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Red Dawn [VHS]
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Product Description

Truly ridiculous but somehow moving, this right-wing paranoid fantasy by John Milius (The Wind and the Lion) from 1984 concerns a Soviet takeover of the United States and a band of ragtag adolescents who metamorphose into freedom fighters. One can laugh at the notion of Nicaraguans, Cubans, and Russians having worked out a master plan to invade America, but Milius's account of how such a grim day affects a small Western town really does get under one's skin. The cast--most of whom were not yet stars (Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey had probably never heard of a script called Dirty Dancing at the time)--are quite persuasive as nice kids who come to recognize the tragedy of their lost innocence through fierce, uncompromising struggle. Powers Boothe is very good as a pilot who briefly comes to their aid, and Harry Dean Stanton is stirring as a solid working man and father who represents the virtues his sons are fighting for. The DVD release includes production notes, the original theatrical trailer, trivia, scene access, and an optional widescreen presentation. --Tom Keogh

Red Dawn opens with one of the most shocking scenes ever filmed; on a peaceful morning, through the windows of a high school classroom, students see paratroopers land on the varsity football field: the invasion of the United States has begun! As their town is overrun by foreign nationals, eight teenagers escape to the mountains. Taking the name of their high school football team, the Wolverines, they wage unremitting guerrilla warfare in defense of their parents, their friends and their country. Powerful, chilling and absolutely gripping, this outstanding film features some of today's most popular stars, including Patrick Swayze (Ghost), Charlie Sheen (Platoon), C. Thomas Howell (The Hitcher), Lea Thompson ("Caroline in the City"), Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing) and veteran actor Harry Dean Stanton (Alien). When it comes to thrilling entertainment, Red Dawn wins the war with a vengeance!

Customer Reviews:

  • A Heroic Action-Adventure Film for those who remember the dark days of the Cold War
    For one who studied in West Germany during the height of the anti-American movement, who saw first-hand the might of Soviet Power on the other side of the border, and witnessed, through the leftist student organizations, the coordination of Soviet policy in Cuba, Nicaragua, and the rest of Latin America, this movie is far more realistic than the leftist media gave it at the time (they called it a "Fascist Fantasy") or than they give it now. The Soviet Army had its weaknesses, but was quite formidable. Thus, under Ronald Reagan, the US worked to destroy the USSR economically so that we would never have come to a floor-fight with the vastly superior Soviet conventional forces. Had Carter been re-elected in 1980, that man's palpable cowardice and pacifism could certainly have tempted and empowered the battle-hardened Cuban (Angola, 1976) and Sandinista regimes. Without the opposition of the American-funded contras, and with the support of the battle-hardened Cuban military (Angola, 1976), in conjunction with the Carter-emboldened Russians, such a scenario is possible. When the film came out in 1980, Carter was still president; he and Senator Frank Church had gutted the CIA; Ronald Reagan was being dismissed by the leftist press as a long-shot, fringe candidate, and the American military was nearly completely gutted too. Yes, the scenario at the time was plausible enough.

    The story involves a WWIII scenario in which Soviet Power extends into Latin America and in Europe forces the breakup of NATO, leaving the Nixon-enacted US-China alliance as the only force to fight the Soviets' final push for world domination. This scenario was no fantasy at the time, and today, one sees how truly gutless the "European Allies" are. We are fortunate that we never had to count on them in a fight, and Tom Clancy's "Red Storm Rising" in this sense has far more fantasy in it than "Red Dawn".

    The critical strike comes from a Soviet-led incursion of Latin-American troops up through the central US plains, which is stopped at Cheyenne, Wyoming, on the North and the Rocky Mountains on the West. Denver is a city under siege. At the center of the film is a small Colorado town on the fringe of the Rockies which is overrun by a mixed Cuban-Soviet force of paratroopers. Several members of the local high school football team--the Wolverines--escape, stopping by the former quarterback's family-owned gas station and hardware store, picking up food, drink, camping supplies, weapons and ammunition on the way to the hills. They later rescue two teenage girls who have been in hiding with their grandparents, and together form the nucleus of a small guerrilla force that begins to make life in the town miserable for the occupiers, all the while calling themselves "the Wolverines".

    Guerrilla tactics against the occupiers are realistic, down to the satchel charges that Lea Thompson and Jennifer Gray periodically plant in the nightclubs and bars frequented by the invaders, and the hit and run tactics that these guerrillas use. Of course, leftist commentators despise this entire aspect of small-town American culture, where boys and girls both grow up hunting and gaining a familiarity with weapons. Colorado is just such a state, where kids are acquainted with firearms and hunting as trained behaviors before high school, and this is just the kind of response an occupier could expect--even though Jane Fonda, Ted Turner, Jessica Lange and other Marxists-in-our-midst might not like face this fact. My own son killed and gutted his first antelope at 13, his first elk at 15. Kids like this live, hunt, track and shoot at 9000-12000 feet with ease.

    In this sense, the film draws on American values and experiences going back to pre-revolutionary war times, when farmers and artisans formed their own partisan groups and successfully took on the greatest military power in the world at the time--Great Britain. Anyone familiar with the Revolution and its history will see this film as somewhat realistic. Only those who really believe that America's youth are typified in the 90210 zipcode will think this piece fantasy.

