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RULES OF ENGAGEMENT


Year: 2000
USA: Paramount Pictures
UK: UIP (UK)
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L Jackson, Ben Kingsley, Blair Underwood, Anne Archer, Amidou, Conrad Bachmann, Gordon Clapp, Dale Dye, Bruce Greenwood, Philip Baker Hall, Nicky Katt, Jihane Kortobi, Roma Maffia, Richard McGonagle, Guy Pearce, Mark Feuerstein
Director: William Friedkin
Country: USA
UK: 127 mins
USA Rated: R for scenes of war violence, and for language
UK Certificate: 15 for strong war horror and coarse language
USA Release Date: 7 April 2000
UK Release Date: 11 August 2000

Synopsis

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT -- Directives issued by competent military authority which delineate the circumstances and limitations under which United States forces will initiate and/or continue combat engagement with other forces encountered. -- Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Term

Col. Terry Childers (Samuel L Jackson) is a 30-year Marine veteran: a decorated officer with combat experience in Vietnam, Beirut and Desert Storm-- a patriot, a hero. But now, the country he served so well has put him on trial for a rescue mission that went terribly wrong.

When the U.S. Embassy in Yemen is surrounded by a large crowd of demonstrators, Col. Terry Childers, USMC, is ordered to lead a squadron of Marines to bolster security at the embassy. He has orders to evacuate the ambassador and his family if the situation turns violent. A few short hours after Childers launches his mission, the ambassador's safety is secured, but three of Childers' men are dead, along with more than the 80 Yemeni men, women and children killed by Marine gunfire.

Childers now faces a court-martial for violating the rules of engagement by killing unarmed civilians. He denies the charge, contending the protesters were armed and had opened fire on the Embassy. But it appears that the government has made the colonel the fall guy for an ugly diplomatic crisis: the men who could have testified on his behalf have been killed in action, one of the witnesses seems to be lying, and the President's National Security Adviser destroys evidence that might help Childers' case.

Childers refuses to go down quietly and turns to his long time friend, Marine Col. Hays Hodges (Tommy Lee Jones), a comrade-in-arms who owes his life to Childers, to defend him. Hodges is not the best lawyer in the service, but Childers trusts him as a brother Marine who knows what it's like to risk death under fire. Bound by duty and friendship, Hodges reluctantly takes the case, even as he begins to doubt the man who saved his life in Vietnam three decades ago.










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