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Red Dawn (1984)

PG-13 | | Action, Drama | 10 August 1984 (USA)
It is the dawn of World War III. In mid-western America, a group of teenagers band together to defend their town, and their country, from invading Soviet forces.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Darren Dalton ...
Doug Toby ...


From out of the sky, Soviet, Nicaraguan, and Cuban troops begin landing on the football field of a Colorado high school. In a few seconds, the paratroopers have attacked the school and sent a group of teenagers fleeing into the mountains. Armed only with hunting rifles, pistols, and bows and arrows, the teens struggle to survive the bitter winter and the Soviet K.G.B. patrols hunting for them. Eventually, trouble arises when they kill a group of Soviet soldiers on patrol in the highlands. Soon they will wage their own guerrilla warfare against the invading Soviet troops under the banner of "Wolverines!" Written by Derek O'Cain

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A full scale military invasion by foreign troops begins. Total surprise. Almost total success . . . . See more »


Action | Drama


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

10 August 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ten Soldiers  »


Box Office


$4,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,230,381, 12 August 1984, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(4 channels)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


When the kids listen to the radio, one message heard is "John has a long mustache". During World War II, Radio Londres issued coded messages to the resistance in France, the most famous being "Jean a une longue moustache". See more »


Five minutes and 29 seconds into the movie, the entire class, every single student, ducks to avoid the spray of gunfire through the windows. Two seconds later, a dead boy, shot through the head is on his feet slumped through a smashed window. Prior to the shooting, the boy had been watching the paratroopers through a window with lowered blinds, one pane to the right of where he ended up. See more »


Col. Strelnikov: [he lectures the Russo-Cuban Army about what must be done regarding the Wolverines] From this moment on... There will be no further reprisals against civilians. This was stupid. Impotence. Comrades... If a fox stole your chickens... Would you slaughter your pig because he saw the fox? No. You would hunt the fox... You would find where it lives and destroy it! And how do we do this? Become a fox.
See more »

Crazy Credits

None of the actors are in the opening credits See more »


Referenced in Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Somewhere in hell, this movie is being shown...
25 February 2003 | by See all my reviews

John Milius, director of laughable thug-flick Red Dawn, has a dictionary defining masculine as violent and incapable of coherent emotion. In the 1980s, he was the antithesis of the Iron John, touchy-feely movement, and Red Dawn was the movie that proved that the whole world thought he was a knuckle-dragging political neanderthal.

Red Dawn isn't simply bad. It's so bad that people rent it so they can get drunk and laugh at it. Shot, as always with Milius, with locked-down cameras and muddy sound, it's a wedge of sheer, univentive, paranoid fear. The premise? Communists invade America. Where do they invade? Colorado. Yes, within twenty seconds of this movie starting, you'll be blinking in incomprehension. Somehow, the Soviets have airlifted an armoured infantry unit to the Rockies. No, no-one understands this at all, but then this is John Milius, the man whose original script for Apocalypse Now had Willard and Kurtz joining forces to kill the Viet Cong. Really.

It's hard to tell what is most offensive about this movie: its stupidity or its low quality. No-one walks away from this blameless. The core cast are supposed to be a bunch of High School jocks who take to the hills and become guerilla experts overnight (how, you may ask? well, because they went deer hunting and that makes you a Real Man). What ensues is little more than a long splash of ineptly handled gun play, as the Wolverine's set up one tedious ambush after another and occasionally make masculine shrieking sounds. Get past the fact that this is the movie that, if it didn't kill the career (C. Thomas Howell, where art thou now?), it severely crippled (Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, Ferris Beuller's sister) several.

Then there's the military element. Words fail me as to how ill-concieved this is. The idea that there would be a conventional invasion with no nuclear retaliatory strike by America is so laughably poor that it amazes me that this movie ever got green-lit.

What is most appalling is that this is such a blatantly right-wing propoganda exercise. Fiercely anti-gun control (it is suggested that the Demycrats want to take your weapons so that Communists can pillage your households), thoroughly white-bread (the only black characters dies in the opening scene, while the Russians use illegal Mexican migrants to mastermind the disruption of services and infrastructure) and with some horrific gender politics (a grandfather handing over his granddaughters to the Wolverines has some pretty unpleasant connotations), this is a movie that heads through unapologetic and lurches straight into unforgiveable.

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