5.2/10
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10 user 6 critic

Death of a Soldier (1986)

R | | Crime, Drama, War | 16 May 1986 (USA)
Based on a true story, James Coburn portrays a military lawyer assigned to defend a confessed psychotic killer. Set in the context of WWII and the uneasy US-Australian military alliance. ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay) (as William Nagle), (story) (as William Nagle)
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Maurie Fields ...
Det. Sgt. Martin (as Maurice Fields)
Max Fairchild ...
Maj. William Fricks
Belinda Davey ...
Margot Saunders
...
Pvt. Anthony Gallo
...
Jon Sidney ...
Nell Johnson ...
Maisie
Pippa Wilson ...
Singer in Boomerang Bar
Kim Rushworth ...
Band in bar
John McTernan ...
Col. Williams (as John McTiernan)
Earl Francis ...
Police Doctor
Ron Pinnell ...
Mr. Harmon
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Storyline

Based on a true story, James Coburn portrays a military lawyer assigned to defend a confessed psychotic killer. Set in the context of WWII and the uneasy US-Australian military alliance. The accused killer claims to have killed 3 women in order to possess their voices. Despite the defense lawyer's concerns that the killer is not fit to stand trial, the US military presses forward with the case and its desire to have the killer executed in order to strengthen the shaky alliance. Written by Fryingham

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The obscenity of war. The brutality of murder. The travesty of justice.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 May 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dein Lied - Dein Tod  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)| (archive footage)| (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie is based on the true story of the murders of three Melbourne women by a United States military serviceman in Melbourne, Australia during the Second World War. The series of killings are known as The Brown-Out Murders whilst the killer, Private Eddie Leonski, was known as "The Brownout Strangler" or "The Brownout Murderer". "Brown-out' is a term which was used during the Second World War where people would dim the lights in their houses so as reduce the visibility of enemy airplanes. In 1942 World War II Australia, the city of Melbourne was in the thick of brown-out where the streets were dark and shadowy. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Spoony Experiment: Death of a Soldier (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

An accurate and important piece of history
16 February 2004 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

It's obvious from the remarks in the previous commentaries by others, that none of them were ever in the military. Coburn was portraying a Military Police major (Maj. Dannenberg) serving as the Assistant Provost Marshal - he was not playing an Army attorney. At that time (and still optional today) an officer from any branch in the military can serve as legal council to an accused soldier - you don't have to be a lawyer (JAG Corps). This particular story was true, and is the event in military history that is directly responsible for the creation and implementation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) applicable to all the Armed Forces. The film is accurate and does not portray any Hollywood political bias. It's a great film and a good piece of history. A little known fact: Gen. MacArthur came close to being court martialed for preventing Maj. Dannenberg from appealing Pvt. Leonski's death sentence and conviction, but political allies in Washington intervened.


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