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Courage Under Fire (Widescreen)

Denzel Washington , Meg Ryan , Edward Zwick    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 15.57
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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.


A year after a devastating friendly fire incident during the Gulf War, Lt. Colonel Nathaniel Serling (Denzel Washington) is in a Washington, D.C., desk job assigned the rudimentary task of overseeing a Medal of Honor candidate who died in the war. However, the case and soldier in question are a political hot potato--Captain Karen Walden (Meg Ryan) is America's first female soldier to be killed in combat.

Serling soon finds discrepancies in the case of a downed Medevac helicopter in the rocky Kuwait territory. What unfolds in flashback are several versions of Walden's tactics (à la Kurosawa's Rashomon) to rescue the soldiers and survive the downing. As with Glory, Director Edward Zwick's cast of unknown and famous faces always comes off as the real article. Walden's crew is especially convincing. Matt Damon as the medic comes off as the giddy scaredy-cat when telling his story to Washington. In battle he's a flawed, humorous soldier. The most surprising work in the movie is done by Lou Diamond Phillips (as the group's gunman), whose career had been headed to straight-to-video oblivion.

Then there's Ryan. She has done well with dramatic work in the past (When a Man Loves a Woman, Flesh and Bone) but has never been able to escape the romantic-comedy image. With dyed hair, a light accent, and the dramatics of the situation, Ryan finally has an enduring dramatic film. Even though she has half of Washington's screen time, her brave and ultimately haunting performance makes Courage something special, right down to its curious but rewarding final scene. --Doug Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mettle Of Honor And Courage July 26 2002
COURAGE UNDER FIRE, stars Denzel Washington as a Gulf War veteran, who is asked to determine whether or not Captain Karen Walden (Meg Ryan) deserves to get the medal of honor. She was killed in the line of duty in the Gulf under mysterious circumstances. Before a final decision is made about her candidacy, Washinton's Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Serling, must discover what really happened to her. As the investigation begins, Serling's own actions during the war, also come back to haunt him. Directed by Edward Zwick, this great drama, boasts fine performances from Washington, Ryan, Lou Diamond Phillips, and a very young Matt Damon, as a medic, who is tortured by his experiences in Walden's unit..The film's two storylines fit together very well and are equally compelling. The movie is perfectly paced and the combat action is well done.
The DVD has a DTS soundtrack, a brief production featurette, television spots/ theatrical trailer, and infomative commentary track from the director. I have seen this movie a handfull of times and it gets better upon each viewing. The DVD has excellent sound and picture quality that only enhances my enjoyment of the picture. COURAGE UNDER FIRE is recommended and well worth your time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie, compelling story... April 8 2004
Courage Under Fire stars Denzel Washington, who plays a very convincing LTC Nathaniel Sterling, a tank commander in the Gulf War; and Meg Ryan as a CPT Karen Walden, a pilot killed in action during the Gulf War who is considered for recommendation for the Medal of Honor, the first woman to be considered for this award.
Meg Ryan appears in the movie only in several of the numerous flashbacks. The movie revolves around two storylines: the facts behind the death of Meg Ryan's character, CPT Walden, and the life of LTC Sterling who has the unfortunate assignment to uncover what really happened when CPT Walden was killed.
Throughout the movie, LTC Sterling must face his own demons, including a drinking problem, difficulties with his wife, and a Washington reporter hounding him for information on the story he's researching.
Lou Diamond Phillips and Matt Damon also appear in the movie, both of whom portray soldiers who witnessed the events that led to CPT Walden's death.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Meg movie that is not a comedy Nov. 12 2006
By bernie TOP 50 REVIEWER
Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Serving (Denzel Washington) makes the ultimate boo boo. In the heat of the moment he targets our side.

