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A Soldier's Story Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Inspired by the Herman Melville novel Billy Budd, writer Charles Fuller created the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Soldier's Play, which he then adapted into this film drama in 1984, for socially conscious, liberal director Norman Jewison. In the racially-divided 1940s, Fort Neal, Louisiana, is a military base where black soldiers are sent not to fight in WWII but to play baseball against other armed forces teams. The murder of a black sergeant, Waters (Adolph Caesar) brings an investigator, Captain Davenport (Howard E. Rollins, Jr.) to the base. Davenport, the first black officer that most of the men have ever met, suspects that a pair of white men were responsible for Waters' death, but his probe reveals that nearly everyone, regardless of skin color, had ample reason to kill the loathsome but pitiable Waters. The cast of A Soldier's Story features early supporting performances from several African-American actors who would go on to greater prominence, including Denzel Washington, David Alan Grier, and Robert Townsend. The film was nominated for three Oscars: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Caesar) and Best Adapted Screenplay. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

  • Release date:September 14, 1984

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Patrick Palmer Best Picture 1984 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Norman Jewison Best Director 1984 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Norman Jewison Best Picture 1984 Nominee
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Adolph Caesar Best Supporting Actor 1984 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Adolph Caesar Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1984 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Adolph Caesar Best Supporting Actor 1984 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ronald L. Schwary Best Picture 1984 Nominee
Edgar Allan Poe Awards Charles Fuller Best Screenplay 1984 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Charles Fuller Best Screenplay 1984 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Charles Fuller Best Adapted Screenplay 1984 Nominee

Cast

Howard E. Rollins, Jr.
as Capt. Davenport
Adolph Caesar
as Master Sgt. Waters
Dennis Lipscomb
as Capt. Taylor
Art Evans
as Private Wilkie
Patti LaBelle
as Big Mary
Denzel Washington
as Pfc. Peterson
Larry Riley
as Pvt. CJ Memphis
David Alan Grier
as Cpl. Cobb
Bobby McGee
David Harris
as Pvt. Smalls
Robert Townsend
as Cpl. Ellis
William Allen Young
as Private Henson
Wings Hauser
as Lt. Byrd
Scott Paulin
as Capt. Wilcox
John Hancock
as Sgt. Washington
Trey Wilson
as Col. Nivens
Patricia Brandkamp
as Ida Nivens
Michael Williams
as Barracks Soldier
Wings Hauser
as Lt. Byrd
John Hancock
as Sgt. Washington
William Allen Young
as Private Henson
Robert Townsend
as Cpl. Ellis
David Harris
as Pvt. Smalls
Patricia Brandkamp
as Ida Nivens
Scott Paulin
as Capt. Wilcox
David Alan Grier
as Cpl. Cobb
Trey Wilson
as Col. Nivens

Crew

Norman Jewison
Director
Norman Jewison
Producer
Ronald L. Schwary
Producer
Patrick Palmer
Producer
Charles Fuller
Play Author
Charles Fuller
Screen Story
Charles Fuller
Screenwriter
Russell Boyd
Cinematographer
Peter Sova
Cinematographer
Herbie Hancock
Composer (Music Score)
Mark Warner
Editor
Caroline Biggerstaff
Editor
Charles Milhaupt
Associate Producer
Thomas Roysden
Set Designer
Chuck Velasco
Costume Designer
Thomas S. Dawson
Costume Designer
Reuben Cannon
Casting
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