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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.

Director:

Sam Peckinpah

Writers:

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

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

From Robert Ludlum's Best Selling Novel See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 November 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Osterman-Weekend See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$301,129, 23 October 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,486,797
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The setting of the novel was changed from New Jersey to California for this movie. See more »

Goofs

When Tanner finds the fake dog head in the refrigerator, the refrigerator door is open and closed in alternate shots. See more »

Quotes

Maxwell Danforth: Suppose I was to tell you that our enemies are capable of impairing rational thought, of dismantling our willingness to defend ourself, of dissociating whole societies from their value systems.
John Tanner: You mean they've got televisions.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Passion & Poetry: Sam's Trucker Movie (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Does not make a whole lot of sense

Sam Peckinpah's The Osterman Weekend is so strangely plotted, so illogical and hard to understand, that not even John Hurt providing a play by play from an ever present TV monitor can seem to make sense of it. It's not that it's a bad film, parts are very well done and there's that nostalgic Cold War vibe that 80's espionage thrillers always have, it's just that somewhere along the way, whether in the editing room, the shot list or scheduling, someone quite literally lost the plot. It's enjoyable, well acted and supplies some of that classic Peckinpah grit he's known for, but it's just one massive loose thread that no one bothered to pull taut, which is a shame when you look at the talent involved. The film opens with the murder of a beautiful woman, the wife of a CIA spook (Hurt). Now, this inciting incident is what spurs on the rest of the plot, but the how and the why seem to be missing, and the matter of his wife doesn't come into play again until all is almost said and done, and seems to have not a lot to do with the entire rest of the film. The bulk of it focuses on controversial talk show host John Tanner (Rutger Hauer), a man who lives to rub people the wrong way and put men of power on the spot with provocative, candid questions, all from the safety of his brightly lit studio. He's forced to get his hands dirty though when Hurt contacts him, informing him that his three friends he's planned to spend the weekend with (Craig T. Nelson, Dennis Hopper and a sleazy Chris Sarandon) are in fact soviet spies in hiding. Forced to bug his weekend home and play host to Hurt as he watches them all via hidden cameras, tensions arise as they try to smoke the three out and figure out... something. But what? It's anyone's guess what three potential traitors have to do with a murdered agent's wife, and I'm sure the novel by Robert Ludlum on which this is based covers that a little more pointedly, but this film is just all over the place. It drags where it should glide, and skips hurriedly over scenes with potential to be great. Nevertheless, they achieved some level of class at least, with a crackling on-air conclusion that cathartically weeds out some corruption and provides almost a glimmer of an answer to what's going on. There's a fight scene between Nelson and Hauer that's excellently choreographed, the performances are committed and engaging, and I'm always a sucker for cloak and dagger theatrics. But the thing just can't seem to cohesively pull itself together and present a story that makes sense. It's not even that it doesn't make sense in a Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy sense, because I'm sure that if I sat down and watched that film like five times in a row, id get it, it has a plot buried under all of it. This one though, it's like there's pieces missing, and the ones that are left are either out of order, or from a different puzzle entirely. Close, but no cigar.


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