Two Marines stand accused of murdering a member of their platoon during an unsanctioned disciplinary action. Hoping to obtain a quiet plea bargain, the Navy appoints young Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) to defend the accused Marines. Though a recent Harvard graduate and possessed of a brilliant legal mind, Lt. Kaffee has spent his life in the shadow of his highly respected father, and lacks any sense of personal conviction. That all begins to change, however, when his committed colleague (Demi Moore) pushes him deeper into the case, particularly in the direction of base commander Col. Jessup (Jack Nicholson, in an Oscar®-nominated role). Defying the Navy's efforts to hush up the case, Kaffee realizes he must go to court, risk his professional career to unravel the mystery and bring those responsible for the young Marine's death to justice.