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The Real Story That 'A Few Good Men' Is Based On Is More Shocking And Violent Than The Actual Movie

Updated June 14, 2019 213.7k views12 items

The critically acclaimed 1992 film A Few Good Men tells the story of a Marine hazing gone awry, which leaves a man dead. Not many realize, however, that there is a true story behind A Few Good Men but in real life, a different man actually died. A hazing ritual at Guantanamo Bay conducted by US Marines, including PFC David Cox, left one man severely injured. While the victim ultimately survived, other aspects of the story are far more unsettling than its cinematic retelling.

In 1994, the real-life Cox and several others had a pending suit against Castle Rock Entertainment over what they believed to be defamation of truth and character through the film's portrayal of the hazing. When Cox disappeared, then turned up murdered months later, there was some suspicion his death was related to his vocal complaints about the film. While no one may ever know for sure what happened to David Cox, his legacy lives on as friends and family seek to honor his memory as a dedicated and ethical Marine. 

  • David Cox Was Found Murdered, Execution-Style, And The Killer Has Never Been Found

    After David Cox mysteriously disappeared in January 1994, he didn't turn up until months later when his body was discovered on the banks of the Charles River. He had been shot with four bullets, and by the bullet and position of his body it was determined that it was execution stye and that he probably knew whomever he was with. His wallet was intact; all his possessions were untouched. He was also wearing tennis shoes, belying the idea that he planned to go out for a long snowy trek, as it was winter when he had disappeared. Cox may have earned a hard-fraught honorable discharge, but his life met an untimately and tragic end. His murder has never been solved.

  • David Cox And His Fellow Marines Sued The Production Company Behind A Few Good Men For Defamation

    David Cox felt he had done nothing wrong in the hazing of William Alvaro. According to his version of events, he had convinced the Marines to stop the hazing when it became dangerous. He was also enraged that, in the film, the hazing led to an accidental murder, and two Marines were dishonorably discharged. Cox recognized enough of the setting and circumstances to deduce the film was about his experiences and became irate.

    He spoke out on a variety of talk shows about the film, condemning the filmmakers for sensationalizing the story. He felt it was an invasion of his privacy and resented that the production company would make millions off of his experience. Eventually, Cox and other Marines who had been involved in the hazing filed a lawsuit against the movie production company.

  • Cox Was Cleared Of The More Serious Charges And Returned To The Marines

    Cox was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of simple assault. He was found not guilty of a harsher charge of aggravated battery. As he had already served 38 days in jail, he did not serve any additional time after his trial. He was free to finish the remainder of his two years as a Marine and received an honorable discharge when his service commenced. 

  • Four Different Lawyers Claim To Be The Inspiration For Tom Cruise's Character

    Tom Cruise’s character was deliberately written to be universally likable, which is perhaps the reason no less than four lawyers claimed to be the inspiration for Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee. These lawyers worked for the soldiers tried in the hazing death of the Marine at Guantanamo Bay. Chris Johnson, Donald Marcari, and David C. Iglesias believe they were the inspiration for Kaffee. Iglesias claims his good lucks and strong jaw inspired the look of the character. Quirks displayed by Kaffee have also been attributed to the habits of the lawyers. Johnson claimed that, like Kaffee, he wore mismatched socks. Marcari claimed he played softball while in the military, just like Kaffee in the film. Regarding Cruise’s character, creator Aaron Sorkin went on record to say, “The character of Dan Kaffee in A Few Good Men is entirely fictional and was not inspired by any particular individual.”