6.3/10
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197 user 112 critic

Hart's War (2002)

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.

Director:

Writers:

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

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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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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

Taglines:

Beyond Courage, Beyond Honor. 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:

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Release Date:

15 February 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

En defensa del honor  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,907,413, 17 February 2002, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$19,076,815, 19 May 2002

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,209,403, 31 December 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bruce Willis also appeared with Cole Hauser in Tears of the Sun (2003). See more »

Goofs

The German guards are shown carrying K98k rifles that lack sight hoods or cleaning rods. The lack of these features indicate that they are weapons that were captured by the Soviets during WWII, and were then stripped after the war in the re-arsenaling process. See more »

Quotes

[Lt. Hart offers condolences upon learning that Col. Visser's own son was killed in action on the Russian Front]
Col. Werner Visser: I killed my share of French and English in the last war; All of *them* had fathers.
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Connections

Referenced in Decker: Sonrise (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Idaho
Written by Charles F. Calhoun (as Jesse Stone)
Performed by Benny Goodman
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Not bad
11 August 2003 | by 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.


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