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Thought Provoking Drama From Rob Reiner
jhclues11 June 2001
In one of the most telling scenes in this movie, Navy Lieutenant Commander Jo Galloway (Demi Moore), a lawyer who is helping to defend two Marines on trial for murder, is asked why she likes these guys so much. And she replies, `Because they stand on a wall, and they say ‘nothing is going to hurt you tonight, not on my watch'.' Which veritably sums up the sense of duty and honor which underscores the conflict of `A Few Good Men,' directed by Rob Reiner, and starring Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise. There is a code by which a good Marine must live and die, and it is: Unit, Corps, God, Country. But to be valid, that code must also include truth and justice; and if they are not present, can the code stand? Which is the question asked by director Reiner, who examines the parameters of that code with this film, which centers on the murder of a young Private First Class named William Santiago, who was killed while stationed at the Marine Corps base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The case draws the attention of Commander Galloway, Special Counsel for Internal Affairs in the Judge Advocate General's Corps in Washington, D.C. Galloway, taking into consideration the impeccable service records of the two Marines charged with the crime, convinces her superiors that a thorough investigation is warranted in this case, though there are those in high places who would rather see this one plea bargained and put to rest.

Galloway persists, however, believing that Santiago's death may have resulted from a `Code Red,' a method of disciplinary hazing employed in certain circles of the Corps, though illegal. And if this was a Code Red, the real question is, who gave the order? Ultimately, her tenacity prevails, but though Galloway is a seasoned lawyer, she has little actual courtroom experience, so Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Cruise) is assigned to the case, along with Lieutenant Sam Weinberg (Kevin Pollak), with Galloway, as ranking officer, to assist. Kaffee, the son of a legendary lawyer, has skated through the first nine months of his Naval career, successfully plea bargaining forty-four cases. Outwardly upbeat and personable, Kaffee seems more concerned with his softball game than he does with the time he has to spend on the job. But underneath, he's coping with living his life in the shadow of his late father's reputation, which is an issue with which he must come to terms if he is to successfully effect the outcome of this case. And on this one he will have a formidable opponent: Colonel Nathan R. Jessup (Nicholson), who commands the base at Guantanamo.

As Jessup, Nicholson gives a commanding performance, and once he enters the film you can sense the tension he brings to it, which begins to swell immediately, and which Reiner does a great job of maintaining right up to the end. Jessup is a soldier of the old guard, a man of narrow vision and a particular sense of duty; to Jessup there's two ways of doing things: His way and the wrong way. He's a man who-- as he says-- eats breakfast three hundred yards away from the enemy, and he's not about to let a couple of lawyers in dress whites intimidate him. And that's exactly the attitude Nicholson brings to this role. When he speaks, you not only hear him loud and clear, you believe him. It's a powerful performance and, as you would expect from Nicholson, entirely convincing and believable.

Cruise, also, gives what is arguably one of the best performances of his career as Kaffee. He perfectly captures the aloofness with which Kaffee initially regards the case, as well as the determination with which he pursues it later. Cruise is convincing in the role, and some of the best scenes in the film are the ones he plays opposite Nicholson in the courtroom, the most memorable being one in which Kaffee exclaims to Jessup, `I want the truth!' to which Jessup replies, `You can't handle the truth!' And the atmosphere fairly crackles.

Moore is outstanding, as well, and she manages to hold her own and make her presence felt even in the scenes dominated by Nicholson and Cruise. It's a fine piece of acting by Moore, who deserves more than just a passing mention for it. Also turning in notable performances are Pollak, whose dry humor adds such an extra touch to the film, and Wolfgang Bodison, who makes an impressive screen debut as Lance Corporal Dawson, on of the Marines on trial for the murder of Santiago.

The supporting cast includes Kiefer Sutherland (Kendrick), Kevin Bacon (Ross), James Marshall (Downey), J.T. Walsh (Markinson), Cuba Gooding Jr. (Hammaker) and Christopher Guest (Dr. Stone). A powerful drama, superbly delivered by Reiner, `A Few Good Men' is a thought provoking, unforgettable motion picture that makes you take pause for a moment to consider some things that are for the most part out of sight and out of mind. Like who is on that wall tonight, and are we safe because of him. And it makes you reflect upon some things perhaps too often taken for granted. And that's what really makes this film so good; and it's all a part of the magic of the movies. I rate this one 10/10.
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Slam dunk
christopherletourneau10 January 2005
This is my all-time favorite movie. I've probably watched it 300 times and I can recite it line by line. I once wrote the script during the course of one semester in a class I hated. I still have the notebook.

