7.2/10
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A Soldier's Story (1984)

Trailer
1:23 | Trailer
An African American officer investigates a murder in a racially charged situation in World War II.

Director:

Norman Jewison

Writers:

Charles Fuller (screenplay), Charles Fuller (play)
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Howard E. Rollins Jr. ... Captain Davenport
Adolph Caesar ... Sergeant Waters
Art Evans ... Private Wilkie
David Alan Grier ... Corporal Cobb
David Harris ... Private Smalls
Dennis Lipscomb ... Captain Taylor
Larry Riley ... C.J. Memphis
Robert Townsend ... Corporal Ellis
Denzel Washington ... Private First Class Peterson
William Allen Young ... Private Henson
Patti LaBelle ... Big Mary
Wings Hauser ... Lieutenant Byrd
Scott Paulin ... Captain Wilcox
John Hancock ... Sergeant Washington
Trey Wilson ... Colonel Nivens
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Storyline

A black soldier is killed while returning to his base in the deep south. The white people of the area are suspected at first. A tough black army attorney is brought in to find out the truth. We find out a bit more about the dead soldier in flashbacks - and that he was unpopular. Will the attorney find the killer ? Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Alone, far from home, and far from justice, he has three days to learn the truth about a murder...and the truth is a story you won't forget.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 November 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Soldier's Story See more »

Filming Locations:

Clarendon, Arkansas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$156,383, 16 September 1984

Gross USA:

$21,821,347

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$21,821,347
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures, Caldix See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of two filmed adaptations of stage plays that Norman Jewison made for Columbia Pictures during the mid-1980s. The other movie was Agnes of God (1985), from the stage production by John Pielmeier. Both of the films, A Soldier's Story (1984), adapted from stage plays by Charles Fuller and Agnes of God (1985), were both Academy Award nominated for the same number of Oscars. See more »

Goofs

When Peterson (Denzel Washington) bunts, the play is shown at second base, where the infielder attempts to tag the runner. Any decent fielder would simply force the runner by stepping on the bag. Also, the result of the play would obviously have Peterson safe at first, but when C.J., the next batter, homers, we see Peterson in the dugout clapping and smiling. See more »

Quotes

Captain Davenport: Lets go see Sgt. Washington, drive.
Corporal Ellis: Didn't go to well in there sir?
Captain Davenport: You gotta hearing problem colonel?
Corporal Ellis: No sir, I was born with big ears sir, my grandma had big ears, it runs in the family.
See more »

Alternate Versions

CBS edited 5 minutes from this film for its 1987 network television premiere. See more »


Soundtracks

Low Down Dirty Shame
Written by Larry Riley
Performed by Patti LaBelle and Larry Riley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A gripping military drama
12 July 2003 | by jc1305usSee all my reviews

A Soldier's Story, (1984) is the story of an Army sergeant who is

found murdered in cold blood. Whodunnit? The choices are many

in this engrossing, complex morality play which is set in the

backdrop of the segregated Army of WWII. (Only 60 years ago!)

This is truly a black eye on the military if there ever was one.

Several future stars are featured here including Oscar winner

Denzel Washington, David Alan Grier, and the excellent Howard

Rollins Jr. who stars as an Army Capt. and lawyer sent from

Washington to unravel this mysterious killing. The movie really

belongs to Adolph Ceasar as the murdered sergeant , however. A

WWI veteran and medal winner he constantly affirms the the ability

of the black soldier in a segregated Army as professional, efficient

and courageous, but who fails to stand for any "weaknesses" he

sees in his men, many of whom are naieve country boys, whose

ways he believes are keeping black men subjugated in Uncle

Sam's Army. One chiling scene not to be missed is Ceasar's

solliliquy in the bar with his staff sergeant, in which he describes

an incident in France in WWI. An excellent movie which should be

viewed as part of recent US history. Highly recommended.


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