A Soldier’s Story (1984)


“A Soldier’s Story” is a 1984 film directed by Norman Jewison and adapted from a stage play of the same name by Charles Fuller. The film tells the story of Captain Davenport, a black lawyer who is sent to investigate the murder of a black sergeant on a Louisiana army base in 1944.

The film is a powerful and thought-provoking exploration of race, prejudice, and the difficulties faced by black soldiers during World War II. It is also a compelling mystery, with Davenport trying to uncover the truth about the sergeant’s death while also grappling with his own personal demons and prejudices.

The acting in “A Soldier’s Story” is superb, with Denzel Washington delivering a standout performance as Davenport. He is supported by a strong cast of character actors, including Howard E. Rollins Jr. as Private C.J. Memphis, David Alan Grier as Private Peterson, and Adolph Caesar as the murdered Sergeant Waters.

One of the standout aspects of “A Soldier’s Story” is the way it handles the theme of race and prejudice. The film takes place during a time when segregation was still the norm in the United States, and the black soldiers on the base are treated with disdain and disrespect by their white superiors. The film does an excellent job of depicting the internalized racism that many of the black soldiers face, as well as the overt racism they experience from the white soldiers and officers.

The mystery aspect of the film is also well done, with Davenport’s investigation leading him down a number of unexpected paths. The film does a good job of keeping the audience guessing about who the killer is, and the final reveal is satisfying and unexpected.

Overall, “A Soldier’s Story” is a well-made and thought-provoking film that tackles important themes in a nuanced and meaningful way. Its strong acting, intriguing mystery, and powerful exploration of race make it a must-see for fans of drama and social commentary.