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1982 Movie Reviews – The Border

by Sean P. Aune | January 29, 2022January 29, 2022 9:30 am EST

Welcome to an exciting year-long project here at The Nerdy. 1981 was an exciting year for films giving us a lot of films that would go on to be beloved favorites and cult classics. It was also the start to a major shift in cultural and societal norms, and some of those still reverberate to this day.


We’re going to pick and choose which movies we hit, but right now the list stands at nearly four dozen.

Yes, we’re insane, but 1982 was that great of a year for film.

The articles will come out – in most cases – on the same day the films hit theaters in 1982 so that it is their true 40th anniversary. All films are also watched again for the purposes of these reviews and are not being done from memory. In some cases, it truly will be the first time we’ve seen them.

This time around it’s Jan. 29, 1982, and we’re off to see The Border!

Quick side note: Since we launched this series this year, we’ve discovered that Vintage Video Podcast is doing the exact same project with two differences: First, it’s audio (naturally), and second, they are doing every major film. We’ve listened to numerous episodes and it’s fun checking off their thoughts against my own. Check them out over at Vintage Video Podcast.

1982 Movie Project - The Border - 01

The Border

It’s been just over a year since we looked at Borderline, and we’re back at the U.S./Mexican border. This time with a lot more talent on the screen that oddly feels very wasted.

Charlie Smith (Jack Nicholson) transfers from California to Texas to move to a larger house with his wife. She knows some folks in the area that are also in the Border Patrol, so it’s an easy transfer for Smith. Once there he partners up with Cat (Harvey Kietel) who, surprise!, is corrupt and involved in moving illegals around the border.

To call this film paint-by-numbers would be insulting to paint-by-numbers sets. Absolutely nothing is surprising in this film. You know Nicholson isn’t going to play ball. You know that Kietel and the other dirty agents are going to turn on him, and you know a lot of people are going to end up dead.

The only thing that is mildly interesting is Charlie strikes up some form of “relationship” with Maria (Elpidia Carrillo) who becomes the personification of the plight of immigrants attempting to cross the border.  You see her ping-pong across the border multiple times until Smith finally steps in to protect her because everything that could go wrong for her and her baby has.

The Border is just an uninspired film at just about every level. Even Kietel and Nicholson seem to be phoning in their performances and nothing leaves you that interested in what’s happening.

Perhaps it’s worthy as a time capsule because there sure is a lot of stress and discussion over a waterbed.

1982 Movie Reviews will return on Feb. 5 with Butterfly, Night Crossing, and Personal Best!


Sean P. Aune

Sean Aune has been a pop culture aficionado since before there was even a term for pop culture. From the time his father brought home Amazing