An American photojournalist gets caught in a political struggle at El Salvador in 1980.



, (as Richard Boyle)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Doctor Rock (as James Belushi)
María (as Elpedia Carrillo)
Cathy Moore (as Cindy Gibb)
Will MacMillan ...
José Carlos Ruiz ...
Jorge Luke ...
Colonel Julio Figueroa
Army Lieutenant
Salvador Sánchez ...
Human Rights Leader
Rosario Zúñiga ...
Human Rights Assistant


A journalist, down on his luck in the US, drives to El Salvador to chronicle the events of the 1980 military dictatorship, including the assasination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. He forms an uneasy alliance with both guerillas in the countryside who want him to get pictures out to the US press, and the right-wing military, who want him to bring them photographs of the rebels. Meanwhile he has to find a way of protecting his Salvadorean girlfriend and getting her out of the country. Written by Tony Bowden <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Løgnen... Sandheden... Historien... [Denmark] See more »


Drama | History | Thriller | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

23 April 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Outpost: Salvador  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Oliver Stone remarked that Hunter S. Thompson and gonzo-journalism were large influences on the film. See more »


El Salvador doesn't have nearly as many cows as the film portrays. See more »


Richard Boyle: [lying in a hammock with Maria] How bad is it here, eh?
Doctor Rock: [points at Maria] If I had one of those, I'd be better.
See more »


Referenced in Stardust: The Bette Davis Story (2006) See more »


Running On Empty
Written & Performed by Jackson Browne
Swallow Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Elektra-Asylum Records
by arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An emotional entry into an American nightmare
1 September 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Having seen this movie more than ten times, over the last decade and one half, it as taken on many shades of meaning, but it continues to show how the more things change the more they stay the same. The reporter's sense of gathering news seems to be one of self-sacrifice and a search for truth however, the director shows how the American reporter possesses a quixotic sense of right and wrong that is overwhelmed by self-interest and self-indulgence not unlike the American public. He is unable to report with the clarity of a John Reed. Other points of interest are the visuals of the local life of peasants, who just want to live. They are shown to be no different than the peasants of Chile or Vietnam. Contrasting this life is the ruling elite that manipulates the meaning of the simple needs of the peasants into an ideology that threatens the middle class and the business interests that exploit the resources of this third world country. When the environment becomes so intolerable that the peasants begin to revolt, the forces of the ruling elite call on the American military might to help quell the rebellion. Here we discover the atrocities that become the daily part of life and bring the audience emotions out of its dispassionate viewpoint into one that feels the helplessness of a beaten people.

It seems to me that the director was more into making a movie than selling tickets. For this we are grateful. This movie is as fresh with insight and meaning as it was when it was released. Dr. Zim Robert

40 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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