Red Dawn is a movie made in 1984 by John Milius about the invasion of the United States by the Soviet Union and Cuba. The story focuses on a group of small town high school teenagers who form a small rebel unit and employ guerrilla tactics against the occupying force. Two of these youths are played by Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey.
With hunting rifles and handguns the Wolverines stage a series of successful attacks against enemy soldiers and the group becomes so popular, the Soviets order executions as reprisals for their attacks.
The resistance group which fought the invasion was called the Wolverines, after the ferocious mammal of the Pacific Northwest.
During the war the Wolverines are killed off one by one, until only two of them are left at the end. The final scene which takes place years later implies American forces were victorious.
The movie had a strong nationalistic message fitting in with the Reagan era; the movie suggested the American public had become too comfortable with their lives resulting in a lack of patriotism; several characters are even seen collaborating. It also argues against gun control and defense cuts. A minor theme is about the question of where on draws the line between a freedom fighter and a terrorist. This is visualized by the Cuban commander who compares the Wolverines' struggle to his own experiences during the Cuban revolution.
The title refers to the sky filled with red parachutes the youths see at the morning of the invasion.
The movie was a depiction of a "what if" situation, should Europe abandon NATO, a fairly common fear in the 1980's, due to political developments in Europe; after a number of European countries became more and more leftist and anti-war during the 1980's, American fear of the "reds" peaked, many feared NATO would fall apart or Europe would make peace with the Soviet Union, leaving the United States vulnerable.
The movie was a box-office success on opening in 1984, and continues to receive both critical acclaim and new viewers to the present day.
The 2007 Guinness Book of World Records lists Red Dawn as the most violent movie ever made, with over 134 separate acts of violence.
- Red Dawn at the Internet Movie Database