A military lawyer defends two Marines accused of
murder who say they were acting under orders.
A Few Good Men (1992)
Directed by Rob Reiner
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Pollak, Kiefer Sutherland, Wolfgang Bodison,
James Marshall, J.T. Walsh, J.A. Preston
Based on the stage play by Aaron Sorkin
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor
(Jack Nicholson), Best Sound, Best Film Editing
A Few Good Men is a brilliant courtroom drama sporting an unbelievable cast, a tense atmosphere, and a truly satisfying climax. It's remembered mostly these days as the movie with the infamous quote, "You can't handle the truth!" screamed at top volume by Jack Nicholson. It's nice to finally have some context for that quote, as it's the first line of one of the finest monologues in film history and an incredible courtroom meltdown scene that got Jack an Oscar nomination. Apart from that scene, though, the film is just as entertaining, with Tom Cruise at his best.
At Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a Marine is killed in what appears to be a sanctioned hazing known as a Code Red. The two Marines responsible are tried for murder, and young upstart Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Cruise) is their counsel, along with Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway (Moore). The more they dig, the more they realize who really gave the order to attack that Marine, and Kaffee ends up going head to head with decorated Col. Nathan Jessup (Nicholson) in the epic climax. As is usually the case with Aaron Sorkin's screenplays, the dialogue is exceptional and the legalese is easy for the layman to understand.
A Few Good Men was Sorkin's first movie, and thanks to its success, he was able to go on to be one of the most successful and celebrated screenwriters in Hollywood. But this is a hell of a debut. Every cast member is giving it their all, but obviously Jack outshines everyone, as expected. It's a must-see for courtroom drama fans, especially since both sides make fairly decent points about the morality of war, or lack thereof.