The Fourth War (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Fourth War (1990)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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The Fourth War finds director John Frankenheimer delving into the same Cold-war territory he'd previously cultivated in films like The Manchurian Candidate. Col. Jack Knowles (Roy Scheider), serving at a faraway post on the German-Czech border, carries on a personal war with his Soviet counterpart, Colonel Valachev (Jurgen Prochnow). Both have been hardened by past combat experiences, and both have been embittered by the exigencies of red tape, bureaucracy, and diplomatic deal-making. Their friendly rivalry snowballs (literally so!) into a guerilla-like combat situation, culminating in a one-on-one showdown. It's essentially a shaggy dog story, but a compelling one. Based on a novel by Stephen Peters, The Fourth War was given surprisingly short shrift by Cannon Films' distribution channels.
R (adult situations/language, violence)
Action & Adventure , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
HBO Video


Roy Scheider
as Col. Jack Knowles
Jürgen Prochnow
as Col. Valachev
Tim Reid
as Lt. Col. Clark
Lara Harris
as Elena
Harry Dean Stanton
as Gen. Hackworth
Dale Dye
as Sergeant Major
Bill MacDonald
as MP Corporal
David Palffy
as Gawky Soldier
Neil Grahn
as Needle-Nose Soldier
Ernie Jackson
as Knowles' Driver
Ron Campbell
as Young American Soldier
John Dodds
as Defector
Richard Durven
as Young Soldier
Alice Pesta
as Hannelore
Gregory A. Gale
as Communications Corporal
Henry Kope
as Mayor
Kent McNeill
as US Private
George Scholl
as Innkeeper
Gordon Signer
as Bavarian Wife
Lilo Bahr
as Innkeeper's Wife
Claus Diedrich
as Frontier Police Captain
Igor Burstyn
as Czech Tower Guard
Matus Ginzberg
as Puppeteer
Boris Novogrudsky
as Aide to Valachev
Tom Kelly
as Sports Announcer
Garry Galinsky
as Red Army Private #1
Ed Soibelman
as Red Army Private #2
Gary Spivak
as Red Army Private #3
Yefim Korduner
as Red Army Major #1
Brent Woolsey
as Red Army Major #2
Brian Warren
as MP/Wide Soldier
Guy Buller
as Czech Guard
Roman Podhora
as Czech Guard #1
Joseph Vrba
as Czech Guard #2
Kyle Maschmeyer
as Villager #1
Kurt Darmohray
as Villager #2
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Critic Reviews for The Fourth War

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3)

A modest but highly entertaining quirky Cold War thriller.

Full Review… | December 27, 2014
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Scheider is much better then the material.

January 8, 2005
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

Underrated war flick with a great lead performance by Roy Scheider.

July 25, 2002

Audience Reviews for The Fourth War


Confrontation. Thats what the film is all about. But this Cold War offering is quite stale by now. Most young people don't know anything about this Cold, or phoney, war. Roy Scheider does his best to make it entertaining. Director Wolfgang Schmidt was also behind Slasher. I will add to this preposterous, rather far fetched personal war between Scheider and his military counterpart on the other side. I really can't believe Scheider would entertain being in this incredibly strange and bizarre plot. Hardly a Cold War thriller in which an American colonel (Roy Scheider) and his Soviet counterpart (Jurgen Prochnow) engage in a private, potentially disastrous war. Lots of border clashes, showdowns, stuff we see in all these East-West border skirmishes. Cast Roy Scheider Jurgen Prochnow Tim Reid Lara Harris Harry Dean Stanton Crew Director: John Frankenheimer Art Director: Rick Roberts Associate Producer: Harry Bloom Associate Producer: Frank Spolar Based on a Work by: Stephen Peters Cinematographer: Gerry Fisher Composer: Bill Conti Costume Designer: Ray Summers Editor: Robert F. Shugrue Executive Producer: Sam Perlmutter Executive Producer: William Stuart Line Producer: Robert L. Rosen Producer: Wolf Schmidt (also directed Slasher) Production Designer: Alan Manzer Screenplay: Stephen Peters Screenplay: Kenneth Ross Set Decorator : Janice Blackie

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