6.3/10
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44 user 17 critic

Betrayed (1988)

An FBI agent posing as a combine driver becomes romantically involved with a Midwest farmer who lives a double life as a white supremacist.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Katie Phillips / Cathy Weaver
...
...
Michael Carnes
...
Gladys Simmons
...
Shorty
...
Wes
...
Flynn
...
Al Sanders
...
Jack Carpenter
Robert Swan ...
Dean
...
Sam Kraus
Maria Valdez ...
Rachel Simmons
Brian Bosak ...
Joey Simmons
...
Duffin
Clifford A. Pellow ...
Reverend Russell Johnson
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Storyline

A woman starts work on a farm, and gets to know the owner. They get on well, and she also gets on with his children. He asks her to stay on when the work is finished. Things are not what they seem, and we discover the woman is actually an FBI agent... Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

26 August 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Summer Lightning  »

Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$25,816,139 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Last cinema film of Betsy Blair. See more »

Goofs

Reversed footage: As the family arrives to the camp site, smoke falls downwards from the sky to the torches. See more »

Quotes

Gary Simmons: [entering he bank with mask and gun] Good morning! We rob banks!
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Connections

Referenced in Blonde Poison: The Making of 'Basic Instinct' (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

The Devil's Right Hand
Written by Steve Earle
Performed by Waylon Jennings
Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent film about Aryan nation and Alan Berg murder
23 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Betrayed" is loosely based on the real life murder of a left-wing radio personality by the name of Alan Berg by a white supremacist group called The Order headed by a guy named Robert Mathews. The actual murder happened sometime in the 80s (I believe). In the film Debra Winger is an FBI agent sent undercover to a farming community in rural Illinois to find out information about a possible suspect (Tom Berenger) when a Chicago radio personality is killed.

I've watched this film a number of times over the years. Something keeps pulling me back to it. As someone else mentioned, there are moments that really burn their way into your memory. I can't believe somebody else commented on it, but there is a moment after Tom Berenger's family horse is "put down" and as Bergener and a young Ted Levine are leaving the barn in the rain we see Levine wrapped in plastic holding the gun he used to shoot the horse and walking slightly behind Berenger. For some reason, I've always found the image haunting. Someone else said the image of Levine signifies the devil, which certainly makes sense.

Another moment is when Winger and Berenger are watching through a window as the combine girls leave the motel and the entire scene is played out with the camera outside, and something is blocking the lower part of Berenger's face, so all we see throughout the scene are his eyes. And Winger says, "I don't like people getting hurt". And Berenger says "They aren't people. They're mud people." Something about it is very disturbing and strange.

The racial tirades in the film are quite jarring, too. Especially when the kids say them. The ugliness and hatred of the words contrasts so sharply with the obvious innocence of the children. We see so clearly that the children are not inherently bad, and are simply being taught hatred, as someone would teach a child the alphabet.

The hunting scene, as almost every reviewer has mentioned, is very disturbing, and is clearly meant to be disturbing. I still have trouble watching it.

I do think this is an important film, however. Most films depict the Aryan nation and similar groups as quite simply evil, without offering any kind of logic or shape to what they are about. Betrayed is a film that actually dares to show them as real people. The character of Shorty, played by John Mahoney is a brilliant creation and his campfire speech to Debra Winger, explaining his motivation for behaving like he does, is extremely important for anyone who wants to learn why some people would join a radical group.

Incidentally, there is also a (very disturbing) play entitled "God's Country" that is about the Alan Berg murder and Robert Mathews. And the Oliver Stone film "Talk Radio" is loosely based on Alan Berg's life and murder.


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