Steel Dawn (1987)

R | 102 mins | Adventure, Fantasy | 6 November 1987

Director:

Lance Hool

Writer:

Doug Lefler

Producers:

Lance Hool, Conrad Hool

Cinematographer:

George Tirl

Editor:

Mark Conte

Production Designer:

Alex Tavoularis
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HISTORY

A 16 Sep 1987 Var news item stated that the film recently changed its title from Desert Warrior to Steel Dawn, and a 21 Oct 1987 Var column added that the picture was formerly titled Peacekeeper. The picture was financed through presales, as well as European bank loans and private capital from Silver Lion Films, as stated in a 20 Jun 1988 DV article.
       Principal photography took place in the Namib Desert in Namibia, Africa, according to the film’s 6 Nov 1987 LAT review.
       On 27 Oct 1987, HR announced that Jerry Weintraub’s Weintraub Screen Entertainment (WSE), also known as Weintraub Entertainment Group (WEG), acquired foreign distribution rights to its first five independent feature films, and its first release, Steel Dawn, was scheduled to make its world premiere that week at the International Film and Multimedia Market (MIFED) in Milan, Italy.
       Although Steel Dawn did not receive positive reviews, and failed to perform well at the box-office, a 7 Mar 1988 DV brief reported that the picture marked WSE’s top-seller, to date, at the American Film Market (AFM). Industry insiders speculated that the renewed interest in Steel Dawn was prompted by the surprise success of Dirty Dancing (1987, see entry), which made actor Patrick Swayze a ... More Less

A 16 Sep 1987 Var news item stated that the film recently changed its title from Desert Warrior to Steel Dawn, and a 21 Oct 1987 Var column added that the picture was formerly titled Peacekeeper. The picture was financed through presales, as well as European bank loans and private capital from Silver Lion Films, as stated in a 20 Jun 1988 DV article.
       Principal photography took place in the Namib Desert in Namibia, Africa, according to the film’s 6 Nov 1987 LAT review.
       On 27 Oct 1987, HR announced that Jerry Weintraub’s Weintraub Screen Entertainment (WSE), also known as Weintraub Entertainment Group (WEG), acquired foreign distribution rights to its first five independent feature films, and its first release, Steel Dawn, was scheduled to make its world premiere that week at the International Film and Multimedia Market (MIFED) in Milan, Italy.
       Although Steel Dawn did not receive positive reviews, and failed to perform well at the box-office, a 7 Mar 1988 DV brief reported that the picture marked WSE’s top-seller, to date, at the American Film Market (AFM). Industry insiders speculated that the renewed interest in Steel Dawn was prompted by the surprise success of Dirty Dancing (1987, see entry), which made actor Patrick Swayze a celebrity.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 Nov 1987
p. 3, 8.
Daily Variety
7 Mar 1988.
---
Daily Variety
20 Jun 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Oct 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Nov 1987
p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
6 Nov 1987
p. 16.
New York Times
6 Nov 1987
p. 33.
Variety
16 Sep 1987.
---
Variety
21 Oct 1987.
---
Variety
11 Nov 1987
p. 13, 98.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Vestron Pictures
In association with Silver Lion Films present
A Lance Hool film
A Silver Lion film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3rd asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
Cam asst
Cam asst
Clapper
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy
Elec
Key grip
Best boy
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Art dept coord
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Addl ed
1st asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser/Prop mistress
Asst set dresser
Standby props
Standby props
Props coord
Props coord
Const mgr
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward mistress
Ward mistress
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Rec mixer
Rec mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff asst
Opticals and titles
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Make-up asst
Make-up asst
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Loc prod mgr
Unit mgr
Loc mgr
Asst to prods
Prod asst
Prod asst
Transportation capt
Prod liaison
Prod liaison
Prod auditor
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Nurse
Extras coord
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Desert Warrior
Peacekeeper
Release Date:
6 November 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 6 November 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Yellowpine, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
27 January 1988
Copyright Number:
PA376801
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
102
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
South Africa, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28724
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After a series of nuclear wars, a swordsman named Nomad roams the post-apocalyptic desert, battling “half-men” creatures. He unexpectedly reunites with his former samurai master, Cord, and they visit a tavern. There, Cord explains that he is on his way to the settlement of Meridian, where he as been assigned a new job as “peacemaker.” The community is struggling to protect its meager water supplies from an evil overlord named Damnil, and Cord is eager to give up his past life of violence to embrace a more diplomatic profession. As Cord describes his post, Nomad loses consciousness and a menacing assassin named Sho kills Cord in a sword fight. When Nomad comes to, he regrets that he was unable to save his mentor and vows revenge. He tracks Sho across the desert to Meridian, where he meets a widow named Kasha. The young woman, who shares a farm with her son, Jux, and a ranch hand, Tark, offers to provide room and board for assistance on a water filtration project, and Nomad settles into his new home. One day, Kasha receives a letter informing her that a “peacemaker” is on his way, and she shares the news at a town meeting. Meridian rejoices, believing the settlement is finally free from Damnil’s despotic reign, but the overlord warns that he was able to thwart the “peacemaker’s” arrival. Sometime later, Damnil’s henchmen attack Tark, and Nomad comes to his rescue, revealing his martial arts expertise. Kasha realizes Nomad was a military commander with her dead husband and shows him a secret aquifer, hidden deep below her farm. Kasha explains ... +


