137 user 83 critic

Casualties of War (1989)

R | | Crime, Drama, War | 18 August 1989 (USA)
1:56 | Trailer
During the Vietnam War, a soldier finds himself the outsider of his own squad when they unnecessarily kidnap a female villager.


Brian De Palma (as Brian DePalma)


Daniel Lang (book), David Rabe (screenplay)
4,781 ( 707)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael J. Fox ... Eriksson
Sean Penn ... Meserve
Don Harvey ... Clark
John C. Reilly ... Hatcher
John Leguizamo ... Diaz
Thuy Thu Le ... Oanh
Erik King ... Brown
Jack Gwaltney ... Rowan
Ving Rhames ... Lt. Reilly
Dan Martin ... Hawthorne
Dale Dye ... Capt. Hill
Steve Larson ... Agent #1
John Linton John Linton ... Agent #2
Vyto Ruginis ... Prosecutor
Al Shannon Al Shannon ... Wilkins


During the Vietnam war, a girl is taken from her village by five American soldiers. Four of the soldiers rape her, but the fifth refuses. The young girl is killed. The fifth soldier is determined that justice will be done. The film is more about the realities of war, rather than this single event. Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Inspired by a true event, that the army never saw it coming See more »


Crime | Drama | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Quentin Tarantino has hailed the film as "the greatest film about the Vietnam War." See more »


During the firefight on the bridge, after intense firing, one soldiers reaches over to pull another soldier to get started down the bridge by grabbing the muzzle of his gun. That act would create severe burns on his palm. See more »


Cpl. Brown: I'm an armour-plated motherfucker!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Extended Cut is 6 minutes longer than the original and contains 2 extra scenes. See more »


References Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966) See more »


Hello, I Love You
Written by Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore & Robby Krieger
See more »

User Reviews

There's hard hitting, and then there's Casualties of War
7 May 2013 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

CASUALTIES OF WAR tells the excruciating true story of a squad of American soldiers during the Vietnam War, who kidnap and rape a young Vietnamese girl in the name of fun. The story is told through the youthful and innocent eyes of Michael J. Fox, in a rare dramatic performance that may be his career-best.

Films like this can hardly be enjoyed, but CASUALTIES OF WAR proves to be unmissable entertainment and one of the harshest war stories out there; also, one of the best. It's a bit like watching a film of a train wreck, where you can't tear yourself away from what's happening and what you know is going to happen. The tragic, soul-searing story is one of the most moving I've ever seen.

A film like this needs a great director to tell it, and de Palma is that director. He wisely lets the story tell itself for the most part, but he can't resist incorporating a couple of flourishes (like the POV sequence) that remind us of his skill as an auteur. The cast is great, too, particularly the newbie actors (John C. Reilly and John Leguizano) playing soldiers and Sean Penn as the hateful sergeant. Understandably, Thuy Thu Le has the toughest role, and it's one she walks away from with her head held high; if ever an actress deserved an Oscar nod, it's her.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Vietnamese

Release Date:

18 August 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Casualties of War See more »

Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$22,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,201,261, 20 August 1989

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (Extended Cut)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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