Demi Moore definitely is the film's weakest link, but the acting is superb and Aaron Sorkin's story sucks you in from the opening minute. There is so much great dialogue, headlined by Tom Cruise's courtroom battle with Jack Nicholson at the movie's climax.

Too many people say the movie is average because it's "too slow," but I really believe anyone who appreciates good acting and good stories has to put this one near the top of their list.
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Awesome Courtroom Drama
mjw230520 January 2005
A young hotshot naval lawyer (Cruise) is given what seems to be an open and shut case of two marines murdering another while he slept. Cruise, who has a reputation for plea bargaining was assigned by division, to defend the accused. Could it be so it never sees the inside of a courtroom?

Over seeing the defence of the accused is Demi Moore, from internal affairs, who is renowned for her attention to detail. She believes their innocence and suspects a cover up.

In charge of the marine unit in question is Jack Nicholson, a hard-ass marine who commands respect and demands the best.

With outstanding performances from Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, and Yes Demi Moore as well. The plot develops, and the conspiracy surrounding the case becomes apparent. And its up to Cruise to lay his career on the line to find the truth.

This movie is a powerful drama, and is fantastically well made.

I love it 10/10
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Nicholson is great
rbverhoef17 January 2003
A good film is what A Few Good Men is. It is not perfect but especially the performances take this film to a higher level. Tom Cruise and Demi Moore as the 'good guys' are good, as is Kevin Bacon. But the 'bad guys' make this movie really good. Kiefer Sutherland and most of all Jack Nicholson are masterful.

The story is interesting and well told. We all know the truth from the beginning, or we think we do, but the movie is still exciting in its own way.

I liked this movie very much, it was never boring, and I was real pleased that some of the cliches you normally see in a movie like this one were left out. If you like a good story, good directing and perfect performances this is your movie. 9/10.
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Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson bring some seriously stellar performances to the table in this legal drama.
schmimic23 April 2005
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore This movie is for people who like lawyerly stuff and military type stuff. This movie is an episode of Jag on crack. This movie was made by Rob Reiner. Really, after that last statement, need I say more? If you didn't know that Rob Reiner did The Princess Bride, then hang your head in shame now.

It starts out in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when a couple marines enter the room of another marine, stuff a rag down his throat, duct tape his mouth shut, duct tape his hands behind his back, duct tape his legs together, and so on. Then the credits roll and we cut to D.C., where we find out that the marine getting gagged and tied died that night. The two marines that were doing the gagging and tying are charged with murder and flown out to D.C.

The task of lead counsel is assigned to Daniel Kaffee (Cruise), a lieutenant junior grade with a track record for plea bargaining and smooth talking. Lt. Cmdr. Jo Galloway (Moore) is assigned to be co-counsel, despite the fact that she tried to get in as lead counsel. They start the investigation down in Cuba where they meet Col. Nathan Jessup (Nicholson), the man who ordered the two men to give Private Santiago the Code Red, which accidentally led to his death. Of course, Jessup doesn't tell this to Danny or Jo. Why would he? He'd look pretty bad for it, right? So when they get back to D.C. and do some legal maneuvering with their clients and the prosecution, Danny manages to get a deal for a mere two years of prison time, where they are actually home in six months. And the two that are charged turn it down on principle, because they still believe they have done nothing wrong. Danny decides that he wants to get a different lawyer assigned to the case because he doesn't want to go down with them, but then has a change of heart after talking to a few people and thinking about it.

So the trial starts, and that's when the movie really picks up speed. The skill that Danny has as he strides around the courtroom asking all the right questions and probing in just the right ways is phenomenal. It almost makes you want to be a lawyer.

There are some major setbacks along the way, some things go right, a lot more go wrong, but eventually everything turns out okay in the end. But like so many movies where we know how it's going to end, it was never really the ending we were banking on, but the fun of getting there.

