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Born American (1986)

4.5
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Ratings: 4.5/10 from 1,249 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 4 critic

Three American students vacationing in Finland, cross the border into Russia for fun of it. When they are spotted by the Russian soldiers who are shooting to kill, it's not fun anymore. ... See full summary »

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Title: Born American (1986)

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Director: Renny Harlin
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Savoy
Steve Durham ...
Mitch
David Coburn ...
K.C.
Thalmus Rasulala ...
The Admiral
...
United States emissary
Piita Vuosalmi ...
Nadja
Vesa Vierikko ...
Kapsky
Ismo Kallio ...
Zarkov
Laura Munsterhjelm ...
Irina (as Laura Heimo)
Antti Horko ...
Cossack
Pauli Virtanen ...
Sergei
Jone Takamäki ...
Interrogator (as Jouni Takamäki)
Inkeri Luoma-aho ...
Female Guard
Markku Blomqvist ...
Irina's Father
Sari Havas ...
Girl at Party
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Storyline

Three American students vacationing in Finland, cross the border into Russia for fun of it. When they are spotted by the Russian soldiers who are shooting to kill, it's not fun anymore. Captured and thrown in jail, they find it's not fun either. It's a nightmare. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

soldier | finland | border | american | russia | See more »

Taglines:

Freedom is just a word...until you lose it.

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

30 August 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pasaporte al infierno  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,401,376 (estimated)

Gross:

$3,388,020 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Chuck Norris was cast as Savoy but had to back out when filming was delayed. See more »

Quotes

Interrogator: [while torturing Mitch] We really do have all the time in the world.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Catch (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

An uneven movie with interesting parts
23 September 2000 | by (Minneapolis) – See all my reviews

This movie begins as one of those young-Americans-on-a-European-vacation affair. Then it shifts into an action-thriller as our three heroes, on a lark, sneak across the border into the USSR and are captured by Russian border-guards. At this point it becomes a grim prison drama laced with surrealistic touches. Then the final scene offers a hint of a boy-meets-girl romance.

While the movie doesn't quite succeed as a whole, individual parts worked well enough to propel Finnish director Renny Harlin all the way to Hollywood. Perhaps the best of these parts is the justly-famous torture scene in which a well-dressed interrogator who could pass as a college professor calmly, almost lovingly, attaches alligator clips to the nipples of Steve Durham in a series of screen-filling close-ups. These clips are attached by wires to a portable generator and soon Durham is jerking in pain from electrical shocks. However, the interrogator doesn't get the information he seeks so he concludes with a comment that he has all the time he needs in order to complete his task. (A better line might have included the thought that those alligator clips could be re-attached to other, even more sensitive parts of Durham's anatomy.)

Also worth noting are the scenes of a chess game played with prisoners instead of chess pieces, though not enough is made of this material.

Top-billed Mike Norris shows enough promise here that one wonders why his later film-career was so undistinguished. Albert Salmi and Thalmus Rasulala provide good support in small but pivotal roles. As for Steve Durham, he must be the only actor in the movies whose nipples are more recognizable than his face.


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