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The American Way (1986)

A group of Vietnam vets disturbs television programs from a B-29 airplane. They want to sabotage Mrs Westinghouse's political campaign who is running for the Senate in support of US ... See full summary »


Maurice Phillips


Scott Roberts
5 wins. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Hopper ... The Captain
Michael J. Pollard ... Tesla
Eugene Lipinski ... Ace
James Aubrey ... Claude
Al Matthews ... Benedict
William Armstrong William Armstrong ... Jerry
Michael Ho ... Minh
Scott Hoxby ... Sam (as Derek Hoxby)
Nigel Pegram ... Mrs. Westinghouse
Mark Caven ... Don
Craig Pinder Craig Pinder ... Irving
Jeff Harding ... Doug
Linda Lou Allen Linda Lou Allen ... Mary
Norman Chancer Norman Chancer ... Dr. King
Gwen Humble ... Linda
Learn more

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A group of Vietnam vets disturbs television programs from a B-29 airplane. They want to sabotage Mrs Westinghouse's political campaign who is running for the Senate in support of US military involvement in South America. Mrs Westinghouse orders some nuclear missiles to be launched against the saboteurs, but they manage to avoid the impact and even succeed in exposing a big secret of hers. Written by Salvatore Santangelo <pappagone2@libero.it>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Truth, justice...


Comedy | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Feature debut for director Maurice Phillips. See more »


When Sam is picked up from the building, with a rope ladder hanging from the belly of the the B-29, for a brief moment the landing skids of a helicopter are visible.

However, as the Aspect ratio listed for the film is 1.33 : 1 (negative ratio) 1.85 : 1 (intended ratio), it leads me to believe we're seeing things that were meant to be "matted" out at the top and bottom to make the aspect ratio 1.85 : 1. There is also a scene where the religious group is shooting or doing a commercial and we see a boom microphone at the bottom of the screen. This also would have been "matted" out at 1.85 : 1. See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits of the film include a video screen showing the film itself being played backwards at high speed. See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally released in Great Britain with the title "The American Way" at 105 minutes; was recalled, recut and re-released in the rest of the world a shorter 92-minutes version as "Riders of the Storm". See more »


Features The Devil Rides Out (1968) See more »


People Get Ready
Performed by Clem Clempson & Brian Bennett
Written by Curtis Mayfield
Published by Warner Bros. Music Ltd.
See more »

User Reviews

A Bizarre Hidden 80's Gem - The Type Of Film I Live For.
10 September 2011 | by meddlecoreSee all my reviews

This is the type of cinema I live for. A bizarre 80's political black comedy masterpiece.

In "The American Way" we find ourselves following an eclectic bunch of PTSD suffering Vietnam Veterans aboard a B-29 bomber called the "Uncle Slam". The group is flying low over the USA taking over the airwaves with S&MTV- their pirate television broadcasts of rock and roll mash ups and other dissident material.

"The Captain" is team leader and Producer of S&MTV, played amazingly by Dennis Hopper (RIP). The rest of the crew consists of: Sam, the hunky jet pack-wielding ground technician and journalist; Ace, the Dr. Strangelove like Director that is electric-wheelchair bound with a hook and American Flag tattoo on his bald head; Claude, the Actor who dresses and acts like Tony Montana; Doc, the acid tripping, technical wizard and radarman; Jerry, the possibly schizophrenic pot smoking pilot that may or not be having UFO or God experiences (he's not sure); Minh, the bomb-riding Vietnamese man who does martial arts while watching American movies about Vietnam; and Benedict, the Lando Calrissian helmet wearing cook, who also serves the food and is left to do the most dangerous tasks.

Why are they doing this? Well, The Captain is in constant contact with major media executives trying to work out a broadcast deal for his men and their TV program...oh and...to ensure they won't face any criminal charges, of course.

That is, until they discover that a Thatcher-esque (Michelle Bachmann-esque might be more appropriate) woman named Westinghouse is being groomed for the Presidency. The Captain fears that if this woman is elected President, innocent men are going to be forced into fighting a f**ked up war in South America, much like Vietnam (the war that clearly messed them each up, in one hilarious way or another), so that politicians like Westinghouse can make themselves look "strong".

Originally using the pirate broadcasts as a means to coerce themselves a cushy TV deal, the men shift the purpose of their mission when Westinghouse makes her candidacy official. Their goal now to: "Put this bitch Westinghouse out of business"; their weapon of choice: pirate television.

Their first attack targets a national nightly news broadcast with a smear campaign against Westinghouse. The attack is successful and manages to capture the attention of both the military- who believe The Captain and his men are "Experts of Psychological Warfare"- and Westinghouse herself, who wants them shot out of the sky...

The Captain and his crew refuse to back down- despite the direct threat to their lives- and continue to expose Westinghouse as the fraudulent manipulator she really is. This all culminates in an unexpected and totally hilarious conclusion that should surely convince the masses that Westinghouse is not the right candidate for President of the USA.

This much overlooked and absolutely brilliant hidden gem- both in message and style- must be seen. It is sort of like Brazil meets Network meets Airplane. It satirizes many topics- on both the media and political fronts- that continue to be relevant to this day, such as: how technology and the media has made war seem like a video game; how the masses are manipulated by the tube; how politicians are sold on image as opposed to their stance on the issues; how politicians will wage wars and exploit religion to obtain votes; how right-wing politicians and televangelists make good bedfellows (as they both manipulate the public for their own gain); and how there is a need for activist minded individuals to work together and take the power back, even if it means using extra-legal (but peaceful) means.

Do not pass up the chance to check this film out, it is Highly Recommended. It will have you laughing your ass off and pondering the political message at the same time. 10 out of 10.

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Release Date:

13 November 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Riders of the Storm See more »

Filming Locations:

Glen Canyon, Utah, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby (Surround Sound)



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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