7.5/10
17,296
95 user 56 critic

Salvador (1986)

An American photojournalist gets caught in a political struggle at El Salvador in 1980.

Director:

Oliver Stone
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Woods ... Richard Boyle
Jim Belushi ... Dr. Rock (as James Belushi)
Michael Murphy ... Ambassador Thomas Kelly
John Savage ... John Cassady
Elpidia Carrillo ... María (as Elpedia Carrillo)
Tony Plana ... Major Max
Colby Chester ... Jack Morgan
Cynthia Gibb ... Cathy Moore (as Cindy Gibb)
Will MacMillan ... Col. Hyde
Valerie Wildman ... Pauline Axelrod
José Carlos Ruiz ... Archbishop Romero (as Jose Carlos Ruiz)
Jorge Luke ... Col. Julio Figueroa
Juan Fernández ... Army Lieutenant
Salvador Sánchez ... Human Rights Leader
Rosario Zúñiga ... HIS Assistant (as Rosario Zuniga)
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Storyline

A journalist, down on his luck in the US, drives to El Salvador to chronicle the events of the 1980 military dictatorship, including the assasination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. He forms an uneasy alliance with both guerillas in the countryside who want him to get pictures out to the US press, and the right-wing military, who want him to bring them photographs of the rebels. Meanwhile he has to find a way of protecting his Salvadorean girlfriend and getting her out of the country. Written by Tony Bowden <t.bowden@qub.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on a true story. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Thriller | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA | Mexico

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

23 April 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Outpost: Salvador See more »

Filming Locations:

Alameda County, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,500,000, 31 December 1986
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The film is included among the "1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

When the young man is executed while Belushi and Woods are in the armored personnel carrier, the gun is obviously pointed over the man's head. See more »

Quotes

Richard Boyle: [he and his friend are being searched by troops] Whatever you do,okay, don't get on the ground.
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Alternate Versions

According to the Oliver Stone biography "Stone: The Controversies, Excesses, and Exploits of a Radical Filmmaker" by James Riordan, the film was originally meant to be a two and a half hour release from a 150 page script, and much extra footage was cut due to box office concerns and by the original studio, Orion, who saw that a lot of the footage was too excessive or violent (one such scene described in the book was of an orgy scene with Rick Boyle and Dr. Rock and a bag of ears casually tossed on to a table). Stone regrets this decision as the film ended up, and was criticized for being, choppy in some of its editing. Some of this deleted footage is included on the Special Edition DVD. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

El Casorio De Los Compas
Written & Performed by Yolocamba Ita
Courtesy of Pentagrama S.A.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"You'll love it here, Doc. You can drive drunk. You can get anybody killed for fifty bucks." - Rick Boyle
1 June 2005 | by MichaelMargetisSee all my reviews

'Salvador' is the extremely controversial filmmaker, Oliver Stone's, first film, and is it any surprise it has to do with politics? Yes, pretty much all of Mr. Stone's films have a strong political message in them (for example: JFK, Nixon, Born on the Fourth of July, Natural Born Killers, Heaven & Earth, Wall Street, etc.) His first major film (not counting his dreadfully mediocre low-budget debut horror film 'The Hand), 'Salvador' explores and follows the conflict of military dictatorship and genocide taking place in El Salvador in the year 1980. Although it's a very in-your-face picture and has to do with debatable political hardships, 'Salvador' is a great, powerful and heart wrenching picture that will stay with you a long time after you view it. Even though 'Salvador' is one of Oliver Stone's least famous flicks, it ranks up there with one of his best films.

The movie chronicles the life of real-life photojournalist Rick Boyle (played by James Woods). Boyle's life is falling apart all around him and he's almost completely broke, so he decides to go to El Salvador, to kick it with his best friend, Doctor Rock (played by SNL alumni James Belushi). Boyle and Doc Rock figure El Salvador will be the perfect vacation place, but what they don't realize is that the country going through one of the most violent acts of genocide in world history will effect them. In El Salvador, Boyle meets up with his girlfriend, a native, Maria (Elphidia Carillo), an old friend whose a reporter from Newsday, John Cassady (Carnivale's John Savage), and Cathy Moore, a Catholic nun who works as a lay worker (Cynthia Gibb). While relaxing in the so-called paradise, Boyle begins to realize the atrocities around him and makes a hard decision to try to make a difference, severely risking his life and the lives of the people around him.

'Salvador' isn't a masterpiece, but it's a film of such ferocious power and intensity that it's impossible not to notice. The real life Rick Boyle and Oliver Stone round out a scorching screenplay, and Stone does an awesome job behind the camera. James Woods is magnificent as Boyle, and deserved his Oscar nomination. John Belushi not only provides us with a usual comedic performance, but puts in a lot of dramatic aspects to his character showing that Belushi has more depth than most people realize as an actor. John Savage, post-Deer Hunter, is a pleasure to watch as always, and Independent Spirit Award Nominee Elphidia Carillo, turns in a fine performance as Boyle's love interest. The film also features Michael Murphy as the U.S. ambassador in El Salvador.

When it all is over, 'Salvador' proves to be a great film, but not an excellent one. The film has minor flaws like dragging a little, and sometimes not getting down to the point. It's Stone's first film (second if you count that crap, 'The Hand), and he does a damn fine job with it. If you haven't already, and don't mind a powerhouse of a film, go to your local videostore and rent 'Salvador'. Trust me, you'll like it. Grade: B+

MADE MY TOP 300 LIST AT #238


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