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A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (1998)

R  |   |  Drama  |  18 September 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 2,079 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 38 user | 38 critic | 23 from

This fictionalized story, based on the family life of writer James Jones, is an emotionless slice-of-life story. Jones here is portrayed as Bill Willis, a former war hero and now successful... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Willis
Marcella Willis
Charlotte Anne 'Channe' Willis, Age 14
Mrs. Fortescue
Billy Willis, Age 14
Harley Cross ...
Keith Carter
Mamadou (as Isaac De Bankole)
Macha Méril ...
Madame Beauvier (as Macha Meril)
Nathalie Richard ...
Mademoiselle Fournier
Anthony Roth Costanzo ...
Francis Fortescue
Bob Swaim ...
Billy's Mother
Young Charlotte Anne 'Channe' Willis, Age 7
Samuel Gruen ...
Benoit / Young Billy Willis, Age 7


This fictionalized story, based on the family life of writer James Jones, is an emotionless slice-of-life story. Jones here is portrayed as Bill Willis, a former war hero and now successful author who obviously drinks too much and is starting to experience health problems. Living in France with his wife, daughter, and an adopted son, the family travels an unconventional road that leaves all of them as outsiders to others. Preaching a sexual freedom, his daughter's sexual acceptance begins at an early age and betrays her when the family moves to Hanover in America. Her sexuality is definitely not the normal for American teens and gives her a bad reputation and outcasts her. Meanwhile her brooding brother struggles with his own inner turmoils about his early desertion in life. Only within the tight knit confines of his family is he comfortable to even speak. Written by John Sacksteder <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The city of lights. A famous American author and the decade that changed a generation...forever.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »



| |



Release Date:

18 September 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La hija de un soldado nunca llora  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$39,517 (USA) (18 September 1998)


$1,759,596 (USA) (20 November 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Billy is shaving with shaving cream on his face while talking with Channe, but in the very next shot the shaving cream is gone. See more »

Crazy Credits

The cast part of the credits is divided into three parts: First "Billy" (1-27), Then "Francis" (28-41), and finally "Daddy" (42-51) See more »


References Le grand voyage (1974) See more »


Goin' Up The Country
Written by Alan Wilson (as A. Wilson)
Performed by Canned Heat
See more »

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User Reviews

A really original introspective about complex relationships.
29 June 2006 | by (India) – See all my reviews

"A soldier's daughter never cries" by James Ivory presents us with an interesting story about fine aspects of human relationships with really impressive acting. The film is divided into three segments - "Billy", "Francis" and "Daddy". Each containing the protagonist Channe's experiences with three men in her life - her adopted brother, her school friend and her father respectively. The film shows how these experiences let her become gradually mature... emotionally, sexually and also in terms of personality.

Acting is exceptional in this film. The first segment shows the time right after the brother, Billy, being adopted when he was 7 years old. Channe was also 7 at that time and the child actress who played her (Luisa Conlon) really deserves our praise. In the next two segments Channe (14 and 17 yrs respectively) was brilliantly portrayed by Leelee Sobeiski who is much responsible for the rather reserved nature of the character. Kris Kristofferson does a solid job as the father. His character is an unique one, as evident not only by the words he spoke, but also by Kristofferson's accent and expressions. Among the other actors Jesse Bradford is worth mentioning as Billy is last two segments. The actor who played Francis in "Francis" brings too much dramatic persona in my opinion. Though arguably that's one of the best things about the character. And there's also a nice extended cameo by Virginie Lledoyen as Billy's biological mother.

Now about the characters and screenplay. Though stated from Channe's point of view, her father is the major influential character in this film. It was always his decisions, his outlook towards life that affected his family. The character of Channe is somehow very interesting. Her experiences with womanhood and men are written in an unique manner. And how she develops into a warm, soft-spoken yet determined personality is clearly something that Ivory spent time on. On the other hand Billy is a rather shy and quite unimpressive character with no apparent personal feature that should be rendered as a quality. Now Channe's school friend Francis has all the unusual features - he's an opera singer, loves to dance puppets, has a really corky sense of humor and his mother is an existentialist. His relationship with Channe is one of the film's major assets. All the characters are quite multi-layered, even Billy. The script is also masterfully written. A nice example is the conversation between Channe's father and her High School boyfriend Keith. I don't understand French that well so can't comment about the French dialogues though.

Actually, it is a film that is bound to be enjoyed if seen in a special mood. I'm lucky that I had that mood when it was showing on TV. Also it is a film that grows wonderfully with time, segment after segment. It's a really good coming-of-age story that should be considered as Ivory's one of the best works.

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