7.2/10
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141 user 81 critic

Southern Comfort (1981)

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During a routine exercise, a team of National Guards are threatened by angry and violent locals.

Director:

Walter Hill

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Keith Carradine ... Spencer
Powers Boothe ... Hardin
Fred Ward ... Reece
Franklyn Seales Franklyn Seales ... Simms
T.K. Carter ... Cribbs
Lewis Smith ... Stuckey
Les Lannom ... Casper
Peter Coyote ... Poole
Alan Autry ... Bowden (as Carlos Brown)
Brion James ... Trapper
Sonny Landham ... Hunter
Allan Graf ... Hunter
Ned Dowd ... Hunter
Rob Ryder Rob Ryder ... Hunter
Greg Guirard Greg Guirard ... Cajun Couple
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Storyline

A squad of National Guards on an isolated weekend exercise in the Louisiana swamp must fight for their lives when they anger local Cajuns by stealing their canoes. Without live ammunition and in a strange country, their experience begins to mirror the Vietnam experience. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In 48 hours, they'll be home with their families. There's just one problem...They've just crossed a line they never knew existed. And the farther they go, the closer they get to nowhere. See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Switzerland | UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

25 September 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Prey See more »

Filming Locations:

Caddo Lake, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$116,943, 27 September 1981, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview, director Walter Hill said of this movie's development: "David Giler and I had a deal with Fox; we were supposed to acquire and develop interesting, commercial scripts that could be produced cheaply. Alien (1979) was one of them, and Southern Comfort (1981) was another. We wanted to do a survival story, and I'd already done a film in Louisiana." That movie was Hard Times (1975). See more »

Goofs

While at the "town", the Cajun Hunter, played by Sonny Landham, shoots Hardin (Powers Boothe) in the left shoulder. Spenser comes in the room and fires his M-16, drawing attention away from the Hunter trying to finish the job on Hardin. The Hunter then turns and raises his rifle to shoot Spenser, then Hardin stabs the Hunter in the groin with a knife he took from a table. After the hunter falls to the floor in pain, the camera cuts to Hardin, who is seen with the bullet wound and blood on his right shoulder. The shot was obviously reversed for some reason. See more »

Quotes

Hardin: A truck! A fuckin' truck!
See more »

Connections

References Deliverance (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Song "Parlez-nous à Boire
Dewey Balfa
Published by Flat Town Music Co.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Southern Greetings.
29 November 2008 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

Now this is a atmospheric survival action film and Walter Hill at his peak. Love it! It's so simple (although streaming through it is a biting allegory about the Vietnam War), but nonetheless exhilarating, tense and raw film-making. Sure the acting and dialogues aren't master-class, but however they're commendably pulled off. In which case Powers Boothe (whose booming voice takes charge) and Keith Carradine (excellently pitched as the guy of reasoning) are terrific leads, and the support Fred Ward (a memorably hot-head and tooting turn), T.K Carter, Lewis Smith, Franklyn Seales, Peter Coyote and Brion James are also quite compelling. Tough, authentic and a real sense of claustrophobic tension stems from the actor's rapport and cynical script. This blends well with the brutal bloody violence (like the barnstorming climax with the powerful freeze frame closing) and the dank, devouring swamp terrain that ultimately swallows them up. But where I think it's at its most effective is during the interludes of Ry Cooder's fascinatingly folksy music score. Each time it creeps in, it demonstrates the right illustrations to the striking visuals and harrowing moods. Cooder's handling is multi-layered and truly echoing. From a relaxing southern flavour, to a haunting stillness and a punishing sting. It's cohesively perfect in it's random shifts. Hill's bravura direction holds up tautly, as the well-used slow motion is suitably done and the highly measured suspense piercingly infused. I liked how the hunters are kept as void-like background figures, because towards the end it makes the whole paranoid feeling and unease thrillingly justified.


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