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Stop-Loss is a 2008 American war drama film directed by Kimberly Peirce and starring Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Abbie Cornish and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as young soldiers whose experience in the Iraq War leaves them psychologically shattered. It was distributed by Paramount Pictures and produced by MTV Films. The film received mixed reviews, and earned less than half of its $25 million production budget at the box office. The title refers to the U.S. government s controversial stop-loss policy, which allows the government to extend the term of duty of soldiers who have already served their contracted number of years of service.


U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Brandon King leads a squad stationed in Tikrit during the Iraq War. The film begins with footage from the tour of the squad, explaining they have 28 days before returning to the United States. While on duty at a checkpoint, the squad hears gunshots, after which a car speeds past filled with insurgents, one of whom fires an AK-47 at them. King s men jump into their Humvees and follow the insurgents into an alley. When the soldiers get out of their vehicles, the insurgents ambush them from rooftops.

As the firefight ensues, a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) is discharged, destroying one of the Humvees, killing two soldiers inside. Shortly after, another RPG is discharged, exploding an Iraqi vehicle. Squad member PFC Tommy Burgess is unfortunately near the vehicle when the RPG is discharged but another soldier, Pvt. Rico Rodriguez, dives on Burgess and saves him. This is at the expense of severely wounding Pvt. Rodriguez. Shortly after, fellow squad member Paul Preacher Colston, a close friend of Tommy, is shot in the neck and jaw in front of Tommy, and is killed instantly.

Later, when Staff Sergeant King enters a house to help injured long-time friend and squad member Sgt. Steve Shriver, he discovers that he had accidentally killed several Iraqi civilians by throwing a grenade to kill an insurgent in a room, unaware of any civilians present in the area. Brandon is visibly shocked and the ambush ends with three soldiers killed.

Upon returning to their Texas hometown of Brazos, Brandon and Steve are decorated with the Bronze Star and Purple Heart in a solemn ceremony. A U.S. Senator takes Brandon aside after the ceremony and offers to help Brandon in any way he can. That night, Steve shows the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. He gets drunk and digs a foxhole in his front yard, and strikes his fiancée Michelle in the face. When Brandon comes over to check on Steve, he is unable to get through to him. Tommy drives over drunk after his wife has kicked him out.

The next day, Brandon suggests that they all go to the ranch , a small forest cabin located outside of town. The men pass the time by drinking and watching Tommy shoot his wedding gifts, after their friend Shorty reads the cards. Upon hearing the commotion, a hungover Steve awakens and shoots the cards to silence them and to show his skills in sniping. The next day, Brandon, Tommy and Steve report to their military base. When Brandon arrives expecting to be discharged, he is unexpectedly ordered back to active duty in Iraq, based on the military s controversial stop-loss policy, which required soldiers who had fulfilled their required tours of duty to return to the war. He refuses to comply and goes AWOL, becoming a deserter.

Michelle sympathizes with Brandon s refusal and offers to travel with him to Washington, D.C. to see the Senator who offered to assist Brandon earlier. During a multi-day drive to Washington, D.C., Brandon calls the Senator s office and is told that because he is now a fugitive, the Senator is not interested in seeing him. Brandon and Michelle also visit the family of Paul Preacher Colson, one of the three soldiers under Brandon s command killed in the alley ambush and encounter another AWOL soldier who recommends a lawyer to help arrange forged discharge documents so he could establish a new identity in Canada.

They also visit Rico Rodriguez, a soldier who was blinded, lost his right arm and leg, and sustained facial burns from saving Tommy from a rocket-propelled grenade, previously during the ambush in Iraq. After Michelle phones Steve to tell him of their exact location, he arrives in uniform to take Brandon back, and tells Michelle he has volunteered to return to Iraq. Brandon refuses to return and Michelle is furious with Steve for re-enlisting and ends their relationship. Brandon and Michelle finally reach New York City and meet with the lawyer, who gives Brandon forged papers and a passport which would allow him to flee to Canada in exchange for payment of $1,000. Tommy, who is depressed after being discharged from the army, commits suicide, Brandon returns to visit Tommy s grave immediately after the funeral, only to end up in a dispute with Steve, ultimately turning into a physical battle ending with Brandon leaving the cemetery and Steve weeping.

Brandon, his mother and Michelle drive to the Mexican border, but Brandon ultimately decides that he does not want to abandon everything that he has ever known. He also tells his mother and Michelle that if he goes to Mexico he ll never really be able to leave the war behind him. The final scene depicts a busload of soldiers, including Brandon and Steve, returning to the war.


  • Ryan Phillippe as Staff Sergeant Brandon Leonard King
  • Abbie Cornish as Michelle Overton
  • Channing Tatum as Sergeant Steve Shriver
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Private First Class Tommy Burgess
  • Timothy Olyphant as Lieutenant Colonel Boot Miller
  • Victor Rasuk as Private Rico Rodriguez
  • Rob Brown as Isaac Eyeball Butler
  • Terry Quay as Paul Preacher Colson
  • Josef Sommer as Senator Orton Worrell
  • Linda Emond as Ida King
  • Ciarán Hinds as Roy King
  • Mamie Gummer as Jeanie Burgess
  • Alex Frost as Shorty Shriver
  • Tory Kittles as Josh
  • Steven Strait as Michael Colson


Principal photography began in August 2006 in Morocco and various locations in Texas – Austin, Lockhart, San Antonio and Uhland. However, the film was not released until March 28, 2008.

Home media

The DVD was released on July 8, 2008. The DVD includes an audio commentary by director Kimberly Peirce and co-writer Mark Richard, 2 featurettes, and 11 deleted scenes.


Critical response

Rotten Tomatoes reports a 64% approval rating, based on 143 reviews, with an average rating of 6.27/10 and the consensus: Stop-Loss is sincere and complex, and features strong performances, even if it tries to cover too much ground. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 61 out of 100, based on 35 reviews.

James Berardinelli described the film as one in a line of preachy movies about the war in Iraq and described it as simplistic and uninteresting , citing it as no more effective than films by others (including Robert Redford, Brian De Palma, Gavin Hood, and Paul Haggis) who preceded Kimberly Peirce in attempting to tell a story with the basic premise that War is hell, the U.S. government is deceitful, and soldiers are being irrevocably damaged. Peter Travers noted in his review of the film that several Iraq War movies had failed the year before ( Box-office casualties last year include Lions for Lambs, Rendition, Redacted, Grace Is Gone, and In the Valley of Elah ), and felt that Stop Loss touches greatness despite what he called a curse hanging over it and has the juice to break the jinx.

Box office

Despite favorable reviews, the film was a box office bomb. In its opening weekend, it grossed a mere $4.5 million in 1,291 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #8 at the box office. As of June 17, 2008, it has grossed a total of $10.9 million in the U.S. and Canada and over $16,000 in other territories. The film had an estimated budget of $25 million and only grossed $11 million worldwide, less than half of its budget.

Year 2008
ReleaseDate 2008-03-28
RuntimeMins 112
RuntimeStr 1h 52min
Plot A veteran soldier returns from his completed tour of duty in Iraq, only to find his life turned upside down when he is arbitrarily ordered to return to field duty by the Army.
Awards Awards, 2 wins & 5 nominations
Directors Kimberly Peirce
Writers Mark Richard, Kimberly Peirce
Stars Ryan Phillippe, Abbie Cornish, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Produced by Pamela Abdy,Reid Carolin,Sam Cassel,Michael Diliberti,Gregory Goodman,Kimberly Peirce,Mark Roybal,Scott Rudin,Allison Shearmur
Music by John Powell
Cinematography by Chris Menges
Film Editing by Claire Simpson
Casting By Avy Kaufman
Production Design by David Wasco,Judy Becker
Art Direction by Peter Borck
Set Decoration by Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
Costume Design by Marlene Stewart
Makeup Department Merribelle Anderson,Ron Berkeley,Lupe Devine,David Forrest,Hildegard Haide,Kevin Haney,Becky Joyce,Fred Lackey III,Lori McCoy-Bell,Bennani Naima,Iván Pohárnok,Deborah Rutherford,Don Rutherford,Kentaro Yano,Becki Drake,Rick Stratton
Production Management Hafid Balafrej,Branko Jehlar,Michael J. Malone,Kiki Morris,Scott Puckett,Scott Thaler
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director Alain Aswani,Doug Coleman,William M. Connor,Richard Diment,Robbie Friedmann,Patrick McDonald,Scott R. Meyers,Kristen Ploucha,Neil Lewis,Darin Rivetti,Matthew D. Smith
Art Department Scott Anderson,Scott M. Anderson,Jille Azis,Mohamed Azrar,Boujemaa Baabou,Richard Beltran,’Bronco’ Bob Bouman,Hafid Bounouader,Mark Lambert Bristol,Chloe Carrera,Jesus Carrera,Raul V. Carrera,Jack Colmenero,Jeffrey Czaja,Patricia Dillon,Derek Drewes,William W. Dunagan III,Abdelrhani El Zoulji,Mohamed Elyakine,Gretchen Engel,Ramona Fabregas,Erin Fite,David Scott Gagnon,William F. Gambill,Danielle Giovanniello,Austin Gorg,Juliet Guimont,Steve A. Hagberg,Michael Hallett,Eric Henshaw,Jeff Hinds,Gene Kelly,James V. Kent,Ellen Lampl,George Lee,David MacDonald,Tom MacLear,Pat Martine,Kris Moran,Rabiaa N’Gadi,Barbara Nadeau,Jeff Naparstek,Keith Pain,Dennis J. Parrish,Eric Pastore,Rob Perkins,Adele Plauche,Jeremy Reeves,Dana Sanchez,Anthony Scalzo,Justin Scoppa Jr.,Randy Severs,Michael Sexton,Phil Shirey,Corissa Smith,John ‘B.J.’ Smith,Carl Sprague,Wallace R. Symns,Jonathan Tessler,Pierre Vial,Robert K. Weinberger,Carrin Welch,Karl J. Weschta,Don Williams,Phil Williams,Gary Wimmer,Robert R. Wonson,Amy Bell,Brad Blei,Don ‘Tex’ Clark,April Crump,Patricia Dillon,Travis Eisenberg,Aziz Hamichi,Mark Hanks,Charlie Nauman,Richard ‘Rocky’ Nichols,Richard G. Owen,Jason Perrine,Victoria Ramirez Fuller,Charles Seale,Alexander Vinnitski,Michael E. Wilks,Cher Young
Sound Department Hicham Amedras,Ron Bedrosian,David Boulton,Julio Carmona,Kam Chan,Bob Chefalas,Krissopher Chevannes,Marko A. Costanzo,Zack Davis,Robert Deschaine,Mark DeSimone,Lee Dichter,Robert Fernandez,Dave Flynch,Brian Gallagher,Eugene Gearty,Harry Higgins,Larry Hopkins,Said Morchid Il Idrissi,Bobby Johanson,Craig Kyllonen,George A. Lara,Manny Leyva,Marissa Littlefield,Danny Michael,Samuel Miille,Branka Mrkic,Douglas Murray,Beauxregard Neylen,James Nichols,Jordan O’Neill,Angela Organ,Karym Ronda,Jac Rubenstein,Wyatt Sprague,Serge Stanley,Jeffrey Stern,Shane Stoneback,Julian Townsend,Tami Treadwell,Larry Wineland,Lila Yomtoob,Jerry Yuen
