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Tears of the Sun (2003)

R  |   |  Action, Drama, Thriller  |  7 March 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 88,849 users   Metascore: 48/100
Reviews: 391 user | 87 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

A Special-Ops commander leads his team into the Nigerian jungle in order to rescue a doctor who will only join them if they agree to save 70 refugees too.


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2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ellis 'Zee' Pettigrew
Demetrius 'Silk' Owens
Colonel Idris Sadick
Awaovieyi Agie ...
Hadar Busia-Singleton ...
Ida Onyango ...


Navy SEAL Lieutenant A.K. Waters and his elite squadron of tactical specialists are forced to choose between their duty and their humanity, between following orders by ignoring the conflict that surrounds them, or finding the courage to follow their conscience and protect a group of innocent refugees. When the democratic government of Nigeria collapses and the country is taken over by a ruthless military dictator, Waters, a fiercely loyal and hardened veteran is dispatched on a routine mission to retrieve a Doctors Without Borders physician, Dr. Lena Kendricks. Dr. Kendricks, an American citizen by marriage, is tending to the victims of the ongoing civil war at a Catholic mission in a remote village. When Waters arrives, however, Dr. Kendricks refuses to leave unless he promises to help deliver the villagers to political asylum at the nearby border. If they are left behind, they will be at the mercy of the enormous rebel army. Waters is under strict orders from his commanding officer ... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He was trained to follow orders. He became a hero by defying them. See more »


Action | Drama | Thriller | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 March 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hostile Act  »

Box Office


$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$17,057,213 (USA) (7 March 2003)


$1,825,961 (Spain) (5 December 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The story is based on a mission of the Canadian Joint Task Force Two (JTF2) that took place in Colombia. An ex-member of the commando wrote the original story and suggested it when he met the production team of Executive Decision (1996) on a set in Nevada. See more »


During the first helicopter extraction, there is a clear, flattened path through the grass straight to the helicopter, despite the fact that only Waters, Kendricks, and one other SEAL had walked through. This indicates the actors' movements to the helicopter through multiple scene takes. See more »


[first lines]
Female news reader: [voiceover] The tension that had been brewing for months in Nigeria exploded yesterday as exiled General Mustafa Yakubu orchestrated a swift and violent coup against the democratically elected government of President Samuel Azuka. In a land with 120 million people and over 250 ethnic groups, there'd been a long-standing history of ethnic enmity, particularly between the Fulani Moslems in the north and Christian Ibo in the south. The victorious Fulani rebels have taken to the streets...
See more »

Crazy Credits

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -Edmund Burke See more »


Referenced in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

comment about realism
1 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As a person who can speak from a reputable stand point, I have to say this movie is different than many other "war" movies and is generally regarded highly among many different types of members in the U.S. military. This films representation brought forth a perspective that showed a few sides to a mission. Yes there is the desire to finish and get out. But the film also showed that the situation can change on the ground as it always does, and sometimes you have to modify. An seasoned veteran like Lt. Waters who is somewhat seasoned being a Lt. probably would have the foresight to say it is safe to go ahead and try and get these people to a border being that was the only way to drag the doc outta there without hog tying her, even though the orders above were different. A team leader is expected to use some discretion and Lt. did that. Although it was borderline crazy operationally it still worked. Working in that environment is not just like a round of socom. Things happen and you have to do the best you can for the situation if it is feasible and you have the balls to do it. Also, the depiction of the action scenes were practically dead on and impressive. Mr. Fuqua didn't cheese it up, it was kept fairly raw and confusing as is a real engagement. The ethnic cleansing scenes, well it doesn't get any more realistic than that. I can understand why everyone else hates America for doing these films about ourselves but honestly can you see a french film showing specwar going into save a village, nope. They would hand out white flags to everyone. Maybe the Aussies, Israelis, or Brits, but pretty much beyond those three countries thats all ya got. If at the least, this is a reminder that even when you think you know about what our guys are doing in the world, you don't know the half,we lose guys everyday and people should realize that a silent war exists.

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