7.2/10
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55 user 28 critic

A Soldier's Story (1984)

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1:23 | Trailer
An African American officer investigates a murder in a racially charged situation in World War II.

Director:

Norman Jewison

Writers:

Charles Fuller (screenplay), Charles Fuller (play)
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Howard E. Rollins Jr. ... Captain Davenport
Adolph Caesar ... Sergeant Waters
Art Evans ... Private Wilkie
David Alan Grier ... Corporal Cobb
David Harris ... Private Smalls
Dennis Lipscomb ... Captain Taylor
Larry Riley ... C.J. Memphis
Robert Townsend ... Corporal Ellis
Denzel Washington ... Private First Class Peterson
William Allen Young ... Private Henson
Patti LaBelle ... Big Mary
Wings Hauser ... Lieutenant Byrd
Scott Paulin ... Captain Wilcox
John Hancock ... Sergeant Washington
Trey Wilson ... Colonel Nivens
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Storyline

A black soldier is killed while returning to his base in the deep south. The white people of the area are suspected at first. A tough black army attorney is brought in to find out the truth. We find out a bit more about the dead soldier in flashbacks - and that he was unpopular. Will the attorney find the killer ? Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Alone, far from home, and far from justice, he has three days to learn the truth about a murder...and the truth is a story you won't forget.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 November 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Soldier's Story See more »

Filming Locations:

Clarendon, Arkansas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$156,383, 16 September 1984

Gross USA:

$21,821,347

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$21,821,347
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures, Caldix See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Alan Grier, who plays Corporal Cobb in the film, replaced Larry Riley in the role of C.J. Memphis, in the original production of "A Soldier's Play." See more »

Goofs

During the final scene when the Soldiers are marching in parade formation, they are actually moving towards the rear of the Fort Chaffee Garrison area (the actual filming location), literally just a few hundred yards before entering the tactical training area. An actual military parade would begin its march near a remote point such as this, move along the prescribed parade route, and finally pass in review at the Post Commander's Headquarters building, which is approximately 1 mile in the opposite direction. See more »

Quotes

Private Wilkie: Is it true, sir, that when they found him, his stripes and insignia were still on the uniform?
Captain Davenport: Yes.
Private Wilkie: Something's wrong, ain't it, sir? I mean, those Klan boys, they can't stand to see us in these uniforms. They usually take the stripes and stuff off before they lynch us.
See more »

Alternate Versions

CBS edited 5 minutes from this film for its 1987 network television premiere. See more »


Soundtracks

Bright Red Zoot Suit
Written and Performed by Larry Riley
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Near Perfect Film-Making. Not Enough Good Things Can Be Said.
6 July 2002 | by tfrizzellSee all my reviews

Canadian director Norman Jewison once took a tour of the U.S. south in the mid-1940s following his high school graduation and was shocked to see the way that black people were treated by white people. Jewison's intense hitch-hiking journey led to a career which includes credits like "In the Heat of the Night" and "The Hurricane". However his best film is probably "A Soldier's Story", an intense character-study that deals with African-American soldiers in Louisiana during World War II. Master Sergeant Adolph Caesar (Oscar-nominated) has been murdered. Enter investigator Howard E. Rollins (also African-American) who tries to figure out the case. What follows are intense flashbacks and the realization that Caesar was despised not only by white people (the primary suspects at the start) but also his own men (all African-American). The mystery twists and turns into chaos and in the end it is not a sure thing if the crime will ever be solved. A really chilling film that is top-notch in all cinematic departments. Robert Townsend, Larry Riley, David Allen Grier and yes the Denzel Washington are the soldiers that make the most lasting impressions in this brilliant piece of the cinema. Without a doubt one of the finest productions of the 1980s. 5 stars out of 5.


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