Wolverines! How the 1984 Classic ‘Red Dawn’ Inspired Ukraine Resistance Fighters

Red Dawn
Is this a Soviet vehicle from the 1984 movie "Red Dawn" or a Russian one from Ukraine in 2022? (MGM)

A classic action movie about Colorado high school students leading a guerrilla resistance against a Soviet military invasion has become an inspiration for Ukrainian citizens fighting against the current Russian invasion of their country.

In "Red Dawn," the students adopt their high school mascot as a symbol of resistance, and both shout "Wolverines" in battle and spraypaint the name on walls and bombed-out Soviet military vehicles. Now, Task & Purpose reports that "Wolverines" graffiti is showing up painted on disabled Russian vehicles in Ukraine.


"Red Dawn" was written and directed by John Milius, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of "Apocalypse Now." He also wrote the Dirty Harry sequel, "Magnum Force," and the Jack Ryan thriller, "Clear and Present Danger." As a writer and director, he's also behind "The Wind and the Lion," "Conan the Barbarian," World War II drama "Farewell to the King" and Vietnam War classic "Flight of the Intruder."

Aside from creating the HBO series "Rome," Hollywood hasn't given this talented writer much work in the 21st century. Milius is credited on the anemic 2012 remake of "Red Dawn," but he didn't have anything to do with making that poor imitation of his Ronald Reagan-era classic.

As "Red Dawn" lovers know, the Soviet military found itself ill-prepared to counter a highly motivated force made up of American kids whose previous weapons experience was limited to game hunting and a bit of archery. The Russian troops are now up against a nation of civilians who've seen "Red Dawn" and have obviously taken inspiration from a 38-year-old movie.



If you've never enjoyed "Red Dawn" yourself, the montage when the kids launch their resistance in earnest is one of the best action sequences in movie history. Check out this clip to see what has inspired Ukrainians to bust out the spray paint in 2022.


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