Bottom Line: 4 out of 4 (own this movie)
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"Fast-Food, Slick-Ass, Persian-Bazaar"
stryker-525 July 1999
Guantanamo Bay is, apart possibly from the 38th Parallel in Korea, the only place left on earth where the US Military still confronts hostile Stalinism, eyeball to eyeball. Ceded to the USA after the Spanish-American War of 1898, Guantanamo is America's only outpost on the island of Cuba. Marines guarding the perimeter of the naval base are under immense pressure. Here in the Cold War's last remaining hotspot, they are responsible for protecting the Free World.

A border incident has occurred. A marine sentry has fired a 'live' round in the direction of the communists. One of his colleagues has informed on him, bringing on himself a 'code red'. The 'code red' is an unofficial disciplinary measure, imposed by a marine squad when a member offends against the unit's esprit de corps. Having been gagged, bound and beaten, the marine dies at his colleagues' hands. There will now be a court-martial.

Demi Moore plays Lieutenant-Commander Joanne Galloway, a lawyer in the Navy's Internal Affairs Department. A deft plot device has her rehearsing to herself a request to be assigned to the case as she walks across the parade ground, efficiently conveying necessary information to the viewer.

Dan Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is a smart, flippant, good-looking young Navy lawyer. His father was a renowned jurist, and Dan feels the burden of his father's reputation. Indeed, his casual, tongue-in-cheek attitude to the law is his way of avoiding comparison with his father. You can't fail if you don't even try.

Kaffee is assigned to defend the two marine privates accused of killing the informer. Why a junior officer should be given conduct of such a serious case is baffling, unless of course the Marine Corps wants these men to be found guilty, in order to protect somebody more important...

Colonel Nathan Jessep is fascinating. Jack Nicholson always turns in a magnetic performance, but this one is special. He makes his character by turns urbane, self-assured, sarcastic, professional and menacing.

Gradually, Demi and Tom start to pull together and to function as a defence team. The 'code red' doctrine is exposed as a pernicious practice.

If the film is a stock courtroom drama pretty much like all the others, it certainly has qualities which set it apart. Three outstanding performances from the stars, Nicholson, Cruise and Moore, make it a bit special. The denouement is very hard to believe, but there are things in the film which linger in the memory and compensate for the exaggerations of the plot.

The opening credits roll over lovingly-filmed images of a precision-drill rifle squad in action. The viewer is, from the very start, placed emotionally in the context of a severe, inflexible discipline which is both admirable and unnerving. Kaffee indulges in some sparkling legal jockeying. Though he may lack trial experience, we feel that he will defend these men ably. He is nobody's fool. The flirtatious bickering between Kaffee and Galloway is well done. Jessep's walk to the witness stand is a moment of high drama, with Nicholson filmed from a low angle, emphasising the formidable authority of the man.

This clever, highly-polished film finally convinced me that Cruise can act. As for Demi, I am still unable to figure her out. What is it about her that remains stubbornly unsympathetic? She has abundant intelligence and talent, and is exquisitely beautiful, and yet is is impossible to warm to her. Does she get these parts because of her dark personality, or do the roles colour our perception of her?
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A Few Great Moments
asaxena27 June 2006
I'm not the greatest fan of Tom Cruise, yet A Few Good Men along with Jerry McGuire would have to rank as one of his best performances. Owing to a transition from stage to celluloid, the movie has the intimacy of drama written all over it.

The emphasis on facial expression, the length of dialog and the sheer drama make the watching of the movie a unique experience. The writer doesn't cater for the unenlightened, doesn't drawl over or repeat facts. Afterall, it is the experience of watching A Few Good Men that is a winner over and above all else.

Demi Moore is gorgeous alluring and vulnerable all at once. Worth a watch and perhaps another.
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Intense, meaningful and surprisingly funny
5997714 November 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Many powerful dramas have been made throughout the history of motion pictures. This is one of few to combine intense meaningful drama with a funny script, full of witty dialog. The ensemble of nothing but renowned competent actors ensures excellent performances throughout the movie. This would have been an almost perfect film if it wasn't for one little consistency issue regarding Colonel Jessep. Until the very end of the film, the script portrays the events from Jessep's point of view with gruesome accuracy, but after his confession he becomes a man with no apparent sense of causal relations. The fact that the man who formerly went to such extremes as to make entire flights disappear to protect his secret, doesn't understand the consequences of him confessing that secret, in the court of law, makes me confused. Of course you could argue that the colonel lives by the rules and notions of the Marine Corps and doesn't fully comprehend the world outside. I still don't accept it completely though, but that doesn't matter much overall. This is an excellent film. Watch it, watch it again and then re-watch it. You won't be disappointed.

