“Red Dawn,” the cult classic Cold War film about a group of teens who must defend America against a fictional attack by the Soviet Union, has resurfaced in the very real war taking place in Ukraine.
NPR Politics correspondent Scott Detrow tweeted Thursday that he drove past “a destroyed Russian tank with WOLVERINES spraypainted across it” in Ukraine.
Although Detrow wasn’t able to get a clear picture, another user shared an image of the tank later in the day.
In the John Milius-directed film, “Wolverines” is the name that the group of protagonists – played by Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Charlie Sheen, Darren Dalton, Doug Toby and Brad Savage – goes by, as well as their battle cry. Their Colorado town comes under siege when the Soviet Union and their Cuban and Nicaraguan allies attack, forcing them to take cover in the woods.
After weeks of surviving in the wilderness, Jed (Swayze) and Matt (Sheen) find their father (Harry Dean Stanton) in a “re-education” camp and learn that their mother has been killed. Toni (Jennifer Grey) and Erica (Lea Thompson), the daughter of two other captives, also join the Wolverines. The rest of the film follows them through “occupied America” on their mission to avenge their family and country.
Although the 1984 film only performed decently at the box office, it found a home with fans over the years. Its cultural impact is evident in the number of times it has been referenced in real-life politics. “Operation Red Dawn” was the nickname given to the mission to capture Saddam Hussein. Furthermore, a chain of emails exchanged between members of the Trump administration about COVID-19 were deemd the “Red Dawn emails.”
Russia’s war against Ukraine has also prompted a popularity surge for the movie, as viewership on streaming platforms rose to 500% the day the invasion began. In addition to “Red Dawn,” “Inglorious Basterds” and “Rocky IV” have also experienced surges.