10 Things You Didn't Know About Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers: A Box Office Flop Turned Cult Classic.

Neil Patrick Harris - Starship Troopers
Sony Pictures Releasing

In 1997, Paul Verhoeven released Starship Troopers to unsuspecting audiences. The film is an explosive R-rated adventure featuring the controversial director's patented blend of brutal action, science fiction and cutting edge special effects (previously honed to perfection on Robocop and Total Recall).

Unfortunately, unfavourable reviews and low ticket sales made the film a box office failure and revenues barely covered the huge costs of making it. Over the years, word of mouth and home video distribution turned Starship Troopers into an underground hit leading critics to overturn the original impressions of the film and reappraise it as a cult classic. And well deservedly, because it is far greater than what people appeared to first think about it.

Much has been written about Starship Troopers, since its release, and as with many classic films, there are mountains of fascinating behind the scenes facts just waiting to be uncovered.

Here we dig out just a few of the countless interesting stories surrounding Starship Troopers, from its pre-production origins to the various antics on set and all the way through to the film's (admittedly underwhelming) release.

10. Upon Release The Movie Was Accused Of Glorifying Fascism

Neil Patrick Harris - Starship Troopers
TriStar Pictures

These days "war makes fascists of us all" is the widely accepted message behind Paul Verhoeven and Ed Neumeier's vision for Starship Troopers, a film which turns Robert Heinlein's classic book on its head and pushes its themes of a patriotic, war-driven society to the edge of absurdity.

Unfortunately, when first released in 1997, Starship Troopers and its creators were actively criticised by the mainstream media for the use of Nazi symbolism and for glorifying fascism through the portrayal of an idealistic military society.

When viewing the film on a purely superficial level, some might come to the same conclusion but that, quite frankly, would be to overlook the biting satire and to miss the point entirely. The world of Starship Troopers may seem an almost perfect one where equality of gender and race have been achieved, but at what cost?

Society is controlled by the United Citizen Federation, a military organisation that grants basic rights (such as the ability to vote and to have children) to "citizens" by having them enrol in military service, a path the youth are encouraged to follow from an early age.

In the film, these militaristic ideals are overtly lampooned early on by showing most adults with horrific injuries (missing limbs etc) and through the continued use of network televised propaganda scenes where children are given guns and encouraged to join the fight.

Starship Troopers far from glorifies fascism, it's an active warning against the dangers of taking such a path, cleverly told through the lens of an entertaining and explosive action film.


Christopher is a freelance pop culture writer, podcaster and self-confessed nerd from Scotland. He's also the owner, founder and editor at "The Head Scratcher" and a host of "The Scratch Cast" podcast. Visit www.theheadscratcher.com to find out more.