    As with any guerrilla movement, this small band makes its mistakes and suffers casualties, until finally, the four survivors split up, with two going back to find freedom behind American lines in Wyoming, and two others (Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen) going back to town on one more mission--this time to knock out the Soviet-Cuban HQ.

    Overall, the acting is great, and is provided by actors who made their marks earlier, or have done so since: Patrick Swayze as the ex-football hero, and the rest of his friends who are on the current team (including his younger brother, played by Charlie Sheen), along with Lea Thompson and Jennifer Gray, and downed American pilot Powers Booth (Curly Bill Brocius in "Tombstone"). The legendary Ben Johnson puts in a brief appearance as the grandfather of Thompson and Gray, whom he is hiding from marauding Russian troops who want "to have their way" with the two teenage girls. Ron O'Neal is sympathetic as the Nicaraguan commander who remembers what a resistance movement is all about, and after surveying the carnage caused by one Wolverine attack recalls, "I have seen this somewhere else before..." Now the roles are reversed and his words instructive.

    The movie ends with survivor Lea Thompson, long after the war has ended, visiting the isolated and now ignored national monument at "Partisan Rock", where she and her comrades had written the names of their fallen as a memorial. Good stuff? Certainly, for anyone not seduced by the surreal world of America's upper-class enclaves, which too often determine what the rest of the country gets to see anyway....more info
  • It's a Goddamn movie for Christ's sake!
    Jesus people. This is a film with Patrick Swayze in it. How anyone could even begin to view this movie as anything other than an attempt to capitalize on 1980's hearthrob/ratpack, money-making zeitgeist is beyond me. Just enjoy it for what it is... CHEEEEEEZZZZZEEEEE... and fantastically entertaining cheeze at that! Any movie that has a scene with someone pissing into a truck radiator in it is A-OK in my book!!!

    - C. Thomas Howell...more info
  • Coming Soon...
    Special Edition DVD coming out on 7-17-07. Loved this movie when it came out in '84 when I was a kid, and still enjoy my yearly viewing of it....more info
  • I'll give it an extra star since the horrible acting and ridiculous dialogue is hilarious!
    Regardless of one's political tendencies, how can anyone think this is a good film? I loved it when I was a kid and will still watch it when shown on TV, but it is horrible! Very entertaining in a weird way, but horrible nonetheless. When I was ten years old, this movie made cry. The brothers dying together at the end always got to me. Now, I am not moved in any way whatsoever. This is not because I don't believe the plot is plausible. Anything is possible. But you just can't buy into the characters or give a crap about them when the dialogue and acting is this poor. In one scene, I don't see two sons tearfully saying goodbye to their father. I see Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, and Harry Dean Stanton horribly acting. To be fair, even the best actors can't always do well with junk dialogue. The characters and story never seem real and it has nothing to do with whether or not the premise is a realistic one. I guess it all comes down to how one defines success in filmmaking. I believe there are extraordinarily crafted films(which may or not be enjoyable to watch)and total pieces of garbage that are great fun to watch. It's all semantics, so who cares? I watch different movies for all kinds of reasons. It makes it much more likely that I'll have a good time. People should really just relax and not view an honest opinion of the film as an attack on their constitutional freedoms. Thinking "Red Dawn" is poorly written and acted is not tantamount to treason. There are much more insidious issues to worry about. ...more info
    In 1984, John Milius wrote and directed "Red Dawn", starring Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen. It describes a joint Communist Cuban/Soviet invasion of the Rocky Mountains. Aside from its Cold War warning, it was an ode to the gun lobby. In an early scene, a pick-up truck has a bumper sticker reading "You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." A Communist soldier then pries a gun from the hands of a dead Colorado resident. A group of high school football players who had been taught how to hunt, fish and live off the land by their dad, take to the mountains and form a guerilla unit, attacking the Communist occupiers in series of daring raids. In the end, the Communists are defeated and World War III is won. The high school boys are memorialized for their courage and daring in the early, dark days of the fight for freedom....more info
  • "It's kind of strange, isn't it? How the mountains pay us no attention at all. "
    I watched this a couple of times when I was a kid and I thought it rocked, but rewatching it now it just sucks. Boring action scenes, long winded sappy speeches and lots of crying, I'd rather watch INVASION U.S.A. or WARGAMES any day.

    Skip it....more info
  • One of the best films I have ever seen!
    I saw RED DAWN for the first time yesterday.

    First off, regarding the DVD itself, it is double-sided. One side has the wide-screen letterbox version of the film, and the other side has the full-screen version.

    RED DAWN is a film about several young citizens of a small town in the Rocky Mountains who find themselves in the middle of a Soviet-initiated World War III.

    From what I'd heard of RED DAWN in the past, I expected it to be a horrendously corny (but fun) popcorn flick; however, by the end of the film, I was moved to tears by its stirring message of courageous resistance to evil and totalitarianism, and its celebration of the American spirit, and our country's founding values.

    Admittedly, not everyone will like RED DAWN. Fans of Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, and Howard Zinn will probably despise it, as will individuals who think that the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution is a reference to an oxymoronic "collective right." However, Americans who love their country and its Constitutionally guaranteed liberties will greatly enjoy the film.

