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Courage Under Fire

1996

R CC

While his own record is under investigation, a Persian Gulf tank commander reviews another officer's candidacy for a posthumous medal and becomes drawn into her story.

Starring:
Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan
Runtime:
1 hour, 56 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Drama, Thriller, Action, Mystery
Director Edward Zwick
Starring Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan
Supporting actors Lou Diamond Phillips, Michael Moriarty, Matt Damon, Bronson Pinchot, Seth Gilliam, Regina Taylor, Zeljko Ivanek, Scott Glenn, Tim Guinee, Tim Ransom, Sean Astin, Armand Darrius, Mark Adair-Rios, Ned Vaughn, Manny Perez, David McSwain, Sean Patrick Thomas, Ken Jenkins
Studio 20th Century Fox
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 4, 2000
Format: DVD
The basic plot line of "Courage Under Fire" is that Lt. Col Nathaniel Sterling (Denzel Washington) is investigating an incident during the Gulf War to determine whether or not the Medal of Honor should be awarded to Captain Karen Walden (Meg Ryan). It does not take us long to find out that the title of this film refers to both Sterling and Walden. The initial story on Walden, the pilot of a rescue helicopter, is that she made a spectacular rescue of a downed helicopter crew, then fought off attacking Iraquis after her own copter crashed, dying right before they were rescued themselves. But as Sterling questions the surviving members of Walden's crew, he discovers their various versions do not jive, and he begins to question what is the truth. Moreover, Sterling is haunted by his own actions during the Gulf War, where he was responsible for a "friendly fire" incident that resulted in the death of American soldiers. To complicate matters, Sterling is drinking too much, has grown distant from his family, and is being hounded by a commanding officer who wants the P.R. value of Walden receiving the medal and a reporter who knows something of what happened to the Colonel in Iraq.
"Courage Under Fire" makes excellent use of the "Rashomon" technique, wherein we get to see each person's version of what really happened in Iraq. Sterlings own feelings of guilt and responsibility for what happened in Iraq provide an additional level of depth to the narrative (more so than in Kurosawa's original classic film in fact). Some may find the parallel attempts to find redemption to be somewhat heavy handed, but ultimately the film succeeds because of the solid acting performances.
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Format: DVD
One of my favorites. A movie that will keep you guessing till the very end. Nat Serling is sent home from the Persian Gulf with traumas and few prospects after being in a friendly fire incident. He is given what should have been an open-and-shut case: investigate a female chopper pilot for the Medal of Honor. Things become tricky quickly as Serling's support is withdrawn when he discovers discrepancies in the witness' stories and he will have to risk everything to find out the truth about what happened on a dark night in Iraq. Magnetizing throughout, this picture is well-conceived and very compelling, and it has messages about society. Excellent directing and writing, as well as amazing acting, this movie shines.
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Format: VHS Tape
The basic plot line of "Courage Under Fire" is that Lt. Col Nathaniel Serling (Denzel Washington) is investigating an incident during the Gulf War to determine whether or not the Medal of Honor should be awarded posthumously to Captain Karen Walden (Meg Ryan). It does not take us long to find out that the title of this film refers to both Serling and Walden. The initial story on Walden, the pilot of a rescue helicopter, is that she made a spectacular rescue of a downed helicopter crew, then fought off attacking Iraquis after her own copter crashed, dying right before the besieged group was rescued. But as Serling questions the surviving members of Walden's crew, he discovers their various versions do not jive, and he begins to question what is the truth of what really happened. Moreover, Serling is haunted by his own actions during the Gulf War, where he was responsible for a "friendly fire" incident that resulted in the death of American soldiers. To complicate matters even more, Serling is drinking way too much, has grown distant from his family, and is being hounded by both a commanding officer (Michael Moriarity) who wants the P.R. value of Walden being the first woman to receive the Medal of Honor and a reporter (Scott Glenn) who knows something of what happened to the Colonel in Iraq and wants to know the rest.
"Courage Under Fire" makes excellent use of the "Rashomon" technique, wherein we get to see each person's version of what really happened in Iraq. Serling's own feelings of guilt and responsibility for what happened in Iraq provide an additional level of depth to the narrative (more so than in Kurosawa's original classic film in fact).
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Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape
This is an action movie with big-name stars but no flying cows, exploding chewing gum or invading aliens. Not that smashing special effects aren't cool. It's just that Courage Under Fire, while reconnoitering some previous military movie terrain, demonstrates the potency of a film that's well acted and directed and tells a solid story.
To wit: An Army officer (Washington) relentlessly searches out the truth about what happened the night a medical-evacuation pilot (Ryan) and her crew got trapped behind enemy lines during the Gulf War. The pilot, who died in action, has been nominated for a posthumous Medal of Honor, but as Washington interviews the men who served under her, he finds worrisome discrepancies in their accounts of the episode. (The movie, tipping its helmet to Rashomon, shows each survivor's differing version in flashback.)
What gives the story its greater resonance is the fact that Washington is a man questioning his own honor, having mistakenly given an order to fire on his own men during the Gulf War.
Washington is excellent, nicely underplaying his big scenes and ably conveying a righteous man currently ill at ease with himself. Ryan, seen only in the flashbacks, is convincingly gritty. In supporting roles as members of Ryan's crew, Phillips and, especially, Damon are standouts.
Courage is unfailingly intelligent. It is as moving as you suspect director Ed Zwick (Glory) thinks it is. The script is logical and compelling, its pieces fitting together like Lincoln Logs. Yet, this one indeed rewards the adult in us.
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