HomeEntertainmentWATCH: John Wayne and R. Lee Ermey Star in Iconic 1992 Beer Ad

WATCH: John Wayne and R. Lee Ermey Star in Iconic 1992 Beer Ad

by Matthew Wilson
Photo credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

That’s General John Wayne to you. This 1992 beer commercial united silver screen’s legendary cowboy with one of the meanest drill sergeants around. R. Lee Ermey entertained audiences with his strict, foul-mouth Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in 1987’s “Full Metal Jacket.”

Ermey reprised the role for what else but a beer commercial. Gomer Pyle better watch out. Of course, this was a relatively tame Ermey and Hartman. The TV censors kept him from unleashing his full litany of colorful language on the troops. Instead, the drill sergeant kept things PG in this outing.

Ermey was looking for the owner of a six-pack of Coors Light. And he wasn’t afraid to use scare tactics to find the culprit. One soldier began to daydream of frolicking with women and drinking beer. The commercial cut back to a screaming Ermey in his face, giving him a rude awakening.

Ermey yelled at the entire platoon, “I want to know who’s beer this is right now!” 

Cue, John Wayne walking into the scene. Wayne played the general, similar to his on-screen roles in war films. The Duke took responsibility for the alcohol. “It’s my beer, Sergeant.”

In a hilarious scene, the drill sergeant was at a loss for words. He stuttered in response, whereas he was usually the one doing the ordering and the barking. Wayne took back the alcohol and also confessed that he misplaced his bag of pretzels. Ermey ordered the troops to start scrambling to find the pretzels.

John Wayne, the Digital Ghost

Many are probably wondering how John Wayne appeared in a beer commercial in 1993. The actor died from stomach cancer all the way back in 1979. Well, unsurprisingly, that wasn’t actually Duke Morrison in the commercial. Sadly, the two actors never actually shared screen time together.

“Full Metal Jacket” and Ermey’s big break didn’t come out until 1987. Formerly in the military, Ermey was brought into the film to give some authenticity to the role.

Wayne was resurrected with digital trickery, a common practice nowadays but slightly less so in 1993. For less than a minute, Wayne returned from the grave to share a brew. The effect is realistic enough that many would swear it was John Wayne himself.