Into the Valley of Death: The Making of Salvador (2001)


Into the Valley of Death: The Making of Salvador is an arts Documentary with no narration published by MGM in 2001.

Refer to Salvador (1986).


A harrowing drama set during the Salvadoran Civil War, Salvador is a one of director Oliver Stone’s most underrated films, a thrilling and violent look at the chaos of war as seen through the lens of an amoral photojournalist.

In 1980, young men, women and children are being brutally killed in a bloody civil war in El Salvador. A horrific setting, but a perfect one for Richard Boyle (James Woods in an Oscar nominated role), a sleazy journalist whose career needs a jumpstart. Armed with his camera, Boyle joins the front lines in an attempt to capture atrocious-but-valuable images of pain and horror. But with each picture he takes, he catches a tragic side of humanity that ignites his long-buried compassion. And he unexpectedly discovers something that will change him forever: his soul.

Oliver Stone was once quoted as saying “I consider my films to be first and foremost dramas about individuals in personal struggles”. When the writer/director became friends with Richard Boyle, he became fascinated by this crazed photojournalist, who had spent a chunk of his life wallowing in excesses like drugs and alcohol ā€“ rather like famous hack Hunter S. Thompson. Boyle had kept a journal describing his turbulent experiences in war torn El Salvador during the early 1980s, the horrors of which would change him forever. Stone was immediately hooked by what he read, turning it into a screenplay in just three weeks. Within a year, following a troubled production which saw Stone at the helm of his first major film, Salvador (1986) was set for release.

“Into the Valley of Death” ā€“ The Making of Salvador charts the chance birth and troubled production of the film, and includes interviews with many of the key participants, including Oliver Stone, James Woods, Jim Belushi, Richard Boyle and Robert E. White, the real-life US Ambassador to El Salvador at the time and the man on whom Michael Murphy’s character is based. Packed with honest confessions about the tensions between cast and crew and the real life calamities that occurred during the film shoot in Mexico, this is a raw, brutal and honest look on not only the film, but also the whole brutality that took place in El Salvador in the 1980’s with dictatorships financed by US government.


  • Oliver Stone.
  • Richard Boyle.
  • Jim Belushi.
  • James Woods.
  • Robert E. White.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Charles Kiselyak.
  • Producer(s):
    • Charles Kiselyak.
  • Writer(s):
    • Charles Kiselyak.
  • Music:
  • Cinematography:
    • Dennis Boni.
  • Editor(s):
  • Production:
    • MGM Home Entertainment.
  • Distributor(s):
    • MGM Home Entertainment (2001) (USA) (DVD).
  • Release Date: 05 June 2001 (US).
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 62 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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