Courage Under Fire

July 12th, 1996


Courage Under Fire

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Still of Edward Zwick in Courage Under FireStill of Denzel Washington and Edward Zwick in Courage Under Fire

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

Release Year: 1996

Rating: 6.6/10 (23,151 voted)

Critic's Score: 77/100

Director: Edward Zwick

Stars: Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan, Lou Diamond Phillips

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 and award her the Medal of Honor. But some conflicting accounts, from her crew and soldiers in the area, cause him to question whether she deserves it.

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 - Robins
Mark Adair-Rios - Bobcat 5 (as Mark Adair-Riós)

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

Release Date: 12 July 1996

Filming Locations: Austin, Texas, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $46,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $12,501,000 (USA) (14 July 1996) (1986 Screens)

Gross: $61,700,000 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The White House rose garden set was destroyed twice: once by a tornado, and once by a sandstorm.

Factual errors: The M1A1 used by the 2nd ACR (Armored Cavalry Regiment) of which Col. Serling plays a part fires a 120mm combustible case round. Only the aft end cap comes out of the breech after firing, not the whole casing.

[holding a pistol to Serling's head]
Monfriez: You ever kill anyone at close range with a small arms, sir?
[Serling shakes his head]
Monfriez: Messy.

User Review

A great Movie, Overlooked by too many

Rating: 8/10

This movie has 2 stories that that run side by side, depicting the same image of war from different perspectives.

Denzel's story is one of sadness and guilt over the death of a friend during the Gulf war, a friend that he himself killed in a 'Friendly Fire' incident, during the confusion of battle. His country won't let him speak, and they shower him with medals; this only adds to the pain that begins to tear him apart.

Denzel's Character is given an assignment to determine whether a female helicopter pilot (Meg Ryan) deserves the medal of honour.

Meg's story, played out in flashbacks, is about a helicopter pilot and her crew saving a handful of soldiers, from the Iraqi onslaught. She is the first female to be considered for the medal of honour, and the question is, does she deserve what the American people would so love too see her receive.

Denzel, determined to get this one right, collects evidence and testimony from Ryans crew and the men that were saved. The problem is, Denzel's superiors want this medal awarded, but the simple truth is difficult to unveil. Every shred of evidence leads to more and more uncertainty as to whether this medal should be awarded.

Truly compelling direction and very special character portrayal make this an extremely enjoyable, very dramatic movie.

If you've over looked it, then give it a try. I think you'll be glad you did.



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