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HISTORY

       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Chuck Norris read the script and was impressed with its humorous aspects without seriously considering it as a vehicle for himself. However, the idea of expanding his screen image to include comedy as an element of his screen persona led the martial-arts-champion-turned-actor to re-read the script envisioning himself in the role of "Max Donigan." He then decided to do Firewalker as his first project in a seven–year deal he had just signed with the Cannon Group, Inc. The 17 May 1986 Screen International included an announcement that Louis Gossett, Jr. had been signed to co-star with Chuck Norris. The casting of leading lady Melody Anderson was reported in the 19 Jun 1986 HR , some ten days after the start of principal photography, and the casting of character actor John Rhys-Williams was noted in Var, nearly three weeks after cameras first rolled on the production. The 10 Jun 1986 “Rambling Reporter” column in HR revealed that body builder Lou Ferrigno, who played "The Incredible Hulk" in the television series of the same name (CBS, 10 Mar 1978--2 Jun 1982), was working as Norris’s personal trainer during production of the film.
       The film marked the sixteenth starring vehicle for Norris and the fiftieth feature film for director J. Lee Thompson, according to production notes and the 19 Aug 1986 HR.
       The 31 Dec 1990 issue of Var reported that Quartet Film Associates had filed suit against Pathé Communications, successor to Cannon Releasing, for $3 million, contending that Cannon had breached its 1988 settlement over a ... More Less

       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Chuck Norris read the script and was impressed with its humorous aspects without seriously considering it as a vehicle for himself. However, the idea of expanding his screen image to include comedy as an element of his screen persona led the martial-arts-champion-turned-actor to re-read the script envisioning himself in the role of "Max Donigan." He then decided to do Firewalker as his first project in a seven–year deal he had just signed with the Cannon Group, Inc. The 17 May 1986 Screen International included an announcement that Louis Gossett, Jr. had been signed to co-star with Chuck Norris. The casting of leading lady Melody Anderson was reported in the 19 Jun 1986 HR , some ten days after the start of principal photography, and the casting of character actor John Rhys-Williams was noted in Var, nearly three weeks after cameras first rolled on the production. The 10 Jun 1986 “Rambling Reporter” column in HR revealed that body builder Lou Ferrigno, who played "The Incredible Hulk" in the television series of the same name (CBS, 10 Mar 1978--2 Jun 1982), was working as Norris’s personal trainer during production of the film.
       The film marked the sixteenth starring vehicle for Norris and the fiftieth feature film for director J. Lee Thompson, according to production notes and the 19 Aug 1986 HR.
       The 31 Dec 1990 issue of Var reported that Quartet Film Associates had filed suit against Pathé Communications, successor to Cannon Releasing, for $3 million, contending that Cannon had breached its 1988 settlement over a dispute based on a 1986 distribution agreement with Quartet. According to the suit, Quartet had invested $9 million dollars with Cannon and was to receive eighty percent of gross domestic film rentals on four films including Firewalker. The other three were: Rumpelstiltskin (1987, see entry), Field of Honor (1986, not released in the U. S.), and Assassination (1987, see entry). It was alleged that according to the 1988 settlement, Cannon had agreed to extend the agreement to two additional films, Hero (release undetermined, may have been a working title for another film) and Messenger of Death (1988, see entry), and had promised to spend at least $8 million on production costs and an additional $3 million in advertising, and to release the films on at least 1,000 domestic screens. Quartet claimed Cannon had not expended the agreed upon monies and had failed to secure the agreed upon number of venues.
      The middle name of Zaide Silvia Gutierrez is misspelled "Sylvia" in the opening credits and correctly as "Silvia" in the end credits. End credits include the following statements: "The Producers wish to thank: Maglite Flashlights; Barnett International"; " I Love Lucy courtesy of Viacom Enterprises"; and "Filmed on location in Durango, Puerta Vallarta, Morelos and Torreon, Mexico, and at the Churubusco Studios, Mexico City."
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Aug 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 1986
p. 3, 70.
Los Angeles Times
24 Nov 1986
p. 6.
New York Times
21 Nov 1986
p. 5.
Screen International
17 May 1986.
---
Variety
26 Nov 1986
p. 14, 16.
