Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry

Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry

By Erich Weiss


Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry is a feature length documentary exploring the roots of American tattooing through the life of its most iconoclastic figure, Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins. Considered by many the foremost tattoo artist of all time, Collins is the father of modern day tattooing, whose uncompromising lifestyle and larger than life persona made him an American legend. Through rare interviews, photographs and hours of archival footage, Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry: The Life and Times of Norman Keith Collins, explores the past, present and future of the global tattooing phenomenon.

Based in Honolulu for most of his career, Sailor Jerry would come to symbolize the masculine ethos of a time when thousands of enlisted men were embanked in Hawaii, during World War II. Miles from home, ready to die, and fueled by devil-may care attitudes, these men went on shore leave with a single purpose in mind: to get "Stewed, Screwed and Tattooed."
United States 73 minutes 2007 English
  • Audience Award - Best Documentary (Winner) - 2008 New Orleans Film Festival (New Orleans, United States)
  • Hoboken International Film Festival 2009 (Hoboken, USA)
  • North By NorthEast Festival 2009 (Toronto, Canada)
  • X-Dance Film Festival 2009 (Salt Lake City, USA)
  • New Orleans Film Festival 2008 (New Orleans, United States)
  • Philadelphia Film Festival 2008 (Philadelphia, United States)
  • SXSW Film Festival 2008 (Austin, United States)
Displaying 1 of 1 Read All Reviews


  • 80.0/5 Stars.

Holy Smoke!

by Alessandro on Jun 7th, 2011
Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins comes from the true school of tattoo artists of the 50's, credited by most to modestly bring the art to the forefront of Americana. This doc could not have done a better job of retelling the beginning, the uprising, and the current state of tattoo artistry. This included great historical context as well, dating back to the Japanese's initial contribution to the art. The doc also included informative and entertaining interviews from some of Sailor Jerry's lifelong peers and admirers. (The only missing interviewed subject was Hori Smoku himself). I highly recommend this documentary of one of America's now prevalent subcultures. A fascinating, must-see film!
Write A Review

More Films Like This One