1980s Red Dawn (1984)

Published on December 30th, 2006 | by Chris


Red Dawn (1984)

Review of: Red Dawn (1984)
War Movie directed by:
John Milius

Reviewed by:
On December 30, 2006
Last modified:October 4, 2012


A romp through "What if" land that ultimately isn't all that great, unless you happened to be around in the 80's. Then its kind of a fun throwback. Starring Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, C. Thomas Howell.

Red Dawn (1984)Ah the eighties... The height (well, maybe the second peak...) of cold-war paranoia and anti-Soviet-isms. One of the prime examples of 80's Anti-Red movies is '84's Red Dawn.

Now lets just excuse the near tactical impossiblity of the Soviets landing ground troops as far inland as Colorado. Just for a moment. The official explanation is that in this "universe" Mexico fell to the red menace during a Cuba-like revolution along with most of Central America, and they were able to enter from the south, later bringing troops across into Alaska and down through Canada. In the words of Bill Cosby, "riiiiiiigggghtt!" Of course at the time we were led to believe in the might of the Soviet military, but in retrospect it kind of looks rather silly, doesn't it?

As they land at the (supposedly) strategically important town of Calumet City Colorado, a band of high school students led by Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen escape into the mountains, and exist off the supplies they took with them and what they're able to hunt. They later venture back into town and then to a family friends house, where they pick up their female companions played by Jennifer Gray and Lea Thompson. During the venture into town again to the concentration-camp like location (the local drive-in) where a number of "persons of interest" (to use a current phrase) are held, including their dad who delivers a typically 80's gung-ho speech as they tearfully run back to the hills.

They start their "insurgency" by offing a comical trio of Russki officers on a sightseeing mission, and with the taste of blood in their mouths begin striking supply brigades and other targets of opportunity.

Eventually a downed F-15 pilot joins them in their adventure (um, no rescue mission? No "Hey I need to get back"?) and is lost along with one of their comrades as they're pinned down in some mountain-bound tank warfare action.

Fed up with the increasing effectiveness of this band of rebels, the Soviets send a "specialist" to mount the hunt for our heroes. One of their buds has given them up, and the hunt is on. Eventually the villain sends three helicopter gunships out after them, and succeeds in taking out two more. On the verge of giving up, they send two of their band off towards "Free America" and mount one last mission against a supply depot. It goes terribly wrong, and Charlie Sheen's character is mortally wounded. They escape only by the grace of the "tired of war" Mexican (Cuban? or ?) commander who just lets them pass.

Again, lets just assume that these Soviet ground forces seemingly don't run recon patrols (either on the ground or the air) and our merry band is able to get away with this. Run with it here! There's a *lot* of suspension-of-disbelief that has to happen here, and if you do that, its actually not a *bad* movie. I wouldn't call it good, though. Compared to other films of the era (Rambo, Missing in Action, etc.) it actually comes across a little more plausible and not quite as "A-Team"-ish.

All in all I'd recommend it if you've never seen it, just to say that you have. But that's as far as I'm going with it. A lot of pro-America, anti-Red stuff going on, and a lot of AK-action, but not much else of substance.

Red Dawn Red Dawn
List Price: $7.97
Sale Price: $1.99
You save: $5.98 (75%)
  Eligible for free shipping!
Availability: Usually ships in 1-2 business days


The Ronald Reagan 1980s were all about going back to the future--rewriting the past to better suit Reagan's upbeat vision of the present. So, Sylvester Stallone's John Rambo (a psychotic, shell-shocked Vietnam vet in the original film, transformed into a flag-waving hero in the sequel) was able to go back to Southeast Asia and "correct" history by decisively (and single-handedly) winning that messy ol' war on behalf of America...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Brand: 20th Century Fox
Manufacturer: MGM (Video & DVD)
Original Release Date:
  • Patrick Swayze
  • C. Thomas Howell
  • Lea Thompson
  • Charlie Sheen
  • Darren Dalton


  • Shrink-wrapped


Robot Check

Enter the characters you see below

Sorry, we just need to make sure you're not a robot. For best results, please make sure your browser is accepting cookies.

Type the characters you see in this image:

© 1996-2014, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates
Red Dawn (1984) Chris

Summary: A romp through "What if" land that ultimately isn't all that great, unless you happened to be around in the 80's. Then its kind of a fun throwback. Starring Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, C. Thomas Howell.


User Rating: 2.7 (2 votes)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.

One Response to Red Dawn (1984)

  1. Pingback: Red Dawn (2012) Review | War Movies

Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑
  • Archives

  • Subscribe via E-mail!

    Get notifications, exclusive contests and offers, and more!
    * = required field
  • More War Movies

  • Recent Comments

  • Facebook