Interpretation of Red Dawn (1984) Essay

Film Red Dawn is released by John Milius in 1984. This year is the year of Regan’s re-elections and it goes without saying that it is politically oriented. The movie shows the results of Soviet Union invasion to the U.S. during the WWIII and brave resistance of young American citizens to the invaders. The time when the movie was created had great influence on the scenario and story line. Many prominent actors start in the movie. Such actors as Harry Dean Stanton,
Powers Boothe, Jennifer Grey, C. Thomas Howell are starring in it. The main topic of this film is anticommunist propaganda. The 1980s years are the last period of the Cold War. The relations between the United States and the Soviet Union were unstable but at that time both countries decided to compete not in the direct way but with the help of such methods as mass media, etc. This film is a bright example.

The main plot line is connected with the Russian and Cuban invasion to the USA. One early morning a group of Russian soldiers attacks a small town, Calumet. A bit later, it becomes obvious that World War III begins. The Soviet Union has become out of any food and so it requires money and forces to provide its inhabitants with food and the best way to do is to conquer America. America at that time is rather weak as it has lost all its allies.

In this town a group of teenagers with two girls in the company decides to resist the foreign invasion. They call themselves Wolverines ”“ the name of one local football team. At first they hide in the forest and prepares for the counterattack. When they return to their town the picture is horrible ”“ everything is destroyed and people are killed.

They can hear sounds of “Alexader Nevsky” which is playing in the town movie theatre. This is the last push and teenagers are convinced of their decision.

All the action takes place only in this little town and we get to know about the course of the war only from bulletins from “Free America” from time to time and from teenagers’ talks. When they speak about Denver we find out that “They live on rats and sawdust bread and, sometimes, on each other”.   The situation with the allies is also very problematic: “Who’s on our side?” by one Wolverine, replies, “Six hundred million screamin’ Chinamen.”

“Last I heard there were a billion screamin’ Chinamen,” answers one of the Wolverines (!!). The actions of the Soviet soldiers are sadistic and brutal. They have practically defeated American Army and it is difficult to hope for the American victory, however, these teenagers provide successful companies and organize their military activity.

The Wolverines provide a number of serious attacks, liberate a political prisoner camp, make raid on the Soviet supply convoys and such tactics as sniper attacks, booby traps, guerrilla-style bombings and ambushes. The Soviet army starts feeling real threat from this group of teenagers. However, the Wolverines have already organized a wide propaganda among local population and prepared the Resistance. “After a successful ambush, the teen guerrillas gear up for future forays, when they are suddenly betrayed by one of their number and by doubts about the morality of what they are doing” (Fernandez). Because of a sudden attack most of the Wolverines are killed and in the end only four of them are left: Jed with his brother, Erica and Danny.

The teenagers realize that if they continue their resistance they all will die. The two brothers insist on Danny and Erica’s leaving and finding the way to “free America”. Meanwhile, Jed and Matt organize an attack on the Soviet convoys to help their friend to escape. As a result, Strelnikov, Russian headquarter, wounds them. Jed with his dying brother on his hands manages to kill Strelnikov and escape.  Danny and Erica are able to reach “Free America”.

Despite the audience does not get a direct answer about the results of the occupation and resistance the authors of the movie give some hints about the ending of the withstanding. In the end of the movie Erica, one of the survivors, shows a memorial dedicated to the WW III and the audience can see American flag above the monument. This gives us reasons to think that the U.S. won the war and terrible events depicted in the movie became only terrible memories and a reminder to all further generations.

During the time it was created the movie reflected political reality and depicted real fear of people who live during that time.

This film is interesting not just because of themes of patriotism, collaboration and feeling of freedom. The director also presents us the American vision of the Soviet policy and way of life. It goes without saying that the date of release ”“ 1984 ”“ should also be taken into account. This film does not present an independent view on this subject but rather depicts the image created in that time. The Soviet Union suffers from great agricultural crisis. “The Green Party takes control of the West German government and bans American nuclear missiles on German soil, leaving Europe undefended to Warsaw Pact troops in the East and causing the eventual dissolution of NATO” (Fernandez).

The Soviet Union units its forces with communist Cuba and Nicaragua and starts an attack against America. All in all, the Soviet Union is presented as an invading communist country. Its foreign policy is oriented on the widening its territory, strengthening its military and political power and spreading communism all over the world. The Soviets are presented as aggressive invaders who parachute in a small civil American town and start the war with America.

The Soviet ideology of equality and liberty does not coincide with the Soviets’ behavior. They brutally kill citizens of this town, organize terrible force attacks and invade the whole country. They are used to difficult conditions of life, so they are capable of great endurance and can resist hunger, pain and fear.

The movie was shot shortly after the end of the long period of withstanding called the Cold War. This period was marked by the bad relations between these two countries and the threat of real war made each country turn to the ideology which would depict only the worst qualities of the opposing country.  The period of the cold war was characterized by the arm race and constant threat of the war between two major states ”“ the USSR and the US.

Ordinary people of both countries were aggressively agitates about the enemy country and Russian invasion became a real threat during that time.  All these events became reflected in the movie. The Red Dawn shows one of the possible scenarios of the events if WWIII breaks out. The authors did everything possible in order to depict the seriousness of the USSR threat to the America people. Red Dawn contain a lot of scenes of fight and violence. In contrast to original screenplay, which made an accent in the relations and conflicts between the members of organization, the movie makes and accent of the fight between the group of resistance and the invaders. Russian army depicted as a group of heartless murders who kill innocent people and destroy everything on their way. Such a position of the authors of the movie becomes quite understandable if we remember the political situation and great political tension which existed when the movie was crated. The movie advertises the values of freedom and patriotism. The main characters of the movie perfectly pass the mood of people who find themselves in destroyed and devastated country, people, who have lost their relatives and friends.  The movie creates a dark and gloom picture of the results of the Soviet invasion and terrible consequences of the Third World War. Despite the movie describes the situation of the WWIII, which sound unrealistic today it still has a message which can appeal to the audience. American values, describes in the movies become that force which finally help the resistance to win the war. So, movie appeals to the feeling of patriotism and underlines that common values, which make the core of American nation, can become that mean which can help to stand any kind of external threat.

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