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Is Tom Cruise's A Few Good Men Based On A True Story?

1992's "A Few Good Men" is among those great '90s movies that still hold up today. Directed by Rob Reiner and written by Aaron Sorkin, who also penned the 1989 play, the legal drama has an unforgettable cast including Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, and more. The film, which garnered multiple Academy Award nominations, including best picture and best actor in a supporting role for Nicholson in his role as Colonel Nathan R. Jessup, definitely made an impact.

In addition to the incredible storyline and acting, the legacy of "A Few Good Men" is even stronger, thanks to the fact that it's based on true events. Pfc. William T. Santiago (Michael DeLorenzo), the marine killed in the opening, is actually inspired by Pfc. William Alvarado. Like his fictional counterpart, Alvarado was the victim of a "Code Red" — a form of extrajudicial punishment carried out within the military without legal approval — though his assault was not fatal.

William Alvarado and the Code Red

In 1986, Pfc. William Alvarado had been complaining of poor living conditions on the base to both his congressman and his senator for months, ultimately supplying information on his fellow servicemen's transgressions in exchange for a transfer out of Guantanamo Bay. Unsurprisingly, other marines saw this as an act of disloyalty to the Corps and as a result followed a "Code Red" order supposedly orchestrated by Lieutenant William Adams (via The New York Times).

Though Alvarado did not lose his life, the abuse he was subjected to ended in asphyxiation and a days-long coma. While seven of the ten marines involved took the offer of "other than honorable discharges," the remaining three argued that they were carrying out orders from a superior officer. After one month in prison, they were cleared of aggravated assault charges and allowed to resume their careers (via AP News).