Release dateOctober 21, 1983 (1983-10-21) WriterClayton Frohman (screenplay), Clayton Frohman (story), Ron Shelton ScreenplayRon Shelton, Clayton Frohman CastNick Nolte (Russell Price), Ed Harris (Oates), Gene Hackman (Alex Grazier), Joanna Cassidy (Claire), Jean-Louis Trintignant (Marcel Jazy), Richard Masur (Hub Kittle) Similar moviesInsurgent, Gone Girl, In the Mood for Love, Crash, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Bridges of Madison County
TaglineThis wasn't their war but it was their story...and they wouldn't let it go!
Under fire 1983 theatrical trailer
Under Fire is a 1983 American political thriller film set during the last days of the Nicaraguan Revolution that ended the Somoza regime in 1979 Nicaragua. It stars Nick Nolte, Gene Hackman and Joanna Cassidy. The musical score by Jerry Goldsmith, which featured well-known jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, was nominated for an Academy Award. The editing by Mark Conte and John Bloom was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Editing.The Film was shot in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca.
Though the film is largely fictional, it was inspired by the murder of ABC reporter Bill Stewart and his translator Juan Espinoza by National Guard forces on June 20, 1979. ABC cameraman Jack Clark was shooting "incidental" footage, and caught the entire episode on tape. The footage was shown on national television in the United States and became a major international incident, undermining what remained of dictator Anastasio Somoza's support. The incident was the final straw for the Carter Administration's relationship with Somoza, whose regime fell on July 19.
Under Fire opened October 21, 1983 in 816 theaters, earning $1,837,768 ($2,252 average per theater) its opening weekend. The film went on to gross a total of $5,696,391 in North America.
Under Fire received a positive response from critics and holds an 88% positive "Fresh" rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film three and a half out of four stars, praising the performances and declaring it one of the year's best films, saying, "The actors in Under Fire never step wrong. Nolte is great to watch as the seedy photographer with the beer gut. Hackman never really convinced me that he could be an anchorman, but he did a better thing. He convinced me that he thought he could be one. Joanna Cassidy takes a role that could have been dismissed as 'the girl' and fills it out as a fascinating, textured adult. Under Fire surrounds these performances with a vivid sense of place and becomes, somewhat surprisingly, one of the year's best films." Geoff Andrew of Time Out praised the film as "tak[ing] an honourable place alongside classic war-torn romance pictures like Casablanca and To Have and Have Not" and concluded, calling it "a thrilling film, with a head, a heart, and muscle."
Vincent Canby of The New York Times, however, viewed the film less favorably, saying "Under Fire, which was written by Ron Shelton and Clayton Frohman, from a story by Mr. Frohman, means well but it is fatally confused. It's silly enough to use a real, bloody war as the backdrop - the excuse, really - for the raising of the consciousnesses of a couple of mini-characters."