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Watch it for Jack Nicholson and his dialogues
nskanyal24 November 2005
This is one of the movies, I have watched many many times. First few times, Tom Cruise seemed to be giving an ordinary performance; probably my shortcoming that I was not able to understand his character. But, then I realized that he was playing exactly the character he was supposed to portray and he did it in a impeccable manner - wow!!!! He was just second to Jack Nicholson.

I could not imagine if anyone else could have replaced Jack Nicholson - his stellar performance (as always) and the intensity and ferocity with which he delivered his dialogues - man, even his facial expressions at times were worth a watch.

Story line and plot don't seem to be so strong and there will be many people who would not agree with its end and even with the message of the movie, which is although not so clear but definitely points towards some of the not so best practices being followed in any country's army (over discipline in the name of straightening the people and getting things in order or even avoiding any further chaos or things being run by certain people just to settle their personal scores and run in a way they think is the best, even disregarding other people's reasonable opinions). However, the other things apart, movie was a treat to watch. Director Rob Reiner and writer Aaron Sorkin didn't leave any stone unturned when it came to dialogues in the movie - in fact, the dialogues delivered by each and every character (not only Jack Nicholson) have been simply stunning.
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you can't handle the truth
angie-2719 March 1999
this movie kicks. it's one of my favorites. i like courtroom drama, and in my opinion, this is the best courtroom movie ever. i love the part when tom cruise, during his redirect, asks noah wyle how he knows where the mess hall is if it isn't in the marine guidebooks. is that a great scene or what? and of course the climax, when cruise has JACK on the stand, is exhilarating to watch, even after repeated viewings. nichalson may be slightly over the top as colonel jessup, but that's why he's so good in this movie. kieffer sutherland is perfect as kendrick. and of course i have to mention jt walsh as markinson, just because i think walsh was a great character actor, and he'll always be one of my favorites. my score-10.
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You Won't Know What To Believe When The Credits Roll
zkonedog10 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
To me, the mark of a truly excellent film is in its ability (through both great acting and a solid plot) to make us, the viewers, think just a little bit harder about whatever topic was being discussed in the film. "A Few Good Men" is the epitome of that sort of movie.

For a basic plot summary, the film begins with a seemingly innocent incident at the United States military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that turns tragic when a death is the end result. A young hot-shot lawyer, Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is assigned to the case and, after originally taking little interest in it, starts to get sucked in as the denials mount and the excuses begin. Asked to defend the honor of two young Marines in court, Kaffee dives headlong into the seemingly unwinnable case, even taking it to the highest level by interrogating Colonel Nathan Jessep (Jack Nicholson) on the witness stand.

What makes this film so emotionally gripping is the idea that both sides ("Kaffee vs. Jessep") have a valid argument (and thanks to the superb direction of Rob Reiner, both are allowed the time to make it). While Kaffee is fighting for justice in the death of a Marine, Jessep is trying to uphold the Marine code (Unit, Corps., God, Country). Through the courtroom back-and-forth, both parties lay out there "arguments", with neither one ultimately winning or losing in the end. The viewer is left, upon the film's conclusion, in a very reflective mood, pondering the many messages that have been touched on.

Also helping matters is the incredible acting performances from a very deep cast. Cruise, Nicholson, and Demi Moore are terrific as the leads, while Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Pollak, and James Marshall (among others) turn in moving characters/scenes as well. The final confrontation between Cruise & Nicholson, the apex of the film, is so emotionally gripping and taut with tension that it has to be considered one of the greatest scenes Hollywood has ever produced.

