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Under Fire (1983)

R | | Drama, War | 21 October 1983 (USA)
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2:57 | Trailer
Three journalists in a romantic triangle are involved in political intrigue during the last days of the corrupt Somozoa regime in Nicaragua before it falls to a popular revolution in 1979.

Director:

Roger Spottiswoode

Writers:

Clayton Frohman (screenplay), Clayton Frohman (story) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Nolte ... Russell Price
Ed Harris ... Oates
Gene Hackman ... Alex Grazier
Joanna Cassidy ... Claire
Alma Martinez ... Isela (as Alma Martínez)
Holly Palance ... Journalist
Ella Laboriel Ella Laboriel ... Nightclub Singer
Samuel Zarzosa Samuel Zarzosa ... Jazz Combo: drums
Jonathan Zarzosa Jonathan Zarzosa ... Jazz Combo: piano
Raul Picasso Raul Picasso ... Jazz Combo: bass
Oswaldo Doria Oswaldo Doria ... Boy Photographer
Fernando Elizondo Fernando Elizondo ... Businessman
Hamilton Camp ... Regis Seydor
Jean-Louis Trintignant ... Marcel Jazy
Richard Masur ... Hub Kittle
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Storyline

Nicaragua 1979: Star photographer Russel Price covers the civil war against president Somoza. Facing the cruel fighting - people versus army - it's often hard for him to stay neutral. When the Guerillas have him take a picture of the leader Rafael, who's believed to be dead, he gets drawn into the happenings. Together with his reporter friends Claire and Alex he has to hide from the army. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Dateline: Central America. The First Casualty of War is the Truth. See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA | Mexico

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 October 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bajo fuego See more »

Filming Locations:

Chiapas, Mexico See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,837,768, 23 October 1983

Gross USA:

$5,696,391

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,696,391
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

One of three films starring both Gene Hackman and Ed Harris, with the other two film being The Firm (1993) and Absolute Power (1997). See more »

Goofs

In the dark room of the guerrilla base the rays of sunlight are cast in two different directions, probably to form an appropriate atmosphere, however it is not possible in natural conditions. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Russell Price: Can I get a ride?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #22.42 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Moonlight in Vermont
(uncredited)
Lyrics by John Blackburn
Music by Karl Suessdorf
Sung by Ella Laboriel with jazz combo
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The American focus takes a lot away from the story
18 December 2001 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Nicaragua 1979 sees the rebel uprising reaching a peak and causing an inflow of foreign journalists including photojournalist Russell Price and Claire. As the conflict rages around them Russell and Claire fall in love, despite her relationship with anchorman Alex Grazier.

My plot summary of this feels a little false - it makes it sound like a romantic drama rather than a political drama. However it's closer to that than it is to being a look at the conflict in Nicaragua. The story made me think it would be a look at the conflict, but rather this is a look at the conflict through the eyes of foreigners including CIA and journalists. It's still interesting - but would have been better looking at it from the rebel's point of view - but then I guess the American audience wouldn't have been interested. The focus on the US stars makes this a drama with the war as a backdrop, this takes away from the impact of the conflict onscreen.

One of the last scenes of the films has an elderly lady talking to Claire following the death of an American journalist at the hands of the Government. Due to this death the USA has thrown their support behind the rebels and the Government has fallen. The lady essentially says that "50,000 Nicaraguans have died but it took only one American death to convince the US of the true nature of the Government here - we should have killed one a long time ago" (rough quote!). This is a good point, made in criticism of the USA's foreign policy and how they value lives of different nationalities. However this criticism can also be levelled at the film itself - it focuses on the Americans more than the Nicaraguans, the American characters are more important than the Nicaraguan characters - you can't have it both ways, you can't criticise someone else for something you're guilty of. The story is still interesting but it's so USA focused that it almost forgets the main players in the story (the rebels & the Government) and relegates them to bit parts.

Nolte is good in the lead, but I thought Joanna Cassidy was a bit outclassed by the rest of the cast. Hackman is good as always but had very little to do. Ed Harris is good, but again his character was the only soldier really given a character or a story (and of course, he's an American mercenary).

Overall an interesting story but the main point of the film (as voiced by the elderly lady) is also a criticism of the film itself. I wanted to know more about the conflict but instead knew more about the love triangle - a political drama that manages to cheapen the very political war that it sought to highlight.


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