Casualties of War

( 5 )

Overview

Casualties of War was based on a New Yorker article by Daniel Lang. This, in turn, was inspired by a true incident which illustrated the dehumanizing aspects of the Vietnam experience. Michael J. Fox plays Eriksson, a member of an American squadron stationed in the deepest jungles of Southeast Asia. Sean Penn co-stars as Meserve, the squadron sergeant, who vows revenge after his best friend is killed. He orders his men to invade a village and "requisition" a young Vietnamese girl Thuy Thu Lee, who is repeatedly ...
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Overview

Casualties of War was based on a New Yorker article by Daniel Lang. This, in turn, was inspired by a true incident which illustrated the dehumanizing aspects of the Vietnam experience. Michael J. Fox plays Eriksson, a member of an American squadron stationed in the deepest jungles of Southeast Asia. Sean Penn co-stars as Meserve, the squadron sergeant, who vows revenge after his best friend is killed. He orders his men to invade a village and "requisition" a young Vietnamese girl Thuy Thu Lee, who is repeatedly tied, gagged and gang-raped. The horrified Eriksson refuses to participate in these atrocities, and he does his best to console the girl and to attempt to free her. Before this can happen, however, Meserve orders another man to kill the girl. Once he returns to camp, Eriksson attempts to file a report on the tragedy and to bring Meserve and the others to justice, but he is stonewalled by the brass and threatened with death by his fellow soldiers. Eventually Meserve and his co-conspirators are jailed for their crimes, but Eriksson can never forget his "compliance" in the incident by failing to save the girl. The script is by well-known playwright David Rabe.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; All new extended cut includes footage added back into the film; Eriksson's War: A conversation with Michael J. Fox; The making of Casualties of War
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Brian De Palma's films may not be best known for their somber high-mindedness, but the style suits the director well for most of this harrowing, true-life film about the conflict in Vietnam At a time when Platoon received much credit for its supposed realism -- never mind that the characters played by Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe may as well have been labeled good and bad angels -- the opening sequences of Casualties does an excellent job establishing the complex psychological landscape of the war. Its characters suffer overwhelming fear, frustration, and unrelieved sexual tension in an environment where each minute could be the last. All of which helps to contextualize their later atrocity without in the least forgiving it. Michael J. Fox received criticism for his character's unrelieved goodness, but the film needs him to avoid descending into the moral relativism of its other characters, and Fox plays the role well. He finds himself in good company, as Sean Penn's work ranks among his best and a cast full of the next decade's best character actors fills out the credits. Unfortunately, the film goes slack after Fox and company return to base, as David Rabe's script descends into pontificating, then heads to an unsatisfying finale and an even more puzzling dénouement. But a weak third act only slightly blunts the impact of an otherwise haunting, uncompromising film.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/25/2006
  • UPC: 043396137271
  • Original Release: 1989
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Expanded / Wide Screen / Subtitled / Dubbed
  • Sound: Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound
  • Time: 1:59:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 28,999

