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Walker (1987)

An unconventional retelling of the life of William Walker, a 19th century American mercenary leader who became the president of Nicaragua.


Alex Cox


Rudy Wurlitzer
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Ed Harris ... William Walker
Richard Masur ... Ephraim Squier
Rene Auberjonois ... Maj. Siegfried Hennington
Keith Szarabajka ... Timothy Crocker
Sy Richardson ... Capt. Hornsby
Xander Berkeley ... Byron Cole
John Diehl ... Stebbins
Peter Boyle ... Cornelius Vanderbilt
Marlee Matlin ... Ellen Martin
Alfonso Arau ... Raousset
Pedro Armendáriz Jr. ... Muñoz (as Pedro Armendariz)
Roberto López Espinoza Roberto López Espinoza ... Mayorga
Gerrit Graham ... Norvell Walker
William O'Leary ... James Walker
Blanca Guerra ... Yrena


William Walker and his mercenary corps enter Nicaragua in the middle of the 19th century in order to install a new government by a coup d'etat. All is being financed by an American multimillionaire who has his own interest in this country. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Before Rambo... Before Oliver North...


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This motion picture was predominantly filmed in the Central American country of the Republic of Nicaragua during the Contra War period. See more »


This film is littered with anachronisms (for example: modern cars, color printed magazines and coca cola bottles). However, these are clearly an artistic choice by the film-maker and cannot be considered true 'goofs'. See more »


Cornelius Vanderbilt: No one will remember Walker. No one will remember men who lose.
See more »

Alternate Versions

All horsefalls using tripwires were cut from the UK release, but the complete version has been shown twice on network TV (BBC2). See more »


Featured in Shoot If You Live (2011) See more »


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User Reviews

Free Based on True Events
12 November 2011 | by bkrauser-81-311064See all my reviews

This movie is one of those rare films I can't help but admire for its temerity. Hiding its eccentricities under the guise of a biographical epic, this film breaks all conventions, storytelling and otherwise to create a jarring yet memorable experience.

The film concerns itself with American 18th century soldier of fortune William Walker (Ed Helms) who from 1855 to 1857 was de facto ruler of Nicaragua. After the unexpected death of his wife (Marlee Matlin), Walker leaves for Nicaragua with the support of Cornelius Vanderbilt (Peter Boyle) who hopes to capitalize on the country's position between the Atlantic and Pacific. He is also aided by a group of mercenaries some of which worked with him in an unsuccessful campaign in Mexico. They would become known as Walker's Immortals.

"Walker" is like "Aguirre" mixed with "Wild Bunch" and "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." The film starts out in a hail of gunfire and blood before setting up breezy yet much needed exposition. From then on its a no holds barred acid trip with a modern satirical twist. While Arthur Miller's The Crucible was a veiled criticism of McCarthyism, Walker is a downright admonishment of U.S. involvement in Nicaragua during the 80's complete with cars, modern rifles and Time magazine. I could imagine the producers watching the final cut of "Walker" huddled into the screening room thinking "we're so screwed!" Director Alex Cox slowly unveils his demented scheme with such relish that its hard not to enjoy his F-U to the Hollywood studio system. In satirizing modern politics he also satirizes conventions of biographical film-making. Despite long hours of research most "true story" films are speculative anyway so why not show a helicopter in the 1850's? "Walker" is an ugly film about an ugly man told with energy and gumption. Ed Harris does a great job chewing the scenery creating a glory seeking reptilian monster who at one point seems not to know the means to his ends. Alex Cox has never since had a widely distributed film released in the United States which is a shame but on the bright side he follows an age old tradition. Welles had "Citizen Kane," Coppola had "Apocalypse Now" and Cox has "Walker."


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Official Sites:

Alex Cox


USA | Mexico

Release Date:

4 December 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Walker See more »


Box Office


$5,800,000 (estimated)
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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