    Also, another reviewer makes the strange claim that the Wolverines can be compared to the Vietnamese Communists. Ignore for a moment the fact that the Wolverines fight for liberty and the Vietnamese Communists fought for totalitarianism. Given that the Vietnam conflict was a defensive action involving a democratic state (the RVN) which was under attack by tyrannical foreign aggressors (the DRV, which was heavily assisted by the Soviets and Red Chinese), the analogy fails to hold water. (If anything, the most "Wolverine-like" elements in the conflict would have been the RVN's Regional Forces or Popular Forces, or the South Vietnamese civilians to whom President Nguyen Van Thieu distributed weapons in order to help them resist the Communist aggressors.)

    The same reviewer (and others) also mention the Iraqi insurgents as being Wolverine-like. Unfortunately, in the context in which they present it, the analogy fails. Unlike the Communist forces in the movie, the Coalition forces and the new Iraqi Army (and security forces, police, etc.) are not attempting to impose a totalitarian regime upon the populace. Rather, the purpose of the allied effort in Iraq is to ensure the establishment of a stable and just self-governing independent Iraqi republic. That said, recent developments in Iraq have indeed led to some "Wolverine-like" incidents, although not of the sort the other reviewers seem to have in mind. Many of the domestic Iraqi insurgent groups (such as the Islamic Army of Iraq) have begun to form, at least to a degree, a united front with the coalition forces against the foreign terrorists of the Al-Qaida/Zarqawi faction.* Also, a number of ordinary Iraqi citizens are forming "neighborhood watch"-type groups in order to help combat terrorists in general.* Those could be considered similar, to a degree, to the Wolverines.

    *See article "Tips, Infighting, and Strong Horses," by Bill Roggio...more info
  • Fine movie finally given right treatment
    A movie roundly condemned upon its release, this film is far from unbelievable.

    Certainly the geopolitical map has changed. When this film was made, the events depicted were within reason.

    The wide-screen treatment satisfies the movie-lovers among us... the special features add to the experience.

    I wish this had been a director's cut. That's my only gripe. Still, 5 stars....more info
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief
    Any work of fiction asks the reader/viewer to "willingly suspend his disbelief." This means, every reader and viewer of fiction knows that what he's seeing didn't really happen, and he knows he's being asked to set his disbelief aside for as long as he sees the story, and accept it as real.

    A measure of the value of the given work of fiction is to the extent that it succeeds in allowing (or even forcing) us to forget that it is a work of fiction while we're reading/seeing it.

    Does Red Dawn succeed in this regard?

    Not entirely.

    In the universe of Red Dawn, we're asked first of all to accept that the USA has experienced a major Communist invasion that has left part of America occupied. That's asking a lot of us the viewers, but if that's the movie's premise -- if that is the "world of this movie" -- it has a right to make this demand of us. After all, the premise of the Superman movies is even more absurd, if you think of it.

    I do not therefore hold this against Red Dawn at all.

    What I did find hard to believe was that the movie's teenaged Wolverines were entirely too expert. They were much too good at fighting Communists. Also, they were extravagantly well-equipped.

    I had to take away one star for this problem.

    The movie also asked us to believe that the Wolverines could survive, without visible shelter or regular meals, through the duration of a Rocky Mountain winter.

    This caused me to remove yet another star.

    However, what is left is a very powerful movie. The depiction of Communist brutality is absolutely historically authentic. Red Dawn's detractors say this movie is so much Reaganesque cold-war, right-wing propaganda. I hold that such persons are unwilling to face the truth of the naked evil of Communism. This depiction of the truth of Communism makes this film automatically of great value.

    This movie also very ably showed the emotional horror of war. There was the female character who, as a result of being gang-raped by Communists, was rendered half-comatose and mute. She was brought out of her shell by falling in love with the older Air Force colonel who literally fell into the midst of the Wolverines, only later on to get himself killed while trying to take out a Russian tank. Her grief at his death -- on the wings of her learning to trust people again -- should bring tears to anybody.

    The final scene was most moving and poignant. First of all, the war-wearly Ron O'Neal character displays noble humanity by allowing the last of thw Wolverines to go their way. And then the final scene was a voice-over at "Patriot Rock," given by the same female character mentioned above, who by this time was the last Wolverine still alive, and she again evokes tears by attesting to the nobility of those young people who gave their lives for Freedom.

    In summary, a flawed but GREAT film.

    Altosackbuteer...more info
  • 3 stars out of 4
    The Bottom Line:

    As long as you don't take the movie too seriously (a Russian invasion across the Bering Strait through Alaska down to Washington sounds like just about the least plausible thing ever) you'll probably enjoy the prospect of Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen kicking some Commie butt; though more downbeat than most brat pack movies, it's a fun film....more info
  • Its a good action movie, nothing more
    Its just so dated now. This film struck a chord with American audiences because it put us on the recieving/defensive end of an invasion, a position we haven't played since the revolutionary war. Americans are rebels at heart, that's why we love films like Braveheart. The problem is we haven't been rebels for over 200 years and more often than not, these days we tend to be the ones invading.

    If you're able to sympathize and root for the Wolverines, than you should at least be able to understand, if not sympathize with, the position of the Vietnamese and Iraqi guerillas our boys fought against. Yes, the Wolverines do not attack their own the way the Iraqi insurgents do, but they did kill one of their own in cold blood when they found out he was bugged.