After a series of nuclear wars, a swordsman named Nomad roams the post-apocalyptic desert, battling “half-men” creatures. He unexpectedly reunites with his former samurai master, Cord, and they visit a tavern. There, Cord explains that he is on his way to the settlement of Meridian, where he as been assigned a new job as “peacemaker.” The community is struggling to protect its meager water supplies from an evil overlord named Damnil, and Cord is eager to give up his past life of violence to embrace a more diplomatic profession. As Cord describes his post, Nomad loses consciousness and a menacing assassin named Sho kills Cord in a sword fight. When Nomad comes to, he regrets that he was unable to save his mentor and vows revenge. He tracks Sho across the desert to Meridian, where he meets a widow named Kasha. The young woman, who shares a farm with her son, Jux, and a ranch hand, Tark, offers to provide room and board for assistance on a water filtration project, and Nomad settles into his new home. One day, Kasha receives a letter informing her that a “peacemaker” is on his way, and she shares the news at a town meeting. Meridian rejoices, believing the settlement is finally free from Damnil’s despotic reign, but the overlord warns that he was able to thwart the “peacemaker’s” arrival. Sometime later, Damnil’s henchmen attack Tark, and Nomad comes to his rescue, revealing his martial arts expertise. Kasha realizes Nomad was a military commander with her dead husband and shows him a secret aquifer, hidden deep below her farm. Kasha explains that she must remain furtive about the water to prevent Damnil from taking over the town’s natural resources. Once Meridian is guarded by a “peacekeeper,” however, she will build an aqueduct to irrigate the valley, and provide the foundation for a prosperous city. In time, Nomad and Kasha fall in love, and he becomes a mentor to young Jux. When Nomad finishes construction on Kasha’s new water pump, Damnil’s men destroy the apparatus, and Nomad and Tark seek revenge. Displeased by Nomad’s insurgency, Damnil calls upon the services of his assassin, Sho, who challenges Nomad to a fight. During the confrontation, Nomad is knocked to the ground. Tark comes to his rescue, but Sho stabs him to death and kidnaps young Jux. Back at Kasha’s farm, Nomad insists on going after the boy. However, Kasha wants to confront Damnil on her own and locks her lover in a safe. At Damnil’s outpost, Kasha begs for her son’s life and promises to reveal the secret aquifer, but she surprises her adversaries with a dagger and holds Damnil at knifepoint. As Jux escapes, Kasha loses control of her weapon and is taken prisoner. Meanwhile, Nomad breaks free and reunites with Jux. The two return to Damnil’s farm, where Nomad battles Sho in a sword fight. When Nomad is victorious, he tosses a knife into Damnil’s throat, freeing Kasha from bondage and bringing peace to Meridian, once and for all. Although Kasha begs her lover to stay with her, Nomad cannot deny his instinct to roam and leaves the farm, promising to return when the valley becomes green with new life. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.