Movie Flashback: 20 Years Ago Today Audiences Couldn't Handle the Truth
12.11.12 by Chris
I DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'RE YELLING ABOUT
It's one of the most famous lines in movie history: "You can't handle the truth." And 20 years ago today A Few Good Men, starring Tom Cruise, was released and Jack Nicholson said his most famous line since "Heeeere's Johnny!" from 1980's The Shining. But it's rumored that Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who wrote the screenplay and the stage play of A Few Good Men, didn't actually pen that famous line — rumor goes it was actually Steven Spielberg who came up with the now famous line.
Sorkin's military court drama actually started out as a play of the same name. Sorkin got the idea from a phone conversation he had with his sister, who was heading to Guantanamo Bay to defend a group of Marines accused of nearly killing a fellow Marine in a hazing incident. Sorkin wrote most of the story on cocktail napkins (he was working as a bartender on Broadway at the time). Even before the play debuted, Sorkin sold the film rights for six figures.
The movie, directed by Rob Reiner, was a huge hit at the box office, earning more than $236 million worldwide. In addition to four Oscar nominations (including Best Picture and a Best Actor nod for Jack Nicholson), the movie landed on several prominent lists. "You can't handle the truth," was voted the 29th greatest movie line by the American Film Institute. The movie is also No. 5 on AFI's best courtroom drama list.
Fun fact: The word "sir" is used 164 times during the movie, an average of once every 50 seconds.
Where to watch it: A Few Good Men is available on DVD and Blu-ray and on Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play.