In 1978, the skilled and ambitious TWA pilot Barry Seal smuggles Cuban cigars to increase his income. Out of the blue, he is contacted by the CIA agent Monty Schafer, who asks him to work for the CIA photographing facilities over Central America using a state-of-art small plane. Soon Barry contacts General Noriega as a courier for the CIA and is contacted by the Medellin Cartel that wants him to transport drugs to the USA.
Then Schafer asks Barry to carry weapons for the Contras in Nicaragua. Barry invites pilots that are his friends and plots routes to smuggle drugs for the cartel. The CIA closes eyes to the scheme and Barry becomes richer and richer. He uses the Arkansas town Mena to laundry his money. But the DEA and the FBI are tracking him down. When the CIA shuts down the scheme, Barry is left alone and arrested by the agencies. What will happen to his family and him?
American Made is a 2017 American biographical crime film, directed by Doug Liman, written by Gary Spinelli, and starring Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Alejandro Edda, Mauricio Mejía, Caleb Landry Jones and Jesse Plemons. The plot focuses on Barry Seal, a former TWA pilot who flew missions for the CIA, and became a drug smuggler for the Medellín Cartel in the 1980s. In order to avoid jail time, Seal became an informant for the DEA.
The film was first released in Europe on August 23, 2017, and in the United States on September 29, 2017. It is the first film directed by Liman to be released by Universal Pictures since The Bourne Identity in 2002, and was played in 2D and IMAX in select theaters. American Made grossed $51.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $83.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $134.9 million, against a production budget of $50 million.
Principal photography on the film began on May 27, 2015 in Georgia. Filming locations there include counties Cherokee, Clayton, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Morgan and Pickens. On August 20, 2015, Tom Cruise arrived in Medellin, Colombia, and on August 31, in Santa Marta, to scout filming locations for the film.
About the Story
In the late 1970s, Barry Seal, a pilot for commercial airline TWA, is contacted by CIA case officer, calling himself Monty Schafer. He asks Seal to fly clandestine reconnaissance missions for the CIA over Central America using a small plane with cameras installed.
Later in the 1970s, Schafer asks Seal to start acting as a courier between the CIA and General Noriega in Panama. During a mission, the Medellín Cartel picks Seal up and asks him to fly cocaine on his return flights to the United States. Seal accepts and starts flying the cartel’s cocaine to Louisiana. The CIA turns a blind eye to the drug smuggling, but the DEA tracks Seal down. To avoid the authorities, Schafer moves Seal and his family to a remote town in Arkansas called Mena.
Later, Schafer asks Seal to run guns to the Nicaraguan Contras based in Honduras, Central America. Seal soon realizes that the Contras are not serious about the war and starts trading the guns to the cartel. The CIA set up a Contra training base in Mena and Seal flies the Contras in, but many of them escape as soon as they arrive.
Seal’s freeloading brother-in-law JB moves in, needing a job. Eventually, he starts stealing money from the Seals, is caught by Sheriff Downing with a briefcase full of laundered cash, and is arrested. Seal gives him money and a plane ticket to Bora Bora so he can leave. JB demands weekly cash and insults Lucy. Barry tries to chase him but JB’s car explodes; it is implied Jorge Ochoa had JB’s car rigged with explosives, killing him so that he would not snitch.
Eventually, the CIA shuts the program down and abandons Seal, who is arrested by the FBI, DEA, ATF and Arkansas State Police simultaneously. Seal escapes prosecution by making a deal with the White House, which wants evidence the Sandinistas are drug traffickers. They ask Seal to get photos that tie the Medellín Cartel to the Nicaraguan Sandinistas. Seal manages to get the pictures, but the White House releases them as propaganda against the Sandinistas. Seal is prominently shown in the pictures, which leads to his arrest, and to the cartel plotting revenge.
American Made (2017)
Directed by: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Lola Kirke, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones, Jayma Mays, Alejandro Edda, Benito Martinez, Morgan Hinkleman, Robert Farrior, Mauricio Mejía
Screenplay by: Gary Spinelli
Production Design by: Dan Weil
Cinematography by: César Charlone
Film Editing by: Andrew Mondshein
Costume Design by: Kym Barrett, Jenny Gering
Set Decoration by: Kelley Burney
Art Direction by: Patricia Arango: Elizabeth Cummings, Justin O’Neal Miller, María Fernanda Muñoz
Music by: Christophe Beck
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout and some sexuality / nudity.
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: August 23, 2017 (Europe), September 29, 2017 (United States)