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Courage Under Fire

Director: Edward Zwick
Producers: John Davis, Joseph M. Singer, David T. Friendly
Screenwriter: Patrick Sheane Duncan
Cast: Meg Ryan, Denzel Washington, Lou Diamond Phillips, Michael Moriarty, Matt Damon, Seth Gilliam, Bronson Pinchot, Scott Glenn
MPAA Rating: R
Year of Release: 1996
Released on Video: 12/19/2000

Army Colonel Nathaniel Serling is racked by guilt over a Gulf War incident in which he directed a tank to destroy what later turned out to be another American tank. An investigation excused him, but his guilt is driving him to drink too much and to push away his wife and family. Meanwhile, he’s charged with investigating a proposed Medal of Honor award — the first to be given to a woman. But as he proceeds with his investigation into the battlefield conduct of the female helicopter Captain, he begins to suspect that the story has been fabricated, possibly for political purposes. Meanwhile, he comes under heavy pressure from the White House to ignore his doubts.

Viewing Suggestion:

Notice how Serling heals himself by daring to face the truth about the Captain’s story and his own guilt.

Ask Yourself:

- Do you believe that you cannot let go of your guilt? (By using the word “guilt” here, I am referring to “feelings of guilt” that are not based on being guilty of a serious misbehavior. You may know the difference rationally, intuitively, or after you have heard at least one well-meaning friend tell you: ”You should not feel guilty about this.”
- Do you think Nathaniel Serling misperceives himself as being guilty?
- Do you remember a time in your life when you were able to let go of feelings of guilt?
- Imagine how you would feel, if you were free of this guilt now?
- If this was possible and you don’t think Nathaniel Serling is guilty, do you consider that you might have the capacity to release your guilt now?
- How you would feel, if you were free of guilt?