American Sniper
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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for American Sniper can be found here.

Texan sharpshooter Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), looking to serve his country in the war against terrorism, becomes a Navy SEAL sniper. Serving four tours of duty in Iraq, Kyle saves countless lives on the battlefield, becoming a legend among his comrades. However, readjusting to civilian life between and after his tours takes its toll on his wife Taya (Sienna Miller) and an even higher toll on Kyle himself.

Loosely based on American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History (2012) by U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle along with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice, Kyle's memoir was adapted for the movie by American screenwriter Jason Hall.

Kyle is credited with 255 kills, 160 of them officially confirmed by the Pentagon.

He admits himself he was lucky to pass his sniper course and graduated in the middle of his class. He puts his success partly down to just luck, insurgents seemed to just walk into his proximity. However, he also deliberately put himself in the midst of the fiercest action, joining the US Marines in house-to-house fighting when sniper targets were unavailable. He also served four tours in Iraq which was a much longer period in combat than many other famous snipers.

The mark (callus) suggests that he has been resting for long periods on his elbows, as though he had been using a sniper rifle, making Kyle suspect he is an insurgent.

There are two sets of controversies surrounding Kyle. One is related to comments which he made which some have interpreted as bigoted and offensive, such as describing all Iraqi insurgents as "savages" and describing how he "loved" killing them, his only regret about his time in Iraq was that he couldn't kill more. He also voiced contempt about wider Iraqi society for each faction vying for supremacy rather than sharing power and working together. A persistent rumour was that Kyle went down to New Orleans with a fellow SEAL during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, set up on the roof of the Superdome and killed a couple dozen looters. However, this story stemmed from a conversation Kyle had with fellow SEAL Brandon Webb about rumours of other snipers doing so, Kyle made no claim to do so himself. Kyle also claimed that once, while stopped at a gas station, a pair of men tried to carjack him. When he reached into the car, ostensibly to give them his keys, he claims to have actually grabbed a pistol and shot the two men dead. He claimed that when the police arrived he had a contact at the Department of Defense order them to let him go free. A biographer sympathetic to Kyle scoured law enforcement agencies in the area where Kyle said this took place and could find no double shooting matching Kyle's description. In his memoir, Kyle talks about attending a SEAL event where an older, famous, ex-UDT frogman began making comments about American servicemen in Iraq which Kyle found offensive. Kyle said that he then punched the man, knocking him out. In the book, Kyle refers to the man only as "Scruff Face" but in subsequent interviews, Kyle identified "Scruff Face" as Jesse Ventura, a former pro-wreslter and Governor of Minnesota. Ventura sued Kyle for defamation and presented several witnesses who testified that the punch never happened. After Kyle's death, Ventura continued the suit against Kyle's estate, eventually winning the case. However, in 2016, federal judges overturned the verdict. It was alleged that Kyle had remarked that he wanted to kill people carrying Korans. This came from an incident where Kyle killed an armed insurgent whose wife later claimed he was only carrying his Koran. When an investigating officer put the claim to Kyle, he told him, "I don't shoot people with Korans. I'd like to but I don't", to show how stupid the allegation was. A further rumour was that Kyle had claimed he was going to donate the proceeds from his book to the families of dead SEALs but then did not. In truth, Kyle intended to but his death plunged his family into financial crisis and they nearly lost their house, only saved by the proceeds of the book and film. In 2016, the website the Intercept also discovered a discrepancy in the terms of medals Kyle had earned. Kyle had persistently claimed to have won two silver stars and five bronze stars for valor. However, military records show that Kyle actually earned one silver star and three bronze stars for valor. By contrast Kyle's official Navy discharge papers, his DD214, tally with the account in Kyle's book. The navy later amended Kyle's DD214 to one silver star and four bronze stars, commenting that Kyle would have had no influence over his awards beyond signing for them.

The film portrays Kyle's enlistment as a reaction to terrorist attacks, but actually he had planned to join ever since high school out of a more generalized desire to serve his country. In the book, Kyle's first kill is indeed a woman about to throw a grenade at marines but there was no child present, Kyle never actually kills any children. He makes reference to "Mustafa", the insurgent sniper but states that another SEAL killed him, his famous mile-long shot actually made against an insurgent armed with a Rocket Propelled Grenade. The film also omits much of his rescuing wounded soldiers under fire for which he received the majority of his medals. It also omits his first tour during the liberation of Iraq when he had yet to qualify as a sniper and served as a machine-gunner.


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