Is Tears of the Sun Based on a True Story?

Spearheaded by director Antoine Fuqua of ‘The Equalizer‘ fame and starring exceptional talents like Monica Bellucci and Bruce Willis, ‘Tears of the Sun’ is a gripping action thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the credits roll. The movie promises an exciting romp sprinkled perfectly with emotionally impactful sequences that leave an impression on the audience. Focusing on a US Navy Seal Rescue team, the movie follows their adventures during a civil war in Nigeria as they try to rescue US citizen and physician Dr. Lena Fiore Kendricks.

Masterfully depicting the many horrors of war and how it is always the common people who suffer, the movie portrays how Dr. Kendricks spurs the Navy Seals to go out of their way and help the natives get to safety. A film that celebrates the victory of humanity over the atrocities of war is sure to leave the audience questioning if the plot is rooted in real life. Well, we come bearing answers!

Is Tears of the Sun Based on a True Story?

‘Tears of the Sun’ is partially based on a true story. According to sources, the main framework of the storyline was borrowed from the actual account of a secret mission in Colombia undertaken by the Canadian Joint Task Force Two (JTF2) Team. Sources state that an ex-member of the JTF2 wrote a book detailing his experiences in the special forces. Later, he shared the original story with the production team of the 1996 film ‘Executive Decision.’ The account was then reportedly fictionalized and framed into the storyline we get to experience in ‘Tears of the Sun.’

Reports also state that the title of the movie was derived from a script written by Alan B. McElroy in the 1990s. McElroy’s script was about a team of people setting up a radio relay station in the Amazon and had no connection to this movie’s plot. Bruce Willis liked the storyline so much that he wanted it to be made into the fourth film of the ‘Die Hard’ franchise, but things did not materialize that way. Instead, the actor managed to convince the producers to use the title for this movie in exchange for him agreeing to be a part of ‘Live Free or Die Hard.’

To add to the authenticity of the movie, the production crew brought in Harry Humphries as the Supervising Military Advisor. A Vietnam War veteran with several years of Navy Seals experience, Harry taught the team how to fine-tune the little details of a special operation, including the use of proper guns and the correct attire. Additionally, sources claim that Harry ran a two-week boot camp to educate the actors about the ways of the Navy Seals, which made transitioning into their roles easier.

The special training allowed them to overcome the challenges of the physically taxing sections during filming. Moreover, the radio chatter between the soldiers heard throughout the movie is a very authentic version of how soldiers communicate in the field. The movie also involved real-life refugees who appear as extras onscreen. Thus, even though the characters, setting, and plotline are fictitious, the small touches of authenticity, as well as the JTF2 account lending its skeleton, keep ‘Tears of the Sun’ rooted in reality.

Read More: Where Was Tears of the Sun Filmed?