A Few Good Men

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A Few Good Men is a 1992 drama film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore. It was based on a play of the same name by Aaron Sorkin. A courtroom drama, the film revolves around the trial of two US Marines charged with the murder of a fellow Marine and the tribulations of their lawyer as he prepares a case to defend his clients.

Contents

Plot

Lieutenant Junior Grade Daniel Kaffee (Cruise), son of a former Attorney General and Navy Judge Advocate General, is an inexperienced U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps lawyer who leads the defense in the court-martial of two Marines, Private First Class Louden Downey and Lance Corporal Harold Dawson, who are accused of murdering a fellow Marine of their unit, PFC William Santiago, at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

Santiago compared unfavorably to his fellow Marines, had poor relations with them and failed to respect the chain of command. He went above his superiors to bargain for a transfer in exchange for blowing the whistle on Dawson for firing a possibly illegal shot towards the Cuban side of the island. When Dawson and Downey are later arrested for Santiago's murder, Naval investigator and lawyer Lieutenant Commander Joanne Galloway suspects that they were carrying out a "code red": a euphemism for a violent extrajudicial punishment.

Galloway requests to defend them but the case is given to Kaffee, who has a reputation for arranging plea bargains. However, Galloway successfully argues her point of view to Kaffee after Dawson and Downey state they were ordered by Lieutenant Kendrick (under the orders of Jessep) to shave Santiago's head, minutes after Kendrick ordered the platoon not to touch the would-be victim. His death was actually caused when a rag was shoved into his mouth as a gag. Goaded by Galloway and Dawson, Kaffee agrees to be lead counsel for the defense. Despite initial friction between the two lawyers — since she believes he negotiates plea bargains to avoid having to argue in court, and he believes she is interfering with his handling of the case — their relationship strengthens as the trial progresses, as does Kaffee's effectiveness as a lawyer.

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