Betrayed (1988 film)

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Betrayed poster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Costa-Gavras
Produced by Irwin Winkler
Written by Joe Eszterhas
Music by Bill Conti
Cinematography Patrick Blossier
Edited by Joële Van Effenterre
Distributed by United Artists/MGM
Release dates
26 August 1988
Running time
127 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $19,000,000
Box office $25,816,139

Betrayed is a 1988 drama film directed by Costa-Gavras, written by Joe Eszterhas, and starring Debra Winger and Tom Berenger. The plot is roughly based upon the terrorist activities of American neo-Nazi and white supremacist Robert Mathews and his group The Order.


Set in the American Midwest, the film begins with the murder of a Jewish radio host in Chicago. FBI undercover agent Catherine Weaver (Winger), alias Katie Phillips, sets out to infiltrate a farming community, suspected of harbouring those responsible.

After receiving a warm welcome from land-owner and farmer Gary Simmons (Berenger), his two children and extended family, she begins to believe that the FBI lead is erroneous. Throwing caution to the wind, she falls in love with Simmons, a Vietnam War veteran who appears to command the respect of the local community. A short while later, her suspicions are aroused by talk of family secrets and as more chilling events unfold, Katie is exposed to the fact that Gary is the leader of a Klan-like white supremacy group involved in heinous, often gut-wrenching, acts of racial violence.

In too deep, Katie pleads with boss and mentor Michael Carnes (John Heard) to release her from the assignment, but he refuses, instead turning the screw on her mixed loyalties. Ultimately, she must betray either the man she loves or the country she has sworn to protect.



The film was moderately successful with the movie review amalgamation site Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 63% Fresh rating.[1] The performance of Winger was praised by some reviewers, who felt she was successful in conveying complex and mixed emotions throughout. Critics of the film point to a muddled and sometimes unbelievable unravelling of the plot.

The opening sequence is loosely based on the 1984 murder of Denver DJ Alan Berg, which was carried out by white supremacists known as The Order.

In a 1996 interview, Tom Berenger named Betrayed as his favorite film, shrugging off any media criticism with the retort "It was exactly what it was meant to be".[2]

The film is mentioned in the 1997 Seinfeld episode "The Comeback"'.

Box Office[edit]

The movie debuted at No.2 at the box office.[3]


External links[edit]