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The Osterman Weekend (1983)

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During the Cold War, a controversial TV journalist is asked by the CIA to persuade certain acquaintances, who are Soviet agents of the Omega network, to defect.


Sam Peckinpah


Robert Ludlum (novel), Ian Masters (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
2 wins. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rutger Hauer ... John Tanner
John Hurt ... Lawrence Fassett
Craig T. Nelson ... Bernard Osterman
Dennis Hopper ... Richard Tremayne
Chris Sarandon ... Joseph Cardone
Meg Foster ... Ali Tanner
Helen Shaver ... Virginia Tremayne
Cassie Yates ... Betty Cardone
Sandy McPeak ... Walter Stennings
Christopher Starr Christopher Starr ... Steve Tanner
Burt Lancaster ... Maxwell Danforth
Cheryl Carter Cheryl Carter ... Marcia Heller
John Bryson John Bryson ... Honeymoon Groom
Anne Haney ... Honeymoon Bride
Kristen Peckinpah Kristen Peckinpah ... Tremayne's Secretary


In this adaptation of the 'Robert Ludlum' (q.v) novel, the host of an investigative news programme has been convinced by the C.I.A. that the friends and associates he's invited to weekend with him in the country, are actually engaged in a nefarious conspiracy which threatens national security, Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The one weekend of the year you won't want to miss. See more »


Action | Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

4 November 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Osterman-Weekend See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada See more »


Box Office


$6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$301,129, 23 October 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The film featured the first major American character in a Hollywood movie played by Dutch actor Rutger Hauer. See more »


In the kitchen scene after Ali and the Tanner son are kidnapped, Ali refers to the boy as 'Steve', which is supposed to be the character's name according to the closing credits. But the actor's real name is Christopher, and he is referred to as 'Christopher' or 'Chris' numerous times throughout the movie. Note that it may have been challenging for Meg Foster to remember to refer to him as 'Steve' since he is her real life son. See more »


[the Motorcycle Cop pulls Osterman over]
Bernard Osterman: What's the trouble?
Motorcycle Cop: Can I see your license, please?
Bernard Osterman: Yeah, I wasn't speeding though. I've given that up. You know I've cut, I've cut way back on speeding. I've cut, cut it way down.
Motorcycle Cop: Yeah I thought that was you, you write for TV, don't ya?
Bernard Osterman: Yeah that's me. Yeah I'm, I'm on my way to catch a plane though, right.
Motorcycle Cop: Oh, don't worry, you'll make it. I like your stuff, Mister Osterman. Only sometimes I think you tend to be a little strident, ya know.
Bernard Osterman: Strident? Are ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

On the Anchor Bay DVD release there is a rough cut made by Sam Peckinpah which he made showed to the test audience. Because the majority of the audience walked out, from the imfamous sex between Fassett and his wife. The producer wanted Peckinpah to cut the scene out. Once he refuse to made the cuts, he got fired. Other scenes. 1) The sex scene is more extended and shot more wobbly to express how Fassett breaking point for revenge had started. 2) Delete scene of Osterman and Joe talking on the phone about their deal. 3) Extended scene of Virginia flirting with Dick on the phone. 4) There a deleted scene of John Tanner of having an affair with his director Marcia, there wakes up to find her dead. 5) The scene where Tanner and guest are arguing by the dinner table, in the theatrical cut Fassett switches on a Swiss ad, the Peckinpah's cut he has like a big image of Danforth. 6) Alterative ending is juxtapositioned between Tanner searching for his family and the TV studio. See more »

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User Reviews

Suspenseful movie though sometimes confusing and cold thriller with a top-drawer cast
10 August 2013 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Action movie in Peckinpah style with tension , intrigue , thrills , gushing blood and violence . The one weekend of the year you won't want to miss. The host of an investigative news spectacle (Rutger Hauer,first major character in a Hollywood movie played by Dutch actor) is assigned a dangerous mission As TV show hosted by television journalist John Tanner is called "Face to Face" and he is convinced by a CIA operative (John Hurt was second billed) that the friends (Chris Sarandon , Dennis Hooper , Craig T Nelson) and wives (Helen Shaver ,Cassie Yates) he has invited to a weekend party are Russian spies from a secret organization . The name of the Soviet spy network was "Omega".

This actioner and suspenseful movie tells a convoluted and complicated tale of vendetta , espionage and treason . Interesting but slightly boring spy film , including an overly complex and confusing script , even though at times it is admittedly engrossing . The picture was made and released about eleven years after its source novel of the same name by Robert Ludlum had been first published in 1972 . Sam Peckinpah was fired as director during post-production. Others were Convoy and Ride the High County . When he refused to re-edit Osterman weekend after it was screened for a test audience and met with a confused and extremely mixed reaction. Producers took over the editing with the assistance of the editor , drastically altering opening and ending sequences. Mediocre and dark cinematography by John Coquillon , in fact , the picture involved a considerable amount of filming at night. It was filmed at a 1950s ranch located in upper Mandeville Canyon in the Hollywood Hills , it was a property once owned by Robert Taylor and has been frequently been known by the names the "Taylor Estate" . Anti-climatic soundtrack by Lalo Schifrin composed by means by synthesizer . Director Don Siegel, long time friend and mentor to Sam Peckinpah, recommended Lalo Schifrin as the film's composer. Schifrin had scored five of Siegel's movies ; composer Lalo Schifrin had to sit by Sam Peckinpah's sick bed in order to spot the film and decide which scenes did or did not need music.

Final film of director Sam Peckinpah. The picture was also Peckinpah's big "comeback movie", it was his first in five years, his last film having been at the time Convoy back in 1978 . The movie is also Peckinpah's only feature film of the 1980s decade . The production shoot for this film ran for fifty-four days . Director Sam Peckinpah was in ill-health throughout the shoot as the long-term toll of his drug and alcohol abuse suggested to many in the production that he was dying. Peckinpah after beginning as a writer , was soon involved in TV Westerns at the peak of his popularity ; shooting series just like ¨¨The Westener¨, ¨Gunsmoke¨and most popular ¨Rifleman¨, moving into films by 1961 when he made nice impression with ¨The deadly companions¨, ¨Ride the High Country¨ , Major Dundee¨ and his best picture ,Wild Bunch¨ . After that , he concentrated on nail-biting and tougher-than-tough action films just like ¨The getaway¨, ¨Convoy¨, ¨the ¨killer elite¨ and this last movie ¨Osterman weekend¨ . The final title as violent and nice as anyone the Western or wartime genre has given us .

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