The General's Daughter (film)

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The General's Daughter is a 1999 American crime film directed by Simon West and starring John Travolta. The plot concerns the mysterious death of the daughter of a prominent Army general. The film is based on the 1992 novel by the same name by Nelson DeMille.

We know that there is no glamour in a sudden death, and that no one ever wins a war. And it is that knowledge that will bind us together forever. That, and a love for this country that no bayonet can pierce, no bullet shatter.
There are three ways of doing things: the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way. See that in doing it your way, Mr. Brenner, you don't forget about the Army way.
You see what you're doing here? You're trying to make me like you. And you know what? It's working; I do. But you see what I'm doing now? I'm trying to make you like me, too.
When this all started I told you we would find the son of a bitch, sir. I never expected that the son of a bitch would be you.

Lieutenant General Joseph Campbell[edit]

  • [At a ceremonial dinner] Thank you all. As you know, my official retirement isn't until next week. But this here, now, tonight, with you- is my real retirement. Because you and I have known fear together, shed blood together, battled pain and suffering, and all of their foot soldiers. We know that there is no glamour in a sudden death, and that no one ever wins a war. And it is that knowledge that will bind us together forever. That, and a love for this country that no bayonet can pierce, no bullet shatter. [Raises a glass] To you.

Colonel Robert Moore[edit]

  • I was Liz's mentor. There was a trust. She was a passionate young woman, yes, as well she should have been. But had I ever taken advantage of that... I would have lost the trust. So did I kill her? Of course not. Did I love her? I loved her very much. Make of that what you will.

Dialogue[edit]

[Chief Warrant Officer Paul Brenner is undercover as First Sergeant Frank White on an unnnamed U.S. Army base, speaking with a pronounced Southern accent. He is dealing with a flat tire on the side of the road when a Humvee pulls over nearby.]
CPT Elisabeth Campbell: Out of gas?
CW4 Paul Brenner: Yeah. That's why I'm looking at a flat tire with a pair of pliers in my hand instead of a lug wrench... [trails off as he turns around, seeing Campbell is an officer]
CPT Campbell: Uh-oh, she's a captain.
CW4 Brenner: Uh-oh, she's a captain.
CPT Campbell: This looks like the work of ten chimpanzees.
CW4 Brenner: Well, you just missed the other nine. They got bored and went for a beer.
CPT Campbell: Well, I have a lug wrench. Can I try?
CW4 Brenner: If you don't, I'll drag you over.
CPT Campbell: Get the spare.
CW4 Brenner: Yes, ma'am. [watches Campbell change the tire, visibly impressed] Golly-dang. If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, I might just have to marry you, Captain.
CPT Campbell: You'll have to take this in. Just a temp tire. Spare won't be good for more than 30 miles or so.
CW4 Brenner: If a fella got courageous and wanted to send you - a thank you notion or a basket of fruit, where might one find you?
CPT Campbell: Psy Ops.
CW4 Brenner: How's that?
CPT Campbell: Psychological Operations. I teach there.
CW4 Brenner: What do you teach?
CPT Campbell: Mostly we fuck with people's minds.

