American sniper

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German title American sniper
Original title American sniper
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2014
length 132 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
JMK 16
Director Clint Eastwood
script Jason Dean Hall
production Bradley Cooper ,
Clint Eastwood,
Andrew Lazar ,
Robert Lorenz ,
Peter Morgan
camera Tom Stern
cut Joel Cox ,
Gary D. Roach

American Sniper is an American feature film by Clint Eastwood from the year 2014 . The film deals with the life story of the recently murdered United States Navy SEAL - sniper Chris Kyle , who, according to the US Department of Defense, was the most successful American sniper of all time with over 160 confirmed killings .

The film premiered on November 11, 2014 as part of the AFI Festival in Los Angeles. It opened in US theaters on December 25, 2014. The film started in Germany on February 26, 2015.


The film begins during the Iraq war . The sniper Chris Kyle lies in a hiding place on a roof in the bombed Fallujah with a US Marine who is supposed to give him cover . The two secure a squad of soldiers searching houses. Kyle watches a woman with a boy. The woman gives the boy a grenade with which he runs towards the American soldiers.

In the next scene you can see Kyle going hunting with his father as a child and already showing special skills as a marksman. The father leads a strict regime and beats his children. He educates his children to defend themselves in life and to protect the weak. That's what Chris does, even when a thug attacks his younger brother at school. In the church he steals a Bible that he takes with him almost everywhere from then on. As a young man, Kyle was a professional rodeo rider until the 1998 bombings on US embassies in Africa prompted him to join the military. There he is trained as a sniper with the United States Navy SEALs and meets his future wife Taya in a bar, with whom he will have two children.

He was sent to Iraq for the first time shortly after the two of them married. In Fallujah he is used as a sniper. This is also where he fires the first fatal shot, at the boy from the beginning of the film. The mother runs to the body of her son and throws the grenade at the soldiers. Kyle shoots her too. After a short time he became known as "the legend" because he had more kills than all other snipers in the company put together.

He spends a total of four extended periods in Iraq. Between missions he only superficially fits into civilian life with family and friends at home. It gets very closed. The relationship with his wife becomes increasingly difficult, as Kyle changes more and more in her eyes and is absorbed by the war experiences.

In Iraq, he has made it his personal goal to hunt down the alleged right-hand man of Al-Qaeda terrorist Abū Musʿab al -Zarqāwī , known as the Butcher . In doing so, he engages in a duel with Mustafa, the best sniper of the Iraqi insurgents. In order to take out the other sniper, Kyle decides to take a risky action on his last deployment to Iraq. With the target in his sights, but surrounded by enemies and with the prospect that the reinforcements might be late, he decides to shoot. Mustafa is hit. The shot reveals the position of Kyle's unit. After a lengthy firefight, the unit manages a chaotic escape under the protection of a sandstorm.

Kyle returns to the United States, where at first it is very difficult for him to get back to normal everyday life. He tells a psychiatrist that he has no problems with the things he did in the ministry. Rather, he was burdened by comrades whom he was unable to protect. The psychiatrist advises him to take care of other veterans. He also goes to the shooting range with some of these veterans. On one such occasion, he is shot by one of them. The film ends with a memorial service for Kyle at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.



The script is based on Kyle's autobiography Sniper: 160 Fatal Hits - The US Military's Best Sniper Unpacks . This autobiography was controversial: On the one hand, he described the fighting Iraqis as "savages" or "beasts" and regretted not having killed any more of them, and on the other hand, his portrayal was demonstrably incorrect in parts, for example the claim that he was in Texas two car thieves and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina shot thirty raiders. However, both the autobiography and the film describe the effects the war can have on the soldier and his family. Kyle himself and a friend were shot dead by a veteran of the Iraq War on February 2, 2013 in Texas at a firing range.

For dramaturgical reasons the script deviated strongly from the autobiography: Kyle was not involved in house searches as a sniper like the regular ground troops and the character of the main opponent "Mustafa" was also fictitious.


In the United States, the film screened in four theaters on December 25, 2014, to be eligible for the Academy Awards ceremony the following year; its regular launch in the United States was on January 16, 2015. The film launch in Germany was on February 26, 2015.

