The Osterman Weekend (1983)

R   |    |  Action, Drama, Thriller

The Osterman Weekend (1983) Poster

During the Cold War, a controversial television journalist is asked by the C.I.A. to persuade certain acquaintances, who are Soviet Agents of the Omega network, to defect.




  • Rutger Hauer and Helen Shaver in The Osterman Weekend (1983)
  • Sam Peckinpah in The Osterman Weekend (1983)
  • Dennis Hopper and Sam Peckinpah in The Osterman Weekend (1983)
  • Helen Shaver in The Osterman Weekend (1983)
  • John Hurt in The Osterman Weekend (1983)
  • Burt Lancaster in The Osterman Weekend (1983)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

10 August 2013 | ma-cortes
| Suspenseful movie though sometimes confusing and cold thriller with a top-drawer cast
Action movie in Peckinpah style with tension , intrigue , thrills , gushing blood and violence . The one weekend of the year you won't want to miss. The host of an investigative news spectacle (Rutger Hauer,first major character in a Hollywood movie played by Dutch actor) is assigned a dangerous mission As TV show hosted by television journalist John Tanner is called "Face to Face" and he is convinced by a CIA operative (John Hurt was second billed) that the friends (Chris Sarandon , Dennis Hooper , Craig T Nelson) and wives (Helen Shaver ,Cassie Yates) he has invited to a weekend party are Russian spies from a secret organization . The name of the Soviet spy network was "Omega".

This actioner and suspenseful movie tells a convoluted and complicated tale of vendetta , espionage and treason . Interesting but slightly boring spy film , including an overly complex and confusing script , even though at times it is admittedly engrossing . The picture was made and released about eleven years after its source novel of the same name by Robert Ludlum had been first published in 1972 . Sam Peckinpah was fired as director during post-production. Others were Convoy and Ride the High County . When he refused to re-edit Osterman weekend after it was screened for a test audience and met with a confused and extremely mixed reaction. Producers took over the editing with the assistance of the editor , drastically altering opening and ending sequences. Mediocre and dark cinematography by John Coquillon , in fact , the picture involved a considerable amount of filming at night. It was filmed at a 1950s ranch located in upper Mandeville Canyon in the Hollywood Hills , it was a property once owned by Robert Taylor and has been frequently been known by the names the "Taylor Estate" . Anti-climatic soundtrack by Lalo Schifrin composed by means by synthesizer . Director Don Siegel, long time friend and mentor to Sam Peckinpah, recommended Lalo Schifrin as the film's composer. Schifrin had scored five of Siegel's movies ; composer Lalo Schifrin had to sit by Sam Peckinpah's sick bed in order to spot the film and decide which scenes did or did not need music.

Final film of director Sam Peckinpah. The picture was also Peckinpah's big "comeback movie", it was his first in five years, his last film having been at the time Convoy back in 1978 . The movie is also Peckinpah's only feature film of the 1980s decade . The production shoot for this film ran for fifty-four days . Director Sam Peckinpah was in ill-health throughout the shoot as the long-term toll of his drug and alcohol abuse suggested to many in the production that he was dying. Peckinpah after beginning as a writer , was soon involved in TV Westerns at the peak of his popularity ; shooting series just like ¨¨The Westener¨, ¨Gunsmoke¨and most popular ¨Rifleman¨, moving into films by 1961 when he made nice impression with ¨The deadly companions¨, ¨Ride the High Country¨ , Major Dundee¨ and his best picture ,Wild Bunch¨ . After that , he concentrated on nail-biting and tougher-than-tough action films just like ¨The getaway¨, ¨Convoy¨, ¨the ¨killer elite¨ and this last movie ¨Osterman weekend¨ . The final title as violent and nice as anyone the Western or wartime genre has given us .

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


According to the December 30th edition of "The Gettysburg Times", Producer William N. Panzer acquired the Ludlum property with partner Peter S. Davis "after a chance encounter with the previous owner of the screen rights." The movie's budget "was raised by selling foreign, home video, and pay television rights, with an assist from private investors." Panzer said: "Sam's name was a big help in selling the foreign rights. He's even more known abroad than he is here."


Bernard Osterman: I'm still wondering how we got into this mess.
John Tanner: It's called being programmed.


When Tanner is warning the others to get out of the camper, he writes "Get out now". Richard is reading it aloud as "Get out of the camper now".

Alternate Versions

On the Anchor Bay DVD release there is a rough cut made by Sam Peckinpah which he made showed to the test audience. Because the majority of the audience walked out, from the imfamous sex between Fassett and his wife. The producer wanted Peckinpah to cut the scene out. Once he refuse to made the cuts, he got fired. Other scenes. 1) The sex scene is more extended and shot more wobbly to express how Fassett breaking point for revenge had started. 2) Delete scene of Osterman and Joe talking on the phone about their deal. 3) Extended scene of Virginia flirting with Dick on the phone. 4) There a deleted scene of John Tanner of having an affair with his director Marcia, there wakes up to find her dead. 5) The scene where Tanner and guest are arguing by the dinner table, in the theatrical cut Fassett switches on a Swiss ad, the Peckinpah's cut he has like a big image of Danforth. 6) Alterative ending is juxtapositioned between Tanner searching for his family and the TV studio.


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Action | Drama | Thriller

Box Office


$6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$301,129 23 October 1983

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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