    I'm not a communist or Islamist sympathizer, just a relativist....more info
  • Great classic eye opener
    This is a great classic eye opener to remind us why we need to protect our second amendment rights. You never know when you will need to defend yourself and country. Good movie to watch with your teenagers....more info
  • The best PG-13 movie ever made
    I first watched "Red Dawn" on HBO as a kid. The patriotism that it instilled drove me to join the US Army. The scenery is amazing, the plot line sufficient, and the characters are amazing. Rarely will you find a movie that commands the presence of so many key characters. From the mayor's patriotically weak son, the first generation Mexican-immigrant boy with the will to fight for the country he loves, to the stereotypical "good 'ol boys" who ultimately instill the futility of war in an enemy commanding general, you're forced to realize all that America has to offer to a potential occupational force.

    This is a must watch for anyone who displays a yellow ribbon, believes in the American way or is just up for a movie that spans the gambit of American values and determination.
    ...more info
  • Interesting movie that reflects its era
    Red Dawn.

    I like this movie. I recall seeing it in the mid 1980s. It struck a cord with me then as it does now.

    Before I go onto review important aspects of the film: ignore leftist babble in some of these reviews. This is a film plain and simple. Not a piece of Hollywood propaganda or implication of what was going to happen. To suggest Hollywood was in on "Reagan Propaganda" is the most laughable thing I've read since John Kerry claimed to just thrown ribbons over the White House fence instead of medals.

    Back to the film. Many have covered it: small town Colorado is the scene where a Russian and Cuban invasion is taking place. The invasion is also happening on both coasts. The heartland is pretty much the only part of America left. The movie though centers on the actions of a bunch of kids in Colorado.

    Does the film's invasion scenario fly? Some previous reviews scoff at it. I for one do not. Nuking Washington DC and select cities causing disarray then coming to both coasts with planes disguised as charter flights. Top it off with a push of ground troops up from Mexico. It would be a on a huge scale, but hitting all at once could cause chaos. Remember 9/11, and the chaos that caused as it was unfolding. It took 9/11 to appreciate this "far out" scenario. Obviously some don't understand the concept of blitzkrieg. Hit hard and fast. Ask the French. They know.

    Where we being lied to by this film? Of course not. Its a film not a CNN. People are far smarter than the previous reviewer credits them.

    The acting is decent. One should not expect oscar caliber acting here. Mostly these are younger actors and actresses. For the most part they pull thier roles off with realism.

    For the most part its the visuals and the concept that are shocking. An American town overtaken, with anyone who thinks independantly being put in "reeducation camps."

    I did not remember some of the subtle storylines well until I just rewatched the film. The mayor's betrayal of the Wolverines and most suprisingly the Cuban General's dislike of war.

    In the end, this is a interesting cold war piece. It sparks a emotional reaction and stirs patriotism. Showing average Americans taking arms to defend the country.

    Is it the best movie you'll ever see? No. Is it something that takes you into the 1980s Cold War Mentality? Yes.

    Say what you will about Reagan. Making the Russians play catch up with us in the 1980s caused them to collapse. They couldn't keep up with us. His "sabre rattling" as a laughable leftist wrote. History has judged took out the biggest threat of the last half century without a shot being fired. Perception and fear is sometimes enough to produce results.

    Pretty good if you ask me....more info
  • A view from Russia
    Back in 1980's, our USSR TV foreing reviewers told us that U.S. imperialistic movie industry have created "Amerika", "Red Dawn" and some other propaganda films along with Rambo sequels. Some trailers were shown on, with adequate ideological commentaries, typical for that time. The main result was our huge desire to watch all the movies. Now we can have them completely and - for such a disappointment.
    To begin with, not too much is authentical. Vehicles are not Russian, nor is the uniform (most bizarre persons are officers including beard-wearing 'cossack' general). Spoken Russian is not realistic, and the colonel's speech is ~70% not understandable, with words and phrases absent in Russian language. In many aspects, movie is definitely not a piece of art.

    We in USSR had no films of a kind to compare (the ideas of US invasion into Russian mainland, or USSR invasion to USA appeared ridiculous). The USSR answer to Rambo was "Odinochnoe plavanie" (Solo voyage) where 2 elite Soviet VDV paratroopers and 2 marines demolish US secret missile base (killing all Rambo-style 'green berets') to prevent CIA starting WW3. But Americans in that film were not described as ugly war maniacs, they were just human enemies with their human life.

    Red Dawn is a must see for everyone who wants to have an example of primitive, easy-going, yet somehow convincing Cold War propaganda. ...more info
  • Loony and paranoid
    A Russian leader told this to Reagan; "We have no plans whatsoever to invade the United States. While if our armies got there, we could certainly take over major cities quickly, we'd face unending opposition to this move for generations. And, why should we do it? Communism, if it comes to America, must be from within, we can't force it. On the other hand, we are afraid of America trying this on Russia. Simply put, a small army taking over Moscow could do the trick. Like a virus taking over a cell. Orders would come from central and that would be that."...more info
  • Oy Vey!
    I thought about giving this film an intellectual review, but that would have been a complete waste of time. Watching this film could be compared to listening to a C.W. McCall album with a bad case of nausea or perhaps something scatological. Simply pathetic. The only redeeming role was performed by William Smith, who was the ONLY actor who seemed to exhibit talent, putting Sheen and Swayze to shame as acting professionals. This film would only have value for students who are seriously studying Russian and at that would be applicable to Chapter 22 with Smith's "I am a Hunter" speech. This film is a good example of how you can't win a game when only one person on the team shows up....more info
  • America under attack
    Great little movie , it was though the writer ,producer and director had looked in to the future forseeing the destruction of the country.
    Foreign troops russian and cubans oppressing,killing our people , fathers mothers children and atomic war destoring our cities. Yet a small band of untrained youth take up the action and fight back , all the young actors played great parts , Patrick Swayze , charlie sheen a strong brother connection of leadership , C F Howell Lea Thompson and Jennifer Grey adapting thru fear tears to become strong willing to give their lives for freedom. Made in 1984 , Los Vegas New Mexico , everyone should see it and consider its message that was openly displayed by the writer ,Valkyrie and Sidney Beckman Know how to stirr your emotions and leave with WHAT IF !!!!!!!!!
    ...more info
  • 100% Unadulterated Right-Wing BS
    On one level, "Red Dawn" is one of the funniest movies ever made. Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Leah Thompson and Charlie Sheen saving Mom and apple pie from the godless commies? You gotta love it.

    Of course, the movie wasn't intended to be funny; it was deadly serious. And judging from many of the other reviews posted here, I'd say the filmmakers largely succeeded in their goal of shamelesly stoking the most virulent kind of cold war paranoia imaginable. Red Dawn was released in 1984, which was a presidential election year. Ronald Reagan was running for a second term against Walter Mondale in what turned out to be a huge landslide for Ronnie. "Red Dawn" was one small part of a carefully orchestrated right-wing propaganda blitz designed to get the American voting public sufficiently terrified of the Red Menace so that they'd come to regard Reagan and his sabre-rattling cronies as the last defense of everything that is good and pure in this world against the forces of chaos.

    Utter hogwash. Let's forget, for the moment, that the film's invasion scenario is preposterous: the Russians and Cubans nuke our underground missile silos and grab a foothold in the Rocky Mountains. In reality, had that happened we still would have had enough SAC bombers and strategic missile submarines to destroy Russia and Cuba a dozen times over and turn the planet into a glowing cinder for the next thousand years. No, the most egregious and, I might add, cowardly premise put forth in this piece of cinematic trash is that the USSR and Cuba were itching to invade the USA. It was a complete lie and the filmmakers knew it. The Soviet Union and their Cuban puppet state were never in a position to invade this country, not even close, and furthermore had no desire to.

    But the lies this film spews out isn't its most disturbing aspect. The worst part is that there were and still are so many gullible and naive Americans so eager to believe them....more info
  • Red dawn!
    This is the most amazing documentary I have ever seen. I never learned about World War III in school, so I was shocked the first time I saw it. I was told the cold war ended, and we won, but I never knew it was because a group of teenagers in the mountains. I mean to think they single handily stop the Russian invasion of the USA using a bow and arrow, then stolen Russian guns and ordnance. If you have been Lied to by everyone you know who says there was no world war three, Then you have to get this movie. ...more info
  • "Only the dead have seen the end of war." -Plato
    Red Dawn DVD

    Red Dawn starring Patrick Swayse is the story of some Colorado high schoolers fighting a guerilla war against Soviet and Cuban invaders.

    If you think this could never happen ask a Polish native about 1939 or a Frenchman about that year, They didn't think it could happen either.

    Just about as pro-Second Amendment as it gets.

    Pay particular attention to the Soviet colonel when he orders one of his men to go around to all the sporting goods stores and collect the form 4473's so they can know where all the firearms are for confiscation.

    Someone once said:

    If you want Peace, prepare for War
    (or As: Si vis pacem, para bellum, in Latin). . It appears that every generation has to learn that lesson the hard way.

    Plato said it as "Only the dead have seen the end of war."

    Highly recommended for fans of action adventure movies.

    Gunner December, 2007

    ...more info
  • Movie - Red Dawn on VHS
    I purchased this movie as a gift. How excited she was when I was able to find it for her. ...more info
  • Craptastic!!!!
    Jingoistic exploitation of over the top Cold War paranoia. I.E.... a movie that relied on the emotional fears of the times. This movie failed at the box office because it's projected fear had logic problems. If you can accept the premise then the movie will work. But to the average watcher the view point is dated. When I saw it, I felt it was the best comedy of the year. For sheer Ed Wood Plan 9 from outer space entertainment?... This movie is KING. It's a five star flop. Loads of bad dialogue and over the top scenes with sweeping music. It's ripe for Mystery Science Theater 3000 to lampoon. ...more info
  • First movie with a Pg-13 rating. . Ive listed what special features the new version has below.
    Red dawn is a classic 80s movie from writer director John Milius. Milius also co wrote the screenplay for the brilliant Apocalypse Now which he shared an oscar nomination with Frances Ford Coppola.
    I also learned this was the first movie to get a Pg-13 rating from the mpaa after public outcry of the violence in pg rated movies such as Indiana Jones and the temple of doom, and Gremlins.(movieweb)
    I own about 1200 dvds and i actually do not have this one, so i will splurge and get this new collectors edition. I've listed some info below about the new version i found on the internet hopefully it helps. Thanks for reading.

