5.5/10
181
11 user 8 critic

Death of a Soldier (1986)

R | | Crime, Drama, War | 16 May 1986 (USA)
Based on a true story, James Coburn portrays a military lawyer assigned to defend a confessed psychotic killer. Set in the context of WWII and the uneasy US-Australian military alliance. ... See full summary »

Director:

Philippe Mora

Writers:

William L. Nagle (screenplay) (as William Nagle), William L. Nagle (story) (as William Nagle)
Reviews
2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Martin's Day (1985)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Threatened with recapture after a prison escape, Martin Stechert grabs a twelve-year-old as hostage. He proves to be named Martin, too, a quiet "good little boy" always obeying the rules, ... See full summary »

Director: Alan Gibson
Stars: Richard Harris, Lindsay Wagner, James Coburn
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

A warrior seeks his true origins in a seemingly prehistoric wasteland.

Director: Antonio Margheriti
Stars: Reb Brown, Corinne Cléry, John Steiner
Comedy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

While investigating the murder of a movie star, a detective finds that he himself is being set up for the crime.

Director: Philippe Mora
Stars: John Dennis Johnston, Jonathan Ball, Jim Chiros
Mr. Patman (1980)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A male nurse working the night shift at a psychiatric hospital begins to lose his own grip on reality.

Director: John Guillermin
Stars: James Coburn, Kate Nelligan, Fionnula Flanagan
High Risk (1981)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Four naive Americans, in need of easy cash, decide to fly to Colombia and raid the safe of a notorious drug lord with connections to the corrupt military regime.

Director: Stewart Raffill
Stars: James Brolin, Anthony Quinn, Lindsay Wagner
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.8/10 X  

The star spangled hero must battle a villain's plan to poison America with a chemical that horrifically accelerates the aging process.

Director: Ivan Nagy
Stars: Reb Brown, Connie Sellecca, Len Birman
Musical | Fantasy | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

In World War II, Captain Invincible used his superpowers against the Nazis, and he was a hero. But when they accused him of supporting the Communists, he retired to Australia. Now, after a ... See full summary »

Director: Philippe Mora
Stars: Alan Arkin, Christopher Lee, Kate Fitzpatrick
Intrepid (2000)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.4/10 X  

When a tsunami created by a nuclear explosion capsizes a cruise ship, a special agent must help the surviving passengers reach the surface when it becomes apparent that there's a group of terrorists on board.

Director: John Putch
Stars: James Coburn, Costas Mandylor, Finola Hughes
Action | War | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

While operating behind enemy lines, Sergeant Mike Ransom learns of a Russian presence in North Vietnam. Ordered to obtain proof of this discovery, Ransom returns to enemy territory but is ... See full summary »

Director: Bruno Mattei
Stars: Reb Brown, Christopher Connelly, Louise Kamsteeg
The Hit List (1993)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Charlie Pike is a pro hitman, but when he meets Yancy Butler, everything starts falling apart.

Director: William Webb
Stars: Jeff Fahey, Yancy Butler, James Coburn
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A nostalgic look back at the Great Depression with contemporary archival footage and film clips picturing James Cagney as an American Everyman.

Director: Philippe Mora
Stars: Laverne Andrews, Maxene Andrews, Patty Andrews
Swastika (1974)
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The Nazification of Germany from 1933 to 1945 told through a compilation of Nazi footage, newsreels, propaganda films and Eva Braun's home movies.

Director: Philippe Mora
Stars: Eva Braun, Galeazzo Ciano, Albert Einstein
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Coburn ... Maj. Patrick Dannenberg
Bill Hunter ... Det. Sgt. Adams
Reb Brown ... Pvt. Edward J. Leonski
Maurie Fields ... Det. Sgt. Martin (as Maurice Fields)
Max Fairchild ... Maj. William Fricks
Belinda Davey Belinda Davey ... Margot Saunders
Randall Berger ... Pvt. Anthony Gallo
Michael Pate ... Maj. Gen. Sutherland
Jon Sidney Jon Sidney ... Gen. Douglas MacArthur
Nell Johnson Nell Johnson ... Maisie
Pippa Wilson Pippa Wilson ... Singer in Boomerang Bar
Kim Rushworth Kim Rushworth ... Band in Bar
John McTernan John McTernan ... Col. Williams (as John McTiernan)
Earl Francis Earl Francis ... Police Doctor
Ron Pinnell Ron Pinnell ... Mr. Harmon
Edit

Storyline

Based on a true story, James Coburn portrays a military lawyer assigned to defend a confessed psychotic killer. Set in the context of WWII and the uneasy US-Australian military alliance. The accused killer claims to have killed 3 women in order to possess their voices. Despite the defense lawyer's concerns that the killer is not fit to stand trial, the US military presses forward with the case and its desire to have the killer executed in order to strengthen the shaky alliance. The real person who did this was Eddie Leonski. Written by Themanmir

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The obscenity of war. The brutality of murder. The travesty of justice.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 May 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dein Lied - Dein Tod See more »

Filming Locations:

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Suatu See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)| Black and White (archive footage)| Color (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Additional financing needed to be raised during production. Executive producers Richard Tanner and Oscar Scherl raised a further $l million, taking the budget from $3 million to $4 million. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Spoony Experiment: Death of a Soldier (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Jersey Trot
music by Allan Zavod
published by Filmtrax PLC
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Background on Coburn's character, Ira C. Rothgerber, Jr.
28 August 2004 | by JE4115See all my reviews

Although James Coburn's character is called Major Donnenberg in the movie, the person who actually defended Leonski was Ira C. Rothgerber, Jr. He died in 1993 and was one of the greatest Colorado lawyers of the 20th Century.

With the outbreak of World War II, Ira joined the Army and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Stationed in the South Pacific and Australia, he served in combat areas and won a Bronze Star. In Australia, he served with another young lawyer from New Jersey, Colonel Bill Powers, whom he convinced to return with him to Denver and join the firm at the end of the war. The firm then became known as Rothgerber, Appel & Powers.

During his service in Australia, Ira was appointed as co-counsel to represent a young, uneducated private accused of the rape and murder of several Sydney women. General MacArthur's command was determined to show the Australians that U.S. soldiers in their country would be held to a strict code of conduct, and the prosecution sought the death penalty. The soldier, William Leonski, was by all accounts mentally deranged and likely insane. Nevertheless, he was found competent to stand trial, and his mental impairment defense-then unprecedented in military courts-was swiftly rejected.

His client summarily tried, convicted, and sentenced to hang, Ira sought an appeal through the military high command. Denied review, Ira dictated by long-distance telephone a petition for stay and certiorari to Denver for transmission to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, before the Court could consider the petition, Leonski was hanged


3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 11 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed