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VHS vs. Communism: How Chuck Norris and Sylvester Stallone infiltrated Communist Romania

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Chuck Norris vs Communism
Chuck Norris vs Communism

During the 1980s, Hollywood movies were banned in Communist Romania, but citizens still managed to get their fix of Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sylvester Stallone thanks to an underground community sharing dubbed VHS tapes. And as the New York Times reports, all of these tapes featured audio dubbed by the same woman — Irina Margareta Nistor, a translator at the country's national television channel.

All told she provided translated audio for more than 3,000 films over the years, and provided something more than just entertainment to those watching the tapes. "It was a window to the West," says one viewer, "and I could see what the free world was like." And it had a similar impact on Nistor. "It was like a drug," she says. "It was like escaping from jail." You can catch the story in the video above, which has been adapted from the upcoming documentary Chuck Norris vs. Communism.