    Collectors Edition DVD

    Release Date: July 17th, 2007
    Edition: Collector's Edition DVD
    Format: DVD
    MPAA Rating: PG13
    Studio: MGM
    UPC: 027616081315
    Production Year: 1984
    Special Features:
    Red Daw Rising - a retrospective look at the making of the film.
    Building the Red Menace - what it took to make "World War III"
    Military Training - this piece explores the extensive training that the actors had to go through in order to become convincing guerilla fighters
    WWIII Comes To Town - This piece goes back to Las Vegas, New Mexico and finds out from locals and extras what happened when 'Red Dawn' came and turned their hometown into the fictional town of Calumet, Colorado and the center of World War III.
    Genre: Action...more info
  • Couldn't Resist a Swipe at Reagan, Huh?
    How childish.
    Anyone who speaks disparagingly of Reagan or Red Dawn now has a suspiciously convenient case of amnesia. The Soviet Union WAS a threat, invasion WAS a possibility, especially with our nation weakened by the very collaborationist forces mentioned in the film. All the liberal revisionism in the world isn't going to wipe that from the minds of those who lived through that era. The brainwashed may call the film paranoid, but anyone who was actually sober in the 80s can tell you, replace the Soviets with Chinese and this could happen today....more info
    Though some people may think that this movie is far fetched because it depicts teenage men and women taking on a communist invasion, I believe that this is a very good movie.
    If somehow something like this did happen I think that it is very likely that there would be civilian freedom fighters, look at past wars and invasions and this happens. If you were in this situation would you set back and let them win or would you take up arms and fight for your family, friends, country and freedom.
    This movie brings about a very strong feeling of patriotism ( Something our country needs much more of) and is very good to watch around independence day.
    "WOLVERINES!!!!"...more info
  • The Russians Are Not Coming... They're Here!!!
    You have to admit, it's a great premise. What would America look like and do if war was conducted on our own soil instead of across an ocean? But instead of going the conventional way of showing you anything and everything about it, director John Milius decided to give this depressing scenario a view from a bunch of high school kids. We don't even know the full extent of the attack until the middle of the movie. Interesting concept sure, but what looks good on paper almost never works when fully attempted.

    First off, with the exception of a young Charlie Sheen, the acting is bad... as in pathetic. Patrick Swayze is a guy you wouldn't expect this from, but he's one of the worst offenders. Then there's the plausibility of the Wolverine story. Sure, it's possible that a band of high schoolers could take on the Commies in small groups, but it wouldn't last for as long as it did. But it's Hollywood, so I give some leeway here. And there's probably a reason connecting with pride or something, but why didn't they just head towards "Free America" and help mount bigger and better attacks from there? At least they could fight on the borders, and receive supplies from the Americans. But instead, it's not until most of them are dead (more on that later), that they decide it would be better to not do everything independently.

    Then there's the plausibility of the whole Russian invasion. Now, I'm far from an expert, but wouldn't it be almost impossible for the Russians to launch that big of an attack, so coordinated, so problem-free, so quickly, without a huge retaliation? I'm just saying. It was pretty hard to do it back in the 80s, and word to the wise for those doing the rumored remake, it's impossible to do it today.

    Now don't get me wrong, the concept is very intriguing, and works great on paper, but the only problem is that it's extremely depressing. Call me an ever-happy schmo, but watching America being desecrated in such a manner with reeducation camps just doesn't exactly lift my spirits. It's probably not supposed to, but after 2 hours, it just drags you down. Add to the fact that all but 2 main characters die, including Charlie Sheen, in one downer of an ending and some painful scenes, and it's a bit overkill (no pun intended). I also didn't care for the fact that the ending left so many questions unanswered, leaving just a short narration. Here's a question, what ever happened to Patrick Swayze's character?

