Boys of Abu Ghraib

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Boys of Abu Ghraib
Boys of Abu Ghraib Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Luke Moran
Produced by Luke Moran
Cru Ennis
Screenplay by Luke Moran
Starring Sean Astin
Luke Moran
Omid Abtahi
Sara Paxton
John Heard
Music by Dan Marocco
Cinematography Peter Holland
Edited by Jeff Fullmer
Luca Disica
Rebel One Pictures
Distributed by Vertical Entertainment
Release date
  • March 28, 2014 (2014-03-28)
Running time
102 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Boys of Abu Ghraib is a 2014 American war film inspired by the events that took place at the Abu Ghraib prison in 2004. It was written and directed by Luke Moran, who co-stars alongside Sean Astin, Omid Abtahi, Sara Paxton, and John Heard. Acclaimed filmmakers Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz served as executive producers on the film, which was produced by Luke Moran and Cru Ennis.[1]

The film was released in US theaters on March 28, 2014. It has a runtime of 102 minutes and is rated R.


The film starts in 2003, the day before 22-year-old Jack Farmer (Luke Moran) ships out for Iraq, having joined the Army Reserves in hopes of being part of something bigger than himself.

He and dozens of other young men, whose motives range from patriotism to the promise of adventure and sheer youthful restlessness, arrive at Abu Ghraib, 20 miles from Baghdad and formerly used by Saddam Hussein to imprison, torture and murder dissidents. CO Capt. Hayes (Scott Patterson) greets them with a rousing speech about them standing on the front lines of the war against terrorism, but it doesn't take long for the most gung-ho among them to realize they've been shipped to the armpit of the universe. There are no generators (meaning no electricity), the "barracks" are former prison cells, complete with bloodstained floors, boarded up windows and scrawled evidence of prisoners counting down the days to oblivion, and they aren't on the frontlines of anything. A situation exacerbated by the fact that they're completely cut off from anything that might keep them connected to their civilian lives. There are no phones, movies or TV, no online connectivity and no mail. About the only things to do with their abundant free time is lift weights and indulge in macho horseplay.

Jack requests MP duty just for a change of scenery, undaunted by the cautionary tale of an earlier volunteer who had the same idea and wound up shooting himself in the foot to escape. With no training, briefing or idea what to expect, Jack is transferred to Hard Site, a cellblock that supposedly houses hard-core terrorists. His new boss, Sgt. Tanner (Sean Astin), matter of factly tells him that Hard Site's guiding principle is "no compassion": their job is to "soften up" prisoners for military interrogators by making them as miserable as possible without leaving visible evidence of maltreatment. Their weapons are deprivation, humiliation and isolation. "Are you sure we're supposed to be doing this?" Jack asks, as he takes in the bare cells and their shivering, demoralized occupants. "Fuckin'-a right we're supposed to be doing this," Tanner replies, adding that it's also kind of fun: witness the detainee he's nicknamed "Chewie" and trained to howl like a wookie.

Jack is not a boat-rocker by nature, but the whole business seems so wrong it is not long before he breaks rule one—no talking to the detainees except to order them around—and develops a friendship with Ghazi Hammoud (Omid Abtahi), accused of having engineered a deadly bombing. His quiet insistence that he's guilty of nothing more than being Western educated and unwilling to implicate other innocent men to buy his own freedom hastens the erosion of Jack's confidence in the institution he serves.

What follows is the decay of a boy into a hardened man capable of anything. And a shocking ending.



Shooting occurred in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the Penitentiary of New Mexico, location of the New Mexico State Penitentiary riot. One scene was also shot at the now closed Baillios Electronics in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Some critics criticized the film for not depicting the exact events of the scandal, but fictionalizing a story based on these events, while other appreciated the story and its one-step-at-a-time explanation of how an event like this actually came to pass.[2][3] Audience reviews were more positive, most particularly from veterans for its realistic depiction of a soldier's deployment and its lack of a political agenda. The film won the Audience Award at the Gasparilla Film Festival and the War on Screen International Film Festival, the only two film festivals it screened at.


  1. ^ "The-Boys-of-Abu-Ghraib - Cast, Crew, Director and Awards -". Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  2. ^ "Film Review: Boys of Abu Ghraib |". Retrieved 2016-01-29. 
  3. ^ "The Aisle Seat - Boys of Abu Ghraib". Retrieved 2016-01-29. 

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