The Package

Set in the midst of the Cold War, this 1989 spy thriller takes place in Berlin and the United Sates, but with the exception of the opening scene in Berlin, it was filmed entirely in and around Chicago.

Directed by Andrew Davis, the talent-laden cast includes two-time Academy Award winner Gene Hackman as Green Beret Master Sergeant Johnny Gallagher, Academy Award winner Tommy Lee Jones as assassin Thomas Boyette, Academy Award nominee Joanna Cassidy as Lieutenant Colonel Eileen Gallagher and Emmy nominate John Heard as Colonel Glen Whitacre. It also features appearances by Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Pam Grier along with Golden Globe and Emmy winner Dennis Franz. (Note: Gene Hackman served in the United States Marine Corps, in China, Japan and Hawaii, and Dennis Franz, a native of west suburban Maywood and graduate of Proviso East High School, was drafted into the Army and saw extensive combat in Viet Nam with the 82nd Airborne Division.)

The movie centers around a rogue group of high-ranking American and Soviet military officers who are bent on making their own foreign policy despite the desires of their respective countries.

With arms limitation talks going on between the two superpowers, they undertake the assassination of the Soviet General Secretary while he is attending a meeting in Chicago. Jones, an assassin in the “black world” of espionage is smuggled into the United States under the guise of a U.S. soldier being sent back to be court martialed. Hackman, totally unaware of the unfolding plot, is assigned to escort a “package” from Berlin back to the United States. That “package” is Jones.

In addition to actual images of a divided Berlin, scenes in Chicago appear throughout the movie. Thanks to some movie magic, a U.S. Kaserne (military base) in Germany is so authentic, it seems to have been shot on location. It was actually shot at The Altenheim in Forest Park, just down the street from Franz’s high school alma mater.

This movie is a personal favorite. A fast-paced, thought-provoking thriller with an outstanding cast, it is well worth the investment in time to watch it in its entirety.

To view the trailer, click here.

To view the movie, click here.

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Steve Corbo

A founding member and corporate secretary of the Italian American Veterans Museum, Steve Corbo is the museum’s curator and a military consultant for Fra Noi. He has served for 25 years as president of S.A. Corbo & Associates Inc., providing professional liability insurance to health care providers. The son and nephew of World War II veterans and a passionate military historian for over 50 years, he has written and published articles on a variety of topics, including military history, and serves as the military consultant for Fra Noi, the Chicago-area Italian-American magazine.

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