Soldier's Story [Import]
Director Norman Jewison's (In the Heat of the Night) 1984 adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play explores the ramifications of racism and loyalty through the prism of blacks in the military, revealed through a murder mystery set in the 1940s deep South. Howard E. Rollins (Ragtime) plays a military investigator assigned to the murder of a drill instructor (Adolph Caesar) in charge of a black platoon. Under pressure from his superiors to wrap his investigation up quickly, Rollins instead delves deeply into the relationships between the despised drill instructor and his men, uncovering lies and animosity, and confronting the question of what it means to be black in a white man's world. Rollins is a riveting, stoic, and emotional lead, and Denzel Washington makes an early appearance as a soldier with a deep grudge against the drill instructor and a deep mistrust of Rollins' investigator. A powerfully written story that makes the most of its large and impressive ensemble cast, A Soldier's Story is a deeply affecting and worthwhile film. --Robert Lane
Top Customer Reviews
Tynin, Louisiana 1944. A black non-commissioned officer was murdered. Shot to death on a roadside near a bridge, outside of a predominately black army base with only white officers. A black army officer lawyer (Howard Rollins, Jr.) comes from Washington D.C. to Louisiana to investigate the murder. No one has ever seen a black officer before and white officers only heard of the possibility that a black man could be an officer. As you can imagine, this black officer doesn't get much support from the white officers on the base.
This is a powerful film of perseverance, courage, determination, pride, and accomplishment against overwhelming odds. And the cast is fabulous. Howard Rollins, Jr. Adolph Caesar, David Alan Grier, Denzel Washington, Art Evans, David Harris, Larry Riley (as C.J. Memphis), Wings Hauser, and many other stars you know you've seen before. And it even includes Patti Labelle as Big Mary belting out some fabulous Southern Rockin' Blues.
This is my very favorite film that has Denzel Washington, although "Mississippi Masala" is a close second.
Howard Rollins gives a solid performance in the role of Captain Davenport; a stoic and principled officer who is assigned to solve the murder of a black NCO--Sgt. Vernon Waters--at a military base outside of Tynin, Louisiana. Davenport is determined to solve this murder and he's not going to let the white racist senior officers stand in his way. At the same time, he doesn't let the enlisted black soldiers suck-up to him because he's on a mission and he wants to get at the truth, no matter what.
Adolph Caesar plays the hard-ass, irascible Sgt. Waters. Caesar plays this role for all it's worth and he does a great job of making the viewer feel his contempt for southern blacks and for himself.
Robert Townsend adds a bit of comic relief to this tense drama in his role of the bumbling sycophant Coporal Ellis. For all the fawning attention he gives to Captain Davenport, you, the viewer, can understand and feel Ellis' sense of pride in working with a black officer.
Denzel Washington also gives a convincing performance in the role of Private Peterson. Peterson is the angry young black man who not only resents the white racist society in which he lives but also the blacks who try to keep other black people down. This inner rage is played out in a very tense verbal exchange between Peterson and Waters which ultimately culminates in a fight between the two men.
The only weakness this movie has is its reliance of the flashback throughout the film. At times, this technique comes across as a bit awkward but given the context of the film, this technique is appropriate.
Despite this minor criticism, I'd have to say that this is a first-rate film and I highly recommend it.
The DVD presentation of this recent screen classic offers an excellent film-to-video transfer, featuring a sharp picture and crisp sound. The disc contains both the widescreen and fullscreen editions, and includes the original theatrical trailer. Also offered is a short but very moving 1999 documentary entitled "March to Freedom", which recounts several astonishing real-life stories of racism in the American armed forces during World War II. All-in-all, this is a highly recommended DVD that deserves a place in your home video library.
The film also stars Denzel Washington in one of his first roles.
Unfortunately there are no special features at all on this bluray
Most recent customer reviews
It reminds me of a low budget M.A.S.H... Not into M.A.S.H and not into low budget movies... Don't waist your time and moneyPublished 13 months ago by Jennifer Cloutier
This is a must see movie. It features some of the best African-American actors and has a story line that everyone can relate to.Published on Jan. 19 2003 by PaulPi
I found this movie to be a beautifully done flick. I remember going to the movies with my family to go see it. I was only 6 years old when it came out, but I remembered it. Read morePublished on Jan. 18 2003 by Tanika L Carroll
This is one of my favorite movies...It is about a black army officers death..It deals with racial tention and even racism within the black race.. Read morePublished on Sept. 15 2001
Underated and only now available on DVD, this is a classic period piece. Totally overlooked are two musical performances by Patti Labelle, who is forced to sing in the period of... Read morePublished on March 3 2000
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