Tears of the Sun (2003)



Critic Consensus: Tries to be high-minded, but in the end, it's just a stylish action movie.

Movie Info

A career soldier is forced to choose between following orders and saving lives in this action thriller. Lt. A.K. Waters (Bruce Willis) is a veteran Navy SEAL whose commander (Tom Skerritt) has given his team a special assignment. A Central African nation is expected to explode into war at any moment, and Waters and his cohorts are to escort any American citizens in the area to safety, most notably Dr. Lena Kendricks (Monica Bellucci), a doctor from the United States who has set up a clinic in … More

Rating: R (for strong war violence, some brutality and language)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Alex Lasker, Patrick Cirillo, Robert Orr, Malcolm Clarke
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 10, 2003
Box Office: $43.4M
Columbia Pictures - Official Site


as Lt. A.K. Waters

as Dr. Lena Fiore Kendr...

as James `Red' Atkins

as Ellis `Zee' Pettigre...

as Michael `Slo' Slowen...

as Kelly Lake

as Demetrius `Silk' Owe...

as Danny `Doc' Kelly

as Jason `Flea' Mabry

as Capt. Bill Rhodes

as Col. Idriss Sadique

as Patience

as Arthur Azuka

as Colonel Emanuel Okez...

as Sister Grace

as Father Gianni

as Terwase

as President Samuel Azu...

as General Mustafa Yaku...

as Refugee Woman

as Man with Goat

as Mission Rebel

as Rebel Officer

as Injured Old Man

as Rape Victim

as Christopher Marwa

as Village Woman

as Tortured Villager

as Teenage Rebel Soldie...

as Village Attacker

as Carrier Reporter

as Rhodes' Aide

as Rebel Squad Commande...

as Seahawk Pilot

as Carrier Corpsman

as Chanting Woman

as Chanting Woman

as Refugee Camp Guard

as Refugee Camp Guard

as Refugee Camp Guard

as Relief Worker

as Refugee

as Refugee

as Refugee

as Refugee

as Refugee

as Refugee

as Refugee

as Refugee

as Refugee

as Refugee

as Refugee
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Tears of the Sun

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Critic Reviews for Tears of the Sun

All Critics (169) | Top Critics (42)

Will a thinking audience really buy the image of helpless, grateful people bestowing kisses and victory songs upon Willis as the representative of all things American: power, guts, compassion?

Full Review… | April 22, 2003
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Deserves the bad reviews and the lackluster earnings it has accumulated thus far.

Full Review… | April 4, 2003
New York Observer
Top Critic

Raping and pillaging and blowing things up is mainly what this movie is about, although it claims to show how the most robotic, dehumanized soldiers can be transformed by human suffering.

Full Review… | March 20, 2003
New York Observer
Top Critic

Shamelessly one-sided with cheesy wooden dialogue.

Full Review… | December 28, 2010
Common Sense Media

The movie regales us with the heroics of a (mostly) white American platoon picking off anonymous black savages.

Full Review… | September 23, 2007

A huge screaming bore of a war flick with a big plate of pretentiousness on the side.

Full Review… | May 28, 2005

Audience Reviews for Tears of the Sun

"Tears of the Sun is one of those films that left me feeling gutted after seeing it. It's been a while since a film has left me feeling so many emotions. I had a lot of mixed feelings going on throughout this film. Many of them being disgust, anger, saddness, horrified, and lastly proud. I know these characters are fictional, but the events that take place to these unfortunate people is very real. Just knowing that people have lived through these kind of events really is sickening and terrifying. So when you see A.K. (even if he's not real, I'd like to think someone would have done what he did) turn the plane around and take his group of solidiers to a fight that is not theirs just because it might save lives and is not only the right thing to do, but the human thing to do, is greatly satisfying. I was sickened with what these armed guerillas not only did to these poor people, but to these women and children. I was even more horrified by what they did to nursing mother's. It really just broke my heart and made me cry. I can't imagine seeing this in real life let alone living in it. It's truly a film that makes you not only feel grateful for the life you have and the country you live in, but that their are people out there fighting for these countries and sees that it is wrong and want to help prevent these things from happening anymore. We are all human and deserve to be treated as such. It's really scary knowing these things are still happening. See the film. You won't be able to get it out of your head days or weeks after seeing it. I know I won't."


Super Reviewer

An American military unit is dispatched to extract a doctor and US national from a civil war torn region of Africa and is pursued relentlessly to the border by rebel forces. It's the turn of Nigeria to get rescued by Team America: World Police as stone faced Bruce Willis and his team of be-haloed tough guys set the world to rights once more, using just truth, justice and the American way. The American way involving grenades, sniper rifles, automatic weapons and air strikes, as usual. As a political drama it is incredibly simplistic and self righteous, all the Africans in the film being either murderous savages or helpless victims and there are plenty of shots of wailing mothers, murdered children and rape victims to help bludgeon the point home. The characters are the usual mix of morally courageous babe (Monica Belucci manages to look even more gorgeous covered with sweat and grime) and noble US grunts bucking orders to do the right thing; in other words, it's a typically weakly plotted and characterised Hollywood thriller and as such is sugared by some very impressive action scenes. The final showdown is extremely well handled by Antoine (Training Day) Fuqua and it's a shame it's kind of ruined by the inevitable parade of teary-eyed brown faces that are overflowing with gratitude for their American saviours at the end. It's just another example of America rewriting history to make themselves the heroes, but it is entertaining enough if you don't think about it too hard. F**k, yeah.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

There's a lot to admire about Antoine Fuqua's Tears of the Sun amidst the "Ra Ra America" sentiment, and the weak storyline about a hard as nails Lieutenant who never disobeys an order until now. I really enjoyed the first hour of this film. Unlike most action war pictures that find a conflict to exploit, Tears of the Sun immerses itself in the horror of the political situation, and the horrific genocide that is currently taking place. Nigerian rebels have successfully overthrown a democratically elected government, and before the entire country descends into complete chaos (which it pretty much already has), the US Navy SEALS have decided to extract all American military and personnel in the area. Bruce Willis plays a commander whose team has been ordered to find and extract an American doctor, played by Monica Bellucci.
Things get complicated when this doctor refuses to leave without many of the nearby Nigerian civilians she's been treating. Against his orders, Willis agrees, and soon after, he and his team become pursued by the Rebels as this doctor seems to be more important to them than anyone could have realized.
Genocide is a horrible thing. Even more horrible is how so much of the world watches in dismay, yet does not lift a finger to help save these people. Wars between African tribes seem to always end in mass genocide, and this script means to put these American soldiers into a situation where they are forced to look face to face at the human cost they will have to bear by leaving the innocent Nigerians to fend for themselves. For the first half of the film, the violence is kept at a minimal, and we get to know all the soldiers in the platoon, as well as many of the innocents that are being led to safety.
Of course, this being a studio film, the second half of the film dissolves into an action packed firefight between the American soldiers and the African Rebels. Fuqua isn't the strongest action director either, and many of these scenes lack real excitement. Amidst these war sequences, the film pauses to focus on how grateful these civilians are that these soldiers are there for them and that God will bless them. There's nothing particularly wrong with including one or even two such scenes, but there are too many to count, and the "Ra Ra" undertones become a little too obvious for my tastes. And because the film starts off as a darker, more intellectual narrative, it's disappointing that the filmmakers opted for a typical action movie showdown as opposed to a proper and much more daring follow through.

Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer

Tears of the Sun Quotes

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