Dogfight (1991)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  4 October 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 6,267 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 16 critic

1963, the night before the 18 years old "Birdlace" Eddie and his friends are shipped to Vietnam. They play a dirty game called 'Dogfight': all of them seek a woman for a party, and who ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Panebianco ...
Holly Near ...
Rose Sr.
Marcie (as E.G. Daily)
Sue Morales ...
Ruth Two Bears
Chris San Nicholas ...
Dogfight Buddy
Brian Gotta ...
Dogfight Marine
Peg Phillips ...
Older Cafe Customer
Neal Allen ...
Sgt. Judge


1963, the night before the 18 years old "Birdlace" Eddie and his friends are shipped to Vietnam. They play a dirty game called 'Dogfight': all of them seek a woman for a party, and who finds the most ugly one, wins a prize. Eddie finds the lonesome pacifist Rose working in a coffee shop. She's happy to accompany him - but then she sees through the game. However by this time he already learned to like her, so he follows her home. Will he manage to win her heart despite their differences? Written by Tom Zoerner <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The rules of the dogfight were simple: Everyone puts in fifty bucks. And the guy with the ugliest "date" wins. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive strong language and a sexual scene | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 October 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Última Aposta  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$394,631 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


To prepare to play the Four B's, a close group of marines, River Phoenix (Birdlace), Richard Panebianco (Berzin), Mitchell Whitfield (Benjamin), and Anthony Clark (Oakie) were sent for a week of simulated boot camp, run by retired U.S. Marine Corps Captain Dale Dye. See more »


Edward Birdlace says his birthday, November 26, is coming up "next Monday". In 1963 - when the scene was set - November 26 (four days after JFK's assassination) was on a Tuesday. See more »


Rose: [after learning the marines are shipping out] Where are you going?
Eddie Birdlace: Okinawa. But I'm aiming for this other place. It's a little country near India called Vietnam.
Rose: Yeah, I think I read about it. Aren't they fighting there or something?
Eddie Birdlace: No, not really. We'll just be there as advisors to teach them how to take care of the Commies.
Rose: That could be dangerous.
Eddie Birdlace: Nah. We'll kick a little ass, take a few names. Be back in a couple of months.
See more »


Features The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959) See more »


Written by Lincoln Chase
Published by Al Gallico Music Corp.
Performed by Shirley Ellis
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliant, Calming, Moving, Unforgettable
6 July 2003 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Dogfight is a little gem that is so often overlooked in so many ways. The most obvious is that people today often only watch this film to see River Phoenix, an actor we all so sorely miss, but most often, unless you are a real hardcore fan, this one is not the one you rent to see him in. The usual famous films of his career, My Own Private Idaho, Stand by Me, etc., are always rented first and although these are great films, none of them are as subtly beautiful, compelling and important as Dogfight. (Stand by Me comes close.) And I've seen every one of River's films. He turns in a touching and believable performance as usual, but the best surprise of this film, other than the sure handed direction, is Lili Taylor. She is so likeable an so touching that you end up arguing every point she makes. She will always make you smile. The story is very dark and not romantic, yet it's also an out and out love story. In my opinion, it's also the best war film ever made. This being said about a film with only one war scene. I say this because unlike other war films, you get to know and love these young marines and understand their world, then realize how these men's worlds are shattered by the fight: the true tragedy of a war. The onscreen chemistry between Lili and River is so nonexistent at first glance, that it's overwhelmingly pure and true. This is how two people with nothing in common, yet everything in common would act together. And the sequence where Eddie goes off to Okinawa after his night with Rose, with the great folk music of the era playing is like a beautiful dream we all have, a dream we never want to end. The same is true of the beautifully orchestrated, ever so gentle sequence in the music room at the fair. You never want these two people to pull away from the embrace. I do not enjoy romance films, but I don't think there is anyone who could dislike this film because it is so real and belivable. I've never seen a film that is so moving, yet not corny or sappy in ANY way. And it has one of the best endings in film history,the only way a real love story can end: unknown. It allows you to contemplate and figure out for yourself what's goin to happen for these two characters in the future, something also so indicative of the time period. This film also has an extraordinary soundtrack with the best folk artists of the era including Bob Dylan, Peete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and Joan Baez for people who are interested. NO ONE CAN MISS THIS MASTERPIECE! It's truly unforgettable and opens you up to the awkwardness and the perfectness of love, (or something like it), in a way very few films accomplish or even attempt.

43 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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