6.4/10
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282 user 63 critic

Rules of Engagement (2000)

Trailer
2:27 | Trailer
An attorney defends an officer on trial for ordering his troops to fire on civilians after they stormed a U.S. embassy in a Middle Eastern country.

Director:

William Friedkin

Writers:

Jim Webb (story) (as James Webb), Stephen Gaghan (screenplay)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tommy Lee Jones ... Colonel Hayes Hodges
Samuel L. Jackson ... Colonel Terry Childers
Guy Pearce ... Major Biggs
Ben Kingsley ... Mourain
Bruce Greenwood ... Bill Sokal
Anne Archer ... Mrs. Mourain
Blair Underwood ... Captain Lee
Philip Baker Hall ... General H. Lawrence Hodges
Dale Dye ... General Perry
Amidou ... Doctor Ahmar
Mark Feuerstein ... Tom Chandler
Richard McGonagle ... Judge
Baoan Coleman Baoan Coleman ... Colonel Cao
Nicky Katt ... Hayes Hodges III
Ryan Hurst ... Corporal Hustings
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Storyline

Hayes Hodges finds his career aspirations dashed when he's wounded in Vietnam. He returns to America and becomes a disillusioned lawyer who goes up against the Service to defend Colonel Terry Childers, who is accused of inciting an incident that leaves many demonstrators dead. Hodges is in no position to decline: Childers saved his life in Vietnam. Written by Ronos

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A hero should never have to stand alone.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The U.S.S. Wake Island LHA-7 is fictional, and not an actual U.S. Navy ship. The ship seen in the movie is actually the U.S.S. Tarawa LHA-1. See more »

Goofs

Along with using two different types of helicopters for the take off from the ship to the insertion into the embassy, there are two totally different squadrons used for during the time which would take only a few hours. On the ship, when the Marines are boarding the aircraft, the side of the aircraft reads what squadron that aircraft belongs to which, on the ship scene it is HMM-764, a reserve squadron based out of Edwards Air Force Base in CA. When the Marines get dropped off at the Embassy the squadron on the aircraft reads HMM-268, a active squadron out of Camp Pendleton. See more »

Quotes

Colonel Hayes Hodges: If this gets bad, it gets bad for both of us.
Colonel Terry L. Childers: Why, Hodge? Are you going to jail too?
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Alternate Versions

Some international prints, made for DVD/TV broadcast, have removed the Paramount logo and fade straight into the Seven Arts Pictures logo. The opening titles also now read "Seven Arts Pictures Present in association with Paramount Pictures". This is due to the fact that Seven Arts owned the international rights and wanted prime credit. See more »

Connections

Referenced in So Little Time: Rules of Engagement (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

On the Threshold of Liberty
by Mark Isham
Contains a sample performed by Mark Isham
Courtesy of The Windham Hill Group
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User Reviews

 
Typical but well acted
11 February 2013 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Rules of Engagement" from 2000 is a fairly derivative film. Directed by William Friedkin, it's the story of two men, Colonel Terry Childers (Samuel L. Jackson), a 30-year Marine veteran and decorated officer; and Colonel Hayes Hodges (Tommy Lee Jones), now an attorney, a man with whom he fought and whose life he saved in Vietnam and has retired.

Childers is sent on a rescue mission in Yemen that goes awry when the protesting crowd outside the embassy starts shooting at the Marines. Childers, who already has men down, orders his soldiers to fire into the crowd. He is able to evacuate the embassy but finds himself in trouble due to the fact that no one believes the protesters had weapons. He is put on trial and asks Hodges to defend him. Hodges doesn't feel he's a good enough attorney, but he agrees to take the case.

There is a tape of what happened, but the head of security (Bruce Greenwood) who doesn't want the United States to take the rap for killing civilians and would rather have it fall on a soldier, burns it. And Childers gets no support from the Ambassador (Ben Kingsley) or his wife (Anne Archer), and the attorney on the other side (Guy Pearce) is out for blood.

We've seen this film in various guises before, and the good versus evil is typical Hollywood. The acting is good but I have difficulty understanding the casting of Ben Kingsley, a great Oscar-winning actor, who is completely wasted in what is not even really a supporting role. Anne Archer plays his wife. The two have a small son and have been married for ten years. May I suggest that though it's entirely feasible that Archer at 43 had a child, the casting seems a little off. Often, when directors want a certain actor, the agency representing them agrees on the condition that the director take other people on his roster. I suspect this is what happened here; the casting is not quite right for these distinguished actors.

Tommy Lee Jones in particular is good as Hodges, though he has the showier role. Samuel Jackson is always very good and gives a strong performance as well, but there's something very stereotypical about both parts. Bruce Greenwood at least is interesting casting - he seems pretty mild-mannered as the Head of Security, but there's a treachery underneath.

All in all, this is an okay film, one where you know how it's going to end and basically what's going to happen while it's going on. We see two stars who have done their roles before in other circumstances. So in the end, while it has its moments, it's somewhat routine. One of those if you've seen one, you've seen them all type films.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | Canada | USA

Language:

English | Arabic

Release Date:

7 April 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rules of Engagement See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,011,181, 9 April 2000

Gross USA:

$61,335,230

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$71,732,303
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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