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Trivia / Red Dawn (1984)

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  • California Doubling:
    • Most of the movie was filmed in and around Las Vegas New Mexico. There’s no reason whatsoever that the setting needed to be changed to Colorado, except for the Unfortunate Implication that it would’ve been hard to justify an almost entirely white cast in a city that 80% Hispanic. Or because of the ignorant belief that it never snows in New Mexico. Or even worse that there are many people who still don’t realize that New Mexico is a US state. For nearly four decades now the license plate has to put the words USA on it because so many don’t realize it’s part of the United States.
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    • Colorado, being further to the center of the country, is a transportation hub for both air and rail. New Mexico, being on the Mexican border and having half the population, is not. As well, it would make more sense for a land-based invasion versus a paratrooper drop.
  • The Cast Showoff: William Smith gets to showcase his fluent Russian skills as Strelnikov.
  • Creator Killer:
    • Although the film was a commercial success, it received scathing reviews from critics who called it jingoistic, reactionary, and even fascist. John Milius, the director of the film and an unapologetic conservative, believed that Hollywood put him on a "liberal blacklist" after the film's critical reception.Hollywood executives became more reluctant to back Milius' projects, and Milius was unwilling to make artistic compromises for the sake of steady work (although as Leon Thomas pointed out in his review of the film, it probably had more to do with Milius being difficult to work with and waving a gun in an executive's face at one point). The next two films made by John Milius, Farewell To The King and Flight of the Intruder, suffered from Executive Meddling and Milius was unhappy with the final results. Disillusioned with Hollywood, Milius all but retired from filmmaking, although he did come out of retirement to work on HBO's Rome because he needed money after a corrupt accountant left him nearly broke.
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    • Averted in a literal sense while filming the opening scene. One of the stuntmen was blown several miles off the drop zone and snagged his parachute on a tree. When help finally arrived in the form of some local Sheriff's Deputies, it occurred to him that he was wearing the most authentic Red Army Guards Air Rifles uniform and gear that Hollywood could produce. He immediately began shouting that we was not really a Soviet paratrooper. Although he was briefly detained, the deputies quickly sorted it out.
  • Deleted Scene:
    • According to Lea Thompson the original cut featured a love scene between Erica and Tanner but it "was cut out after some previews because of the age difference. And that was the main reason I took the movie-it was such a terrific scene."
    • There was also a scene between Toni and Jed, as well as a more in depth romance plot with the two. However it was was mostly cut, leaving a case of UST in the final product.
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  • Executive Meddling: John Milius wanted to focus on the War Is Hell aspect, while the studio (according to Peter Bart's book Fade-Out: The Calamitous Final Days of MGM) pressed for a more idealized presentation. The most obvious result of this is the tacked-on epilogue, which explicitly states that Americans won the war due to bravery of fighters like the Wolverines. Without it, the movie would have left it open if the efforts of the Wolverines changed anything in the end. The darker approach shows through in several places, such as how many of the heroes meet their ends in meaningless deaths.
  • Hostility on the Set: Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey didn't get on. So much that she had to be talked into working with him again on Dirty Dancing.
  • Method Acting: Patrick Swayze stayed in character throughout filming. He said, "I became Jed Eckert."
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The original trailer includes a scene with a tank rolling up to a McDonald's where enemy soldiers are eating. The scene does not appear in the final cut, and was likely removed due to a mass murder at a McDonald's in San Ysidro, CA, weeks before the film opened.
  • Reality Subtext: The film was made during a time when the Soviet Union was on the defensive across the globe, paranoid and left reeling from the effects of a more interventionist US foreign policy. The Soviet Union intervention in Afghanistan was part of this, and in a sense the film is a proxy for that conflict. For all that the Soviets still seemed to be holding up pretty well and nobody thought it'd be gone in just seven years.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The original script was meant to be a Cold War update of Lord of the Flies and the school kids were meant to be much younger.
    • Emilio Estevez was originally cast as Jed, but had to drop out due to other filming commitments.
    • The film originally included a love scene between Colonel Tanner and Toni, but it was removed because it was believed that the age difference would make audiences uncomfortable. Ironically, this was the scene that convinced Jennifer Grey to agree to the role because she felt that it was such a good scene.
  • Working Title: Teen Soldiers.

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