Thus, this is as easily a five-star movie as can be seen, due to its interesting and thought- provoking plot, real-life setting, and inspired acting performances. No matter your political or social views, "A Few Good Men" will get you thinking about the reasons behind those beliefs.
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Must see movie, one of Tom Criuse best movie performance .
aramgomar1 August 2006
A Few Men is a must see movie. With so many talented actor this movie is a classic. The performance of Tom Cruise is outstanding, one of his best movies yet. I recommend this movie for all people, and especially ex military or people who are planing to join the military. The overview of the movie is, fighting with your own conscience weather to follow the order given form your superior officer. The outcome of movie leaves you wondering whether or not we should follow orders that are ethically wrong to our beliefs, even if it comes for some one above you. Again I enjoyed this movie very much and I am in the process of joining the military and I guess I can envision my-self in a similar difficult situation.
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"You wanna investigate me, roll the dice and take your chances."
classicsoncall16 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Once this picture enters the courtroom it becomes riveting. The build up is intriguing as well in it's many aspects of discovering information and the principals feeling each other out regarding temperaments and personalities. I've usually been on the fence about Tom Cruise as an actor, I guess because I equate him with the Daniel Kaffee we're first introduced to, a cocky and brash hot-shot lieutenant who can do no wrong and has a record supporting his arrogance. What's interesting is that I like him as Jack Reacher, but don't care for him much in the early part of this picture, or as Vincent Lauria in "The Color of Money". But with the passage of time, I can better appreciate him as an actor now, and revisiting this film has a lot to do with that perception.

And what can you say about Jack Nicholson? You know his presence here will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride with the take no prisoners approach to running his unit at Guantanamo Bay. With this role, Nicholson calls to mind George C. Scott in 1970's "Patton" as the kind of forceful and arrogant military leader who sees things only one way. My only qualm about the story is during the courtroom scene when the hot headed Colonel Nathan R. Jessep admits to the Code Red violation. I didn't think back in 1992 when I first saw this, nor did I think when I watched the movie again the other day, that a soldier of Jessep's qualities would crack the way he did under questioning by Lieutenant Kaffee. That was certainly a dramatic scene heightened by the intensity of both actors, but I couldn't see Jessep getting tricked like that. Still, I can overlook that minor glitch to give this film a top rating.

What I had forgotten about regarding the picture was the appearance of all those top quality young players who went on to even bigger and better things, like Keifer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, and Noah Wyle. Sam Weinberg and Demi Moore were also more than competent in their roles backing Cruise's Kaffee. With the passage of time this film has grown in my estimation, and is one I'd recommend for anyone who enjoys emotional courtroom drama.
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My number one film of all time
TomCruiseFan9914 March 2008
This is officially my favorite film of all time! A bold statement, but one I truly stand by. The reason it rates so highly? Well, there's quite a few, but the most important being the glorious cast and the amazing script. Two factors that, when not in tandem, can seriously derail a film. But here it works together perfectly in sync.

There are quite a few career-best performances to be found here: Jack Nicholson at his growling best, Demi Moore as a true legal ball-buster, but it's Tom Cruise who deserves the most praise. His character, Daniel Kaffee, is a wise-cracking young lawyer who's in for the trial of his life. But the way Cruise infuses his character with slight nuances and cocky grins make him seem very charming, plus all the witty one-liners uttered by Cruise should keep you chuckling every time he and Demi Moore's Lt. Galloway face-off at each other.

The script is a fantastic courtroom drama, the kind of movie I love where as an audience you get to participate because you want to solve the case as well. This proves tricky, because early on, you know who's the guilty party, but the momentum of the film is carried by trying to prove that fact. Made trickier, when your case involves the U.S. military, where terms like God, country and code make up their daily life.

A consistently smart legal thriller, one that I continue to watch at least once every second week. Love that Tom Cruise wit.
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Required viewing
mjgih5 April 2006
While I have seen and heard many comments about "A Few Good Men" extolling its virtues while some point to its negative attributes (which, by far, IMHO, are in the vast minority), the message this flick tries to deliver, at its most banal level, is truly one for the ages. Without going into any fine or even course details about the film - suffice it to say that it deals with a search for the absolute truth in a courtroom murder trial - the film to me triumphs in one very simple way: how corruption through power can always be quite successfully exposed and dealt with by the judicious application of human intellect and logic. I propose that it be required viewing for all power-hungry humans, especially in a "pecking-order" environment, like those pursuing a military, medical, or business career. In fact, I believe to be most effective, the number of times an individual is required to watch it should increase in a directly proportionate manner with that individual's promotion level and rate.

