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A Soldier's Story (1984)

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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 5 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:

La historia de un soldado 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, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$21,821,347
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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

The movie's source stage production, "A Soldier's Play", was inspired by, and loosely based on Herman Melville's novella, titled Billy Budd (1962). See more »

Goofs

Just before Davenport goes to the jail for the last time he carries an umbrella in the rain. Male officers were not permitted to carry an umbrella then or now. See more »

Quotes

[Last lines]
Captain Taylor: I guess I'll have to get used to Negroes with bars on their shoulders, Davenport. You know, being in charge.
Captain Davenport: Oh, you'll get used to it, Captain. You bet your ass on that. You'll get used to it.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Referenced in Psychos in Love (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

C.J.'s Lament
Written and Performed by Larry Riley
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Powerful film
26 April 2004 | by perfectbondSee all my reviews

There's much to recommend about this film. First it is refreshing to see a story about racism not done in the typical fashion where 'good' and 'bad' are so clearly delineated (ie. this a story about racism within the black community). Socially conscious director Jewison (In the Heat of the Night) also does a wonderful job (with the help of the scriptwriter of course) in authentically capturing the social climate of that bygone era. The acting is superb throughout. The only faces I recognized were Denzel's and David Allan Grier's but the unknowns (at least to me) were more than competent in their roles, especially Caesar's portrayal of the trouble Sgt. Waters. This film is not only fine cinema but it is also important history. Recommended, 8/10.


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