Grossing results

The film cost about $ 59 million. The film got off to a very successful start in the United States, with grossing over $ 90 million on its first weekend; this figure is the highest ever grossed in a January weekend. In addition, the film was the largest grossing $ 32 million on a Super Bowl weekend. It is also Eastwood and Cooper's most financially successful film to date. By March 2015, American Sniper was grossing around half a billion dollars worldwide. With over $ 337 million in the US and Canada, it is also the most successful film of 2014 there.


public perception

American Sniper has been considered the most controversial Hollywood film for years and has sparked an emotional debate in the United States. In his native Texas, Kyle was hailed as a war hero and after his murder by veteran Eddie Routh in 2013 as a martyr and buried with great public sympathy. The Texas Governor Greg Abbott had the day of death proclaimed "Chris Kyle Day". Well-known Republicans such as Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin recommended the film as a patriotic masterpiece. Even pacifist actress Jane Fonda sees him as a worthy heir to her antiwar film Coming Home . By contrast, for TV presenter Bill Maher , the film embodies “American fascism”. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said that attacks on Arabs and Muslims had increased after the release. Along with other voices, Eastwood is accused of revising the history of the Iraq war as a reaction to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 . The film ignores the fact that the US government legitimized the Iraq war through the alleged threat from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, not with the terrorist attacks in New York. Chris Hedges accused the film of promoting the gun cult and promoting blind militarism. Noam Chomsky raised the question of what the worship of a cold-blooded killer through a movie suggests about the American people.

The film reviews show that a clear line between war films and anti-war films has not yet been drawn. The New Yorker magazine called it a disturbing pro-war film and a disturbing anti-war film. According to Susan Vahabzadeh ( SZ ), the fact that the film is so successful despite the Iraq war being rather avoided in Hollywood could be due to the fact that this war is slowly becoming history and can therefore be dealt with from the retrospective and now the Americans in the film see something behind which they might gather. Andrea Köhler attested to the film in the NZZ that it was drilling the open wound known as the “fight against terror”, which had been dividing the country for years and which now represented the heroism of the US troops for some, while for others it was pure Propaganda concoction applies. At the same time, however, the film also draws attention to the fact that 22 war veterans who cannot be adequately cared for by the US Department of Veteran Affairs kill themselves every day in the United States .

Eastwood's reaction

Eastwood fiercely opposed allegations that the film was advocating the war on terror and campaigning for the Republican Party . American Sniper show what war makes of a person and pursue the strongest anti-war message ever. In addition, he did not want it to be understood as a justification for the invasion of Iraq, since he had been against the Iraq war from the beginning.


"War Movie? Anti-war movie? It is telling that 'Sniper' leaves room for both interpretations. It tells a 'true story', but only as true as it fits into the patriotic script. Rather, 'Sniper' is the fictionalized version of a fictionalized version of a reality that would be sad enough even without this double exaggeration. "

"It is what it is: an uncritical war film with a heroic story that is comparatively unaffected."

“Eastwood paints a one-sided picture of the war, which one can excuse at best by claiming that the director wants to reproduce the inside view of his character: by the end of the film there is not a single normal Iraqi civilian to be seen. [...] Propaganda, which means persuasion instead of conviction. [...] In this sense, American Sniper is the textbook example of a propaganda film. "

“It [- a 'multi-headed ambivalence monster' -] is, as the first minutes in the cinema reveal, a slim, fairly agile beast. Clint Eastwood, the director, made it technically clean and quite exciting. In terms of content, it is full of clever understatement, clever decisions and secret trickery, with a few dirty ideology bombs along the way. "

“Dramaturgically, technically and dramatically perfectly staged patriotic US war film, which does not omit physical and mental wounds, but lets them get lost in the noisy fight scenes in the shooter's head. The propagandistic drama does not enter into a political or moral questioning of his actions such as the Iraq wars in general. "

The German Film and Media Assessment (FBW) awarded the title “Particularly valuable” on the grounds: “And although Eastwood does not question the war effort itself in his story, he clearly shows what the war does to people and how it changes them and how difficult it is to get home from the front lines. Because every soldier takes the war with him in his head. With American Sniper, Clint Eastwood has made a captivating and masterfully photographed film about war that is neither for nor against. But told about it impressively. "

Awards and nominations (selection)

National Board of Review

Satellite Award

  • Nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Jason Hall
  • Nomination for Best Film Editing for Joel Cox & Gary D. Roach

Critics' Choice Movie Awards 2015

  • Awarded Best Actor in an Action Film to Bradley Cooper
  • Nomination in the category "Best Action Film"

