A Few Good Men

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A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw
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A Few Good Men is a 1993 film about the trial of two U.S. Marines accused of murder while serving at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Directed by Rob Reiner. Written by Aaron Sorkin
In the heart of the nation's capital, in a courthouse of the U.S. government, one man will stop at nothing to keep his honor, and one will stop at nothing to find the truth.

Lt. Daniel Kaffee

  • Why does a Lieutenant junior grade with a track record for plea bargains get handed a murder case? Could it be so it never sees the inside of a courtroom?

Col. Nathan R. Jessep

  • I run my unit how I run my unit. You want to investigate me, roll the dice and take your chances. I eat breakfast three hundred yards away from four thousand Cubans who are trained to kill me. So don't think for one second that you can come down here, flash a badge and make me nervous.
  • There is nothing on this earth sexier, believe me, gentlemen, than a woman you have to salute in the morning. Promote 'em all, I say, because this is true - if you haven't gotten a blow-job from a superior officer, well, you're just letting the best in life pass you by. 'Course, my problem is, I'm a colonel, so I guess I'll just have to keep taking cold showers until one of you gals is elected president.

Lt. Sam Weinberg

  • I strenuously object? Is that how it works? Hmm? "Objection." "Overruled." "No, no, I strenuously object." "Oh, you strenuously object. Then I'll take some time and reconsider."

Dialogue

Capt. West: Commander Galloway, why don't you get yourself a cup of coffee?
Galloway: Thank you, sir, I'm fine.
Capt. West: Commander, I'd like you to leave the room so we can talk about you behind your back.
Galloway: Certainly, sir.

Galloway: Tell your friend not to get cute down there. The Marines at Gitmo are fanatical.
Weinberg: Fanatical about what?
Galloway: About being Marines.

Jessep: The Corporal will take you by Personnel on your way back to the flight line and you can have all the transfer orders you want.
Kaffee: [to Weinberg & Galloway] Let's go.
Jessep: But you have to ask me nicely.
Kaffee: I beg your pardon?
Jessep: You have to ask me nicely. You see, Danny, I can deal with the bullets and the bombs and the blood. I don't want money and I don't want medals. What I do want is for you to stand there in that faggoty white uniform and with your Harvard mouth extend me some fucking courtesy! You gotta ask me nicely.
Kaffee: Colonel Jessep, if it's not too much trouble, I'd like a copy of the transfer order, sir.
Jessep: No problem.

Dawson: After six months we'll be dishonorably discharged. Right, sir?
Kaffee: Probably.
Dawson: Well, what do we do then, sir? We joined the Marines because we wanted to live our lives by a certain code and we found it in the Corps. Now you're asking us to sign a piece of paper that says we have no honor. You're asking us to say that we're not Marines. If a court decides that what we did was wrong, then I'll accept whatever punishment they give. I believe I was right. I believe I did my job. But I will not dishonor myself, my unit, or the Corps so that I can go home in six months! Sir.

Kendrick: I have two books at my bedside, Lieutenant: the Marine Corps Code of Conduct and the King James Bible. The only proper authorities I'm aware of are my commanding officer, Colonel Nathan R. Jessep, and the Lord our God.
Kaffee: At your request, Lieutenant Kendrick, I can have the record reflect your lack of acknowledgment of this court as a proper authority.

Kaffee: Colonel Jessep, did you order the Code Red?!
Judge: You don't have to answer that question!
Jessep: I'll answer the question. You want answers?
Kaffee: I think I'm entitled.
Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives! You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall! You need me on that wall! We use words like Honor, Code, Loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline! I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said "Thank you" and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled too!

Jessep: You fuckin' people. You have no idea how to defend a nation. All you did was weaken a country today, Kaffee. That's all you did. You put people's lives in danger. Sweet dreams, son.
Kaffee: Don't call me son. I'm a lawyer and an officer in the United States Navy. And you're under arrest, you son of a bitch. The witness is excused.

Judge: The accused are hereby sentenced to time already served, and you are ordered to be dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps. This court martial is adjourned.
Bailiff: All rise.
Downey: What does that mean? Hal, what does that mean? I don’t understand. Colonel Jessep said he ordered the Code Red.
Galloway: I know.
Downey: Colonel Jessep said he ordered the Code Red. What did we do wrong?
Galloway: It's not that simple.
Downey: What did we do wrong? We did nothing wrong!
Dawson: Yeah we did. We were supposed to fight for people who couldn't fight for themselves. We were supposed to fight for Willy.

Cast

External links

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