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Courage Under Fire (1996)

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A U.S. Army officer, despondent about a deadly mistake he made, investigates a female chopper commander's worthiness for the Medal of Honor.

Director:

Edward Zwick
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Popularity
4,618 ( 1,055)
9 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington ... Nat Serling
Meg Ryan ... Karen Walden
Lou Diamond Phillips ... Monfriez
Michael Moriarty ... General Hershberg
Matt Damon ... Ilario
Bronson Pinchot ... Bruno
Seth Gilliam ... Altameyer
Regina Taylor ... Meredith Serling
Zeljko Ivanek ... Banacek
Scott Glenn ... Gartner
Tim Guinee ... Rady
Tim Ransom ... Boylar
Sean Astin ... Patella
Armand Darrius Armand Darrius ... Robins
Mark Adair-Rios ... Bobcat 5 (as Mark Adair-Riós)
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Storyline

The pilot of a rescue copter, Captain Karen Walden, died shortly before her helicopter crew was rescued after it crashed in Desert Storm. It first appears that she made a spectacular rescue of a downed helicopter crew, then held her own crew together to fight off the Iraqis after her copter crashed. Lt. Colonel Serling, who is struggling with his own demons from Desert Storm, is assigned to investigate her worthiness for the Medal of Honor. But some conflicting accounts, from her crew and soldiers in the area, cause him to question whether she deserves it. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In wartime, the first casualty is always truth. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for war violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Arabic

Release Date:

12 July 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mut zur Wahrheit See more »

Filming Locations:

Austin, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$46,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,501,000, 14 July 1996, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$59,031,057

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$100,860,818
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Denzel Washington visited with B 1-12 CAV at Fort Hood, to prepare for his role of Lieutenant Colonel Nate Serling. The dip he puts in, while giving his OPORD in the opening sequence, is a tribute to the time he spent with B 1-12. See more »

Goofs

Ilario's cigarette by the pool. See more »

Quotes

Nathaniel Serling: Will there be a public statement of the facts when the Al Bathra investigation is over sir?
General Hershberg: There's been a decision not to release any of these findings until every case has been thoroughly reviewed.
Nathaniel Serling: [pause] Well how long do you imagine that will be sir? I mean the next time I see Lieutenant Boylar's parents, I'd like to be able to tell them the whole truth.
General Hershberg: Do you want to know how many grieving parents I had to deal with during Vietnam?
Nathaniel Serling: With all due respect sir, this is not Vietnam. Lieutenant ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Be Kind Rewind (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Angel from Montgomery
Written by John Prine
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Profound, intelligent, and moving; one of Zwick's best...
6 November 2008 | by varundelpieroSee all my reviews

Edward Zwick's second war-based movie (following the successful GLORY) is almost as good as his first, and every bit as watchable. I have particularly liked stories that use different viewpoints to tell the same story (hence creating different versions of the same story). These types of movies stemmed no doubt from Akira Kurosawa's epic RASHOMON, and while films that use this strategy rarely live up to Kurosawa's original in terms of intelligence and portrayal (the most recent being the slightly-better-than-mediocre VANTAGE POINT), COURAGE UNDER FIRE is still a rewarding Motion Picture.

Denzel Washington is near his brilliant best as the troubled Lieutenant Colonel on the verge of alcoholism due in part to his overwhelming feelings of guilt following a military procedure gone wrong. His depression and curiosity fuel his determination to get to the bottom of the 'mystery' even if it puts him out of favour with his Commanding Officers. Meg Ryan is equally superb, and as each re-telling of the story demands her to take on a different personality (similar to the female lead in RASHOMON), she manages to pull each one off effectively. Matt Damon puts in a reliable shift, even losing upward of 20 pounds to take on the role. For me, the biggest surprise is Lou Diamond Phillips who is actually quite watchable, and does not overact, as is his tendency.

Zwick's COURAGE UNDER FIRE is an examination of war from a less visceral point of view, and will stay with the viewer long after watching the movie. It deeply delves into themes of responsibility, guilt, and truth in an overall compelling Motion Picture. The script is effective and the buildup to the somewhat sentimental ending is quite commendable.

8/10. 3.5 stars (out of 4). Highly recommended. Should enter my Top 200 at around #183.


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