...And the truth will set you free!... but first, it'll tick you off!!!
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A powerful movie with a timeless message
Stoney-99 April 1999
I viewed this movie the day that it opened in December, 1992, and immediately felt what director Rob Reiner was going for. The story itself has many of my favorite elements in film: something new for me (The JAG Corps), a compelling story (The Code Red), and a great cast from top to bottom. I was also pleased that Demi Moore (JoAnne Galloway), and Tom Cruise (Daniel Kaffee) were not written into an unneccessary (and unrealistic) love plot, either. The dialogue between the two of them was, at times, however, as simmering as between Kaffee and Lt. Col Nathan R. Jessup (Jack Nicholson), but for different reasons. Jo was looking for the truth, and Jessup was trying to cover it up. And even though his (Jessup's) character is only on the screen for something like 12 minutes, his presence is far reaching. He represents to me the arrogance of some military officers who are appalled that they even have to cover anything up. Kevin Pollack (Lt. Weinberg) does a good job as the other of Kaffee's sidekicks, Kevin Bacon plays against type with his portrayal of the USMC prosecutor, and Keifer Sutherland is chilling as a Marine loyal to Jessup (even more than to his God and to his Marine Corps guidebook). Interestingly, even the minor roles are played well by a combination of experienced and some then new faces, Noah Wyle (ER) as another Marine in Cuba, Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Marine), J.T. Walsh (Markinson), Christopher Guest (Doctor Stone), Wolfgang Bodison (Lance Cpl. Dawson), and James Marshall (Pfc. Downey). With the cast, the direction, and most of all the story (I saw the play and it is just as dramatic--but without the scenes of Cuba and D.C.), I felt than and I feel now that "A Few Good Men" deserves its place near the top of the decade, if not the half-century. Rarely have I walked out of a theatre with a feeling that I've experienced "something" than when I walked out that night. I'd like Reiner to direct something similar so I can have that feeling again.
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A Command Production
Lechuguilla31 March 2008
A hotshot young Navy lawyer named Lt. Dan Kaffee (Tom Cruise) teams up, rather grudgingly, with a female officer named Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore), to defend two soldiers accused of murder, in the death of a Marine trainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The film captures two stories in sync; accusations of murder against, and the subsequent trial of, the defendants, and the change in Kaffee that these events inspire. At the outset we learn that Kaffee is the son of a famous military man. As a result, Kaffee comes across as smug and flippant in the film's first half. Not much is demanded of him; his life as a routine Navy lawyer is easy enough. But as he sets out to defend the soldiers, his courage is tested when he must confront Marine VIPs, especially the dreaded and intimidating Col. Nathan Jessep (Jack Nicholson). As much a character study of Kaffee as a story of military justice, the film is about taking risks, and going beyond one's fears.

"A Few Good Men" is a topnotch, command production. The plot is riveting, especially in the second half courtroom scenes wherein Kaffee must spar with the prosecuting attorney (Kevin Bacon), and present his case before a very imposing judge. The film's color cinematography is excellent. The use of anamorphic optics inside the courtroom creates the perception of grand spaciousness, a visual depth and scope normally reserved for outdoor epics.

The film's detailed production design and costumes are highly credible. Background music is haunting and low-key. The cast contains some Hollywood big guns ... so to speak. And the acting is wonderful. There's not a weak performance in the bunch. Some of the acting by Tom Cruise may be a tad over-the-top, but it's entertaining. I was pleasantly surprised by his overall high caliber performance. Nicholson does a very good imitation of Jack Nicholson and as such, is fun to watch. And Director Rob Reiner gets terrific performances from Kevin Pollak, Kiefer Sutherland, and Noah Wylie, in support roles.

