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Most Iraq War Movies Enjoy Little Box Office Success

While a plethora of recent movies have focused on the Iraq war, few have succeeded at the box office. The director of the new film "Stop-Loss" and a film critic discuss this phenomenon.

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  • ACTOR:

    You leave on the 22nd, shipping back to Iraq, subsection 12305 Title 10, by the authority of the president. You've been stop-lossed.


    "Stop-Loss," the film, tells of young American soldiers who experience the trauma of war in Iraq, return to their Texas homes, and then face being sent back to combat under the Pentagon policy of that name. Reviews have been largely positive, crediting the film for its tough look at the human costs of war.


    I can't go another year without having you touch my face.


    But "Stop-Loss" has had a harder time at the box office, taking in a little more than $8 million two weeks into its release. Other films about Iraq and terrorism have also had trouble attracting audiences, including "The Valley of Elah," set in the home front.

  • ACTOR:

    Can I get a word?

    TOMMY LEE JONES, actor: Yes, come on in. I'll just be a minute.


    And "Redacted," about the murder of a young Iraqi girl.

  • ACTOR:

    Enough is enough. You've had your fun. Let's get out of here.


    Even films with major stars, like "Lions For Lambs," have struggled.

  • MERYL STREEP, actress:

    Wow. You all must be panicked.

  • TOM CRUISE, actor:

    Oh, no, no, no, no. We're determined.

  • ROBERT REDFORD, director:

    Films have gone to a place now where there is so much insecurity commercially about films that it seems like the only ones that are safe or the franchise films or the clear out-and-out comedies that appeal to the broad masses. So, political films and films that are more risky in nature, you know, make you maybe think or wonder or provoke are harder to come by.


    The war has also been the subject of a number of documentaries. Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" achieved enormous success in 2004. Others have drawn smaller audiences, including "No End in Sight," about the policy decisions made after the fall of Baghdad.

    A new release, "Body of War" produced by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro, looks at challenges faced by an injured soldier upon returning home and revisits the political debates and votes prior to the invasion.

    And an upcoming film by documentary-maker Errol Morris, "Standard Operating Procedure," explores what happened at Abu Ghraib.

    Several new feature films are also in the can and awaiting release, even as Hollywood studios keep a close eye on the reception for "Stop-Loss" and the appetite of the American public for films centered on the Iraq war.

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