    Now, it may sound like I hate the movie, but I don't. I was entertained and interested, but the movie just falls in so many ways, it's a downer, and again, most of the movie is just depressing. It has some good American values, intriguing concepts, and some interesting character studies. It plays on the fears of the Cold War, and therefore has the most impact for those who fully experienced these 'I Play Chicken With The Train' times. So, in a battle of best Cold War 80's movie, "War Games" still wins hands down. So here's to America, the NRA and The Wolverines!...more info
  • Foreign "liberals" invade America
    I don't own the new collectors' edition but do the older dvd release, and hope someone posts their opinions if they think the video has been remastered or cleaned up or if it looks the same as the older dvd, even thought the older one is fairly good, don't get me wrong, just obvious taken off theater film reel too much.
    That said, the movie is an excellent portrayal of American Values, of which don't stand for hating America in the standard liberal practice of modern times, but instead of self reliance and sacrifice.
    The editorial author is definitely a modern day card carrying liberal democrat party member too stuck on the premises of all the hunting rifles first picked up in the opening scenes is all I can figure, of which present day liberals are the type to try to denegrate this film just because their are some scenes in it of guns in gun stores, youth who know how to use guns from hunting, and of course the old west pistol Patrick Swayze had, all reasons to strangely portray this film for some reason a conservative Republican Party flick strangely and not a what-if invasion flick, read "it is a what-if invasion flick", not a "pro second amendment flick", and anyone who claims it is some sort of pro gun flick, well, they didn't really watch it and I have noticed some errors of many of the detractors, as if they have not watched it "thoroughly and with eyes open and ears listening", a regular practice of those who are trying rather hard to form a certain learned opinion to gain something to gripe about.
    These days a remake should have a story line of liberal democrats take over America politically as a majority for 12 to 16 years, eliminate the national defense budget to zero or to just enough to go after gun owning and free thinking Americans(not liberal thinking), and then invite the Russians or Chinese military over here to help kick in gun owners and non liberal household doors but then the Russians and/or the Chinese decide to stay and invade totally thinking this country was so liberal it could be a real push over, and groups of ill informed liberal youths escape to the hills, who have never touched or seen guns can make a nice story line learning how to shoot captured weapons(like asking each other what comes out of gun barrels, bullets or three wishes if you rub the barrel twice)once they are running for their lives, family members killed, and of course raped like in this movie. I guess the mayor figure of this movie in that remake could be Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton figures who can be for instance governors or senators who were initially there as friends of the invaders in the almighty quest against gun ownership. As for the Cuban and Nicaraguan armies invading from the south, they won't need that in the remake since we are being invaded already by scores of illegal aliens already here, so in the remake the Russians and Chinese will be arming them so they can make a special deal(to call this whole country New Mexico) to run America for the Russians and Chinese as an independent illegal alien based state with liberal democrat communist sympathyzeers as the mayor figures, haha, who knows, that is likely what looks like will really happen in 20 years anyway or could happen, so it won't be so unbelievable, and they can have Sean Penn play Billy Clinton, and Rosy O'Donnel can play something liberal democrat commy ally or something, and that would satisfy even the modern liberal crowd, with an ending they would like where the Russians and Chinese leave once they decide its too costly to be invaders when all the former illegal aliens start working as replacement soldiers at 1/4th the pay of the invaders, thus demoralizing the invading regular soldiers, haha. And the liberals will cheer when all the guns in the closing scene are piled up and burned now that the invasion and war is over and all the freedom fighters are arrested and reprogrammed to understand that guns and self defence are not excuses to even fight a foreign invader, and the liberals could then explain the former invasion by stating in the usual manner that we all need to "understand" the former invaders, about why they did it, haha, it would ring so familar with everything we all keep on hearing about needing to "understand" the current terrorists from the liberal crowd.
    Ya know, I could have been a big time liberal hollywood director what with my liberal minded remake ideas....more info
  • Ignorant Of History
    I remember when I was in school years ago many whined about taking history classes...'What good does it do?'. Reading some of these reviews answers that question. History always repeats itself. And many never believe until it happens. Many countries have experienced this very scenario. My wife is from the Philippines. Show this film to any Filipino over 60 and see if they think it funny or ridiculous. Or any Chinese over 60. Or Vietnamese. Find someone who lived in Europe WWII - Polish Yugoslavian, French, and see how they rate it. The list is long. Oh well, it has been estimated that 2% of the country at any time for any reason would willingly become a traitor. Add the number of 'better red than dead' crowd and the vast number of citizens who have been cowered into a do-anything-the-government-says & never-resist-for-any-reason mentality. And it it is quickly apparent that survival depends on a certain part of society. It doesn't have to do with age, gender, race or education. Either you understand this or you don't. But the military people say, will protect us. Do you not realize that the military is in the control of a handful of people? Mostly civilians? That our military can be surrendered in a matter of minutes? It may not be Russians that occupy us....our enemies are many. And our friends few. God have mercy on us. One final word: You might want to read
    What to Do When the Russians Come: A Survivor's Guide by Robert Conquest and John White...more info
  • Great Movie, Great Soundtrack
    My original intent was to compose a review on the soundtrack and motion picture separately. I discovered, much to my chagrin, that once I reviewed the soundtrack the system would not allow me to enter a unique review of the film. As such, I combined them in the same review. First the soundtrack.

    The soundtrack to RED DAWN is one of those oddities that you literally have to stumble onto. It has been available so infrequently that when you spot it available on Amazon or in forgotten in a music store soundtrack bin you ought snap it up right away.

    I just about know the movie by heart so that when I play the soundtrack I can easily associate the music with scenes of the film. This soundtrack will never reach the classic status of the original ALAMO or WHERE EAGLES DARE soundtracks, but it is uniquely suited to the movie.

    As for the film, RED DAWN was clearly a product of the Ronald Reagan decade. In order to understand the film's premise you have to first buy into the world situation summary flashed on the screen just prior to the credits. Essentially the international community is in turmoil and the United States stands alone. A starving Soviet Union along with Cuban allies invade the American grain belt. Unfortunately for the attackers their quest for victory is stalemated on the battlefield and their rear echelon is plagued by guerilla activity.

    The guerillas in this case are a group of high school students and their leader Jed. The reluctant band of irregulars begin as nothing more than terrified teenagers fleeing the gunfire for the protection of the wilderness. The war becomes personal as they learn of the horrors perpetrated on their families. The occupation forces are more or less paralyzed by the effective hit and run tactics of the Wolverines. With each attack the guerillas become more brazen in their attacks and penetrate deep into enemy secured areas.

