Betrayed (1988 film)


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
Release dates
  • August 26, 1988 (1988-08-26)
Running time
127 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $19 million
Box office $25.8 million[2]

Betrayed is a 1988 American drama thriller 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, alias Katie Phillips, sets out to infiltrate a farming community, suspected of harboring those responsible.

After receiving a warm welcome from land-owner and farmer Gary Simmons, 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 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.



Critical response

Betrayed was met with mixed reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 45% "Rotten" rating.[3] Winger's performance 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, Berenger named Betrayed as his favorite film, shrugging off any media criticism with the retort "It was exactly what it was meant to be".[4]

Box office

The film debuted at #2 at the box office,[5] earning $5,534,787 and coming in behind the second weekend of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.[6] The film would go on to gross $25,816,139 in the United States.[2]


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

See also


External links

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