Courage Under Fire 1996

Amazon Instant Video

Available in HD
(41) IMDb 6.6/10

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 Waldens candidacy, Serling is forced to face his own disillusionment and guilt surrounding the war.

Starring:
Denzel Washington,Lou Diamond Phillips
Runtime:
1 hour, 56 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Action & Adventure
Director Edward Zwick
Starring Denzel Washington, Lou Diamond Phillips
Supporting actors Meg Ryan, Michael Moriarty, Seth Gilliam
Studio Twentieth Century Fox
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 14 July 2004
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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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Jan. 2003
Format: DVD
This is a riveting Military drama that works as a human drama as well. Director Edward Zwick (Glory, Legends of the Fall) has made something special here as what could have been a routine story takes on depth and a sense of honor and history as this routine investigation into the death of the first female officer killed in combat turns into a marshy quicksand of lies and deception about the events leading to her death.
Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Serling (Denzel Washington) is assigned the task of signing off on the details so Captain Karen Walden (Meg Ryan) can be given the Medal of Honor for her sacrifice. But as Serling begins to talk to the crew of soldiers who went down with Walden in the Medivac helicopter over Kuwait he becomes unsure whether or not she deserves it. It is not any kind of preconceptions about women in combat that prompts his misgivings but his conversations with those involved.

Michael Moriarty gives a fine performance as Serlings superior and old friend Brigadier General Hershberg. The President wants to give Walden this honor and the pressure is great on Serling to hurry up and sign off on the investigation. Ilario (Matt Damon) was the closest to Walden personally and he seems just a little to scared of the investigation to Serling. Lou Diamond Phillips gives the performance of his career as the hard edged Sgt. Monfriez, a Military lifer with a chip on his shoulder who thinks Serling is there to whitewash what happened and will tell him nothing.
Denzel Washington gives another great performance as the flawed Lieutenant Colonel Serling, whose attempt to get at the truth may cost him his career. Scott Glenn has a nice turn in this quietly powerful drama as a reporter who smells a big story. This film is about honor and integrity and human weakness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jay on 16 April 2007
Format: DVD
Denzel Washington plays an officer in charge of a tank brigade during the war. The unit he commands is involved in a friendly fire accident that kills one of his own men. After the war he tries to take responsibility for his part in the accident, but his superiors won't allow him to.

Also in the movie Denzel Washington's character seems to have developed drinking problems and other family problems due to his guilt. Whether or not he is actually guilty of anything or not he is consumed by his guilt and states more than once that he just wants to get this investigation right. It is almost as if he feels he can get rid of his guilt by handling this properly.

The character who gets killed is Meg Ryan who doesn't share any screen time with Denzel. Also featured are Matt Damon and Lou Diamond Phillips; members of Ryan's unit.

The filming uses a little known technique known as the Rashomon technique where the versions of each of the unit members are related, and believe me do they conflict ! Watch the film to see to what extent and whether Denzel absolves himself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By niloc on 24 Sept. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The 1996 film 'Courage under Fire' most definitely initiated a chang of pace for Meg Ryan. Very well known for her 'fluffy' films such as: 'When Harry met Sally';'You've Got Mail' et al,'Courage under Fire'gave Ryan a chance to show she could act,given the right script,and the right director (Steven Rosenblum). It is a cracker of a story-line,with Denzel Washington giving a first rate performance (as indeed, the rest of the cast does,including an actor called Matt Damon!). Suffice to say it is a war film with a most unusual twist,equally,you can call it a Thriller if you so wish. Call it what you may,it's an utterly absorbing film. If you want a film which will satisfy you on all counts,this is the film for you!
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