Soldier’s Story, A (1984): Jewison Directs Screen Version of Fuller’s Play, with Adolph Caesar in Oscar Nominated Turn

Charles Fuller adapted his Pulitzer-prize winning play to the big screen in this period drama, set in WWII and directed by Norman Jewison.

Most of the film is quite an engaging court drama, precipitated by the shooting of a black sergeant named Waters (played by Adolphe Caesar in an Oscar-nominated performance), when he returns to the base one night completely drunk.

Howard E. Rollins plays Captain Davenport, the black Army attorney who is sent to investigate the case.

Some of the black troops blame the Klan, while others suspect it might have been one of the white soldiers.

Talky and occasionally verbose, the movie betrays its theatrical origins.

Oscar nominations: 3

Picture, produced by Norman Jewison, Roland L. Schwary, and Patrick Palmer

Screenplay (Adapted): Charles Fuller

Supporting Actor: Adolph Caesar

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The big Oscar winner in 1984 was “Amadeus,” which swept most of the awards, including Peter Shaffer’s screenplay.  The winner of the Supporting Actor Oscar was Haing S. Ngor for “The Killing Fields.”

Though “A Soldier’s Story” was nominated for Best Picture, its director, Norman Jewison, was not.


Columbia (Caldix Films Production)