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Red Dawn (1984)


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Release Date: Aug 10, 1984 Wide



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Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 48,540

My Rating

Movie Info

Set at an indeterminate point in the future, this drama with an overt anti-communist message begins as an ostensible war movie: Russian and Cuban forces have invaded the U.S. and are viciously eliminating the inhabitants of a small town, when a group of teens escapes and plans a counterattack. Jed (Patrick Swayze), Robert (C. Thomas Howell), and six of their friends watch in amazement as soldiers parachute into their town and start shooting. The teens grab a pickup truck, stock up on supplies at


Action & Adventure

John Milius

May 15, 2001


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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (8) | DVD (12)

Certainly a silly Conservative leaning product of its decade, but one that still holds cache as a fun and exciting bit of escapism...

March 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Controversial, bloody 1980s WWIII film with teen heroes.

December 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

The smartest/dumbest movie of 1984.

August 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central | Comment (1)
Film Freak Central

Released in the midst of renewed Cold War nuclear dread, Red Dawn doesn't starve for unintended wackiness.

July 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

C'mon: The Dirty Dozen meets The Breakfast Club? That's just awesome.

June 2, 2006 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

See Red Dawn only when you're in the mood for a guilty pleasure

April 3, 2006 Full Review Source:

Guilty pleasure film that one day you'll have to explain to your grandkids.

November 14, 2005

Good action flick and the first PG13 movie.

April 22, 2005
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

Commie paranoia rampant!

October 19, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Red-baiting pablum about some Brat Packers, here dubbed the Wolverines, who rescue Colorado from a Soviet occupation. Risibly bad, jingoistic, and often laughable to boot.

March 9, 2004

Minus the Cold War paranoia, Red Dawn loses much of its edge.

February 7, 2002
New Times

Audience Reviews for Red Dawn

Set in an alternate 80's this film is based around the notion that the US is evaded by the Soviet Union and its Cuban and Nicaraguan allies. So its everything your standard red blooded, paranoid, religious Southern hick dreams of, a chance to roam around out in the sticks shooting people that may look like a threat, YEE-HAW!!.

World War III, America v Russia, fight!, well almost. The film is interesting if slightly silly, I would of thought it impossible to evade and take the US considering its size and population. A film of its time for sure, a time when America was paranoid about the Russians (and vice versa) and had not too long finished up fighting the North Vietnamese.

on one hand its a more serious 'Goonie' type fantasy adventure, on the other hand there is a clear underlying message about the way people thought back then, tensions, imagination running wild, maybe even preparation ideas just in case, what better way to show the masses than with a movie. You could almost say it was a military promotion/propaganda to encourage youngsters to join up, stop the commies from trying this, don't be like one of these characters in the film (that get captured and killed).

Putting aside the hidden messages that aren't so well hidden (were they meant to be?) its obviously very dated and effects aren't like today, the action is very hokey. Lots of vehicles being blown up, men shot with no visible evidence of bullet holes or blood, booby traps, thick tashed bad guys etc...It is a grown up serious film though, the premise is serious as are the deaths of various characters and the way the film portrays both sides at crucial moments of morality.

To look at the film you could be fooled into thinking it was just another silly 'A-Team' brat pack affair, hell it was only missing Estevez and Lowe. Despite the now famous young cast there is a heck of a lot of emotion flowing through this, certain scenes will make your eyes well up even though you know its corny as hell. The dialog is like the action in its hokey as hell at times but along with the great location work you can't deny the film does pack some punch, somewhat.

Back in the day for American kids of that age group I'm sure this film was quite unnerving. As for American adults back in the day I'm sure it did make them wonder about the future. Altogether a film very much of its time which doesn't really work as well now, still fun thanks to a great cast but the edge has long gone due to circumstances changing over many many years. An interesting look back in time though.
March 1, 2013

Super Reviewer

Jed Eckert: One thing's for sure now... No one can ever go home again. Never. 

"In our time, no foreign army has ever occupied American soil. Until now."

There's some entertainment to be had from watching Red Dawn, but come on; for the most part this movie is pretty awful. The only way I could see someone actually thinking this movie was good, is if they see it as the so bad, it's good type of film. In my eyes though, I view it as only bad. 

When foreign paratroopers land near a high school, a group of teenagers take off into the mountains with supplies. Once they find out what is going on back in town; killing of civilians, re-education camps, etc... they form a little guerilla army of their own called the Wolverines. From there it's just a standard, let's go kill the bad guys movie. 

The movie fails in a lot of different aspects. It's horribly written, the dialogue and acting is as fake as any movie you will ever see, and overall the 80's feel of the film just doesn't work in the context of the material. The premise is an interesting one, but there's nothing to drive that good premise home. Enjoyable moments only come from the laughter some of the one liners and acting bring. People call this a classic film, but all I call it is shit.

This movie could potentially blow a 14 year olds mind, but for any adult with half a brain, it's just going to be irritating. Now we have a remake of this film that I hear is even worse. Let me just say, I'm not running out to go see that one anytime soon. 
December 19, 2012
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

The invading armies planned for everything - except for eight kids called "The Wolverines."

Decent 80's movie!vThis is one of those films you are either going to love or hate. I find it difficult to believe anyone would be neutral regarding it. The cast is chock full of stars in their younger years, and acting isn't bad either. Great movie and certainly worth watching at least once. Although director John Milius appears to have rested on his dubious laurels through much of the production, I still feel that this film, over time, has achieved iconic placement in the grand scheme of things. It belongs in the time capsule, faults and all. See it if you want!

From out of the sky, Soviet, Nicaraguan, and Cuban troops begin landing on the football field of a Colorado high school. In seconds, the paratroopers have attacked the school and sent a group of teenagers fleeing into the mountains. Armed only with hunting rifles, pistols, and bows and arrows, the teens struggle to survive the bitter winter and the Soviet KGB patrols hunting for them. Eventually, trouble arises when they kill a group of Soviet soldiers on patrol in the highlands. Soon they will wage their own guerrilla warfare against the invading Soviet troops-under the banner of 'Wolverines!'
November 17, 2012
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

There were many great, great films made in the '80s, some of them that even trademarked pop culture. Sadly enough, RED DAWN is not one of them.

RED DAWN starts off with a high school. It looks like FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, in fact, the way everyone in class is bored, jokes are being whispered among the class, etc. Then, out of the blue, a bunch of war vehicles come in and start shooting up the school. This is what Hollywood in 1984 titled "World War III". (?!) From there on, if you've ever read the comics or seen the TV adaptation of THE WALKING DEAD, then you know what I'm talking about when I say the rest of RED DAWN is just like THE WALKING DEAD, except with Spanish-speaking Russian military (?!) instead of zombies. It's just a movie about surviving from apocalyptic havoc.

Like I said, there are many good '80s films out there. But like I also said, RED DAWN just isn't one of them, mainly because the plot is so superficial that it's silly, and the worst thing filmmakers can do to give film a bad reputation is to put the concept of war in a silly light. Believe it or not, the only real reason this one is remembered is because it was the first film to be released with a U.S. "PG-13" rating. If you're looking for a good film that has Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in a group together, don't waste your time with this. Try DIRTY DANCING instead. It's a lot more even, and it's so much less flawed.
October 1, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Eckert: Avenge me boys! Avenge me!
    – Submitted by William W (20 months ago)
    1. Robert: WOLVERINES!
    – Submitted by John K (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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