A Few Good Men1992

Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 138 minutes

A Few Good Men is a 1992 film about the trial of two U.S. Marines accused of murder while serving at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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[Col. Jessup chuckles while on the witness stand]

Kaffee:
Is this funny, sir?

Col. Jessup:
[face falls to a look of disgust] No, it isn't. It's tragic.

Kaffee:
Do you have an answer to the question, Colonel?

Col. Jessup:
Absolutely. My answer is I don't have the first damn clue. Maybe he was an early riser and liked to pack in the morning. And maybe he didn't have any friends. I'm an educated man, but I'm afraid I can't speak intelligently about the travel habits of William Santiago. What I do know is that he was set to leave the base at 0600. Now, are these the questions I was really called here to answer? Phone calls and foot lockers? Please tell me that you have something more, Lieutenant. These two Marines are on trial for their lives. Please tell me their lawyer hasn't pinned their hopes to a phone bill.

[Kaffee hesitates, dumbfounded]

Col. Jessup:
Do you have any more questions for me, Counselor?

Judge Randolph:
Lt. Kaffee? [pause] Lieutenant, do you have anything further for this witness?

[Jessup defiantly gets up to leave the courtroom]

Col. Jessup:
Thanks, Danny. I love Washington.

Kaffee:
Excuse me. I didn't dismiss you.

Col. Jessup:
I beg your pardon?

Kaffee:
I'm not through with my examination. Sit down.

Col. Jessup:
Colonel.

Kaffee:
What's that?

Col. Jessup:
I would appreciate it if he would address me as "Colonel" or "Sir." I believe I've earned it.

Judge Randolph:
Defense counsel will address the witness as "Colonel" or "Sir."

Col. Jessup:
[to Judge] I don't know what the hell kind of unit you're running here.

Judge Randolph:
And the witness will address this court as "Judge" or "Your Honor." I'm quite certain I've earned it. Take your seat, Colonel.

Kaffee:
A moment ago, you said that you ordered Lt. Kendrick to tell his men that Santiago wasn't to be touched.

Jessup:
That's right.

Kaffee:
And Lt. Kendrick was clear on what you wanted?

Jessup:
Crystal.

Kaffee:
Any chance Lt. Kendrick ignored the order?

Jessup:
Ignored the order?

Kaffee:
Any chance he forgot about it?

Jessup:
No.

Kaffee:
Any chance Lt. Kendrick left your office and said, "the old man is wrong"?

Jessup:
No.

Kaffee:
When Lt. Kendrick spoke to the platoon and ordered them not to touch Santiago, any chance they ignored him?

Jessup:
You ever served in an infantry unit, son?

Kaffee:
No, sir.

Jessup:
Ever served in a forward area?

Kaffee:
No, sir.

Jessup:
Ever put your life in another man's hands and asked him to put his life in yours?

Kaffee:
No, sir.

Jessup:
We follow orders, son. We follow orders or people die. It's that simple. Are we clear?

Kaffee:
Yes, sir.

Jessup:
Are we clear?!

Kaffee:
Crystal. Colonel, I just have one more question before I put Airman O'Malley and Airman Rodriguez on the stand. If you gave an order that Santiago wasn't to be touched, and your orders are always followed, then why would Santiago be in danger? Why would it be necessary to transfer him off the base?

Jessup:
Santiago was a substandard marine. He was being transferred...

Kaffee:
That's not what you said. You said he was being transferred, because he was in grave danger.

Jessup:
That's correct.

Kaffee:
You said he was in danger. I said "grave danger"? You said...

Jessup:
I recall what I said.

Kaffee:
I could have the court reporter read back to you...

Jessup:
I know what I said! I don't have to have it read back to me, like I'm...

Kaffee:
Then why the two orders? Colonel?

Jessup:
Sometimes men take matters into their own hands.

Kaffee:
No, sir. You made it clear just a moment ago that your men never take matters into their own hands. Your men follow orders or people die. So Santiago shouldn't have been in any danger at all, should he have, Colonel?

Jessup:
You snotty, little bastard.

Ross:
Your honor, I'd like to ask for recess.

Kaffee:
I'd like an answer to the question, Judge.

Judge:
The court will wait for an answer.

Kaffee:
If Lt. Kendrick gave an order that Santiago wasn't to be touched, then why did he have to be transferred? Colonel? Lt. Kendrick ordered the Code Red, didn't he? Because that's what you told Lt. Kendrick to do!

Ross:
Objection!

Kaffee:
And when it went bad, you cut these guys loose! You had Markinson sign a phony transfer order, and you doctored the log book!

Ross:
Damn it, Kaffee!

Kaffee:
You coerced the doctor!

Judge:
Consider yourself in contempt!

Kaffee:
Colonel Jessup, did you order the Code Red?!

Judge:
You don't have to answer that question!

Jessup:
I'll answer the question. You want answers?

Kaffee:
I think I'm entitled!

Jessup:
You want answers?!

Kaffee:
I want the truth!

Jessup:
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 to!

Kaffee:
Did you order the Code Red?

Jessup:
I did the job that--

Kaffee:
Did you order the Code Red?!!

Jessup:
YOU'RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DID!!

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