A Soldier's Story

1984

A Soldier's Story

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

90%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 20

82%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,492
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Movie Info

Inspired by the Herman Melville novel Billy Budd, writer Charles Fuller created the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Soldier's Play, which he then adapted into this film drama in 1984, for socially conscious, liberal director Norman Jewison. In the racially-divided 1940s, Fort Neal, Louisiana, is a military base where black soldiers are sent not to fight in WWII but to play baseball against other armed forces teams. The murder of a black sergeant, Waters (Adolph Caesar) brings an investigator, Captain Davenport (Howard E. Rollins, Jr.) to the base. Davenport, the first black officer that most of the men have ever met, suspects that a pair of white men were responsible for Waters' death, but his probe reveals that nearly everyone, regardless of skin color, had ample reason to kill the loathsome but pitiable Waters. The cast of A Soldier's Story features early supporting performances from several African-American actors who would go on to greater prominence, including Denzel Washington, David Alan Grier, and Robert Townsend. The film was nominated for three Oscars: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Caesar) and Best Adapted Screenplay.

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Cast

Howard E. Rollins Jr.
as Capt. Davenport
Adolph Caesar
as Sgt. Waters
Dennis Lipscomb
as Capt. Taylor
Art Evans
as Pvt. Wilkie
Larry Riley
as C.J. Memphis
Robert Townsend
as Cpl. Ellis
Denzel Washington
as Pfc. Peterson
Patti LaBelle
as Big Mary
Wings Hauser
as Lt. Byrd
Scott Paulin
as Capt. Wilcox
John Hancock
as Sgt. Washington
Trey Wilson
as Col. Nivens
Carl Dreher
as Bus Driver
Vaughn Reeves
as Capt. Estes
Robert Tyler
as Pvt. Seymour
Warren Clements
as Sgt. Hooks
Traftin E. Thompson
as MP in Barracks
Roy Wells
as Training Field Sergeant
Tommy G. Liggins
as Soldier Painting
Pat Grabe
as Lieutenant #1
Terry Dodd
as Lieutenant #2
Calvin Franklin
as Barracks Soldier
Kevin T. Mosley
as Barracks Soldier
Michael Anthony Williams
as Barracks Soldier
David Ashley
as Barracks Soldier
Charles Howard Thomas
as Barracks Soldier
Bobby McGaughey
as Barracks Soldier
Rick Ramey
as Barracks Soldier
Lacarnist Hiriams
as Barracks Soldier
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Critic Reviews for A Soldier's Story

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (3)

Audience Reviews for A Soldier's Story

  • Mar 26, 2014
    This earlier Jewison confirms that solid film making is a constant theme throughout the year. It is mildly ideological but nonetheless powerful.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 19, 2011
    A great soundtrack by Herbie Hancock featuring Patti LaBelle. An outstanding cast including a young Denzel Washington, and a strong and emotional story. You put all those together and you have one of the best films I had never heard of until about a week ago when I spotted a poster for the film at my local Cinema. A fantastic piece of filmmaking from Norman Jewison who has brought us some timeless classics including The Cincinnati Kid and In The Heat of the Night and he would go on to direct Denzel Washington again in The Hurricane.
    Jason R Super Reviewer
  • Jul 22, 2008
    Courtroom drama, written by Charles Fuller from his Pulitzer Prize-winning, "A Soldier's Play", was nominated for Best Picture. Great ensemble cast features early supporting performances from Denzel Washington, David Alan Grier, and Robert Townsend.
    Mark H Super Reviewer
  • May 29, 2008
    One of the deepest soldier i have ever seen big impact movie a must have denzel should have won a oscar way back due to this movie
    khalvic b Super Reviewer

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