Special Effects by Everett Byrom III,Craig Byrom,Kevin Ganey,Meredith Johns,Lee Alan McConnell,Larry Odien,Jay Wejebe,Dennis Yeager II,Wes Aylor,Brandon Campbell,Edward Gettis,Stanford Gilbert,Leslie Kolter,Bob Trevino
Visual Effects by Carol Ashley,Thad Beier,Daniel Chuba,Thomas Dadras,Michelle Eisenreich,Justin Jones,Dan Levitan,Kimberly Nelson LoCascio,Rebecca Marie,Allen Maris,Mamie McCall,Daniel Mellitz,Fatima Mojaddidy,Russell Barrett,Erin L. Nelson,Wilson Tang
Stunts Joseph Beddelem,Jon Braver,Chris Burton,Mark Chavarria,Gokor Chivichyan,Leah Coffman,Doug Coleman,Geo Corvera,Jeff Dashnaw,Nathan Flores,Glenn Goldstein,Rodolphe Gowckel,Tarick Hadouch,Dick Hancock,Jim Henry,Cyrille Hertel,Lucinda Hinton,Karim Hocini,Horace Knight Jr.,Brian Machleit,Samantha MacIvor,Lee Alan McConnell,Eric Mondoloni,David M. Morizot,Lonnie Nelson,Casey O’Neill,Shawn Odum,R.C. Ormond,Michael Ortiz,Jimmy N. Roberts,Allen Robinson,Troy Robinson,Malika Sayd,Dan Schlund,Jeff Schwan,Ludo Silemetzoglou,Christian Stokes,Terry Tarantino,Samantha MacIvor,Shawn Odum,Cedric Proust
Camera and Electrical Department Abdelaziz Aarable,Rachid Abeghraz,Wes Ahl,Tarek Albaba,Brad Allen,Andy Arnautov,Alejandro Aurrecoechea,Zakaria Badreddine,Mustapha Badredinne,Alejandro ‘Sandro’ Barker,Hans Bjerno,Matt Blake,Theodore Y. Bott,Sarah Bowman,Stephen S. Campanelli,Trevor Carroll-Coe,Trey Cartwright,Ivo Cervenka,Tony Christie,Carlos Cibils,Patrick B. Coate,Bill Coe,Timothy E. Cole,Frank Connor,Luis Contreras,James F. Cornick,Matt Cowan,David S. Cox,Dave Cugno,Eric Cunningham,Nick Cupkovic,Vladimir Duben,Robert Fiore,Adam Flores,Sandro Garcia,Dan Gephart,Sean P. Gilbert,Paul Goroff,Robyn Greer,Ivo Gresak,Ameer Grice,Chris Hamala,Beky Hayes,Robert Hicks,Gary Hildebrand,Donald R. Howe Jr.,Janet Jensen,Brad Keffer,Scott Koenigsberg,Adnane Korchyou,Robert Kovac,Amy Kupferberg,Paul T. LeBlanc,Paul Marbury,Frank Masi,Bobby McMahan,Ryan McMichael,Jim McMillan Jr.,Chris Menges,Mike Moad,Rachid Msaïdi,Peter Necas,Ralph Nelson,Ster Percy,Lupe Perez Jr.,Ralph Perri,Froylan Reyes Jr.,Brandon Roberts,Pete Romano,Adil Satarad,Justin Seyb,Tom Shinn,Jaromir Simek,Dean M. Simmon,Bobby Sledge,Louis Smith,Alex Soria,Andrew Taylor,Dyanna Taylor,Martin Tocka,Greg Travis,James R. Tynes,Steve Urban,Donald Vetick,Tim Wattez,Martin Wells,Neal Wilde,Paul Crow Willis,Sean Wright,Aziz Zougar,Abdellah Zouri,Richard Beltran,Graham Bremner,Chuck Cohen,Charles Coulter,François Duhamel,John Eschberger,Greg Flores,Jacob Fountain,Jess Haas,Arien Hatch,John Janusek,Tony Lopez-Cepero,Diego Mariscal,James M. McClure,David J. Myrick,Ryan Nelson,Georgia Pierson,John Savedra,Ezra Venetos
Casting Department Letty Chavarria,Michael Druck,Elizabeth Greenberg,Tom Gustafson,Sondra James,Beth Sepko,Jessica Sloan,Leeba Zakharov,Chris Bustard
Costume and Wardrobe Department Jill E. Anderson,Steve Constancio,Charles C. Crutchfield,Holly Davis,Heidi Howell,Jennifer Jobst,Kathy Kiatta,Min Soo Kim,Andrea Knaub,Erik Lemoss,Libuse Makerova,Amy Maner,Robin McMullan,Patrick O’Driscoll,Christine Orth,Ladislav Procházka,Marcy Rector,Ljuba Rezinckova,Ghaine Mohamed Said,Laura Sewrey,Mark J. Weitzman,John M. ‘Jack’ Wright,Susan Gaedke McGill,Annette Hoffman,Nicole Leitner,Jennifer Schilling,Debra Sugarman,Yvonne Wilburn
