The Havana Film

Havana is a drama film first released in 1990. The film stars Robert Redford, Lena Olin, and Raul Julia, and was directed by the highly acclaimed Sydney Pollack. Havana tells the story of Jack Weil, played by Robert Redford, an American professional gambler who travels to Havana in Cuba in order to gamble. On his way there, he meets Roberta Duran, played by Lena Olin, the wife of the revolutionary Arturo, played by Raul Julia. This leads to a whole series of unfortunate events and adventures.

The Havana Film Story

The Havana film is set during the events before the night of the Cuban Revolution on the first of January, 1959. On Christmas Eve, Roberta Duran convinces Jack Weil to help her smuggle US Army Signal Corps radios into the hills. He agrees only because he is romantically interested in her, but then finds out that she is in fact married to a Cuban revolutionary, Arturo. A few days later, he is shocked to hear that Arturo has been killed and Roberta arrested and tortured. He saves her from prison, but she escapes again. Realising that he is deeply in love with her, he persuades Roberta to leave Cuba with him. Before this happens though, he receives note from Arturo to get Roberta out of the country.

He is astounded that Arturo is not, in fact, dead, but he hides this news from Roberta. In an attempt to help Arturo, Jack learns the truth from a CIA agent, and pretends to be CIA himself in order to get Arturo released. He then breaks the news to Roberta, that her husband is still alive, and she returns to him.

During the night of New Years’ Eve, 1959, the Cuban Revolution is won, and Jack decides it is as good a time as any to leave. He says his farewells to Roberta, who for the first time realises what it cost him to free her husband. Years later, Jack still hopes that Roberta will come to America, but he knows that Roberta will always stay with the Revolution and with Cuba.

The Havana Cast

The cast of Havana includes Hollywood superstar Robert Redford, who plays Jack Weil, a professional gambler. He comes to Havana to gamble, but ends up in an entirely different state of affairs. Lena Olin plays Roberta Duran, a Swedish-born actress, who lived in California, then Mexico, and then Havana, where she married Arturo Duran. Raul Julia plays the role of Arturo Duran. He chose to remain uncredited as the producers refused to give him above-the-title credits next to Robert Redford and Lena Olin. Alan Arkin plays the role of Joe Valpi, manager of a Havana casino and friend of Jack’s.

The Havana Reception and Critique

The Havana film was poorly rated, and most of the reviews were negative. The film had a budget of US $40 million, but only made back US $9 million in the domestic market.

Despite being a box office bomb, the musical score by Dave Grusin was highly acclaimed, and received Golden Globe, Oscar, and Grammy nominations.