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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

The use of the phrase 'Southern Comfort' as the title of the film, which was meant ironically, had to be cleared by the Brown-Forman Corporation, who own the rights to the phrase (they make the liqueur of the same name). See more »

Goofs

During the dog attack, the protective pads on the men's arms are clearly visible. See more »

Quotes

Simms: [crying] I didn't do anything wrong... I'm not supposed to be here... I'm not supposed to be here!
[gets shot in the chest]
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

 
When things go wrong in the swamp
30 April 2005 | by tord-1See all my reviews

This little gem is a moral story about how things can go wrong, very badly, when someone for a lark opens fire with blanks - those you shoot at have no chance to know that and thus rightfully shoot back, which starts a killing spree from both sides.

One side is a troop out of the Loisiana National Guard on exercise in the swamps, the other is the locals, who enjoy their French culture and life out in the swamp.

None is more evil than the other, none is more mad than the other, but the soldiers are far from home, and out of their element.

Walter Hill, the director and co-writer of Southern Comfort, does a very good job in this tale clearly inspired by the events in Viet Nam. Hill is maybe more known for such diverse films as 48 hours, Brewster's millions and Last Man Standing, and as the producer of Alien and Tales from the Crypt,.

Andrew Laszlo, for many known as the cinematographer of films like Rambo: First Blood and the TV-series Shogun, does a fantastic job here - very poetic photography in this grim setting.

Many of the actors have never been better, before, or after. This is not least true for Powers Boothe, who plays the only outsider among the soldiers. He has never been better since, Keith Carradine (who some of us remember from 'Hair' on Braodway, or 'Nashville' - which earned him an Oscar for a song!) is the intellectual, Fred Ward (Escape from Alcatraz, Short Cuts) is the cool killer type, Peter Coyote ('Keys' in E.T.) is the staff sergeant lost in the woods, Alan Autry ('Bubba' in 'In the heat of the night') freaks out, completely, Brion James (Bladerunner) excellently plays a one-armed Cajun trapper whose life take a turn for the bad when he is blamed for the first death, and Les Lannon (Silkwood, in which Fred Ward also appeared) is the sergeant that is totally out of his league in the swamp. These are just a few of the excellent cast. Forgot: One of the guys hunting the Guards is Sandy Landham, well known for his excellent acting in Predator. Scary guy - he even had a personal bodyguard during the filming of Predator - to protect those around him from his tantrums!

Add to this Ry Cooder's musical genius, in the film he's performing with Jim Dickinson and Milt Holland, the Cajun setting, and ditto music and dancing, and you have a film to remember for ever.

The only thing I don't like is the ending - did Hill run out of ideas about how to do it?

9/10


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