5.4/10
170
11 user 7 critic

Death of a Soldier (1986)

Based on a true story, James Coburn portrays a military lawyer assigned to defend a confessed psychotic killer. Set in the context of WWII and the uneasy US-Australian military alliance. ... See full summary »

Director:

Philippe Mora

Writers:

William L. Nagle (screenplay) (as William Nagle), William L. Nagle (story) (as William Nagle)
Reviews
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Coburn ... Maj. Patrick Dannenberg
Bill Hunter ... Det. Sgt. Adams
Reb Brown ... Pvt. Edward J. Leonski
Maurie Fields ... Det. Sgt. Martin (as Maurice Fields)
Max Fairchild ... Maj. William Fricks
Belinda Davey Belinda Davey ... Margot Saunders
Randall Berger ... Pvt. Anthony Gallo
Michael Pate ... Maj. Gen. Sutherland
Jon Sidney Jon Sidney ... Gen. Douglas MacArthur
Nell Johnson Nell Johnson ... Maisie
Pippa Wilson Pippa Wilson ... Singer in Boomerang Bar
Kim Rushworth Kim Rushworth ... Band in Bar
John McTernan John McTernan ... Col. Williams (as John McTiernan)
Earl Francis Earl Francis ... Police Doctor
Ron Pinnell Ron Pinnell ... Mr. Harmon
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Storyline

Based on a true story, James Coburn portrays a military lawyer assigned to defend a confessed psychotic killer. Set in the context of WWII and the uneasy US-Australian military alliance. The accused killer claims to have killed 3 women in order to possess their voices. Despite the defense lawyer's concerns that the killer is not fit to stand trial, the US military presses forward with the case and its desire to have the killer executed in order to strengthen the shaky alliance. Written by Fryingham

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The obscenity of war. The brutality of murder. The travesty of justice.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 May 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dein Lied - Dein Tod See more »

Filming Locations:

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Suatu See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)| Black and White (archive footage)| Color (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dick Richards was originally slated to direct, according to Australian film magazine "Cinema Papers". It ended up being directed by Philippe Mora. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Spoony Experiment: Death of a Soldier (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Original E Flat Blues
music by Fats Waller (as Thomas "Fats" Waller)
words by Fats Waller (as Thomas "Fats" Waller)
sung by Maurie Fields
published by The Friends of 'Fats'
The Thomas 'Fats' Waller Appreciation Society of London
See more »

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User Reviews

An accurate and important piece of history
16 February 2004 | by nobsnewsSee all my reviews

It's obvious from the remarks in the previous commentaries by others, that none of them were ever in the military. Coburn was portraying a Military Police major (Maj. Dannenberg) serving as the Assistant Provost Marshal - he was not playing an Army attorney. At that time (and still optional today) an officer from any branch in the military can serve as legal council to an accused soldier - you don't have to be a lawyer (JAG Corps). This particular story was true, and is the event in military history that is directly responsible for the creation and implementation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) applicable to all the Armed Forces. The film is accurate and does not portray any Hollywood political bias. It's a great film and a good piece of history. A little known fact: Gen. MacArthur came close to being court martialed for preventing Maj. Dannenberg from appealing Pvt. Leonski's death sentence and conviction, but political allies in Washington intervened.


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