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A Few Good Men - Acting and Acting Styles

A Few Good Men (1992)
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by Rob Reiner
Stars:  Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore

The actors chosen are: Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore. Realism is the type of acting style that was used in the film. The actors appeared realistic as if they were actually in the Marine Corps. The text refers to realism, as opposed to stylized acting, can also be thought of as naturalistic. This is acting that doesn't draw attention to itself but instead gives the impression of genuine human action and reaction. (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2014). The scene that could be considered as realism is the courtroom scene when Col. Jessup is on the witness stand and Lt. Kaffee is questioning him about the code red. In this scene its Nicholson's use of personality acting that really draws you to this scene.

This scene displays the arrogance of Col. Jessup. He does not like the fact that he was called into the courtroom to respond to questions about PFC Santiago. Clearly there is the assumption that there is other things more important that Jessup would rather be doing instead of being in the courtroom. Even as the judge tells him that he does not have to answer the question, he responds any way not realizing that his statements will lead to his arrest, because he believes that he did not do any thing wrong because it is his responsibility to protect the wall at Guantanamo Bay.

Tom Cruise and Demi Moore also utilized the same acting style and method of acting. They too had to appear realistic. Lt. Kaffee appears arrogant in the beginning of the movie because he had the record for pleading out cases and in fact, had not yet seen the inside of the courtroom. As the investigation into PFC Santiago's death, it becomes evident that he is going to have to work this case and not plead out. Kaffee believes that he is going to lose the case and looses it at home with a bottle of whiskey. His confidence is shaken and clearly he has to dig deeper to defend his client.

Jack Nicholson is the one actor that will continue to be classified as a personality actor. In several other films the characters he portrays can be considered to be exactly like him. In The Witches of Eastwick you see his arrogance with the women because he knows that he can woo each of them separately and get them in the bedroom.


Goodykoontz, B. & Jacobs, C. P. (2014) Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. 

A Few Good Men, movie clip retrieved from:, June 8, 2015

A Few Good Men, movie clip retrieved from:, June 8, 2015

The Witches of Eastwick, movie clip retrieved from:, June 8, 2015


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