Marine Corps life at Gitmo during peacetime is not a subject that I would normally be interested in. And I could have done without all that ceremonial pomp at the beginning. But "A Few Good Men" is so well made overall that the film practically sells itself, despite the subject matter. The characters are interesting, the plot is absorbing, and I enjoyed watching Tom Cruise give a highly animated Perry Mason courtroom performance.
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Can you handle the truth? Cracker(JACK) cast & script with Reiner at the top of his game
george.schmidt13 March 2003
A FEW GOOD MEN (1992) ***1/2 Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Keifer Sutherland, Kevin Pollak, James Marshall, JT Walsh, Wolfgang Bodison, Christopher Guest, Noah Wyle. Absorbing and crowd-pleasing adaptation of Aaron Sorkin's hit Broadway play from director Rob Reiner about two Marines charged with the murder of a fellow GI at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba with a tangled web of power and a green defense lawyer (excellently played by Cruise) assigned to follow the motions without a trial. Superb performances all around especially Nicholson in rare form as a colonel with one hell of a Napoleon complex. Trivial note: Bodison was a production assistant to Reiner from previous films; this is his acting debut.
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Jack Nicholson as Nasty Jack, Tom Cruise as himself, Demi Moore as the worst lawyer in the history of the world...
AlsExGal5 September 2018
... and yet I liked it! That's because, although there are a few subplots where you can see exactly where they are going, there are some that you do not. You do not get the ending you expect exactly either.

The set-up is this. Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is a JAG lawyer who defends two Marines who have been accused of murdering a fellow Marine by poison. Kaffee had arranged for a plea bargain that means the Marines are paroled in 6 months. But the marines insist on going to trial saying that PFC Santiago, the victim, was given corporal punishment via an order they received, and that they did not intentionally kill Santiago.

Instead, Santiago was a marine who was writing letters trying to get transferred out of Gitmo, raising the ire of Col. Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson), who sees just giving Santiago what he wants as a sign of weakness. (The audience sees this scene discussing Santiago, the characters do not.) But there is no proof this is what happened, and that is all that matters to Kaffee - what he can prove. Dawson is the leader of the two accused marines, and he sees going to trial as just part of his honor. He will not say he did what he did not. The other marine is none too bright, and just follows Dawson's lead.

So Kaffee can't figure out why the two defendants won't plead guilty. Lt. Comdr. Jo Anne Galloway (Demi Moore) is from internal affairs, assigned to this case because internal affairs sniffs a cover-up at Gitmo that is railroading the two marines. She is itching to go to trial. So Kaffee is eventually bullied into actually being a trial lawyer for once, but Galloway is just the world's worst lawyer. She makes pointless arguments that just tick people off, she makes points for the other side, and she prepares a witness for hours and doesn't notice something that is a key piece of evidence. Galloway should become a motivational speaker and leave the law behind IMHO.

Kevin Bacon is the prosecutor who has a Jack McCoy desire to win. Kiefer Sutherland is the superior officer of the two accused marines in Gitmo and is pitch perfect as a guy who has no curiosity for life outside of the rules of the marines and the King James Bible. I can't figure out what Kevin Pollak is even doing in this movie as he seems like a third wheel lawyer for the defense. Perhaps he is here as low key attorney and family man so this doesn't come across like St.Elmo's Fire in uniform. J.A. Preston lends a quiet dignity to the proceedings as the judge. And of course Jack Nicholson plays a military version of his usual persona.

I'd highly recommend it, but apparently the military didn't at the time, refused to endorse the film and refused to let shooting occur on military property. Good performances from the St. Elmo's Fire generation, all grown up, even though of the cast, only Demi Moore was in that movie. And Nicholson's presence lends to a dramatic conclusion, even though you could see it coming a mile away.
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One of my favorites
jjhoops729 May 2018
This is one of my favorite movies, and one of the best courtroom dramas ever. I can watch it over and over again. It's one of those movies that if I flip the channel and it's on, welp, that's it, I'm going to end up watching the entire thing. (Also in this category: Apollo 13. The constant? Kevin Bacon!) .. A Few Good Men is gripping. It's one of those rare films that is built almost entirely on it's dialogue, and succeeds brilliantly. The script is intelligent and thoroughly engaging. The directing is crisp and suspenseful. The performances are top-notch. Specifically, this is some of Tom Cruise's best work. There are, of course, a few unforgettable quotes, but the build up to these scenes is what makes them unforgettable. As the viewer, you feel like your fighting for justice right along side the cast. Their battle becomes yours, and the movie is all the more powerful for it.
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Good Court Room Drama.
King-Rishab29 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Good court room drama. Watch it for the dialogues esp Jack Nicholson as Col. Jessep, but the plot is very thin. In fact the whole premise of the movie is Jessep owning his guilt, which seems a bit far fetched. A single Yes or No determines the end of the movie. What if Col. Nathan Jessep had said No?