    Patrick Swayze heads the cast as former high school football star Jed. Other members of the group include future DIRTY DANCING costar Jennifer Grey, C. Thomas Howell (SOUL MAN, GETTYSBURG), Lea Thompson (BACK TO THE FUTURE), and Charlie Sheen (HOT SHOTS, SPIN CITY, YOUNG GUNS). There are also notable appearances by Lane Smith (The prosecuting attorney from MY COUSIN VINNY), Ben Johnson (THE HUNTER), and veteran television and film actor Harry Dean Stanton (THE GREEN MILE, KELLY'S HEROES). Also look for a strong and believable performance by Powers Boothe as a downed American pilot -- somewhat of a departure from his usual villainous characters.

    The military did not provide much in the way of formal support for RED DAWN. Still the production team was able to retool surplus M-48 tanks into Soviet T-72 tanks, as well as a ZSU 23-4 air defense vehicle. Celluloid legend has it that when the "Russian" tanks were flatbedded from the prop shop to New Mexico they were tailed by Federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Even the Soviet heavy machine guns were skillfully converted M-60 machine guns. Likewise the wardrobe team had but one camouflage Soviet paratrooper uniform from a private collection and used it to pattern paratrooper smocks for the small army of extras in the movie. RED DAWN was also one of the first times that the AK-47 assault rifle appeared en masse in an American movie. Prior to that time cinematic Soviet/Russian soldiers were normally equipped with rifles or drum-fed submachine guns.

    Although the story takes place around the fictional Colorado community of Calumet the actual filming took place in and around Las Vegas, New Mexico. Las Vegas, which sits astride I-25 about an hour northeast of Santa Fe and not too far from the current day Imus Ranch, has been the backdrop for dozens of films since 1915. Portions of EASY RIDER were also filmed in the town. More recently Las Vegas (New Mexico) doubled for numerous locations in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. Situated along Interstate 25, the area around Las Vegas is a mix of grassland, high desert prairie, and nearby mountains. The scenery is stunning. At one time Las Vegas was also a stop on the Santa Fe Trail. Patrick Swayze even bought a ranch nearby.

    As an additional bit of trivia, Las Vegas, NM and RED DAWN nostalgically appeared in recent news. The historic corner building featured in the film as the Soviet-American friendship organization was destroyed by fire.

    RED DAWN begs for a director's cut. Having seen the movie in theaters, cable movie channels, and on independent local channels I noted that there are several versions of this film out there. Indeed the dialogue and some of the scene edits support that there are scenes missing from the movie. Even the theatrical trailer contains dialogue and shots that did not end up in the final release. For example, there is little to no transition from the point where Jed's woodsy group clumsily counterattacks three Red soldiers, to their well equipped and organized attack on outposts and armored columns. They got their hands on voluminous RPGs, additional AKs and AKMs, grenades, and ammunition from somewhere. Patriot rock also bore names of more casualties than we ever witnessed in the film. Finally, there apparently was an additional story missing regarding the relationship between Lea Thompson and Powers Boothe's characters.

    Hey, if they could put THE BIG RED ONE and APOCALYPSE NOW back together from original negative, then RED DAWN should also be available in its full version.

    The DVD version is of very good quality. The film length is the same as the MGM VHS release. Curiously the DVD is available in two versions. One sports a graphic of Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen on the cover. The other -- and incidentally the copy I recently purchased -- pictures Swayze, Howell, Thompson, Sheen and Grey on the DVD cover. Specific to the multi-portrait DVD release, it is a double-sided DVD with full screen on one side and letterbox on the reverse. The DVD includes the movie trailer. Otherwise there are no special features. I did hear that there is a version of the release that includes a featurette on the making of the movie. Maybe that could make its way into the director's cut as well.

    RED DAWN heralded a string of invasion and patriotic movies such as INVASION USA, BORN AMERICAN, and the television miniseries AMERIKA. RED DAWN is superior to the other in every aspect. Even though the premise might seem a bit corny, the film is action packed from the first few minutes until the conclusion of the movie....more info
  • Jim Emerson's Review is useless.
    Red Dawn was a theatrical response to the 1983 ABCTV movie "The Day After" A conventional non-nuclear attack on U.S. soil by communist nations like Cuba and Central America supported by the Soviet Union was considered a more realistic scenario than a push-button thermonuclear war. After the movie's release, schoolteachers talked about this issue in classrooms informing children and teens nationwide that retreating to the mountains and forests of rural America offered the best chance for survival, and Red Dawn was the only movie that addressed that concern in a present-day style scenario, and NOT a post-apocalyptic future. To explain the movie as a simple icon of 80's paranoia, Mad Max future, or Reagan-era propaganda is just stacking bias with more layers of bias. The idea of a 'nuclear freeze' to halt production of nuclear warheads was a hot-button election issue from the opposition which never mounted to anything because Reagan won 49 of 50 states in a landside against Mondale. The fear of an attack on America was considered quite real at the time. It was not simply 2nd ammendment propaganda or revisionist history discribed by the main review. The bulk of the negative criticism of Red Dawn at the time of its release was primarily its violence. It was considered the most violent movie ever released to mainstream cinema due to the unusually high number of characters being brutally killed. This movie should be seen as one more example of how Americans thought about the world at the time when globalization was feared if it was controlled by a possible rise of global communism out of world famine. Red Dawn, in my opinion, is a pop culture classic....more info