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Running Scared (1980)

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It's 1961. Two servicemen smuggle a box of military gear to USA. Leroy tries out a military camera and accidentally takes a picture of some military facilities. Army finds one of the pictures and thinks they're communist spies.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chas McClain
Leroy Beecher
Sally Mae Giddens
Arthur Jaeger
Captain Munoz
Sergeant McClain
Lonny Chapman ...
Pa Beecher (as Lonnie Chapman)
Tom McFadden ...
Col. Williams
Tim Brantly ...
Kid in Jalopy
Mary Lawson ...
Lisa Felcoski ...
Francine Joyce ...
Robin Winston
Malcolm Jones ...
C-47 Pilot
Roger Pretto ...
Commando Lieutenant


In 1961, Chas and Leroy, two fun-loving military serviceman who had enough of the service, leave Panama as stowaways in a military cargo plane flying for the States. Leroy is not satisfied with compensation for his army days, so he smuggles with him one box of military supplies, which he plans to sell in the USA. He tries out a military camera on some military base they fly over and throws away the photos. In the states, an army cleaner finds photos inside the plane and alerts his superiors. They think the stowaways are communist spies and the base starts a frantic search. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

military | spy | secret | dynamite | photograph | See more »


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

November 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Back in the U.S.A.  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Did You Know?


The movie's opening title card read: "Panama, Arenita des Martiras, April 1961". See more »


The story is set in 1961 Florida. The big yellow Ryder van the bad guys use is a late 1970s model Chevrolet moving van. See more »


Written by Del Shannon and Max Crook (as Max Crow)
See more »

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User Reviews

Well done early Reinhold & Wahl performance
2 April 2004 | by (East Coast, U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

I'll be as brief as I can be. This is a well done early Judge Reinhold /Ken Wahl picture. Before both actors went on to bigger things, Wahl to tv's Wiseguy and Reinhold to Fast Times at Ridgemont, Stripes & the Beverly Hills Cops movies. RS is filmed on location for the most part in the Everglades. It starts with the boys in 1961 Panama and they are coming back to their hometowns in the Everglades after a 3 year stint in the Army. Knuckle head Leroy(Reinhold) has stolen a foot locker full of 'goodies' from his base. A rifle, some grenades and a camera that is infra red and can take night time pictures. The guys hop a DC-3 Cargo plane back to the states and on the way back the plane lands at some airfield presumably in the Caribbean somewhere. Leroy snaps a picture with the infrared camera and leaves the tearoff on the plane. The DC-3 eventually lands in Florida bringing the boys' home. Later some soldiers cleaning the plane find the tear off part of Leroy's picture and take it to a strange individual(played by Bradford Dillman) whose planning a Cuban invasion of the U.S. by way of Florida. Chaz's(Wahl)image appears in a positive print of the tearoff negative when the photo is developed by the would be invaders. Mistaking Leroy & Chaz to be privy of the Florida invasion, the Cubans now set out all over the Everglades looking to hunt down Leroy & Chaz. The boys separate for a while then get back together and meet up with a wealthy but sassy rich blond named Sallie Mae. One series of adventures leads to another with the trio escaping always in the knick of time from their Cuban pursuers. Mind the Cuban leader is played by John Saxon.

The movie boasts some great filming such as the boys' first encounter with two girls at a jukebox joint and subsequent makeout in the girls' station wagon, and the airboat getaway from Leroy's parents house. Or the scary night the boys' and Sallie Mae spent in the swamp. As time goes on a romance blossoms between Chaz & Sallie Mae. Leroy however is finally caught and secretly interrogated by Dillman & his gang. In short they beat his face! Chaz & Sallie Mae go back to her dad's sprawling estate(Dad's in convenient) and clean up. The Cubans track them to the house and abduct Sallie Mae by boat. Chaz jumps in another boat and pursues them to the Cuban hideout. Leroy has now managed to escape his captors. He has managed to find some dynamite and is now wiring the compound to be blown to Kingdom Come. Chaz rescues Sallie Mae and they rescue Leroy and finally foil the villains. As the credits roll Dillman has been tied up on a boat by the trio and is set adrift in this boat with it's engine running and steering set for CUBA.

This is a sadly forgotten movie. It used to appear on cable all the time in the 80s. A low point is that this is supposed to take place in 1961 Florida. Early in the film when the Cubans first set out to pursue the boys' Saxon and his men use a big yellow Ryder van minus the word Ryder. No problem but the van is a late 70s model Chevrolet and is out of place in 1961 Florida Everglades. Other than this flaw and the fact that leroy manages to carry his heavy 'goodies' footlocker while being on the run, the production is top notch and had some solid acting from the cast. Also I should mention the great Pat Hingle has a minor role here as Chaz's father. Enjoy this.

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