Taglines: He’s older, he’s wiser, but times have changed.
Reuben James (Washington), although having grown up in London, was born in St. Lucia, West Indies, and joined the British Army to escape the poverty of inner city life. He serves with the Parachute Regiment, doing a tour in Northern Ireland for three years at the height of The Troubles in the late 1970s, and later fighting in the 1982 Falklands War in the South Atlantic for the remainder of his military career, eventually becoming a war hero himself.
Six years later, after leaving the army, Reuben returns to civilian life in London. Much to his chagrin, he receives far from a hero’s welcome, mostly no-one caring about his time in the army. Many of Reuben’s childhood friends have turned to crime and drug-dealing to support themselves. He is shocked to find that his old community, the East End, is still beset by the crime, poverty and racism that made him leave rather than being a better neighbourhood. In particular, he suffers abuse and brutality at the hands of racist police officers, and he is soon pressured by some old friends to go against the law.
He struggles to adjust to everyday life, but with increasing difficulty, losing his girlfriend (Amanda Redman). With changes in the British nationality law that occurred in 1981, Reuben also can’t claim British citizenship and any residency of the United Kingdom at all. Reuben finds himself unemployed in the middle of the emerging recession in the country and is frustrated by being unable to find work despite his outstanding military service as a dutiful soldier. He begins to feel betrayed by the country he fought for. He drives a taxi for a short time, but is soon brought into business with Colin, a drug kingpin and former friend of Reuben (Bruce Payne), who was always nice to him. He becomes a vigilante bent on change instead of becoming a criminal himself.
For Queen and Country is a 1988 British-American crime drama film co-written and directed by Martin Stellman and starring Denzel Washington. Washington stars as Reuben James, a Black British former paratrooper, who joined the British Army to escape the poverty of inner city London; Reuben fights in the Falklands War, and upon returning home he finds that society ignores and challenges him while trying to adjust to normal life.
For Queen and Country (1989)
Directed by: Martin Stellman
Starring: Denzel Washington, George Baker, Amanda Redman, Dorian Healy, Geff Francis, Bruce Payne, Craig Fairbrass, George Baker, Stella Gonet, Tatiana Strauss, Valérie Chassigneux
Screenplay by: Martin Stellman, Trix Worrell
Production Design by: Andrew McAlpine
Cinematography by: Richard Greatrex
Film Editing by: Steve Singleton
Costume Design by: Sandy Powell
Art Direction by: Charmian Adams
Music by: Michael Kamen
Distributed by: Atlantic Entertainment Group
Release Date: May 19, 1989