Ukrainian Resistance Channels “Red Dawn” in Battlefield Message

It's a spot-on instance of life imitating art

Ukrainian soldier
Ukrainian soldier waves Ukrainian national flag while standing on top of an armoured personnel carrier (APC) on April 8, 2022 in Hostomel, Ukraine.
Alexey Furman/Getty Images

In 1984 — a year already fraught with geopolitics and talk of totalitarianism — the movie Red Dawn hit theaters across the United States. Directed by John Milius, the film told of an invasion of the United States led by the Soviet Union — whose forces soon find themselves on hostile terrain, facing a much more focused and dangerous resistance that they’d expected.

Swap in “Russia” for “the Soviet Union” and that description might sound a touch familiar right now. But it’s not just cinephiles and Cold War-era pop culture aficionados who have made that comparison. No, it turns out that some of the people comparing the action of the film to the action on the ground in Ukraine are themselves taking part in combat.

As Deadline noted in a recent article, NPR’s Scott Detrow has been using Twitter to document his coverage of the war in Ukraine. Earlier this week, he pointed out that he had recently passed the wreckage of a Russian tank on which someone had spray-painted the word “WOLVERINES.”

In the 1984 film, the resistance fighters adopt the name of their school mascot as they engage in guerrilla warfare against the Soviets — hence, “Wolverines.”

It’s a distinctive case of life imitating art, but given that Ukraine has found unexpected ways to rally — as the saying goes — hearts and minds, it’s not all that surprising.

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