Variety - 06/24/1996
"...A carefully conceived, dramatically honorable picture that treats its subject with clarity and intelligence..."
Los Angeles Times - 07/12/1996
"...Intelligent, involving and serious....Lou Diamond Phillips gives an intense, focused performance..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 07/12/1996
"...Zwick's direction handles the many conflicting story possibilities with great clarity..."
Following the 1991 Gulf War, Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Serling (Denzel Washington) is assigned to review the background of the late Captain Karen Walden (Meg Ryan), who has been posthumously nominated for a medal of honor. While investigating Walden's candidacy, Serling is forced to face his own disillusionment and guilt surrounding the war. As he begins the interviewing process, he uncovers several inconsistencies in the stories told by the late pilot's crew. The three officers, who may or may not have been saved by the captain's actions, all give drastically different accounts of the events leading up to Walden's death. Ilario (Matt Damon) paints Walden as an unselfish, courageous hero, while the surly Monfriez (Lou Diamond Phillips) describes her as a crybaby and a coward. The third soldier, Altameyer (Seth Gilliam), lies dying in an army hospital, mumbling guilty confessions in a medicated haze. Similar to the storytelling technique used in Akira Kurosawa's RASHOMON, director Edward Zwick's COURAGE UNDER FIRE features each officer's account of the fateful incident reenacted onscreen, offering wildly diverse portrayals of Walden. Meg Ryan shines in a role that demands she play one character a multitude of ways. As Serling pieces together the radically different tales of combat, he uncovers the painful truth and simultaneously faces his own pent-up guilt regarding the war.
When Lt. Colonel Nathaniel Serling (Denzel Washington) is asked to review the posthumous candidacy of the first woman (Meg Ryan) to receive a medal of honor, he finds himself plunged into an apparent cover-up surrounding the actions that led to her death. As he struggles to uncover the truth, he also finds himself forced to confront his own tormenting demons. Matt Damon co-stars in this powerful and provocative drama.
Assigned to investigate and approve a killed-in-action helicopter pilot's candidacy to become the first female recipient of the congressional medal of honor, a disillusioned former Gulf War officer finds inconsistencies in the stories told by the late pilot's crew.
Character Study |
Theatrical Release |
Theatrical release: July 12, 1996.
Filmed in Texas and California.
COURAGE UNDER FIRE features one of Matt Damon's first major screen roles.
The film's multiple-point-of-view concept is loosely based on Akira Kurosawa's 1950 film RASHOMON. Martin Ritt's THE OUTRAGE is also patterned after Kurosawa's classic film.
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