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Hart's War (2002)

 -  Drama | War  -  15 February 2002 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 38,267 users   Metascore: 49/100
Reviews: 190 user | 113 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

A law student becomes a lieutenant during World War II, is captured and asked to defend a black prisoner of war falsely accused of murder.

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(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Lt. Lamar T. Archer (as Vicellous Shannon)
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Pfc. Dennis A. Gerber
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Capt. R.G. Sisk
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Cpl. Joe S. Cromin
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Sgt. Carl S. Webb
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Pvt. Bert D. 'Moose' Codman
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Maj. Joe Clary
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Pfc. W. Roy Potts
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Storyline

Fourth-generation Army Col. William McNamara is imprisoned in a brutal German POW camp. Still, as the senior-ranking American officer, he commands his fellow inmates, keeping a sense of honor alive in a place where honor is easy to destroy, all under the dangerous eye of the Luftwafe vetran Col. Wilhelm Visser. Never giving up the fight to win the war, McNamara is silently planning, waiting for his moment to strike back at the enemy. A murder in the camp gives him the chance to set a risky plan in motion. With a court martial to keep Visser and the Germans distracted, McNamara orchestrates a cunning scheme to escape and destroy a nearby munitions plant, enlisting the unwitting help of young Lt. Tommy Hart. Together with his men, McNamara uses a hero's resolve to carry out his mission, ultimately forced to weigh the value of his life against the good of his country. Written by Press kit

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

honor | pilot | lieutenant | racism | colonel | See more »

Taglines:

Germany 1944. For some the war has ended. For colonel William McNamara, it has not ended. For Lieutenant Thomas Hart... It has just begun. See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

15 February 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Tribunal  »

Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$353,894 (Japan) (27 September 2002)

Gross:

$1,229,194 (Japan) (11 October 2002)
 »

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

One of the movie's credited writers, Billy Ray, reports that he never read the novel, "Hart's War," which is the basis for the movie. In The Dialogue: An Interview with Screenwriter Billy Ray (2007), he calls this revelation a "painful admission." But, he explains, by the time he came on the project, the screenplay had been through so many drafts that what was in the book itself did not matter much for his job of getting the screenplay to work. Ray says that one of the movie's producers, David Foster "constantly" sent him excerpts from the novel, advising him to include those particular things in the movie. But he implies that he felt no need to include something simply because it came from the novel. He then makes a point of saying he "admires" the novel's author, John Katzenbach and his father, Nicholas Katzenbach, whose time as a World War II prisoner of war was the basis of the novel. Ray explains further that he worked from the existing drafts and from the large amount of World War II research he did for the project, especially relying on the writing of Stephen Ambrose. See more »

Goofs

When we first see Lt. Thomas W. Hart at the map board he is wearing Captain's bars. These change in the next scene to the correct insignia. See more »

Quotes

Col. Werner Visser: Strange thing about war wounds- the older you get, the less proud of them you become.
See more »


Soundtracks

Der Fuehrer's Face
Written by Oliver Wallace
Arranged by Paul Englishby
Produced by Gary Gold
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Not bad
11 August 2003 | by (Pennsylvania) – See all my reviews

This film is absorbing because you are kept guessing until the very end. Hart, the lead character, isn't exactly an angel; and the Nazi Kommandant conjures up a measure of sympathy, with other motives of characters such as Col. MacNamara (Willis) truly unclear until the end.

Thus, it's enough to keep you watching, although I wish I'd read the book first. Also, it's not an "action" film in the Schwarzenegger sense, but it is fast-paced and holds your attention, as the plot keeps twisting and turning.

Contrary to what others thought, I found HART'S WAR to be reasonably historically accurate. It's frequently pointed out that by late 1944 / early 1945, the Germans were reeling, desperate and disorganized, while HART'S WAR portrays them firmly in control. This is a fair criticism, but I would respond as follows:

1. HART'S WAR coincides with the Ardennes offensive (Battle of the Bulge), which was the last major German offensive of the war and which came perilously close to succeeding. Puffed up from that near-victory, not knowing (as we know today) that this was the last gasp of a dying reich and not a turning point towards victory, and now holding hundreds if not thousands of Allied POW's to boot, it's no surprise that the Germans are still confident of victory.

2. Also, HART'S WAR takes place in a short period of time (I would guess 2-3 weeks between Hart's capture and the end of the trial, which itself is only a week). The story does not drag into the spring of '45, at which point the Germans knew they were losing.

3. The Nazi Kommandant epitomizes this German confidence, yet because he was educated in the US, he has at least a measure of sympathy for his American prisoners and treats them with an equal measure of military courtesy, with a few exceptions. Other Kommandants during this time may not have been as "humane," but, because of his background, Visser's lack of brutality (again, with exceptions) is understandable.

Bruce Willis is clearly a supporting actor in this film, but I felt he had a strong and important role and was, arguably, the CENTRAL character while Colin Farrell is the LEADING character. However, Willis gets top billing for one simple reason -- TO SELL TICKETS. It worked for me, at least.


17 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Why were they treated so well? gshivers
How the heck didn't the German kill rest of POW involved in the plan? yajennifer
Jonathon Brandis JeffTrel
Second best movie ever! YoullNeverSeeMeAgain
movie=good, book=amazing! thered_be_no_balloon
Tommy's relationship with his father lschow310
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