Variety
31 Dec 1990.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Golan-Globus Production of
a J. Lee Thompson Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
Cam maintenance
Cam painter
Dolly grip
Key grip
Best boy
Generator op
Still photog
Spec phtog
Sygma
ART DIRECTORS
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Supv film ed
Assoc ed
Assoc ed
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
Set dresser
Asst set dresser
Asst set dresser
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's ward supv
Women's ward supv
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus comp and perf by
Mus supv
Mus ed
Mus rec and mixed by
Bassist
SOUND
Boom op
Asst boom op
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff coord
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Opt coord
Main titles and opt
Title des
Title des
MAKEUP
Make-up and hair for Chuck Norris
Makeup artist
Key hair stylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
Prod coord
Loc mgr (Durango)
Loc mgr (Puerta Vallarta)
Prod accountant
Scr supv
Asst to Mr. Thompson
Asst to Mr. Norris
Prod asst
Prod secy
Dial coach to Mr. Norris
Accountant (Mexico)
Unit pub
Post prod supv
Transportation coord
Transportation coord
Prod services and equipment provided by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Color by
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 November 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 21 November 1986
Production Date:
9 June 1986 through 5 September 1986
Copyright Claimant:
Cannon Films, Inc., & Cannon International, B.V.
Copyright Date:
23 December 1986
Copyright Number:
PA315563
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Ultra-Stereo
Color
Duration(in mins):
104
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28395
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Max Donigan and Leo Porter race across desert sands in their Jeep pursued by Arab bandits in dune buggies. Max crashes the Jeep, and the two are captured and tormented by a Chinese villain known as “The General,” who leaves them to die. Max and Leo manage to untie themselves and trek by foot across the desert dreaming of having a beer at Tubb’s Bar in Arizona, five thousand miles away. Sometime later at Tubb’s, Leo and Max review their spotty career as adventurers—fifteen expeditions in ten years, only three of which have made them any money. Patricia Goodwyn comes into the bar seeking two men of questionable character and undying loyalty, and the bartender directs her to Leo and Max. Patricia claims to have a map that leads to a cache of gold on an Apache Indian reservation, and offers to split the proceeds fifty-fifty if Max and Leo help her recover the treasure. She also mentions that the quest could be dangerous, and tells them she is being pursued by a sort of “Red Cyclops” with long black hair. As she shows them the map, they are attacked by a man shooting darts at them with a crossbow. The assailant escapes, as do Leo, Max, and Patricia, who next travel on horseback to a spot indicated by the map. They climb to a mountain cave and discover dozens of skeletons, and a secret chamber with a stone altar and Mayan wall writings dating to 1527. Max picks up what appears to be a skull, but panics when the eye sockets glow and drops the object. ... +


Max Donigan and Leo Porter race across desert sands in their Jeep pursued by Arab bandits in dune buggies. Max crashes the Jeep, and the two are captured and tormented by a Chinese villain known as “The General,” who leaves them to die. Max and Leo manage to untie themselves and trek by foot across the desert dreaming of having a beer at Tubb’s Bar in Arizona, five thousand miles away. Sometime later at Tubb’s, Leo and Max review their spotty career as adventurers—fifteen expeditions in ten years, only three of which have made them any money. Patricia Goodwyn comes into the bar seeking two men of questionable character and undying loyalty, and the bartender directs her to Leo and Max. Patricia claims to have a map that leads to a cache of gold on an Apache Indian reservation, and offers to split the proceeds fifty-fifty if Max and Leo help her recover the treasure. She also mentions that the quest could be dangerous, and tells them she is being pursued by a sort of “Red Cyclops” with long black hair. As she shows them the map, they are attacked by a man shooting darts at them with a crossbow. The assailant escapes, as do Leo, Max, and Patricia, who next travel on horseback to a spot indicated by the map. They climb to a mountain cave and discover dozens of skeletons, and a secret chamber with a stone altar and Mayan wall writings dating to 1527. Max picks up what appears to be a skull, but panics when the eye sockets glow and drops the object. In the broken remnants he discovers a gold dagger. Leo is impressed, but Patricia denies it is the gold they seek. She explores the cave, and is grabbed by the assailant from Tubb’s bar. Leo and Max race to her rescue, but are confronted by what appear to be ancient Mayan warriors. They dispatch the attackers and reach Patricia and her captor. The villain sets Patricia at the edge of a precipice and turns to meet Leo and Max with a knife in his hand. However, when Leo pulls the ancient gold dagger, the attacker panics and leaps to his death. As they later examine the dagger at a bar, Leo and Max are confused that Aztec and Mayan hieroglyphics and Spanish armor would be found on an Apache reservation. The bartender tells them about “El Coyote,” a very dangerous Indian on the reservation who claims to be descended from an Aztec priest. After eliciting a bribe from Max and Leo, the