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Rules of Engagement (2000)

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An attorney defends an officer on trial for ordering his troops to fire on civilians after they stormed a U.S. embassy in a third world country.

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Writers:

(story) (as James Webb), (screenplay)
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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mrs. Mourain
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Gen. H. Lawrence Hodges
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Gen. Perry
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Dr. Ahmar
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Tom Chandler
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Judge Col. E. Warner
Baoan Coleman ...
Col. Binh Le Cao
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Hayes Hodges III
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Capt. Hustings
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Storyline

Hayes Hodges finds his career aspirations dashed when he's wounded in Vietnam combat. He then returns to America and becomes a disillusioned lawyer who goes up against the service to defend Colonel Terry Childers, who is accused of inciting an incident that leaves many demonstrators dead. Hodges in no position to decline: Childers heroically saved his life back in Vietnam. Written by Ronos

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A hero should never have to stand alone.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

7 April 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Reglas de combate  »

Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$15,011,181 (USA) (7 April 2000)

Gross:

ESP 116,150,585 (Spain) (29 June 2001)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rob Schneider has a cameo appearance in this film. He is the actor that spits on Col. Childers's uniform when he arrives at the base to find all the media and protestors. See more »

Goofs

National Security Adviser Bill Sokal is worried about political pressure from other countries about the internationally publicized "slaughter of innocent civilians in Yemen", so he hides the one piece of evidence that would exonerate COL Childers. A video tape of the crowd initiating contact with the Marines. Sokal does this as a means of "throwing Childers under the bus".

The problem with that, is that not only would that tape reveal that COL Childers was innocent and performed his duty admirably, but it would remove all political pressure from the US. Thus, removing the reason why Sokal hid the tape in the first place.

Couple that with the evidence presented in the courts martial that proved COL Childers innocent, and it would have been painfully obvious that COL Childers performed his duties honorably and, therefore, would have been returned to active duty.

In short, Sokal helped propagate the very problem he was trying to solve. Political pressure against the US, that would cause embassies to removed around the world. See more »

Quotes

Colonel Terry L. Childers: Waste the motherf*ckers.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Doc: Rules of Engagement (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

On the Threshold of Liberty
by Mark Isham
Contains a sample performed by Mark Isham
Courtesy of The Windham Hill Group
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User Reviews

 
Terrific action but not good everything else
20 December 2014 | by See all my reviews

During the Vietnam War, Marine Terry Childers (Samuel L. Jackson) executes a prisoner to intimidate a North Vietnamese officer into calling off an attack on his unit and thereby saving the life of Hays Hodges (Tommy Lee Jones). Years later, Hodges is retired and Childers leads a group of Marines sent to relief the embassy in Yemen. Ambassador Mourain (Ben Kingsley) is begging to evacuate and Childers loses 3 men. He orders return fire and 83 civilians are killed. National Security Adviser Bill Sokal (Bruce Greenwood) is angry and intends to make Childers the scapegoat. Childers faces court martial and he asks Hodges to defend him. Maj. Mark Biggs (Guy Pearce) prosecutes.

The first thing director William Friedkin has to decide is whether we root for Childers or not. Every step forward is followed by a step backwards. He's working at cross purposes with himself. The action scenes at the embassy are terrific. Friedkin is still at his best doing action. However he should hold those scenes for later in the movie. That way the movie can play with his guilt and innocence. Also the movie skimps on the CSI aspects. It's really questionable how everybody just skips over the snipers across the way. There were snipers but nobody cares. Also Greenwood is basically a cartoon villain. The politics is simplified to a ridiculous amount. The whole thing feels manufactured and not well done. Then the closing credits force a happy ending wrapped up in a nice little bow. That's almost as ridiculous as everything else.


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