Death Before Dishonor (1987)

R  |   |  Action, Drama  |  20 February 1987 (USA)
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Reviews: 20 user | 13 critic

Gunnery Sergeant Burns reports for duty to an American Embassy in the Middle East. However due to the 'enlightened' views of the Ambassador, the marine security detachment he is in charge ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gunnery Sgt. Burns
Sgt. Manuel Ramirez (as Joey Gian)
Col. Halloran
Rockne Tarkington ...
Daniel Chodos ...
Gavril (as Mohammed Bakri)
Zabib (as Haim Gerafi)
Tuvia Tavi ...
Yossi Ashdot ...
Yossi Virginsky ...
Yossi Virzansky ...


Gunnery Sergeant Burns reports for duty to an American Embassy in the Middle East. However due to the 'enlightened' views of the Ambassador, the marine security detachment he is in charge of is severely restricted in their functions and presence to avoid upsetting the host government. As a result, when terrorists attack the compound, they are able to kidnap hostages and escape with little opposition. Burns ignores the Ambassador's restrictions, and throws the rule books out the window, as he becomes a one man army in an attempt to rescue the hostages, and wipe out the terrorists. Written by Brian W Martz <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In a world of compromise, he wouldn't! See more »


Action | Drama


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 February 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los héroes jamás se rinden  »

Box Office


$4,546,244 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


US military in Lebanon AKA "Jamal" the event with the suicide car bomber is based on a true event in Beirut 1983 but it was an American army barrack not an American embassy. See more »


Gunnery Sgt. Burns: Both sides of those rocks.
Ruggieri: Why we got to paint both sides of the rocks?
James: I don't know.
Gunnery Sgt. Burns: You boys ever heard of Korea?
James: Yes sir, Gunny.
Gunnery Sgt. Burns: Well then you are probably very familar with the conflict at Hill 442. Is that right?
Ruggieri: Yes sir. Everyone has heard of that battle.
Gunnery Sgt. Burns: And did you know your Colonel is personally responsible for pulling 52 marines off that hill? Alive.
Gunnery Sgt. Burns: So don't you think the Colonel deserves to have his rocks painted tops and bottoms?
Gunnery Sgt. Burns: Good; paint the rocks.
See more »


Featured in Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Death before watching this again!
25 August 2005 | by (Williamsburg, VA) – See all my reviews

I decided to dust this one off and give it another watch. I don't know if that was a good thing. DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR is the quintessential one-sided, "We're good, they're bad" action film. Not since John Wayne's THE GREEN BERETS (1968) have I seen a film so amazingly biased.

The scariest thing about DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR is the film's politics. The film is so glaringly jingoistic that it landed itself on the "Worst List" of the book "Reed Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People." While set in the fictional country of Jemal, it is quite obvious who these guys fighting Israel are supposed to be. And who the good guys are. While discussing the complex problems in the Middle East, Ellie asks Burns, "Are you the kind of person who knows what is exactly right and what is wrong?" "Yes," replies Burns before he tells her "don't get us mad." DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR is the kind of film where multiple bad guys can't hit the hero (granted his underlings do die for the cause) with machine guns, but he can blow them up with a rocket launcher while driving a car. Where a "by the book" bureaucrat finds out the hard way (via car bomb) how "savage" these people really are. I think The Phantom of the Movies summed it up best in his review when he said, "it may well be the best 1943 war movie made in 1987." It would be funny, if it weren't so darn frightening.

Actually, there is a bit of fun to be had with DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR. Director Leonard, a veteran stuntman, crafts some nice car chases with a rather nice car stunt at the film's end. The film definitely holds its own against its contemporaries such as THE DELTA FORCE (1986) in that regard. Dryer, with visions of Eastwood in HEARTBREAK RIDGE (1986) dancing in his head, is amazingly bland as the tough as nails Marine. Watching him drag around here, it is hard to believe he carried a TV series for so many seasons. You can tell he was hoping for a cross over opportunity into theatrical features, but failed miserably. But there is something inherently funny in his featureless performance. Finally, fans of "what in the world" moments should also keep an eye out for the scene where Brian Keith, being photographed by terrorists, gives them the finger…with his ring finger!

8 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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