6.6/10
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108 user 66 critic

Courage Under Fire (1996)

A U.S. Army officer, despondent about a deadly mistake he made, investigates a female chopper commander's worthiness for the Medal of Honor.

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9 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Armand Darrius ...
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Bobcat 5 (as Mark Adair-Riós)
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Storyline

The pilot of a rescue copter, Captain Karen Walden, died shortly before her helicopter crew was rescued after it crashed in Desert Storm. It first appears that she made a spectacular rescue of a downed helicopter crew, then held her own crew together to fight off the Iraqis after her copter crashed. Lt. Colonel Serling, who is struggling with his own demons from Desert Storm, is assigned to investigate her worthiness for the Medal of Honor. But some conflicting accounts, from her crew and soldiers in the area, cause him to question whether she deserves it. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A medal for honor. A search for justice. A battle for truth. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for war violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

12 July 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mut zur Wahrheit  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$46,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,501,000 (USA) (12 July 1996)

Gross:

$58,918,501 (USA) (25 October 1996)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At least one of the Centurion-based M1A1 Abrams tank mock-ups, used during the 'Al-Bathra' battle scene in the film, was re-used in Cradle 2 the Grave (2003). See more »

Goofs

SPC Ilario is seen wearing a Canadian flight suit bellow his flight vest, in scenes where his left shoulder is visible the Canadian flag in OD colors is shown, As he in the movie was a member of the US armed forces this was obviously a wardrobe mistake. See more »

Quotes

Nathaniel Serling: I work at the Pentagon, Sergeant, so I'll admit I'm a little slow on the uptake, otherwise I'd say that you just threatened me. Did you just threaten me, soldier? Because if you did, let me respond to you...
[turns off tape recorder]
Nathaniel Serling: Let me respond to you this way. I'm an officer, and therefore, by proclamation, a gentleman, but don't abuse that, son. Don't get in my crosshairs, because I'll have no compunction whatsoever about getting up to my neck in yo' ass. Do you understand me?
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Connections

Featured in Honest Trailers: The Martian (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Angel from Montgomery
Written by John Prine
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Profound, intelligent, and moving; one of Zwick's best...
6 November 2008 | by (Trinidad and Tobago) – See all my reviews

Edward Zwick's second war-based movie (following the successful GLORY) is almost as good as his first, and every bit as watchable. I have particularly liked stories that use different viewpoints to tell the same story (hence creating different versions of the same story). These types of movies stemmed no doubt from Akira Kurosawa's epic RASHOMON, and while films that use this strategy rarely live up to Kurosawa's original in terms of intelligence and portrayal (the most recent being the slightly-better-than-mediocre VANTAGE POINT), COURAGE UNDER FIRE is still a rewarding Motion Picture.

Denzel Washington is near his brilliant best as the troubled Lieutenant Colonel on the verge of alcoholism due in part to his overwhelming feelings of guilt following a military procedure gone wrong. His depression and curiosity fuel his determination to get to the bottom of the 'mystery' even if it puts him out of favour with his Commanding Officers. Meg Ryan is equally superb, and as each re-telling of the story demands her to take on a different personality (similar to the female lead in RASHOMON), she manages to pull each one off effectively. Matt Damon puts in a reliable shift, even losing upward of 20 pounds to take on the role. For me, the biggest surprise is Lou Diamond Phillips who is actually quite watchable, and does not overact, as is his tendency.

Zwick's COURAGE UNDER FIRE is an examination of war from a less visceral point of view, and will stay with the viewer long after watching the movie. It deeply delves into themes of responsibility, guilt, and truth in an overall compelling Motion Picture. The script is effective and the buildup to the somewhat sentimental ending is quite commendable.

8/10. 3.5 stars (out of 4). Highly recommended. Should enter my Top 200 at around #183.


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