Oscar 2015

  • Nomination in the Best Film category
  • Best Actor Nomination for Bradley Cooper
  • Nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Jason Hall
  • Nomination for Best Editing for Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
  • Nomination in the Best Sound category for John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
  • Award in the category of best sound editing for Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

MPSE Golden Reel Awards

  • Award in the category "Best Sound Editing - Sound Effects and Foley in an English Language Feature"


  • 2015: Bogey for a cut of more than 1000 viewers per copy on the starting weekend

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Certificate of Release for American Sniper . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , January 2015 (PDF; test number: 149 128 K).
  2. Age rating for American Sniper . Youth Media Commission .
  3. AFI FEST 2014 presented by Audi ANNOUNCES CLINT EASTWOOD'S AMERICAN SNIPER AS THE SECRET SCREENING ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 11 AT THE EGYPTIAN THEATER. American Film Institute, November 10, 2014, accessed December 14, 2014 .
  4. Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen, Jim DeFelice: Sniper: 160 fatal hits - The best sniper in the US military unpacks . riva Verlag , Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-86883-245-7 (English: American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History . New York 2012.).
  5. a b c d Marc Pitzke : Oscar candidate "American Sniper". Sniper in the crossfire. In: Spiegel Online . January 21, 2015, accessed February 6, 2015 .
  6. Kai-Uwe Brinkmann: American Sniper: The world in a rifle scope . In: Ruhr Nachrichten , January 24, 2015.
  7. December 26–28, 2014. Box Office Mojo , accessed January 7, 2015 .
  8. American Sniper . In: . Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  9. 'American Sniper': Counting Down the Records Clint Eastwood Broke . In: Variety, January 18, 2015 (English).
  10. David Herger: Clint Eastwood's American Sniper sets a new record . In: Moviepilot, February 2, 2015.
  11. Björn Becher: US Box Office: "American Sniper" is now the most successful film of 2014 . In: , March 9, 2015.
  12. Nicky Woolf: American Sniper: anti-Muslim threats skyrocket in wake of film's release. In: The Guardian . January 24, 2015, accessed February 6, 2015 .
  13. ^ Zack Beauchamp: American Sniper is a dishonest whitewash of the Iraq war . In: , January 21, 2015 (English).
  14. Sophia A. McClennen: "American Sniper's" biggest lie: Clint Eastwood has a delusional Fox News a problem . In: , January 26, 2015 (English).
  15. Chris Hedges: Killing Ragheads for Jesus . In: Truthdig , January 25, 2015, accessed January 26, 2015.
  16. Janet Allon: WATCH: Chomsky Blasts 'American Sniper' and the Media that Glorifies It. In: AlterNet . January 26, 2015, accessed February 6, 2015 (English): “Noam Chomsky had some choice words about the popularity of 'American Sniper,' its glowing New York Times review, and what the worship of a movie about a cold-blooded killer says about the American people. "
  17. ^ Richard Brody: "American Sniper" Takes Apart the Myth of the American Warrior . In: The New Yorker , December 24, 2014 (English).
  18. a b Susan Vahabzadeh: Superhero with a knack for killing . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , February 5, 2015.
  19. Andrea Köhler: The wolves and the shepherd dog . In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung , February 25, 2015.
  20. Peter Howell: Think before you shoot, Clint Eastwood says of war: interview . In: The Star , January 16, 2015. 
  21. ^ Gregg Kilday: Clint Eastwood on 'American Sniper's' "Biggest Antiwar Statement" (English) . In: The Hollywood Reporter , Jan. 24, 2015. 
  22. American Sniper . In: , accessed on February 24, 2015.
  23. ^ Rüdiger Suchsland : Eastwood creates a one-sided picture of the war . In: Kultur heute, Deutschlandfunk , contribution from February 22, 2015.
  24. Tobias Kniebe: "American Sniper" in the cinema. Agile beast. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung. February 25, 2015, accessed February 25, 2015 .
  25. American Sniper. In: Filmdienst . Retrieved February 6, 2015 .
  26. American Sniper. (PDF) German Film and Media Assessment (FBW), accessed on February 25, 2015 : "Predicate particularly valuable"
  27. National Board of Review Announces 2014 Award Winners ( English ) In: . Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  28. Satellite Awards 2014 ( English ) In: . Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  29. Kinocharts Germany: Third Weekend of Gray . In:, accessed on March 2, 2015.