The Fourth War

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The Fourth War
The Fourth War.jpg
Directed byJohn Frankenheimer
Written byStephen Peters
Kenneth Ross
Music byBill Conti
CinematographyGerry Fisher
Distributed byCannon Films
Release date
  • March 23, 1990 (1990-03-23)
Running time
91 min.
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,305,887[1]

The Fourth War is a 1990 film directed by John Frankenheimer, set in West Germany of late 1980s. Its title stems from a famous quote by Albert Einstein: "I cannot predict how the Third World War shall be fought, or with what; I can, however, predict that the Fourth World War shall be waged with sticks and stones."

Colonel Jack Knowles (Roy Scheider) is a tough, professional soldier who was decorated for gallantry in Vietnam. However the same gung ho mentality that made Knowles a hero in wartime makes him a dangerous loose cannon in peacetime. He is stationed at an outpost on the West German-Czechoslovakia border and immediately gets into a dangerous personal war with his Soviet counterpart Colonel Valachev. The two men ironically have many of the same characteristics. Knowles is enraged when he has to stand by as a would be refugee is shot on the border and immediately begins crossing the border on dangerous solo missions to sabotage the enemy installations. Knowles comes into conflict with his by the book second-in-command Lieutenant Colonel Clark, and Knowles' superior, General Hackworth, angrily orders him to desist, but to no avail. The petty war between the two men threatens to escalate into a full scale conflict as they engage in hand-to-hand combat on a frozen lake with their countries' armies on both sides ready to begin a full scale war. Knowles only relents at the last moment to avoid the conflict.



  1. ^ "The Fourth War (1990)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 8, 2015.

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