This movie was made and released about four years after the events of the Nicaraguan revolution depicted in the film occurred in 1979. American reporter Bill Stewart was killed by Nicaraguan soldiers at that time.
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".
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The movie is partially based on true events in Nicaragua. In 1979, the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza Debayle was overthrown by Sandanista leftist rebels. Gene Hackman's character, Alex Grazier, is based on ABC News reporter Bill Stewart. On June 20, 1979, Stewart was traveling in a van that was stopped at a checkpoint in Managua, the capitol city of Nicaragua. Although he identified himself as an American journalist, Stewart was shot and killed by soldiers of the Nicaraguan National Guard, the main force behind Somoza's dictatorship. As depicted in the film, the murder was filmed by Stewart's cameraman, and was later broadcast repeatedly on U.S. TV news reports. Public outrage over the murder forced the U.S. Government to drop its military support of the Somoza regime. In July, 1979, Somoza resigned and fled to Paraguay, where he was later assassinated by Sandanista hit men in September, 1980.