Jessep was a nut case, but he couldn't be that naive. He being a senior officer knew the legalities of the case. He got the Santiago's Transfer Order forged and also botched the flight log details. He very well knew what the case is all about.

The script should had a solid evidence which would nail Jessep and Kendrick, then it would have been more convincing. Movie is good, watch it for dialogues, all actors play their part very well. Tom Cruise is good as a young lawyer who is like coming into profession.

Demi Moore looks very beautiful. She has that thing in her face. No expression but captivating charm. She was one of the top actresses in 90's. Maybe if not for some poor professional and personal choices, she would still be very much there on silver screen.

Overall, a good movie and you certainly wont regret your time spent on watching this movie.
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vijayarya5 March 2012
This movie is certainly much better than a regular 7.6, the currently running rating. I think it deserves an overall rating closer to 9, its one of the best movies of all times.

There are actually very few evergreen movies that one likes to see again and again, this is one of them, you always feel great after watching it.

The final court room scene between Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson is electrifying. Without a single kiss, the chemistry between cruise and Moore is simply delicious, all characters are well developed, attention has been payed to every single detail.

One of my favorite scene is the one between Sam and Daniel after Downey's testimony where Cruise gets drunk - a really beautiful scene about how what our parents think about us, matters.

Worth collecting.
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One of the best of the decade.
dead475489 March 2008
The fact that you know almost the entire truth about halfway through the film only further proves how incredible it is. The mystery of trying to figure out what actually happened is gone but the film still manages to be immensely compelling and I was itching to see what happens next in this tumultuous story of knowing what the truth is, but figuring out how to get these people to tell it. Aaron Sorkin cleverly unravels this ingenious story with intrigue and flawless pacing until Jack Nicholson's infamous tirade in the finale. Sorkin's dialogue contains flesh-piercing jabs and razor-sharp delivery from everyone in the cast. They pull off this very intelligent screenplay as if they were built for it. These impressive exchanges of words are just as compelling, if not more so, than any high-octane action extravaganza. Everything is so perfectly orchestrated in this well-oiled machine; every part works together so seamlessly and creates a phenomenal end result. The entire cast from Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson (who is my personal win) all the way down to Kiefer Sutherland and Xander Berkeley are sensational and knocked these performances out of the park. The film feels like a throwback to classic American cinema and it succeeds admirably.
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MSusimetsa17 January 2002
I saw this movie when I was serving my duty in the army and all I can say about the patriotism that the soldiers are shown to possess in this movie is that it is naive. Especially in the scene where the following words were uttered (found it in the quotes):

Lieutenant Sam Weinberg: Why do you like them so much?

Lieutenant Commander JoAnne Galloway: Because they stand upon a wall and say, "Nothing's going to hurt you tonight, not on my watch."

Do I have to say that almost every soldier in that cinema burst out laughing at that?

It's a well made movie, but I could not bear the naivete.
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Great actors, great dialogue
utku_kamil_ozen14 November 2016
A good story alone is not enough in cinema when it's not told with a matching storytelling ability. I would even go as far as to say, sometimes, it's more important how you tell a story than the story itself. Who would have guessed a courtroom drama about military officers would leave a millennial like me, who grew up playing video games and watching sci-fi films, completely astonished? Initially, i was only intrigued by the film because Jack Nicholson was in it and also it was part of the popular culture and quoted very often. But i didn't watch it for a long time, for the subject of the film wasn't very interesting to me. When i finally overcame my reluctance and rolled the film, i started watching it half-sarcastically with a smug face. As the film progressed, my expression turned to curiosity quickly and later, to a mix of admiration and astonishment. And thus proved my opening line about the story and the storytelling. All the actors are very powerful and brilliant, especially Jack Nicholson, as you would expect. The film starts with an unfitting soldier getting killed by his teammates unintentionally, as a result of a controversial command by their superior. It might not look like a very good base for building a moral dilemma on, at first. But the power of the film comes from the dialogue, and soon you forget how they got there. Having a great part in the responsibility of a country's defense entitles a person to sacrifice other people, but to what extent? Do we appreciate those who defend our countries enough? I won't go into detail about how the film answers these questions in order to keep the review spoiler-free. The ending might not satisfy everybody but it's not about the ending anyway. I'll repeat, it's all about the dialogue. And at the end, whether you like the ending or not, i am pretty sure you'll enjoy this film.
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