Ethics Movies About War

Monday, March 28 by Ed Mulero

Ethics movies about war try to uncover the boundaries that all military must endure when they engage the enemy. Ethics are the foundation for all war movies, as soldiers go out to the battlefield and encounter unimaginable cruelty. War movies are more than just the bullets, bombs and blood for troops who have to deal with many ethical issues as they try and win the battle while holding onto their compassion and humanity. Movies are the best medium to show the delicate balance between war and ethicsy. Ethics movies about war take the issues to the limit as the drama of the battlefield plays out for audiences to see.

  1. "Rules of Engagement" (2000). Samuel L. Jackson stars in this war drama about an officer, Col. Terry L. Childers, who orders his troops to open fire on civilians during a rescue of Ben Kingsley's Ambassador Mourain. His attorney, Tommy Lee Jones as Col. Hayes Hodges, must investigate the incident while also confronting the ethics of battle after his experience with the defendant in Vietnam. William Friedkin directs this courtroom drama about the shocking toll of war had on both men as well as the cover up to hang Col. Childers out to dry due to the negative media publicity.  
  2. "A Few Good Men" (1992). A young military lawyer, Tom Cruise as Lt. Daniel Kaffee, defends two Marines up for murder committed in a marine base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. His investigation leads to Col. Nathan Jesse, played by Jack Nicholson, who rules the installation with an iron fist and a sadistic sense of duty. Ethics come into play about the code of conduct as the Marines contend that they were ordered to discipline their fellow soldier, which led to his death. Rob Reiner directs this engaging drama with an all star cast featuring Demi Moore, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Pollack and Kevin Bacon.
  3. "Casualties of War" (1989). Michael J. Fox faces ethical issues as a young soldier named Eriksson in Vietnam when his unit captures an innocent village woman. The four soldiers led by Sean Penn's Sgt. Tony Meserve rape and kill her while Eriksson refuses and now wants to bring them to justice to overcome his guilt. Brian De Palma helms this intense ethical drama about trying to make reparations after a horrific crime and the guilt one must live with after the fact.
  4. "Hotel Rwanda" (2004). Terry George wrote and directed this picture with the war-torn country of Rwanda as the backdrop for ethics. Tutsi refugees flee the Hutu militia. A hotel manager, Don Cheadle at Paul Rusesabagina, makes a courageous decision to house and hide them from the genocidal squads in search of them. The movie is based on the real life events of these people plight and the atrocities that occurred during the period of violence in the country of Rwanda.
  5. "Tears of the Sun" (2003). Antoine Fuqua directed this movie involving the Navy SEALs' venture into the Nigerian jungle to rescue Monica Bellucci's Dr. Kendricks from the chaos of a government coup. Lieutenant A.K. Waters played by Bruce Willis must make tje ethical choice of following the mission as is or helping villagers find asylum across the border from genocide. The group of soldiers and refugees race against time as a fierce army of rebels are in pursuit to wipe away any traces of the former ruling family of the country amongst them.
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