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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.

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9 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Nat Serling
... Karen Walden
... Monfriez
... General Hershberg
... Ilario
... Bruno
... Altameyer
... Meredith Serling
... Banacek
... Gartner
... Rady
... Boylar
... Patella
Armand Darrius ... Robins
... 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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

12 July 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mut zur Wahrheit  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The patch on Sterling's shoulder is referring to the U.S. Army 2nd Cavalry. The motto in french "toujours prêt" means "Always Ready" and the fleur-de-lis is related to the fact that they fought in France during both World Wars. See more »

Goofs

When Serling leaves Hershberg's office after their confrontation, he is seen from the inside of the office not carrying anything, but when we see him from outside (immediately after) he is carrying his files. See more »

Quotes

[grabbing a recruit leaving an obstacle]
Monfriez: Just what the fuck do you think you're doing, soldier? Where are your men?
Recruit: Right there, sir!
Monfriez: Yeah? What do you call that?
[gestures to one man who still hasn't made it through the obstacle]
Monfriez: You see that man? You and he are brothers! He depends on you! You depend on him! You *never* leave a man behind!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Making of 'Courage Under Fire' (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Angel from Montgomery
Written by John Prine
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Objective unclear
5 August 2004 | by See all my reviews

Soldiers do terrible things (in all senses of that word), nominally in the name of all of us. If one soldier, who has not committed any atrocities, dies in combat but is given a technically undeserved honour, does it really matter? In Edward Zwick's curious film, 'Courage Under Fire', we have to believe it does, as Denzel Washington's Colonel investigates whether an award should be given to Meg Ryan's deceased pilot after the first Gulf war. It's all rather dull, and although he eventually (and predictably) unearths a shocking truth, there's little in his early inquiries to suggest such an outcome. The plot justification for the importance Washington's character gives to his enquiry is meant to be personal, he himself has had a tough war and is now teetering on the brink of alcoholism, though this itself is odd as while the rest of the cast all notice this constantly, we virtually never see him drunk (or indeed, taking more than a single drink at a sitting). The incident he is investigating is also peculiar, Ryan's character commands no natural authority but even then the reaction of her troops seems strange. Another contradiction is the way the film appears to want to honour the military, beginning with textbook action scenes and ending with sentimental reverence, in spite of the fact that the soldiers we see in action are all, frankly, pretty bad at their jobs. But a conspiracy thriller needs a bad guy, so top brass is attacked, for the "crime" of wanting to make good PR out of an apparently heroic story, while the troops on the ground are applauded for their incompetence and forgiven their errors. It all makes for a film with a very funny shape, which shows the failings of soldiers but passes up the opportunity to comment on the dehumanising nature of war in favour of commenting on the dehumanising nature of sitting in an office. Far less profound than it thinks.


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