The 1982 film:
- Adaptation Displacement: The film is adapted from a little-known book by Thomas Hauser, The Execution of Charles Horman: An American Sacrifice.
- Awesome Music: The score by Vangelis, while sparse, is also very moving, especially the main theme.
- Nightmare Fuel: The film's depiction of the 1973 Chilean coup in general is quite chilling. Bodies line the streets, military units are active everywhere and at all times, and one could be imprisoned or even executed simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, as was the case with Frank Teruggi.
- Retroactive Recognition:
- Tear Jerker:
- The moment when Ed receives final confirmation that his son is dead, followed immediately by a Personal Effects Reveal. His devastation at the reveal is beautifully conveyed by Jack Lemmon, who was nominated an Oscar for his performance along with Spacek.
- The fact that the Nixon Administration actively conspired to overthrow a democratic government because it was too left-wing and may have been directly responsible for Charlie's death.
- The fact that the events depicted in the film really happened.
- The Lonely Piano Piece that plays over the end credits.