Col. Nathan R. Jessep: Son, we live in a world that has walls and those walls need 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 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 that 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 then as the backbone of a life trying to defend 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 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 that you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has a cameo as a lawyer in a bar talking to a woman about one of his cases. See more...
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Continuity: When Joanne comes to ask Danny why he has not yet seen his clients, he is just about to swing the bat, and begins to as the shot switches to her face. However, in the very next shot he's standing with the bat, waiting to swing again. The time between the two shots would not have provided adequate time for him to swing and then be waiting for another throw.
Factual error: The crime occurs on Friday, September 6 and the next week, as Kaffee and Weinberg are walking to Weinberg's house and discussing leaving for Cuba the next morning, the ground is covered with leaves and the trees are in full fall color. This doesn't occur in the second (or even the third week) of September in the Washington, D.C./Virginia area. This scene was shot much later, toward the end of October or early November, but it's supposedly well before trial, which is held in early October.
Continuity: In the scene where Jo is telling Danny that she sent one of the prisoners some comic books (towards the beginning of the movie)he steps inside his car and the back window is halfway down. As he drives away it is completely up and as he pulls into the next scene, it is still up, while his driver side window remains down the whole time.
Continuity: When Kaffee drives up to the newsstand at night and buys his magazine and chats with the news vendor, his tie knot is undone down to the second button on his shirt. When he returns to his car and is startled by Markinson in the back seat, his tie is undone only a bit past the first button, much higher than the previous shot. This is largely due, Director Rob Reiner explains, to the fact that part of the scene was shot in D.C. and part of the scene was shot in L.A.
Revealing: In one scene, Tom Cruise is walking along the sidewalk with Kevin Pollak (who is pushing a pram). The camera, which obviously is moving backwards on a dolly, is in front of them. As the men walk past some bushes, watch the branch on the right-hand side. As it comes into view, we see it spring back and shake for a bit. Evidently, the camera dolly snagged it on the way past.
Continuity: When Jack Ross (Kevin Bacon) calls his first witness to the stand, he steps over to the podium between himself and the defense counsel, but in the wide shot showing the witness walking across the courtroom, he is back at his table. Then in the following close-up he is once again at the podium.
Revealing: In the scene where Tom Cruise is yelling at/questioning Dawson at the jail in the witness room, immediately after Cruise gets up in Dawson's face and says, "I'm the only friend you've got," Cruise is supposed to simply turn and walk away. But you can see from the angle behind Dawson that Cruise' first step is a step down, indicating that he was on a pedestal of some sort to bring their heights closer together.
Continuity: During Danny's examination of Lt. Kendrick (Kiefer Sutherland), on the witness stand, he leans up against his courtroom table, shot from the back, in front of the microphone which is straight on, on the table. The next shot, from the front, shows the mic to the left of him and on an angle.
Factual error: The film's presentation of Guantanamo Bay seems unrealistic. In an attempt to make Jessep seem autocratic and akin to a dictator, they show a scene of Jessep and Danny meeting outdoors. In the background, there is a colonial-era type mansion in immaculate condition. There are no such buildings on the Naval base at Guantanamo Bay.