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The Border

Catalog Number
71007
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The Border (1982)

Additional Information

Additional Information
At the edge of risk ... On the other side of reason

It divided the land. It divided the man.

Tom Jones director Tony Richardson might seem a curious choice to direct the contemporary western The Border, but he does his best to emulate Sam Peckinpah. Jack Nicholson stars as an El Paso border guard, saddled with avaricious wife Valerie Perrine. Hoping to stifle her nagging about money matters, Nicholson begins accepting payoffs to allow Mexican aliens to cross the border without interference. This leads to a relationship with a young Mexican mother Elpidia Carillo. Harvey Keitel and Warren Oates lend strong support to this atmospheric tale.

Immigration enforcement agent Smith (Jack Nicholson) lives in California with his wife (Valerie Perrine) in a trailer. She convinces him to move to a duplex in El Paso shared by her friend and border agent Cat (Harvey Keitel). She opens a charge account and starts to purchase expensive items like a water bed as she tries to build a dream home.
Cat gradually introduces Smith to the human smuggling operation he runs with their supervisor Red (Warren Oates). Though Smith initially declines to participate, his wife's free-spending ways make him finally take part in the operation. Meanwhile, a young Mexican mother that he has observed is detained, and while she is in their custody, one of Cat's drivers abducts her baby for an illegal adoption. Cat warns the driver not to do anything but transport people in trucks, and that if he runs drugs or babies, Cat will hurt him.
Smith finally realizes that Cat and Red are killing drivers who make money off side ventures or anyone who gets in their way. Smith makes it clear to Cat that he will not be a party to murder. In the film's climax, he is forced to kill Cat. He tracks down the kidnapped infant and returns it to its mother.

incent Canby of the New York Times said the movie "has the sort of predictable outrage and shape of a made-for-television movie. It has suspense but little excitement. Once the people and the situation have been introduced, there's not a single surprise in the film, nothing of the uncharacteristic sort that differentiates the adequate melodrama from one that is special and memorable. Like so many films prompted by real-life social problems, The Border is a movie in which the characters appear to have been created to fit the events. Missing is any sense of particularity, as well as the excitement that comes when the members of the audience are allowed to discover some sort of truth for themselves."

Release Date: January 29, 1982


Distrib: Universal


Boxoffice: $6,118,683 2014: $17,377,900

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