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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
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:

A medal for honor. A search for justice. A battle for 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:

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

Matt Damon not only went on an extreme diet, he would also run twelve miles a day, drinking four to six pots of coffee to muster up the energy. His extreme dieting went to the point where he had to had to wash his mouth every time his girlfriend kissed him, because he could taste what she had been eating. Director Edward Zwick got so scared by Damon's emaciated appearance that he ordered the actor to start eating again, but Damon refused. Unfortunately for him, as he was not an established star at the time, he had to do all of this under his own steam, without the help of a nutritionist. After filming was done, Damon was diagnosed with deregulated blood sugar, which required medication. It would take Damon a good two years to get his body back to normal. See more »

Goofs

The Capitol dome cannot be seen from Bethesda, Maryland. See more »

Quotes

Captain Karen Emma Walden: [to Monfriez, after she's been shot in the abdomen] I gave birth to a nine-pound baby, asshole. I think I can handle it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Be Kind Rewind (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Angel from Montgomery
Written by John Prine
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Not As Bad As It Could Have Been
8 August 2004 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

After suffering a tragic incident during the 1991 gulf war Colonel Serling is asked to look into the case of Captain Walden a female helicopter pilot nominated for America`s highest decoration The Medal Of Honor

COURAGE UNDER FIRE is directed by Ed Zwick a director who tries so hard to direct an epic movie that he loses all focus for narrative . GLORY suffered from this to a certain extent as did his later movie THE SIEGE . LEGENDS OF THE FALL on the other hand collapsed under its own weight of sub stories that it left this viewer wondering what on earth was the main story . COURAGE UNDER FIRE could have suffered the same fate and I was suspicous as to where the story might have been heading . A tragic friendly fire incident features as does the traumatic and guilt ridden aftermath , a nosey journalist appears , then the story switches to the helicopter heroine . Should females serve on the front line ? Will she get the honour simply because she`s a woman ? With so many potential storylines for the film to follow the movie then decides to become centered around what actually happened to Captain Walden . I`m actually glad it became a simple " Whodunnit " plot because LEGENDS OF THE FALL SET IN THE DESERT isn`t my idea of a good movie

There`s only two things director Zwick should be criticised for , in fact one of them isn`t even his fault and that is the battle scene where the Iraqis surround the crashed helicopter , having watched BLACK HAWK DOWN several times I came to the conclusion the most awesome part of that movie is where the two Delta snipers Shughart and Gordon bravely but vainly try to stem the Somali hordes closing in on the Durrant crash site . Ironically this incident inspired the producers to make COURAGE UNDER FIRE but the battle scenes are very much weaker in comparison to Scott`s later movie despite being very similar , but let me repeat I saw COURAGE UNDER FIRE after seeing BLACK HAWK DOWN and most war movies would pale beside Ridley Scott`s action masterwork . The one thing Zwick should be blamed for is casting Meg Ryan . On screen the character of Walden is described as " Butch " and whatever you want to say about Meg Ryan " butch " is not an accurate adjective . Lyndie England now she is butch ...

As for the other aspects of the movie it`s cast well enough . Denzil Washington plays his usual good guy very well while a then fairly unknown Matt Damon is almost unrecognisable . Perhaps the most refreshing thing about COURAGE UNDER FIRE is that it`s apolitical which makes a nice change from Vietnam where we get polemical movies like THE GREEN BERETS and WE WERE SOLDIERS on one hand and PLATOON and APOCALYPSE NOW on the other . Wait till Hollywood starts making movies about Gulf War 2 , boy are we going to be getting some opinions on that war


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