PG-13 1984 | 114 mins | Drama
Any child of the '80s knows the battle cry "Wolverines!" - and no, it has nothing to do with a mutant Hugh Jackman sporting a wicked case of bed-head. It's the 1984 rally of a brave group of Colorado high school students turned guerilla fighters in this cinematic combination of Cold War paranoia and Aqua Net. It all starts when Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, C. Thomas Howell, and a small group of fellow Brat Packers find their small town invaded by the Russian army. Refusing to take "Die American scum!" for an answer, these resourceful teens flee, take up arms, and turn into a gung-ho gang of freedom fighters. With a body count over one hundred, the film was once hailed as the most violent film ever released (and hence, the first to don a PG-13 rating). Sure it's outrageously over-the-top and jingoistic, but brother, you haven't lived until you've seen Jennifer Grey mow down militants with an assault rifle. Nobody puts Baby in a prison camp!
Top 10 Fun Facts
- Groundbreaker, MPAA-style: Red Dawn was America's first PG-13 film.
- What's in a name? The original script was titled "Ten Soldiers," and apparently had more of a Lord of the Flies vibe.
- Use what you've got: shooting in and around the town of Las Vegas, New Mexico, the filmmakers converted an old Safeway supermarket into a makeshift sound stage.
- Boot camp lite: the cast underwent an intensive eight-week military training course before production began.
- Groundbreaker, world record-style: Red Dawn appeared in the Guinness Book of Records for its frequent acts of violence - the most of any film to date. (Their calculations: 2.23 violent acts per minute).
- Humble beginnings: the movie marks Charlie Sheen's feature film debut.
- Art imitates life: the drawing of Genghis Khan in the classroom during the opening scene is a caricature of director John Milius.
- Missing the mark: while filming the high school invasion scene, five Soviet-dressed parachutists were blown up to a mile off course.
- Real world homage: Army Captain Geoffrey McMurray decided to name the mission to capture Saddam Hussein "Operation Red Dawn," dubbing its targets Wolverine 1 and Wolverine 2.
- Get ready for the remake! Set for a November 2012 release, the updated version will replace the Soviet invasion with a North Korean one.