[Chief Brenner, still undercover as First Sergeant White, is pretending to oversee a black-market arms deal from his armory on-base, selling to a self-styled 'freedom fighter']
CW4 Brenner: There you go. Genuine and made in the U.S.A. All you gotta do is give me and Dalbert $100,000 each and you'll see them guns come Sunday.
Man: You'll get your money. Same time I get the guns.
CW4 Brenner: Now, you listen to me, funny boy. How do I know you ain't one o'them- them Army cops?
Man: Hey, I'm a freedom fighter.
CW4 Brenner: Well! Check it out, Dalbert! We got ourselves Che-fucking-Guevera there. Woop-dee-doo, a freedom fighter! Well, where's your kooky red hat, boy? Ain't been a freedom fighter worth a damn ain't got him a kooky red hat.
Man: [Visibly angered] You listen to me, stupid.
CW4 Brenner: Dalbert, I think it's one o' them Freudian-
[The 'freedom fighter' approaches Brenner; as he does, Brenner instantly grabs him, spins him around, and pins a knife to his back.]
CW4 Brenner: Hey, Dalbert, Dalbert!
SSG Dalbert Elkins: [visibly anxious] What?
CW4 Brenner: Wanna hear a joke?
SSG Elkins: No!
CW4 Brenner: How many freedom fighters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
SSG Elkins: I don't know!
Man: Hey, come on, man. Relax, huh?
CW4 Brenner: Well, you don't sound like no criminal investigator to me.
SSG Elkins: No!
CW4 Brenner: No?
SSG Elkins: No!
CW4 Brenner: [Releases the man, slapping him on the back] Well, you're all right, pal! I'm sorry about that, but we get a little jumpy around here before an exchange. So we'll see you Sunday, then!
Man: [Quietly furious] I'll be there.
CW4 Brenner: Yeah, you be there! [After the man leaves, he turns to Dalbert] Aw, unclench your ass-cheeks, Dalbert! The scary part is over!

LTG Campbell: First, I want you to know that you have my full cooperation, and the cooperation of everyone on this base.
CW4 Brenner: Thank you, sir.
LTG Campbell: You understand the time element?
CW4 Brenner: The time element? No, sir.
COL Fowler: After thirty-six hours the FBI will send in a task force to investigate. But we'd prefer to keep this an Army matter. The General can keep a lid on it through tomorrow.
LTG Campbell: Once the FBI moves in, the media will be all over this base. And my daughter's... Captain Campbell's death... they'll turn it into a goddamn circus.
CW4 Brenner: We'll do everything we can, sir.
LTG Campbell: I'm sure you will. Look, let me be blunt. You're going to have to decide on this one, Paul- are you a soldier, or a policeman?
CW4 Brenner: I'm a soldier, sir.
LTG Campbell: I'm counting on it.
CW4 Brenner: Sir, I met your daughter.
LTG Campbell: Really? When was that?
CW4 Brenner: Well, it was just a coincidence, but she helped me change a tire.
LTG Campbell: That she could do. She could do almost anything. Her mother was the same way. Fix a tire. Bake a hell of a key lime pie. Speak five languages. Extraordinary woman. Two extraordinary women... goddamn waste.
CW2 Sunhill: Again, our deepest sympathies, sir. And if there's anything else we can do for you at this time...
LTG Campbell: Just... just find the son of a bitch.

COL Fowler: Mr. Brenner; I understand that you have special arrest powers.
CW4 Brenner: Yes, sir.
COL Fowler: But I'm going to ask that before you arrest anyone, you notify me.
CW4 Brenner: Why is that, sir?
COL Fowler: We don't like our personnel being arrested by outside people, without our knowing about it. There are three ways of doing things: the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way. See that in doing it your way, Mr. Brenner, you don't forget about the Army way.

[Brenner is questioning Colonel Robert Moore, Captain Elisabeth Campbell's commander at Psychological Operations]
CW4 Brenner: Did you work together on a daily basis?
COL Moore: Absolutely.
CW4 Brenner: Did you, uh, play together?
COL Moore: What a truly excellent question. You see, here at Psy Ops, that's one of the things that we teach. Threatening quietly. Think of the echoes inherent in those four simple words: "Did you play together?" Did you go out with her? Did you fuck her? Did you love her? If you did, did you love her so much that you murdered her?
CW4 Brenner: I meant did you play golf, or tennis, or checkers, or something.
COL Moore: No, you didn't.
CW4 Brenner: No, I didn't.
COL Moore: So now we both know we're smart guys. Do you think I'm involved in this?
CW4 Brenner: One way or another, yes, I do.
COL Moore: Then wouldn't it behoove me to retain the services of an attorney? I know a good one.
CW4 Brenner: Two problems there. First, the obvious: there are no good ones. Second, you're not a civilian, Colonel. You're in the Army. You have no right to an attorney, you have no right to remain silent. And if you don't cooperate I may have to put you in jail, and that would make me feel bad.
COL Moore: You see what you're doing here?
CW4 Brenner: Looking for answers?
COL Moore: Of course, that. But how? How? You're trying to make me like you. And you know what? It's working; I do. But you see what I'm doing now? I'm trying to make you like me, too.

