of 4 shows it’s influence
Relevance: High

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was a monumental achievement in film. Released in 1968, Kubrick brought space exploration to life like no one had before. There are a few obvious references to Metal Gear Solid on the surface of “2001″. One of the spacecraft operators is named David, and the supercomputer aboard the craft is named “HAL 9000″. Snake’s real name is David, and Otacon, his partner is named Hal. (Mild spoilers). 2001 a Space Odyssey also has a lot to do with the evolution of technology into it’s own sentient being. Metal Gear Solid 4 in particular has a lot to do with this theme. The Sons of the Patriots nano-machine system has a simple premise: microscopic nano-machines are injected into soldiers to limit their emotions, and make them better combat participants. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL 9000 becomes sentient and takes over the spacecraft. Both are examples of man-made technology gone out of control.

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Movie: Planet of the Apes
MGS games it applies to: All of them
Relevance: Low

Ah, classic dystopia. Kojima probably chose this movie because of its strong anti-war sentiments. Planet of the Apes was released amidst controversy, because even though it was an entertainment medium, it had strong anti-wars overtones. Kojima applied the same thing to all of his work. Big Boss’ ambitions for war only brought more turmoil and death to the world.

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Movie: The Deer Hunter
MGS games it applies to: All of them
Relevance: High

Snake’s iconic bandana is actually Robert De Niro’s. The Deer Hunter explores the mental consequences of war and the effect of super-patriotism on communities. De Niro plays Michael, a no nonsense steel worker that is sent off to fight in Vietnam. The movie is known for its very gritty Russian roulette and torture scenes, the latter of which are also found in every Metal Gear Solid game. The general message of the movie is, like Planet of the Apes, anti-war.

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Movie: Dawn of the Dead
MGS games it applies to: Mostly 4
Relevance: Low

While it may be reaching, Dawn of the Dead’s main theme of the dead coming to life may be applied to the zombification of soldiers in Metal Gear Solid 4 through the Sons of the Patriot nano-machine program. Other than that, a classic enemy in the Metal Gear Solid series, Psycho Mantis, controls soldiers through telekinesis, and their motions are very familiar to zombies’.

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Movie: Full Metal Jacket
MGS games it applies to: Mostly 4
Relevance: High

Another Kubrick film! Mr. Kojima has good taste. War affects everyone. From the time you are enlisted, to the moment you’re actually in your first battle, millions of thoughts are running through people’s minds. The movie follows a squad of U.S. Marines through basic training, and eventually their participation in the Vietnam War. A large portion of this film is set during the actual training. In Metal Gear Solid, VR training is a huge part of the character’s preparation for battle. The training in Full Metal Jacket is brutal; it’s very unforgiving, and a private in the squad commits suicide before the training is even complete. Raiden is only given VR training before he is sent on his first mission. The anxiety he is feeling is definitely similar to the privates in training shown in Full Metal Jacket. After the movie kicks off, war is shown to be a completely unpredictable and brutal happening, just like the war of the PMCs in Metal Gear Solid 4.

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Movie: The Predator
MGS games it applies to: All of them
Relevance: Low

Stealth Camo is developed by Otacon in the Metal Gear Solid series. Eventually, this leads to Octo-Camo in MGS 4. The Predator’s big advantage over his prey in the film is his stealth camouflage that renders him invisible to the naked eye. Other than that, I just think Kojima has a soft spot for classic hardcore action movies. Perhaps Sniper Wolf’s obsession with her prey can be reflective of the Predator’s need to hunt. The battle against “The End” in Metal Gear Solid 3 is also highly reminiscent of the fight scenes in Predator.

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Movie: Die Hard
MGS games it applies to: All of them, but mostly Metal Gear Solid 1
Relevance: High

John McClane had one of the worst days in history. All he wanted to do is reconcile with his wife, and he ended up in a large-scale hostage situation. The main premise of the movie is “one man against 12 terrorists”. Solid Snake is against greater odds in the series, but the situation still remains the same: he is essentially alone on the actual battlefield. In Die Hard, an LAPD officer, Sergeant Al Powell gets hold of McClane via a radio, and the two develop a friendly relationship over a communications line. Snake is in contact with Otacon in the Metal Gear series in a similar fashion. Otacon and Powell both provide emotional, as well as pragmatic support to both heroes. McClane’s overall cockiness towards his dire situation is also shown heavily in Snake’s personality. His “bring ‘em on” attitude is a large part of what makes Snake such a formidable soldier. Finally, the main villain of both Metal Gear Solid 1 and Die Hard enter the entertainment mediums in a similar fashion: they both storm in with a group of terrorists, and take over a facility, holding it hostage. In Die Hard’s case, the hostages are people, and the goal is money, and in Metal Gear, the hostage is America via a threat of a nuclear launch.

Head to the next page for the remaining films

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  1. avatar Rick Boyer

    Thanks for posting the article, was certainly a great read!

  2. This was an excellent write up. I had missed Kojima’s previous list of movies that inspired him.

    As a admirer of MGS, it’s cool to have a list of what inspired him and possibly why. I now have some movies to toss onto the ol’ Netflix queue

    • avatar Amanda

      Yeah I @jmm1233 Yeah I hate that part. I’m not patient euongh to get through that perfect. Luckily it doesn’t hurt you much and if you are quick you can get through it without having to waste rations.

  3. avatar Flushmonster

    As well the EYE PATCH SNAKE=SNAKE Plissken!

    Snaaaake!

  4. Haha yes! Go Kurt Russell

  5. Great list you have here.

    • avatar Hamidan

      Metal Gear Solid 5: Rising is coming for the flliowong:- Playstation 3- Xbox 360- PCIt might be coming out later this year, but the actual release date hasn’t been confirmed yet.Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker will be exclusive for the PSP, due for release early 2010.

    • avatar fiony

      Note to Hideo: Games should allow plpeoe to actually *play* them for more than 10% of the time, without having to sit through endless cut scenes, a’la MGS4. Please take this note to heart.

  6. avatar Ross

    I’ll mention it just because I think you missed it, The Fury. It’s a movie about psychics. I heard it inspired Mantis. Just a note.

  7. @Ross
    This is going off Kojima’s personal list that was introduced in the opening paragraph, otherwise I would have used that.

  8. avatar Tiffike

    This has to be one of the best MGS figures ever! It is exmrltey detailed and it does one thing that most of these toys cant do, and that is stand up on it’s own lol. Keep it standing on a smooth flat surface and it will stay standing up. The toy it self isn’t very poseble, Actually u can’t move him at all. But this is a character trohpy any way, to show off in a shelf, not play with. Overall this is one of the best lookin figures of MGS in my collection and recomend it to die hard fans and collecters!

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