Red Dawn

  • Directors: Dan Bradley
  • Producers: Vincent Newman
  • Writers: Jeremy Passmore, Carl Ellsworth, Tony Gilroy, 1984 film, John Milius, Kevin Reynolds
  • Genres: Action
  • Actors: Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Adrianne Palicki, Josh Hutcherson, Isabel Lucas, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

A group of teenagers look to save their town from Chinese forces by turning to guerrilla warfare.

Dirty Harry

  • Directors: Don Siegel
  • Producers: Don Siegel
  • Writers: Story, Harry Julian Fink, R M Fink, Screenplay, Harry Julian Fink, R M Fink, Dean Riesner, Uncredited, John Milius, Terrence Malick
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Clint Eastwood, Harry Guardino, Reni Santoni, John Vernon, Andy Robinson

A serial killer who calls himself “Scorpio” (Andy Robinson) murders a young woman in a San Francisco high-rise rooftop swimming pool using a high-powered sniper rifle from the top of the 555 California Street skyscraper. The spent shell casing is found on the roof of another high-rise across the street by Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood); it’s accompanied by a ransom message from the Scorpio Killer, promising more deaths if the city does not pay him $100,000. The chief of police, with the agreement of the Mayor (John Vernon), assigns Harry to the case and arranges for extra support.

As he waits for his lunch in a local cafe, Harry notices a robbery is taking place and tells the cafe owner to call the police and report an armed robbery in progress. While he waits for reinforcements, the robbers emerge from the bank, shooting wildly into the bank, forcing Harry to act. He confronts a robber in the street, who fires a shotgun at him. Harry returns fire, sending the robber sprawling to the ground. Another robber makes it into the getaway car, which the driver aims at Harry as he pulls away. Harry fires at the car, causing the driver to lose control and crash into a fire hydrant. Harry turns back to the robber he shot earlier, approaches the wounded man (Albert Popwell), and utters his famous line:

Harry watches as Scorpio’s body floats on the surface of the water. He takes out his inspector’s badge, and hurls it into the water, walking away.

Clear and Present Danger

  • Directors: Phillip Noyce
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Novel, Tom Clancy, Screenplay, Donald Stewart, Steven Zaillian, John Milius
  • Genres: Action, Thriller
  • Actors: Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, Anne Archer, Miguel Sandoval, Joaquim de Almeida, and, James Earl Jones

The film opens with a United States Coast Guard patrol boat stopping a suspicious yacht, finding that an American businessman and his family had been murdered by several men still operating the craft. The murdered man happens to have been a close friend of President of the United States. President Bennett (Donald Moffat) finds out that the man was murdered because of his ties to the Cali Cartel, having skimmed over $650 million from the Cartel for his own use. In his anger, the President tells James Cutter, his National Security Advisor, that the Colombian drug cartels represent “a clear and present danger” to the U.S., indirectly giving Cutter unofficial permission to take down the men responsible for his friend’s death.

Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford), meanwhile, is appointed Deputy Director (Intelligence) when his friend, mentor, and boss Admiral James Greer (James Earl Jones) is diagnosed with an aggressive, and ultimately fatal, case of pancreatic cancer. Upon his appointment, Ryan is asked to go before the United States Congress to request increased funding of $70 million for ongoing CIA intelligence operations in Colombia. Congress agrees to provide the funding, with Senator Mayo receiving Ryan’s word that “no troops” or black-ops will be used in Colombia. Needing to keep an unwitting Ryan out of the loop, Cutter turns to CIA Deputy Director of Operations Robert Ritter, who secures a document giving him permission to do what he sees fit to take down the cartel. Ritter then assembles a black-ops team with the help of John Clark (Willem Dafoe), a secret field operative. Clark and his team travel to Colombia and begin destroying the various Cartel gangs, their equipment and hidden drug lab facilities.

Back home, Ryan angrily confronts the President, who was indirectly responsible for all the carnage. The President smugly tries to convince Ryan that he now holds “a chip in the big game” â€” by being in the loop of what happened, Ryan can use the President for special favors, in return for keeping the debacle secret. The late Admiral Greer would be the scapegoat instead. Ryan is unable to bear dishonoring the black-ops team who died in the raid, the innocent civilians (whom Cutter called “collateral damage”) who died from the aerial bomb at the villa and the legacy of his mentor. He angrily tells the President that he intends to blow the whistle at a Congressional Oversight Committee session despite the damage it could do to his career, saying to the President, “Sorry I don’t dance”. He then walks out of the Oval Office, and the film ends with Ryan beginning his testimony to Congress.

Apocalypse Now

  • Directors: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Producers: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Writers: Novel, Joseph Conrad, Screenplay, John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola
  • Genres: Action, Drama, War
  • Actors: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne, Albert Hall, Harrison Ford

It is 1969 and the war is at its height. CPT Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen) has returned to Saigon; a seasoned veteran, he is deeply troubled and apparently no longer adjusted to civilian life. Two intelligence officers, LTG Corman (G. D. Spradlin) and COL Lucas (Harrison Ford), as well as a government man (Jerry Ziesmer), approach him with a special mission: journey up the fictional Nung River into the remote Cambodian jungle to find COL Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a former member of the United States Army Special Forces.

They state that Kurtz, once considered a model officer and future general, has allegedly gone insane and is commanding a legion of his own Montagnard troops deep inside the forest in neutral Cambodia. Their claims are supported by very disturbing radio broadcasts and/or recordings made by Kurtz himself. Willard is ordered to undertake a mission to find Kurtz and terminate the Colonel’s command “with extreme prejudice.”

Willard studies the intelligence files during the boat ride to the river entrance and learns that Kurtz, isolated in his compound, has assumed the role of a warlord and is worshipped by the natives and his own loyal men. Willard learns much later that another officer, Colby (Scott Glenn), sent earlier to kill Kurtz, may have become one of his lieutenants.

While bound outside in the pouring rain, Willard is approached by Kurtz, who places the severed head of Chef in his lap. Coppola makes little explicit, but we come to believe that Willard and Kurtz develop an understanding nonetheless; Kurtz wishes to die at Willard’s hands, and Willard, having subsequently granted Kurtz his wish, is offered the chance to succeed him in his warlord-demigod role. Juxtaposed with a ceremonial slaughtering of a Water Buffalo, Willard enters Kurtz’s chamber during one of his message recordings, and kills him with a machete. This entire sequence is set to “The End” by The Doors, as is the sequence at the very beginning of the film. Lying bloody and dying on the ground, Kurtz whispers “The horror… the horror,” a line taken directly from Conrad’s novella. Willard drops his weapon as in turn the natives do in a symbolic act of laying down of arms,he walks through the now-silent crowd of natives and takes Johnson (who is now fully integrated into the native society) by the hand. He leads Johnson to the PBR, and floats away as Kurtz’s final words echo in the wind as the screen fades to black.