Courage Under Fire

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -2

In Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm, Lt. Colonel Nathaniel Serling (Denzel Washington) leads his tanks in a night attack on Iraqi forces. During the intense fighting, he gives the order to fire on an enemy tank, only to learn it was one of his own. While the incident is investigated, Serling is sent to the Pentagon and assigned to review medal requests, including the case of Captain Karen Walden (Meg Ryan). The first woman to be nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor for action in combat, Walden's case has a lot of political support. But as Serling investigates, conflicts in the witness' stories make him dig further to uncover the truth. The answer seems to revolve around Corporal Monfriez (Lou Diamond Phillips), a combat veteran, and three other survivors. Flashbacks show the survivors' differing views of the event. The gripping scenes showcase the actors' skills as they portray sometimes opposite characteristics. Intense battle scenes and interpersonal conflicts keep everyone guessing about the real story and make this film a winner.

Because of his own case, Serling can't tell the truth to the parents of the tank commander he killed. This makes Capt. Walden's story even more important to Serling. Like many war veterans, he is haunted by dreams of battles and turns to alcohol to help. But his drinking is not condoned and everyone, from his commander and his wife to a sympathetic reporter, tries to help. The split personality of war is seen when Serling leads his troops in prayer, then turns and, like a sports coach, tells them to kill the enemy. The realistic battle scenes include explosions, machine guns, men in flames and dead bodies. The suicide of a man who runs his car into a train is intense and graphic. While there is no sex or nudity, one man dressing for a workout is seen in an athletic supporter. One scene implies a soldier uses drugs but its illegality is noted. The most disappointing aspect is almost 50 obscenities and 30 profanities, making COURAGE UNDER FIRE a casualty of our high viewing standards.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
20th Century Fox Film Corp., 10201 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (22) times - Mild 11, Moderate 11

Obscene Language: Many (48) times - F-word 23, s-word 20, other 5

Profanity: Many (30) times - Regular 24 (J 14, C 5, GD 3, JC, G), Exclamatory 6

Violence: Many times - Moderate and severe (warfare action, explosions, shooting, man in flames, bloody face, burned body, threat with gun, suicide drive into train)

Sex: None

Nudity: None; Near nudity (male in athletic supporter).

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Slang reference to sex

Drugs: Alcohol drinking (not condoned), cigarettes, reference to shooting up, self-medication by cancer patient

Other: Commander leads troops in prayer, truth and honor upheld, wife supportive of husband, ethnic slur used once, parents show forgiveness

Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Adults

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