Original Vs. Remake: Red Dawn

Welcome to Wednesday’s Blue Light Special. Today’s post is an installment of the Original vs. Remake series. This month’s movie is Red Dawn. I will cover the 1984 original, and Tiffany A. White will cover the 2012 remake.

Let’s jump in with both feet.

The Basics

Here’s the trailer:

Here’s the summary:

The outbreak of World War III has occurred, leaving a group of New Mexico high school students turned refugees to slowly organize themselves into an effective guerilla force. 
(From Amazon.com’s Red Dawn purchase page)

About the Movie

Red Dawn starred a lot of popular actors of the day.

  • Patrick Swayze (Uncommon Valor, The Outsiders, Grandview USA)
  • C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders, Grandview USA, Tank)
  • Lea Thompson (Jaws 3-D, All the Right Moves*)
  • Charlie Sheen (This was Charlie Sheen’s big screen break. He probably now makes more money than anybody else who was in this movie.)
  • Darren Dalton (The Outsiders, National Lampoon’s Joy of Sex)
  • Jennifer Grey (Reckless*)
  • Powers Boothe (The Goodbye Girl, Southern Comfort — one of my favorite actors of all time)
  • Harry Dean Stanton (How do you do a brief filmography for him? Another favorite actor.)
(Quick Note: I just love All the Right Moves. I still jam to the theme song. Same for Reckless. Love it, love it. I’ll never forget the “Never Say Never” scene.)

John Milius and Kevin Reynolds wrote the screenplay for Red Dawn. It was based on a story by Reynolds. The original story reportedly had elements of Lord of the Flies and differed from the action movie it evolved into.

Red Dawn was filmed on location in New Mexico. Before filming commenced, the cast of Red Dawn completed an eight-week military course. The temperature in the snow scenes was reported to be below zero. Patrick Swayze and other cast members got frostbite during the filming.

The film opened on August 10, 1984 and was the highest grossing film of the year. People either loved it or wrote it off as NRA propoganda. At the time, the film was considered extremely violent. (Ironic, huh?)

My Thoughts

I just loved Patrick Swayze. His death made me genuinely sad. He was a good dancer, a good singer, and a good actor. And he was from Texas. So watching Red Dawn was, oddly, a poignant trip down memory lane. We miss you, Patrick! (at least in my house)

Side note: it’s easy to see how some of the other actors became such…weirdos. I won’t name names, but I will say it was all right there to see.

Is it a Blue Light Special? Depends on you, really. Right now, you can rent the original Red Dawn for $2.99 at Amazon and $3.99 for HD at iTunes. It can be purchased at iTunes for $14.99 for HD and at Amazon for $9.99. The DVD and Blu-Ray can also be purchased at Amazon.

That’s all, folks! Come back Friday for a couple of book reviews on books from Todd Brown and Danielle Boonstra. 

Be sure to check out Tiffany’s post this Friday on the remake!

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