Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men.” Tom Cruise is a lawyer in the US Army, questioning Jack Nicholson in a military court regarding the death of a new recruit during training. Cruise met a wall of silence trying to investigate the death, which occurred following a ‘Code Red,’ a term used to indicate that a recruit should be dealt with using maximum force by his classmates and officers. Such a command could only be given by a superior officer such as Colonel Jessep (Jack Nicholson).
KAFFEE (Tom Cruise)
Colonel Jessep, did you order the Code Red?
You don’t have to answer that question.
JESSEP (Jack Nicholson)
I’ll answer the question. You want answers?
I think I’m entitled to them.
You want answers?!
I want the truth.
You can’t handle the truth!
Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you 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 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 these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use ’em 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 that I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I’d rather if you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.