American Sniper Movie Review

Yesterday, I went to a crowded theater in Brooksville, Florida to watch American Sniper.  Several of my friends had shared how much they enjoyed the movie (on Facebook) and the online reviews were very good.  Being a veteran and military movie buff myself, I try to watch most military movies that get released in theaters.

Needless to say, I was more than captivated with American Sniper.  I was at the edge of my seat the entire movie.  I felt moved, entertained and mesmerized.  I personally consider the movie a masterpiece and would highly recommend it to everyone.  I give it a 10 of 10 rating.

This movie covers the life (and military career) of Chris Kyle, a former Navy Seal and sniper.  Chris grew up in small town Texas and enlisted in the Navy in 1999.  Prior to joining the Navy he spent time as a bronco rider in the rodeo. At first, he tried to enlist in the Marines but was turned away (medical reasons).  Eventually, he visited a Navy recruiter and learned about the Seals.

After graduating from Seal school, he went on to serve four tours in Iraq (about 1,000 days).  He spent his time as a sniper with the Navy Seals and provided over-watch for the Marines and Navy Seals during their missions.  From what I’ve read about him, he has more than 160 confirmed kills as a sniper, making him one of the most lethal snipers of all time.  He was so good at his job that the Iraqis called him the “Devil of Ramadi.”  There was even a bounty placed on his head.  During  his time in Iraq he was wounded twice and involved in six IED attacks.

Upon returning from Iraq, he struggled with PTSD and sought treatment from the VA.  Chris was discharged from the Navy in 2009.  He published his best-selling book “American Sniper” in 2012.  He spent a lot of time helping other veterans deal with similar issues.  Sadly, Chris was killed by another veteran, Eddie Routh, (whom he was trying to help) on February 2, 2013.

About the Movie

Here are a few things you should know about the movie:

  • The movie covers the life and military career of Chris Kyle, a famous Navy Seal and sniper
  • It was released on January 16, 2015
  • The movie stars Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle
  • It also features Sienna Miller, Brian Hallisay, Luke Grimes, Jake McDorman, Max Charles and several others
  • It is directed by Clint Eastwood
  • It’s been nominated for many awards to include Best Picture and Best Actor
  • It is distributed by Warner Brothers
  • The movie was filmed in Morocco
  • The budget for the movie was approximately $59 million
  • The movie is 132 minutes long

Here are some things I liked about the movie:

  • The acting and script were incredible; Bradley Cooper was amazing to say the least
  • The attention to detail and special effects were amazing
  • It really showed the personal side of war and PTSD; how it effects the Soldier and their family
  • The action was intense and realistic
  • It covered all aspects of his life, right from his early childhood
  • It had pro and anti-war elements to it

Here are some things I didn’t like about the movie:

  • I wish the ending would have elaborated more on his death
  • I would have enjoyed more character development with some of the supporting characters

Key Takeaways

Here are a few key takeaways and lessons that I got from the movie.

  1. Killing others takes a huge toll on the human conscious, even when we think/know it is justified.  Anyone with a conscious will definitely never be the same again, after they’ve killed someone.
  2. Learning how to cope with things when you return from war is extremely challenging.  Many Soldiers miss the “fast pace, danger and thrill” of war and struggle to make peace with themselves in a garrison environment (or as a civilian).
  3. Being away from your family for such long periods of time can really damage a relationship, sometimes beyond repair.
  4. Many Soldiers struggle with “asking for help” when they return from combat because they see it as a sign of weakness.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that American Sniper is a masterpiece and definitely one of the best military movies I have ever watched, right up there with Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers.  If you haven’t watched it yet, you should spend the $8 to $15 and go see it at the movie theater.  I know you will enjoy it.

What are your thoughts?  If you’ve watched American Sniper, what did you like and dislike about it?  Leave a comment below to share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.


chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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7 thoughts on “American Sniper Movie Review”

  1. Unfortunately, it does seem that Chris Kyle’s killer is suffering from serious mental illness. He claimed to have PTSD, although never seeing combat, but definitely spent time in mental hospitals before murdering Kyle. Some people just should not be allowed anywhere near weapons. I agree with the statement made by Marcus Luttrell after the guilty verdict – “You thought you had PTSD before? Wait till the boys in TDC find out you killed a TX hero.”

  2. It seems Chris Kyle’s killer is mounting an insanity defense through his attorney. Many people think this gets a person off, but it actually is more difficult on them. If they are found insane, they are put into a prison with other insane people. Once they are deemed sane, they then have to stand trial again and get their punishment. So for everyone who may be thinking this guy will get off, he won’t.

  3. I really appreciate you giving us this review Chuck. Like Scott said, I too plan on seeing the movie soon. Maggie has mixed emotions on seeing it as she is so against war and the effects it has. After explaining to her about what you said about the PTSD, it opened her eyes. She has read a lot about what this has done to many soldiers, and has seen it first hand with ones she has known.

    I too like the real life situation movies. I look forward to seeing this movie about Chris Kyle. Thank God we have men such as him who not only protected our soldiers in the field, but also at home with the disorders that war causes.

  4. I plan to watch this movie tomorrow, so I will be leaving another comment on this after the movie.

    I have heard and seen plenty of good reviews on it, as you stated in this post. I did read the book, and I want to see how close this movie comes to the book. I have also watched several youtube videos interviewing Chris Kyle and Marcus Luttrell.

    I am much more intrigued by a true story like this than I am just a made up war movie.

    My wife would not go see Lone Survivor because she didn’t think she could handle it. She has decided to go with me to see this movie tomorrow.

    Some people can handle seeing the reality better than others. Living it in real life would overwhelm anybody. I also have a great deal of respect for Chris’s widow, Taya.

    She has been a very strong woman through all of this. I have seen her give two speeches online. I can only imagine how hard it’s been for her.

    The story of the level of sacrifice that these men make is what needs to be known. That is the bottom line. They are a special breed.

    The saying “All gave some, and some gave all” is a very true saying. Chris Kyle helped save the lives of alot of men as a seal. The book was outstanding.

    Chris Kyle will always have my respect and I look forward to the movie. I will comment again after I see it.

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