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Welcome to Sarajevo (1997)

R | | Drama, War | 26 November 1997 (USA)
Journalist Flynn from the U.S., Michael Henderson from the U.K., and their teams meet at the beginning of the Bosnian war in Sarajevo. During their reports, they find an orphanage run by ... See full summary »
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Stephen Dillane ... Michael Henderson
Woody Harrelson ... Flynn
Marisa Tomei ... Nina
Emira Nusevic Emira Nusevic ... Emira
Kerry Fox ... Jane Carson
Goran Visnjic ... Risto Bavic
James Nesbitt ... Gregg
Emily Lloyd ... Annie McGee
Igor Dzambazov Igor Dzambazov ... Jacket
Gordana Gadzic Gordana Gadzic ... Mrs. Savic
Juliet Aubrey ... Helen Henderson
Drazen Sivak Drazen Sivak ... Zeljko
Vesna Orel Vesna Orel ... Munira
Davor Janjic Davor Janjic ... Dragan
Vladimir Jokanovic Vladimir Jokanovic ... Emira's Uncle


Journalist Flynn from the U.S., Michael Henderson from the U.K., and their teams meet at the beginning of the Bosnian war in Sarajevo. During their reports, they find an orphanage run by the devoted Mrs. Savic near the frontline. Henderson gets so involved in the kids' problems, that he decides to take one of the children, Emira, illegally back to England. He is assisted by American aid worker Nina.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


To get the story, they'll risk everything. See more »


Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brutal images/war atrocities and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Stephen Dillane met with the real-life journalist he plays in the film, Michael Henderson, but chose not to establish too much of a relationship with him as he wanted to create his own particular portrait of the man. See more »


When the bus was stopped over an hour into the movies by Chetniks, where was the U.N. guards to protect them? A scene later the U.N. guards are with them again. See more »


[first lines]
Title Card: In 1991, the country of Yugoslavia began to fracture into separate nations. On the pretext of maintaining Yugoslavia's integrity, the Serbian dominated Yugoslav army attacked first Slovenia, then Croatia.
Title Card: In April 1992, in the hope of securing international protection, Bosnia declared its independence. This was rejected by many Bosnian Serbs. Aided by the remnants of the Yugoslav army, they set out to claim as much territory as they could.
Title Card: They systematically cleansed towns and ...
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Featured in The Greatest Ever War Films (2014) See more »


Adagio in G Minor for Strings & Organ
Written and performed by Remo Jaizotto
Based on two thematic fragments and a figured base by Tomaso Albinoni
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User Reviews

9 November 2001 | by Alex-372See all my reviews

This is one very strange movie for me. On the one hand, it is undeniably bad. The movie tries to tell two types of stories, first it wants bo be a movie about war journalists, like Olliver Stone's Salvador. Then, it becomes a rescue movie when the main journalist tries to evacuate a nine year old girl from the war zone.

One problem is that these two stories don't hang well together at all. The journalist is totally uncharismatic. Then, there are cameos (don't let the cover fool you) of Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei. Very charming actors, but they don't get enough screen time.

What I think happened is that the director became overraught by the fact that they were _actually_ filming in Sarajevo itself, wanted to put too many things in, and in the end forgot what his job was - namely, to tell a story.

What I would have done, was focus much more on the little girl, her perspective of the war, which is much more interesting than watching some jaded journalists being jaded. Also, in the end, the war in Bosnia was about the people of Bosnia, not some parachuted in gonzos. It is in fact demeaning in itself that the people who suffered the most, are delegated to playing extras in some kind of movie that can't make up it's mind what story it wants to tell. At the same time, after focusing on the girl, I would have focused more on the Woody Harrelson character. He has a lot more going for him than the scrawny, balding lead, who's character, by the way, also isn't developed (why does he have a family back home?;What does his wife think of him flying off to the latest war zone?;Why does she accept that he does this dangerous job and in the process shacks up with Kerry Fox and Emily Lloyd?; Questions, questions...). The movie falls into the trap of, instead of telling a coherent, progressive story, wanting to mention every atrocity visited on the city of Sarajevo.

However, what it has going for it, are those rare moments. At times, the movie is effective in illustrating _how_ those people came to be dead, especially with the middle aged woman who was shot dead during the wedding party/procession. The images of the concentration camps are of course harrowing, and the scenes of the market place that was mortared are gruesome. There is an effective blending of news footage and movie, to the point where at _some_ point (not immediately) you don't know what is real and what is fiction. Ok. However, this does not make for a movie. Movies have to have characters you can root for - they don't _have_ to be Western journalists. I would have rooted for the little girl. Or her mom. Or the translator. You don't have to have American actors for it to play well in America (think of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). What has to be there is a good story, told well. And it unfortunately doesn't have the latter.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Serbian | Bosnian

Release Date:

26 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Welcome to Sarajevo See more »

Filming Locations:

Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina See more »


Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$66,920, 30 November 1997

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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