Editorial Department Tim Belcher,Dana Bloder,Gary Burritt,Rob Chesnutt,Paul Ensby,Tamara Gagarin,Joe Gawler,Barbara Jean Kearney,Todd Kleparski,Keith Mason,Ryan Murphy,Jim Passon,Zachary A. Schwartz,Everette Webber,Michael P. Whipple,Simon Wilkinson,Matthew Benns,Scott Gregory,Gregg Lang,Eric Ramistella
Location Management John P. Crowley,Dustin Daniels,Robbie Friedmann,Driss Gaidi,Reggie Hodges,Emma Janzen,Kevin Kray,Rusty Nye,Shobie Partos,Jacki Phipps,Vernon Smith,Monica Walters,Hayley Whitehead,John Cefalu,Rusty Nye,Jonathan Reich,Jimi Woods,Kirk Worley
Music Department Tom Brown,Kevin Connolly,George Doering,Bruce Dukov,Jim Dunbar,Germaine Franco,Matt Franko,Marc Gebauer,Mick Gormaley,Tom Hardisty,Andrew Hauschild,Jim Hoffman,The Hollywood Studio Symphony,Gregory Jamrok,Daniel Lerner,John Lewis,London Symphony Orchestra,Shawn Murphy,Anup Pathade,Victor Pesavento,Doug Petty,Randall Poster,John Powell,Nic Ratner,Michael Nomad Ripoll,Marni Sanders,Jay Selvester,Steven L. Smith,John Ashton Thomas,Gina Zimmitti,Denise Carver
Script and Continuity Department Sherry Gallarneau
Transportation Department Hicham Akbour,Hamid Araissi,Ted Basso,Robert T. Chestnut,Michael Fennimore,Sean J. Moore,Lonnie Nelson,Bob ‘Smitty’ Smith,Paul E. Stroh,Jonathan Wensel,Terry Woodcock,J. Armin Garza II,Jimmy Ray Pickens,Chris Raines,John H. Stephens,David Wang,Bonnie Yamahiro
Additional Crew Rachel Aberly,Saad Ajedigue,Scott M. Anderson,Caroline Aragon,Hassan Aridal,Reed Barrow,Turhan Bay,Jinane Benzaida,Janey Bergam,Stratton Bouloukos,Amanda Brand,Ari Briskman,Jamie Buckner,Sean Mik’ael Butler,Damon Cardasis,Al Cerullo,Mary Beth Chambers,Michael Chenevert,Deborah J. Chesebro,Andrea Coles,Bobbi Colorado,Caroline Connor,J. John Corbett,Greg Deist,James D. Dever,Ramona Diaz Sanchez,Mohamed Diouri,Marie Dong,Kelsey Egan,Rachid El Aily,Saida Elidrissi,Joe Fiske,Vanessa Gaitan,Donal Geraghty,Gerry Grennell,Jeff Guerrero,Roxanne Hilburn,Mark D. Houston,Houda Jabrane,Margaret Jacobs,Pamela Jaeckle,Vicki V. Johnson,Joe F. Kastely,Ian Kay,Nathan Kelly,Laura King,Adam Klaff,Katherine Knox,Jim Kolmar,Maggie Kusik,Jean-Claude Lecoq,Tiffany Lemieux,Alex Levenson,Stephen Light,Christophe Maratier,Renee Marsella,Al Matano,Adam Milch,Scott Millenbaugh,Tom Minder,Glen Moorman,Christie Moreau,Jake Niklas,Laura Pendergrass,Jason Perrine,Marco Peña,Antonia Proscia,James P. Queen,Deborah Ricketts,Brett Rodriguez,Danny Roman,Mark Rothman,Sasie Sealy,Andrew Sehler,Salpy Semerdjian,Lucy Shapiro,Ashley Joelle Smith,Brett P. Smith,Jimmy Ray Sorrells,Quay Terry,Lila Thaw,Stan Umamoto,Michael Vasquez,Danielle Wilson,Lori Wyant,Nick Zayas,Alexander Zweig,Kyle Adahl,Géraldine Bergé,Steve Bissell,Michelle Brew,Victor Burgess,Daniel Cabeza,Stephen Clarke,Sarah Dowling,Hicham El Ghorfi,Greg Ferris,Jessica Franks,Matthew Honovic,Ingrid Johanson,Jesse Kobayashi,Tricia Miles,Jennifer S. Milliman,Jarrette Moats,Niamh Murphy,Heather Holty Newton,Sean Oliver,Lily Pahlow,Jannie Penvari,Ray Prewitt,Paul Rathburn,David M. Rodriguez,Ashleigh Tucker
Thanks Sam Cassel,Michael Embrich,Hope Omen Ferdowsi
Genres Drama, War
Companies Paramount Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions, MTV Films
Countries USA
Languages English
ContentRating R
ImDbRating 6.4
ImDbRatingVotes 20415
MetacriticRating 61
Keywords ptsd post traumatic stress disorder,female director,female filmmaker,soldier,friendship