[In a flashback; General Campbell arrives out on a deserted firing range area late at night, in response to a phone call directing him out there; the General's daughter is naked, pinned to the ground with tent stakes]
CPT Campbell: Here's the answer to your damn ultimatum. Do you see what they did to me? Do you see? Don't turn away. Come closer. See what they put me through!
LTG Campbell: What the fuck do you hope to accomplish?!
CPT Campbell: There's a rope around my neck. Strangle me or cover it up again.
LTG Campbell: Have you gone completely out of your mind?
CPT Campbel: It happened. It happened! I want to hear you say it happened!
LTG Campbell: I don't give a damn what happened to you seven years ago.
CPT Campbell: Whatever hurts you makes me stronger.
LTG Campbell: [about to leave] You can't hurt me anymore. We're even.
CPT Campbell: [calling after him] That's fine with me. You never helped me! Daddy, please don't go. Come back. Please. Please ... Daddy ...

CW4 Brenner: Is Colonel Fowler coming?
LTG Campbell: No, he's taking some much-needed R&R. He's a good man, George. A good man and a good soldier. Sometimes the lines get a little blurred, but when push comes to shove, he'll do what needs to be done.
CW4 Brenner: And what is that, sir?
LTG Brenner: Why, say Moore called him, of course. And that I was never out there. He'll do that for me, even if it means his career. Like a good soldier. Nothing is gained by my involvement. A letter of commendation will be inserted into your file, in recognition of your exemplary work on this case. Remember when you asked you if you were a cop or a soldier?
CW4 Brenner: Yes, sir.
LTG Campbell: Well, you're a soldier, Paul. And a damn fine one. [Salutes Brenner and starts to walk away.]
CW4 Brenner: [Follows Campbell] General Campbell! You're wrong, sir. I'm a rotten soldier.
LTG Campbell: Oh? And why is that?
CW4 Brenner: You really don't get it, do you? The only mind that Elisabeth wanted to fuck with was yours. And you still don't get it.
LTG Campbell: I've done nothing wrong.
CW4 Brenner: You killed her.
LTG Campbell: What did you say?
CW4 Brenner: Seven years ago in that hospital room, when you told her to just forget about it, you killed her.
LTG Campbell: Kent killed her.
CW4 Brenner: No. He just put her out of her misery. I once asked Moore what was worse than rape. Now I know; betrayal.
LTG Campbell: I loved Elisabeth. But there were larger issues to consider.
CW4 Brennner: You traded her trust for your career. You made a deal, didn't you? You kept silent and they gave you another star.
LTG Campbell: You watch your mouth, Brenner.
CW4 Brenner: I'm gonna say that in my report. That you went out there, talked to her, and left her there to die.
LTG Campbell: [Laughs coldly] You don't have the balls.
CW4 Brenner: Oh, you're wrong, sir. Because that's just about all I have left.
LTG Campbell: You do that, and you can kiss your career goodbye.
CW4 Brenner: I'm gonna have you court-martialed, General! Under Article 32 for conspiracy to conceal a crime!
[The doors to the hangar open, and a bagpipe begins to play as CPT Cambell's casket is carried out of the plane that has landed. General Campbell and Brenner put on their dress uniform peaked caps and turn to watch, standing at attention.]
CW4 Brenner: When this all started I told you we would find the son of a bitch, sir. I never expected that the son of a bitch would be you.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]