Red Dawn Movie Review (1984)

by Michael Staudt

In the past, many war films have been made about the United States being conquered by armies of mass destruction. Some war films are based on infamous battles taking place in the past, while others offer alternative storylines and occurrences in previous wars. Red Dawn is one of these jaw-dropping, incredible, films. In this review, I will state why Red Dawn is a good film, the themes of the film, and why the movie was so groundbreaking at the time.

Red Dawn is a post-apocalyptic film made in 1984, about Soviet and Cuban armies invading the United States. The movie focuses on a band of rogue teenagers who fight back against the calamitous armies bestowed upon them.  This group of high-school students is known as the Wolverines, and wreak havoc upon the vile and callous Cuban Soviets. In the end, the Wolverines are pulverized and only two rogues travel on foot to the safe home front of the United States.

Grossing in an income of 38,376,497 dollars, Red Dawn was an acclaimed masterpiece for its time. The United States constantly praised the movie for its plot, realistic situations, the procession of events, and impeccable acting portrayed on screen. Once Red Dawn hit the international screen, other countries disliked the film and thought that the movie was erratic, unthoughtful, and quite barbaric. However, the United States still claimed to have a wartime masterpiece.

The film displayed groundbreaking cinematography in its portrayal of combat. Along with this, the special effects utilized in the film is incredible. In one combat scene, it portrays two Soviet tanks combating against American F-15 jets in a desolate desert. The scene displays superior props, replicas of vehicles, and heart wrenching sounds of firing ammunition. Mostly being filmed in the Sonora desert and the Redwoods, the movie offers incredible settings of adrenaline invoking locations.

The themes of the film are very blunt and frank. When the film was released, the Cold War was in full swing dramatically affecting the lives of millions of Americans. The film displayed many fears and calamitous thoughts of the Soviet and Cuban invasion upon the United States home front. In the film, the teenage rebels, also known as the Wolverines, displayed militaristic characteristics as the plot progresses. Eventually, one of the Wolverines become so callous, that the teenager kills one of the companions for betraying the alliance. Along with this, the directing of the film made the Soviets and Cubans seem like they were petty and imbecilic. Propaganda of the film was constantly added throughout the dialogue and imageries of the movie. After the movie was released into the commercial world, an uprising of hate directed against the Soviet Union took place in the United States.

The plot is concise and is straight to the point. As the film progresses, the viewer gains more information about how the war began and why it potentially started. Along with this; the viewer learns that the battles fought by the group of teenagers are a starting point to World War 3. The movie is very fast pace and contains approximately sixteen combat scenes and action. In one of these scenes, it shows a bumper sticker stating “they can take my gun away from me when they pry it from my cold, dead, fingers.” After panning down from the bumper sticker, it shows a Cuban taking a pistol from a casualty’s hand. This was an example of the culture the viewer learns as the film progresses.

Red Dawn is an infamous, groundbreaking, film made in the 1980’s. Displaying awe inspiring special effects and cinematography, the movie is well-played. Through the propaganda and themes of the film, the movie boosted hate against the Soviet Union in the United States. The plot is fast paced and is ridden with constant action. Although the storyline is concise, Red Dawn will appeal to those who enjoy war movies and alternative history.