While still in a slump over this he is challenged to check out Captain Karen Emma Walden (Meg Ryan) who is inline for the Medal of Honor (posthumously). We go through several versions of her story as told from different view points of survivors. Meg Ryan does a good job of portraying the different personalities as describe.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Movie Based On a Totally Bogus Premise Nov. 13 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I place Courage Under Fire in the same class with A Few Good Men as "A military movie that would have been a lot better if the people writing/directing it had actually done a bit of research on the military." Let me hasten to add, I enjoyed Courage Under Fire, but I had two gripes:
(1) In the scene where the Meg Ryan character dies while charging the Iraquis and firing an M16, we can see down the muzzle of the rifle, and the "muzzle" is a mere pinprick. Obviously, this is a blank gun. A small thing, but jarring to those who know guns, at a key moment in the film.
(2) The entire premise of the movie is bogus. An Army helicopter pilot played by Meg Ryan has been killed in combat, and has been nominated for a posthumous Medal of Honor. Denzel Washington's character is tapped to investigate the circumstances surrounding her death. This is a political hot potato because, if he recommends her award, she will become (drum roll) THE FIRST WOMAN EVER AWARDED THE MEDAL OF HONOR.
False. Historically, factually false. Dr. Mary Edwards Walker of the Civil War Union Army was awarded the Medal of Honor on November 11, 1865. This is, um, kind of an important point. Either the folks making this movie didn't know that, in which case they're sloppy, or they chose to ignore it, in which case they're willfully dishonest.
Did I mention I enjoyed this movie?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Big-name stars: A great story, brilliantly acted. Sept. 25 2003
First off, the time for this review is a little off. (09/2003) Right now the "anti-war" crowd seems to hold sway ... at least in the media. But take it from a former soldier, this is a great and very realistic story about what happens under fire.
(War ... IS ugly. But perhaps September 11th, 2001 taught us there are some battles you should not run away from.)
You should also read a few of the other reviews about this movie, they are very well-done.
This story is about Denzel Washington's character (Sterling) who is assigned to investigate a dead helicopter's actions after their aircraft went down in the first Gulf War. (1990) The deceased helicopter pilot is Meg Ryan's character (Walden); she gets precious little screen-time in this movie ... it is perhaps the only criticism I can think of that is valid.
I don't need to tell you the rest of the details, story and technique of this film, other reviews do this as well as anyone possibly could. What I do have to offer is a word about the acting of this movie.
Normally Denzel Washington plays action characters, and Meg Ryan almost always seem to do a comedy/drama about a woman in love. Here both actors are engaged in a radical departure from their normal fare.
I don't know how many Oscar's this film was nominated for, (and I don't really care, Oscar's seem to be as much about politics as anything else); but Washington, Ryan, and Damon all give performances that are quite worthy of this award. And the rest of the cast is very good as well. I would personally like to say that this film could have easily been the best picture of the year, and the actor's could have easily walked away with several statues. The director could have won an Oscar as well.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleazy but good story
Great movie. Enjoyed. Hollywood seems to slide further and faster down the scum route as days go by. We haven't been to a theater in years and this is why. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Gary Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars Courage Under Fire
I want to thank you for sending this item, received intact. It was a great movie.
Published on Oct. 30 2010 by Robert W. Johnson
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie
Another good performance by Denzel Washington showing why he is one of the best actors in hollywood in each film he's in.
Published on July 11 2009 by l3randon
5.0 out of 5 stars A Meg movie that is not a comedy
Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Serving (Denzel Washington) makes the ultimate boo boo. In the heat of the moment he targets our side. Read more
Published on July 16 2006 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars A Meg movie that is not a comedy
Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Serving (Denzel Washington) makes the ultimate boo boo. In the heat of the moment he targets our side. Read more
Published on June 29 2006 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars A Meg movie that is not a comedy
Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Serving (Denzel Washington) makes the ultimate boo boo. In the heat of the moment he targets our side. Read more
Published on Feb. 2 2005 by bernie
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, involving story
Yes, I praise the film for its veracity and the qualities of the various members of the cast. But, let's remember the only woman who has ever been awarded the Medal of Honor in... Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Oscar Material for Meg Ryan
It's April 2003, and I just viewed the DVD for the first, second, and third time. This may not be a politically correct movie with the war today, but it is one of the best I have... Read more
Published on April 18 2003 by Kathie Hruzek
5.0 out of 5 stars A couragious film that deals with current event's.
Edward Zwick's impressive Gulf War film about the horrors and
the soilders that fought in Iraq in 1990 is a somber look at the
reality of mistakes in war and the... Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2003 by Ross McKenzie
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