70 user 27 critic

Sniper (1993)

0:31 | Trailer
A US Marine sniper is partnered with a SWAT member to take out rebel leaders in the jungles of Panama.


Luis Llosa





Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Berenger ... Thomas Beckett
Billy Zane ... Richard Miller
J.T. Walsh ... Chester Van Damme
Aden Young ... Doug Papich
Ken Radley Ken Radley ... El Cirujano
Reynaldo Arenas Reynaldo Arenas ... Cacique (as Reinaldo Arenas)
Gary Swanson ... NSC Officer in Washington
Hank Garrett ... Admiral in Washington
Frederick Miragliotta ... General Miguel Alavarez
Vanessa Steele Vanessa Steele ... Mrs. Alvarez
Carlos Álvarez Carlos Álvarez ... Raul Ochoa (as Carlos Alvarez)
Tyler Coppin ... Ripoly (as Tyler Copin)
Teo Gebert ... Ripoly's Friend
Edward Wiley Edward Wiley ... DeSilva
William Curtin William Curtin ... Mountain Top Pilot


Tough guy Thomas Beckett is a US Marine working in the Panamanian jungle. His job is to seek out rebels and remove them using his sniper skills. Beckett is notorious for losing his partners on such missions. This time he's accompanied by crack marksman Richard Miller, who's more of an office-type. Together they plan to seek out an important rebel leader, whilst avoiding a rogue marksman who frequents this part of the jungle. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One Shot. One Kill. No Exceptions.


Action | Thriller | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This film (along with several others) is somewhat based on the story of US Marine Corps sniper Carlos Hathcock, who took out a Viet Cong sniper who was stalking him by firing a round through the man's scope, sending the bullet into his brain. The story has been labeled a "myth" by some, but the incident was observed by Hathcock's spotter, John Roland Burke, who surveyed the scene after the kill. Given the flight time of rounds at long ranges, both snipers could easily have killed one another. The enemy rifle was recovered and the incident is documented by a photograph. After an investigation, the Marine Corps confirmed the incident and registered the kill to Hathcock. See more »


Before Beckett and Miller meet the Indians, Miller does not have his shooting glasses on. When the Indian sneaks up behind Miller and puts the rifle to Miller's head, Miller is wearing the glasses. See more »


Richard Miller: [seeing El Cirujano for the first time] He's a fuckin' American!
Thomas Beckett: He's a fuckin' spook. Ex-CIA. I met him once up in El Salvador. Now he's an enforcer for the cocaine monkeys. I'll take out the lieutenant, you concentrate on him. Now put a fuckin' bullet through his heart.
See more »

Alternate Versions

German rental video was cut for violence by ca. 75 sec. to secure a "Not under 18" rating. The retail video/DVD was cut by more than ten minutes to get a "Not under 16" rating. EuroVideo 2007 DVD release is uncut. See more »


Referenced in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) See more »


Turn It Up
Written and Performed by Henry Lee Summer
Courtesy of Epic Associated Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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User Reviews

Great performances enliven an inconsequential film.
28 March 1999 | by ChoiBabySee all my reviews

Deep in the jungles of South America...lies a professional army veteran. A pro with firearms, this sniper aims using deadly efficiency and he eliminates his targets in a silent, slick manner. Familiar with the territory, proficient in both armed and unarmed forms of combat, this soldier, fluent in both English and his native Spanish is a man who shoots first, and asks questions later. His covert missions are usually top secret...and he works alone too. This time though, he has company.

For it is imperative that this new assignment be accomplished as quickly and stealthily as possible... Or else...all hell will break loose in a whirlwind of fury...

Tom Berenger is an experienced, suicidal marine who has acclimatized himself to handling all forms of jeopardy. Newcomer Billy Zane is an amateurish tyro...who cannot make his first kill. In the vast jungle-lands of Panama, the two snipers are assigned to assassinate a Colombian druglord who has the potential of gaining power in the government. The two men arrive only to find themselves caught in a maelstrom of vehemence. The two encounter conflicts with their enemies...and eventually each other... The pressure is on!

SNIPER is a mediocre motion picture. This film tries to be more of a psychological drama than an action thriller. True, there are lots of macho philosophizing; slow motion bullets flying at close range; bold, tough guy effrontery, and an almost all male cast with no female leads. What makes SNIPER more unique though is that this movie has better character angles than expected. Billy Zane, for one, actually shows the right stuff in this movie. Zane does a superb job portraying a rookie sniper with a conscious...and a short fuse. He demonstrates the vulnerability, the problems, and the integrity of a soldier coping with the focus of his mission...and the nature of his deeds. Berenger does a fine job also, delineating a cocky, over-the-top Sergeant with an itchy finger constantly on the trigger. The two leads have created a couple of emotionally ambivalent characters (although fabricated in a banal manner) who must deal with their purpose...and each other's weaknesses.

Excellent performances by Tom Berenger and a young, show-stealing Billy Zane lift SNIPER from turning into a complete fiasco. Consequently though, in spite of some well executed action scenes and an inkling of tension permeating throughout the movie, SNIPER is surprisingly tepid in the adventure genre. The technically well-staged action scenes for example are somewhat unpolished and they lack finesse. The photography is also swift; just the rest of the movie, including character development doesn't really come close to swiftness.

This ambitious character study just misses the mark. The nuances of character are there, but the film as a whole is no different from most other action pictures. Unfortunately, the pace in SNIPER is extremely vapid, with more screen time spent on characters talking and running around rather than generating any real action.

In spite of the faults evidently gathered in SNIPER, this flick is a tolerable action movie. The action isn't really exhilarating, and the thrills in SNIPER are left to be desired for. Still, Billy Zane and Tom Berenger salvage this film from transforming into a complete mess. They work well together and though the plot is itself contrived, and these two characters are atrociously full of clichés, the two main leads do add credibility to their parts. Director Luis Llosa (ANACONDA, THE SPECIALIST) has designed a dubious, but OK, just not great film. If you are not demanding a high caliber thriller, then you'll find this motion picture to be serviceable.

RATING: ** out of ****.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Official Sites:

Official site | Vidio [Indonesia]




English | Spanish

Release Date:

29 January 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sniper See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,715,435, 31 January 1993

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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