bartender suggests they seek out another Indian, Tall Eagle, who might help them. The adventurers find Tall Eagle at his shack watching television reruns of the 1950s comedy series I Love Lucy. When Tall Eagle demands a percentage for the “Great Spirit,” Max and Leo agree to a twenty percent commission, and the Indian tells them about an Aztec priest called “Firewalker.” When Spanish soldiers came seeking his gold, the Firewalker flew to the sun to walk forever among the fire. After Max and Leo leave, Tall Eagle bids Patricia to stay for a moment and offers the gullible young woman a small pouch filled with dust and bones to protect her from evil spirits. When she leaves, Tall Eagle asks himself rhetorically how the Lone Ranger’s Indian companion, Tonto, managed to put up with white people. Contemplating their accumulated clues, the best Max can come up with is that if the gold is not in the cave it must be someplace else. Patricia sees a map of Central America on the wall and seemingly randomly stabs it with the Aztec dagger indicating the nation of San Miguel, which happens to be between Mayan and Aztec country. That night as they sleep, Max is seduced by an Indian woman who claims to have a potion from Tall Eagle. Instead Max is drugged, and from a distance Tall Eagle chants to wake Patricia to go to Max’s rescue. Instead, she is nearly killed by the Indian woman, and Tall Eagle’s chant finally rouses Leo, who knocks out the attacker and rescues Patricia. After arriving in San Miguel, Patricia reveals to Max that ever since she was a child she has had visions, and her visions have a tendency to come true. She learned to tune out her vision until she found the map. Although the images surrounding the map have been frightening, she is on a quest to discover what is happening to her. When Leo has no luck soliciting information from patrons in a bar, Max offers $100 for what they are seeking. They are approached by Ladlow Boggs, who tells them the government is not letting anyone into the interior without special clearance, and suggests they see, out a guide named Gutierrez in the village of Chajal, 200 miles inland. As the three adventurers prepare to leave, however, they are accosted by thugs. Max uses his martial arts fighting skills to defeat them. Seeking a second “payday,” Boggs informs El Coyote of the trio’s intentions, but is killed for his trouble. The next day, Max, Leo, and Patricia board a train disguised as a pair of Catholic priests in the company of a nun. Arriving in Chajal, they find the town deserted and on fire. Pursued by government forces, they use various ruses to escape. That night in camp, Patricia becomes aware that El Coyote is watching her, and seemingly in a trance she starts to take the ceremonial dagger to him, but comes out of her spell when Max warns her not to wander off. As Max and Leo sleep, Patricia pulls the small leather pouch from her pocket. In the morning Max is awakened by a soldier pointing a gun at him. Patricia and Leo are already captives of anti-government rebels, and the three are marched through the jungle. They are taken to a rebel village, where Max and Leo are threatened with beheading, but it turns out to be a morbid joke when Max’s former Marine sergeant “Corky” Taylor reveals himself as the rebel leader. The next day Corky sends the trio off in his “command vehicle,” a camouflaged Volkswagen “beetle.” That night after dinner at camp, Leo goes to wash dishes at the river’s edge, and does not return. Although Max and Patricia look for him, they come to the conclusion that Leo was eaten by an alligator. The next day, after losing their car and trekking through the jungle, Max and Patricia come upon the lost temple where the treasure resides. Inside the temple is a veritable “haunted house” of trick doors and secret chambers. In one chamber they come upon a captive Leo suspended over a boiling pool. Leo urges them to leave, but they do not and their means of exit shuts tight as the “Red Cyclops,” El Coyote, reveals himself and threatens to lower Leo into the boiling pool if Max does not give him the dagger. Max arranges for Patricia to be let go before turning over the dagger, but El Coyote tricks him and reveals that Patricia will be sacrificed. When Max attempts to kill El Coyote with the thrown dagger, the Indian grabs the weapon by the blade in mid-air and leaves Max and Leo to their own devices. As the chamber fills with boiling water, Max takes a running jump at Leo and the rope and they swing to safety just as the rope breaks. Meanwhile, Patricia is captured by El Coyote and carried to a sacrificial altar. After strenuous effort, Max and Leo escape their death chamber, discover Patricia’s dropped pistol, and kill El Coyote just before he is about to sacrifice her. Using the dagger as a key, they discover the gold in a chamber below the sacrificial altar, but when they emerge from the chamber they are attacked by a super-human, and still very much alive, El Coyote. Patricia grabs the sacred dagger from its altar lock and stabs the Indian in the back, killing him. She then sprinkles his body with the powder given her by Tall Eagle, and El Coyote is consumed by fire as the three adventurers drag their bags of gold from the temple. Later, as they celebrate and vacation in a Fiji resort, they toast a future of luxury devoid of adventure. But, across the restaurant, masquerading as a bartender, “The General” laughs under his breath and says to himself, “So, Gentlemen, we meet again.”




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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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