Under Fire (1983) - Rotten Tomatoes

Under Fire1983

Under Fire (1983)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Under Fire Photos

Movie Info

This gripping, emotional story of a roving photographer's transformation from a neutral artist with a camera to an involved human rights activist with a camera begins in Chad, travels to Nicaragua in the early 1980s, and ends when the Nicaraguan dictator Somoza takes off for the palm trees and beaches of Florida. Nick Nolte brilliantly interprets his role as the photographer Russell Price, and Joanna Cassidy is Claire, the radio journalist he meets while in Chad, along with her lover, Time Magazine reporter Alex (Gene Hackman), who ends up opting for a plush job as a TV anchorman and a quiet life on Long Island. When Alex leaves, Claire heads off to the next hot spot, Nicaragua, and Russell decides to tag along -- not because he is that interested in Nicaragua, but because he is interested in Claire. Once in the war-torn, Central American country, it does not take Russell long to see the vast difference between the corrupt, U.S.-backed dictatorship and the struggling guerrilla forces who have been fighting for a decade already. As his eyes are opened, he and Claire decide to go along with the rebels and film their fighting behind the lines. During one battle, the much-venerated rebel leader is shot dead, and Russell reluctantly agrees to fake a photo of the man as though he were still living, so as not to demoralize the army that looks up to him for leadership. The photo appears in the news around the world and causes such a furor that Alex shows up to demand an interview with the leader for national American television. It is on the way to this supposed interview that Alex leaves the car for a moment and is senselessly shot and killed by a government soldier, the whole episode filmed for the world by Russell's camera. This outrage (which actually occurred when journalist Bill Stewart was inhumanly shot by a Somoza soldier in full view of the video camera) soon makes global news and helps to hasten the overthrow of the corrupt dictatorship. Meanwhile, Russell has new issues to consider once his camera has become an "active" and not a "passive" observer of political unrest. René Enriquéz who plays the dictator Somoza in this film is a native Nicaraguan, related to a newspaper reporter killed by Somoza's government.

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Nick Nolte
as Russell Price
Gene Hackman
as Alex Grazier
Ed Harris
as Oates
Holly Palance
as Journalist
Ella Laboriel
as Nightclub Singer
Oswaldo Doria
as Boy Photographer
Fernando Elizondo
as Businessman
Jorge Santoyo
as Guerrilla Leader
Lucina Rojas
as Guerrilla Woman
Eric Valdez
as Time Stringer
Andaluz Russell
as Young Journalist
Raul Picasso
as Bassist
E. Villavicencio
as Arresting Officer
Enrique Lucero
as Prison Priest
Enrique Beraza
as Interrogating Officer
Jenny Gago
as Miss Panama
Elpidia Carrillo
as Sandinista
Martin Palmares
as Sandinista
Gerardo Morena
as Sandinista
Antonio Mata Jr.
as TV Camera Crew
Martin LaSalle
as Commandante Cinco
Filipe Ytuarte
as Commandante
Humberto Vilches
as Squadron Commander
Roberto Dumant
as Hotel Clerk
Clay Wright
as Helicopter Pilot
Michael Crowley
as Helicopter Gunner
Eugene Vagnone
as Helicopter Gunner
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Critic Reviews for Under Fire

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (4)

Director Roger Spottiswode, after a couple of earlier actioners, has great potential.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

A thrilling film, with a head, a heart, and muscle.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

This is the kind of movie that almost always feels phony, but "Under Fire" feels real.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Means well but it is fatally confused.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2/5

Under Fire manages to transcend its fate to be an honest reflection about the gaze and point of view. [Full Review in Spanish]

September 25, 2019 | Full Review…

An incendiary film that transforms the pipe-dream assumption that Americans only intervene to do good into a pipe bomb. The less-interesting love triangle is a delivery system for a blunt, effective observation: War's only objective truth is death.

June 24, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Under Fire


Three outstanding performances highlight this gritty drama.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


Riveting little political thriller that seems to be all but forgotten!

Michael S
Michael S

Super Reviewer

Under Fire Quotes

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