Critics Consensus

Despite its somewhat disjointed narrative, Oliver Stone's Salvador is a vivid and powerful political drama that sets an early tone for the director's similarly provocative future projects.



Total Count: 26


Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,505
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Movie Info

While Salvador wasn't Oliver Stone's first film (a pair of offbeat horror stories preceded it), it defined his style of fiercely dramatic, politically oriented filmmaking, staked out his territory as one of the major directors of the 1980s and 1990s, and remains one of his strongest works to date. Veteran photojournalist Richard Boyle (James Woods) has been taking his camera to the world's trouble spots for over 20 years; while he does good work, Boyle's fondness for booze and drugs, and his colossal arrogance, have given him a reputation that's left him practically unemployable. Broke and with no immediate prospects, Boyle and his buddy Doctor Rock (Jim Belushi), an out-of-work disc jockey, head to El Salvador, where Boyle is convinced that he can scare up some lucrative freelance work amidst the nation's political turmoil. However, when Boyle and Rock witness the execution of a student by government troops just as they enter the country, it becomes clear that this war is more serious than they were expecting. Increasingly convinced that El Salvador is a disaster starting to happen, Boyle eventually decides that it's time to get out; but he has fallen in love with a woman named Maria (Elpidia Carrillo), and he doesn't want to leave her behind. James Woods gives one of his best performances as Boyle; and the passion of Stone's message, aided by the power of its truth (the film is based on actual events), propels the film forward. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


James Woods
as Richard Boyle
Jim Belushi
as Doctor Rock
Michael Murphy
as Ambassador Thomas Kelly
John Savage
as John Cassady
Tony Plana
as Maj. Max
Colby Chester
as Jack Morgan
Cynthia Gibb
as Cathy Moore
Will MacMillian
as Col. Hyde
Will MacMillan
as Col. Hyde
Valerie Wildman
as Pauline Axelrod
Jose Carlos Ruiz
as Archbishop Romero
Jorge Luke
as Col. Julio Figueroa
Juan Fernández
as Army Lieutenant
Salvador Sanchez
as Human Rights Leader
Agustín Bernal
as Bodyguard to Major Max
Rosario Zuniga
as His Assistant
Martin Fuentes
as Maria's Brother
Gary Farr
as Australian Reporter
Gilles Milinaire
as French Reporter
Ramón Menéndez
as Maj. Max's Assistant
John Doe
as Roberto, Restaurant Owner
Waldeir de Souza
as U.S. Customs Official
Arturo Rodriguez Doring
as Young Student Killed
Leticia Valenzuela
as Woman Rebel
Roberto Sosa
as Rebel Youth
Daria Okugawa
as Dog Attendant
Joshua Gallegos
as Immigration Officer on Bus
Maria Rubell
as Boyle's Baby
Josh Gallegos
as Immigration Officer on Bus
Russell Tyrone Jones
as Landlord, San Francisco
Claudia Hernandez
as Maria's Daughter
Sean Stone
as Boyle's Baby
Danna Hansen
as Sister Stan
Bill Hoag
as 2nd Immigration Officer
Sigridur Gudmunds
as Sister Burkit
Erika Carlson
as Sister Wagner
Karla Glover
as Kelly Assistant
Jule Conn
as WAC at Party
Arturo Bonilla
as Romero Assassin
Ann Sue McKean
as Cop in San Francisco
'Chiquilin' Zepeda
as Death Squad
Nicholas Jasso
as Death Squad
Héctor Téllez
as Mayor at Nun's Burial
Jorge Reynoso
as Jefe at Customs Shed
Jorge Pol
as Customs Officer
César Sobrevals
as Customs Officer
Bruno Rubeo
as Customs Officer
Bob Morones
as Customs Officer
Arturo R. Doring
as Young Student Killed
Yair Rubin De
as Maria's Son
Humberto Elizondo
as Road Block Thug
Mario Arevalo
as Road Block Thug
Gerardo Quiroz
as Carlos' Friend
Israel Leon
as Carlos' Friend
Mauricio Martinez
as Executed Lieutenant
Xochitl Rosario Del
as Messenger on Horse
Augustin Bernal
as Bodyguard to Major Max
Carmen Del Ma. Sanchez
as Maria's Grandmother
John MacDevitt
as GI in Salvador
Waldeir DeSouza
as US Customs Official
Angeles Los De Ma. Urquiza
as Mamma Moncha at Panama Club
Angel Vargas
as Tic Tac Monster in Cafe
Miguel Ehrenberg
as Capt. Marti
Cindy Gibb
as Cathy Moore
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Critic Reviews for Salvador

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for Salvador

  • Aug 13, 2015
    There's plenty of substance, the problem is Stone's insistence on filming it like a documentary which leaves the tone floundering.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 09, 2014
    "..... remains one of his strongest works to date." Maybe so, but I found it quite dated.
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Mar 07, 2014
    With great regret, Salvador doesn't get the air play that it should. This chronicle of the turmoil in El Salvador is powerful and gives honour to those lost in the conflict.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 15, 2013
    Its definitely one of the better films about American journalists embedded in a foreign country. The politics are understandably angry and James Woods' scrappy performance is just great.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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