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Under Fire (1983)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  21 October 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 4,907 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 26 critic

Three journalists in a romantic triangle are involved in political intrigue during the last days of the corrupt Somozoa regime in Nicaragua before it falls to a popular revolution in 1979.



(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alex Grazier
Isela (as Alma Martínez)
Ella Laboriel ...
Nightclub Singer
Samuel Zarzosa ...
Jazz Combo: drums
Jonathan Zarzosa ...
Jazz Combo: piano
Raul Picasso ...
Jazz Combo: bass
Oswaldo Doria ...
Boy Photographer
Fernando Elizondo ...
Hamilton Camp ...
Regis Seydor
Marcel Jazy
Hub Kittle


Nicaragua 1979: Star photographer Russel Price covers the civil war against president Somoza. Facing the cruel fighting - people versus army - it's often hard for him to stay neutral. When the Guerillas have him take a picture of the leader Rafael, who's believed to be dead, he gets drawn into the happenings. Together with his reporter friends Claire and Alex he has to hide from the army. Written by Tom Zoerner <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Dateline: Central America. The First Casualty of War is the Truth. See more »


Drama | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 October 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bajo fuego  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$9,500,000 (estimated)


$5,700,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film's opening prologue states: "Popular resistance to a series of unpopular dictators was growing in Nicaragua for over 50 years. By the Spring of 1979, Nicaraguans from all walks of life joined together in a final attempt to overthrow President Anastasio "Tacho" Somoza. As the fighting got worse in Central America, journalists throughout the world began to realize they could become a major international story". See more »


In the opening scene in Chad Asian elephants are used by the rebel troops (instead of African elephants living in that area, who are not especially known for their suitability for domestication) clearly identifiable by their smaller ears and the hair on their forehead. See more »


[first lines]
Russell Price: Can I get a ride?
See more »


Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »


Dear John
Composed and Performed by Pat Metheny
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

war of conscience
5 March 2006 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

This film was a surprisingly quality portrayal of the difficulties faced by those in underdeveloped countries too often overrun by corrupt regimes.

It is presented through the eyes of a photo-journalist (played by Nick Nolte) & his contacts, as they pursue the news stories we in supposedly advanced nations, witness each day on our television screens. Of course, it is subjective but presented with an appropriate sense of the drama & courage that's needed to bring such coverage of gross injustice to the detached conscience of those whose governments often make insensitive contributions to the peoples, mainly peasants & the oppressed. These poor & downtrodden people cannot speak for themselves & rely on such photojournalism to be their mouthpiece to the wider world. It has applications far beyond Nicaragua, across all continents, for human rights' abuse was rife 20 years ago when the film was made, & is today, & likely will be far beyond.

Unlike too many modern movies that are action-filled with special effects but largely without plot, this movie does deliver. The central figure portrayed engages in a series of hit & run encounters with the authorities & its mostly ruthless army of foot soldiers. He & his associates live on their individual & collective wit's end. Within seconds, the victims can go from pursuer to the pursued. Let alone the predicament that local peoples find themselves in, for they would rarely if ever, be accepted into the supposedly developed nations whose propaganda currently rules the world, no matter how unjustly or offensively or insensitively it is applied.

Likewise, the survival of the photojournalists & their associates, are caught in dilemmas of conscience. For the oppressed peoples they dare to cover the struggles & injustice & suffering of, seem to be meat in the sandwich of leaders who use & abuse such locals, as puppets. Journalists often depend on the contacts they form, however transcient their interaction. The woman who beckons him into a backyard sanctuary; the woman who refers a request for directions to the authorities; a priest tortured & suffering unjustly while sharing a jail cell; the occasional compassionate soldier with heart enough for his potential victims vs dictatorial unjust judgements; people willing to bravely die for their cause in the name of their causes of their heart. Such as these present unpredictable twists adding to the unfolding drama, where war is being found & fought on many levels, personal & within or beyond organisations.

As such, "Under Fire" gives the viewer a reality in which to help a viewer to understand much more than it presents, or dares to represent. The roles of friendship, empathy & compassion present in many unlikely forms, so too, the consequences, even fatality, from the slightest failure to read the signs or sense danger, while the ruthless pursue goals without concern but for their hierarchy of self-made regulations & adherence to them.

All up, a quality movie not to be missed, and one which is likely to linger & enrich your appreciation of war correspondents of integrity & conviction, willing to lay their lives on the line.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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