6.7/10
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The War (1994)

PG-13 | | Drama | 4 November 1994 (USA)
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2:57 | Trailer

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Vietnam War vet Stephen Simmons must deal with a war of a different sort between his son and their friends, and a rival group of children. He also must deal with his own personal and ... See full summary »

Director:

Jon Avnet

Writer:

Kathy McWorter
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Elijah Wood ... Stu Simmons
Kevin Costner ... Stephen Simmons
Mare Winningham ... Lois Simmons
Lexi Randall ... Lidia Joanne Simmons
LaToya Chisholm LaToya Chisholm ... Elvadine
Christopher Fennell ... Billy Lipnicki
Donald Sellers Donald Sellers ... Arliss Lipnicki
Leon Sills Leon Sills ... Leo Lipnicki
Will West Will West ... Lester Lucket
Brennan Gallagher Brennan Gallagher ... Marsh
Adam Henderson Adam Henderson ... Chet
Charlette Julius Charlette Julius ... Amber
Jennifer Tyler Jennifer Tyler ... Ula Lipnicki
Lucas Black ... Ebb
Justin Lucas Justin Lucas ... Willard
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Storyline

Vietnam War vet Stephen Simmons must deal with a war of a different sort between his son and their friends, and a rival group of children. He also must deal with his own personal and employment problems that have resulted from his Vietnam experiences. Written by David Stumme <dstumme@rochester.rr.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What's worth fighting for?

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for the intense depiction of human struggle and conflict | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 November 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La guerra See more »

Filming Locations:

Beaufort, South Carolina, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$16,551,365
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Island World See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | DTS-Stereo | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The cigarettes Elvadine smokes in the movie are herbal, not tobacco. See more »

Goofs

When Moe and Stephen are draining the water from the mine, Moe lifts the valve up to the pipe twice. See more »

Quotes

Lidia: [Lidia narrating] They say he should have died instantly. They didn't know my dad. And he hung on. Stu never said much about that day. He just went straight over to the treehouse and started in on it. For the rest of that day and most of the night, he kept himself busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kickin' contest.
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the credits are over and the music ends, we hear a helicopter. See more »


Soundtracks

Follow
Written by Jerry Merrick
Performed by Richie Havens (as Ritchie Havens)
Courtesy of PolyGram Records
By Arrangement with PolyGram Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

 
More complex that it seems: Tough subjects treated with sensitivity and good acting. Haunting.
11 August 2015 | by jabseSee all my reviews

Though on the surface it might be seen as yet another movie about poverty in Mississippi (which is, by the way, the poorest State in the US) or about the impact of the Vietnam War on the family of veterans, "The War" exceeds expectations on several fronts: presentation, complexity, candidness, and good acting. The story is narrated from the point of view of 12-year old Lidia, played excellently by Lexi Randall, with the acceptance kids usually have at that age ("…we are dirt poor, like everyone else in Juliette, Mississippi" - she tells us right of the start). Though she is white, she befriends two black girls the same age, sharing social condition and taste for music, with some hiccup due to her use of language blacks don't like others to use on them. She is "tough" as kids in that environment usually are, yet "girlish" in step with her age. She is the one sensitive enough to realize how others feel and has the guts to naturally stand for them, though she struggles to understand her father. Her brother Stu, about the same age, played impeccably by Elijah Wood, is eager, as most boys at that age are, to get close to his father, and in the period they manage to do it he puts is heart in the basket, at great risk. The father, also played impeccably by Kevin Costner, is troubled by war nightmares and the lack of a stable job, but has the courage to eliminate violence from daily living, aiming to show it to his kids by example, against the pressure for violence from the environment they live in, and to be as good a father as he can in the given circumstances. The kids are at the front of events throughout the film, and the story brilliantly shows us how a rivalry with a group of poorer and tougher kids, centered on the use of a tree house made by the former with materials stolen from the latter, gradually escalates into a dangerous "juvenile war", much the way political conflicts often escalate into wars among nations. "No matter how much people think they understand war, war doesn't understand people", the girl concludes; thus we all lose. The War goes on at several levels: Kids fighting in the forefront, Vietnam in the background, and the inner struggles of the main characters, being this latter what truly gives depth to the story. Drama is sparkled with hope, humor and coziness, the way it is in life, with very few cheesy scenes. This movie is more that entertainment: it triggers our critical thinking, our capacity for understanding, and leaves a haunting feeling long after is done. Recommendable as a family film for discussion, meaning kids 12 or older with some level of maturity. Not for younger kids.


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