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Michael J. Fox Pfc. Eriksson
Sean Penn Sgt. Meserve
Don Harvey Clark
John C. Reilly Hatcher
John Leguizamo Diaz
Thuy Thu Le Oahn
Erik King Brown, Radio Man
Jack Gwaltney Rowan
Ving Rhames Lt. Reilly
Dale Dye Capt. Hill
Sam Robards Chaplain Kirk
Darren E. Burrows Cherry
Ba Thuan T. Le Oahn's Mother
J. Chalerm Villager Old Man Farmer
Kristopher Dunn Soldier
Scott Gregory Soldier Charlie
Shane Kerwin Soldier
Kwan Child Villager
Steve Larson Agent
Dan Martin Hawthorne
Niran V.C. in Tunnel
Nootch Child Villager
Po Powpi Villager Old Man
Shaun Shea Soldier
Somsak ARVN Interpreter
Vinh Tran V.C. Interpreter
Ennalls Berl Soldier Charlie
Donal Gibson Soldier
Woody Harrelson
Sherman Howard Court Martial President
J.J. M.P.
John Linton Agent
Holt McCallany Lt. Kramer
Wendell Pierce MacIntire
Vyto Ruginis Prosecutor
Hataya Sarmount Girl Villager
Al Shannon Wilkins
Sigma Villager Woman
Kady Tran Yen, Oahn's Sister
Marius Valainis Streibig
Art Linson
Brian De Palma
Technical Credits
Brian De Palma Director, Screenwriter
Richard Bruno Costumes/Costume Designer
Stephen H. Burum Cinematographer
Fred Caruso Co-producer
Paul Engelen Makeup
Peter Hancock Set Decoration/Design
Bernard Hides Art Director, Production Designer
Jeff Jensen Stunts
Wolf Kroeger Production Designer
Art Linson Co-producer
Ennio Morricone Score Composer
Peter Odabashian Sound Editor
Bill Pankow Editor
David Rabe Screenwriter
Hugh Scaife Set Decoration/Design
Art Smith Jr. Consultant/advisor
Kit West Special Effects
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Casualties of War
1. Start [2:23]
2. Mortar Attack [3:42]
3. Almost Easy Prey [4:15]
4. Brownie's Philosophy [4:08]
5. A Lot to Learn [6:08]
6. Evening Plans [4:12]
7. No Fun Tonight [1:45]
8. Plan for Portable R 'N' R [2:34]
9. Take the Pretty One [3:51]
10. A Modern Genghis Khan? [2:38]
11. Rest 'N' Justification [5:44]
12. Decency Deal [5:12]
13. Real Weapons [7:39]
14. Not the Army [2:33]
15. Gonna Kia Some VC [2:49]
16. Trying to Ease Pain [7:04]
17. Order for an Execution [4:30]
18. Slow Death Under Fire [5:17]
19. Reminder as Warning [2:45]
20. The Way Things Are [2:59]
21. "Maybe it Matters More" [4:18]
22. Illuminating the Terrain [3:42]
23. A Target [4:46]
24. Confession of Failure [3:09]
25. The Remains Remain [2:48]
26. Testimony [4:23]
27. "They Killed Her, Sir" [3:57]
28. End of a Bad Dream [9:36]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Casualties of War
   Play Movie
   Languages
      Audio: English
      Audio: French
      Audio: Portuguese
      Audio: Spanish
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: French
      Subtitles: Portuguese
      Subtitles: Spanish
      Subtitles: Off
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Eriksson's War - A Conversation With Michael J. Fox
      The Making of Casualties of War
      Previews
         The Hunt for Eagle One
         The Passenger
         The Patriot (Extended Cut)
   Previews
      The Hunt for Eagle One
      The Passenger
      The Patriot (Extended Cut)
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Disturbing to the last

    Brian de Palma's most thought-provoking and disturbing film to the end with a rape scene that makes others seem irrelevant. Never forget Vietnam, where in another one now.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Disturbing Rape Scene

    This movie as a whole, is good. I am sure it is true to life and is fact based. But one scene was incredibly disturbing. A very graffic rape scene - I wished I had never seen.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Picture of Life

    ''Casualties of War'' is riveting for one, and only one, reason that people in this country seem to forget everyday: Revenge is not an answer to any question we may have. If you remember the Vietnam War, watch it. If you don't, watch it. It will remind you of how disgusting the people of this country can actually be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Truly Thought Provoking Film.

    This is a gripping film that deals with the harsh circumstances one man is forced to deal with in the jungles of Vietnam during the war. Starring Michael J. Fox and Sean Penn, and directed by Brian De Palma(''Scarface'', ''Mission:Impossible'', ''Mission to Mars'') this movie is about a mission that a group of soldiers set out on: an endeavor, led by Penn's character, to kidnap a Vietnamese girl from her village in order to achieve some sort of vengence for the death of a war buddy. Fox's character, Erikson, is the only one in the group who does not want to go along with the plan. The girl is repeatedly raped by all except Erikson, who wants to relaese the girl from her imprisonment. This is a magnificent film with great performances by both Penn and Fox (Fox, in 1989, when the film was released, was only known for his comedic performances in such titles as ''Back to the Future'' and ''Family Ties'')who manage to give a very emotional feel to the film. This movie, based on an actual event, will shock and sadden anyone who sees it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews