Flight of the Navigator (1986)

PG | 90 mins | Science fiction | 30 July 1986

Full page view
HISTORY

       A 20 Oct 1984 Screen International news item stated that the picture represented “the first distribution deal” for the new management team of Michael Eisner, Frank Wells, and Jeffrey Katzenberg at the Walt Disney Co., and John Avildsen was named to direct. However, producer Robby Wald stated Avildsen was paid $100,000, given the screenplay, then proposed creative changes that deviated tremendously from the original concept. Avildsen claimed he passed on the script he received, as reported in the 15 Nov 1984 DV. The article also stated that director Brian DePalma was being considered for the project as Avildsen and DePalma shared the same agent, Martin Bauer. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, 300 boys were auditioned for the role of “David Freeman,” but only Joey Cramer who had finished Indestructible Man, a Disney Sunday Movie for television, was felt to have the experience and talent to carry a feature film. A brief in the 29 Jul 1986 HR noted that actor Paul Rubens [aka “Pee-wee Herman”] supplied an alien’s voice although he was not credited.
       Referring to the project as The Navigator, a 1 Aug 1984 DV item stated John Ellis wrote the script, but Ellis receives no onscreen credit.
       A news item in a 12 Feb 1986 Var and a 26 Feb 1986 Var article stated that principal photography began 4 Dec 1985 for ten weeks in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The picture was budgeted for $17.5 million, and was a coproduction with Viking Film of Norway, which financed one-third of the cost, while Producers Sales Organization ... More Less

       A 20 Oct 1984 Screen International news item stated that the picture represented “the first distribution deal” for the new management team of Michael Eisner, Frank Wells, and Jeffrey Katzenberg at the Walt Disney Co., and John Avildsen was named to direct. However, producer Robby Wald stated Avildsen was paid $100,000, given the screenplay, then proposed creative changes that deviated tremendously from the original concept. Avildsen claimed he passed on the script he received, as reported in the 15 Nov 1984 DV. The article also stated that director Brian DePalma was being considered for the project as Avildsen and DePalma shared the same agent, Martin Bauer. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, 300 boys were auditioned for the role of “David Freeman,” but only Joey Cramer who had finished Indestructible Man, a Disney Sunday Movie for television, was felt to have the experience and talent to carry a feature film. A brief in the 29 Jul 1986 HR noted that actor Paul Rubens [aka “Pee-wee Herman”] supplied an alien’s voice although he was not credited.
       Referring to the project as The Navigator, a 1 Aug 1984 DV item stated John Ellis wrote the script, but Ellis receives no onscreen credit.
       A news item in a 12 Feb 1986 Var and a 26 Feb 1986 Var article stated that principal photography began 4 Dec 1985 for ten weeks in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The picture was budgeted for $17.5 million, and was a coproduction with Viking Film of Norway, which financed one-third of the cost, while Producers Sales Organization covered the remaining two-thirds. A 15 Mar 1986 Screen International article reported that adverse weather conditions in Los Angeles, CA, and Dallas, TX, forced the production to move to FL. Production notes state that the company made its headquarters on a Ft. Lauderdale, FL, houseboat. Other locations included Watson Island in Biscayne Bay near Miami, FL, where the film’s opening Frisbee championships took place. The Villa Vizcaya Museum and Gardens doubled as the forest adjacent to David Freeman’s house. Sets for Dr. Faraday’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) headquarters and David’s bedroom were built at a soundstage at Miami’s Limelite Studios.The Federal Aviation Administration Tracking Station for Southern California was the site of several scenes, while the interiors of assorted hangars located at Opalocka Airport stood in for NASA property. Al’s Alligator Farm, a general store and dilapidated roadside attraction, was filmed at the BR Horse Ranch, owned by actor Burt Reynolds, in Jupiter, FL.
       According to a 22 Feb 1986 Screen International article and the 26 Feb 1986 Var, the production relocated to Norway for an additional three weeks to shoot a section of a spacecraft that was transported in four sections to the outskirts of Oslo, and reassembled in an airplane hangar. Production notes state that two identical spaceships were built and only differed in weight. The lighter 700-pound ship was used solely for flotation sequences. The heavier ship of 1450 pounds had a full interior made out of aluminum. As reported in the 26 Feb 1986 Var, additional filming of glacier footage took place in a northern artic area of Norway.

      The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “Special Thanks to: Kevin Schehr, FAA Aviation Safety Inspector, Miami FSDO, residents and officials of Dade and Broward Counties, and the cities of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and Miami, Florida.” End credits state: “Filmed on location in Broward County, Florida and Limelite Studios, Miami, Florida,” “Segments from The Price is Right courtesy of Goodsen-Todman Productions,” “Music Video ‘Lose Your Love,’ written by Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe, published by Complete Music, Inc., ASCAP, performed by Blancmange, courtesy of Sire Records Company and London Records, produced by Stewart Levine,” “all original music composed and performed on Synclavier Digital Music System,” and “special thanks to N. E. D. Brad Naples.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
1 Aug 1984.
---
Daily Variety
15 Nov 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jul 1986
p. 3, 30.
Los Angeles Times
31 Jul 1986
p. 5.
New York Times
30 Jul 1986
p. 18.
Screen International
20 Oct 1984.
---
Screen International
22 Feb 1986.
---
Screen International
15 Mar 1986.
---
Variety
12 Feb 1986.
---
Variety
26 Feb 1986.
---
Variety
30 Jul 1986
p. 16, 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Walt Disney Pictures Presents
A Producers Sales Organization Picture
A Randal Kleiser Film
A New Star Entertainment Production
In Association with Viking Film A/S, Oslo, Norway
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
2d unit 1st asst dir
1st asst dir, Norway unit
Prod mgr, Norway unit
Asst prod mgr, Norway unit
PRODUCERS
Prod
Co-prod
Co-exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
2d unit dir of photog, Norway unit
Key grip, Norway unit
Elec, Norway unit
Elec, Norway unit
Grip, Norway unit
Grip, Norway unit
Aerial footage by
Cam op [Aerial footage]
Cam asst [Aerial footage]
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dept coord
Conceptual artist
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Addl ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Const coord
Const foreman
Prop master
Leadman
Scenic artist
Painter
Draftsman
Model maker
Model maker
Spaceship interior const by
Const coord
Spaceship exterior const by
Const mgr, Norway unit
Const, Norway unit
COSTUMES
Costumer
Ward, Norway unit
MUSIC
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Source mus supv by
Source mus prod by
for Tyrell Mann Productions
Arr and performed by
Arr and performed by
Source mus coord
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd des and supv sd ed
Sd des and supv sd ed
Sd ed
ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Synthesist
Synthesist
Synthesist
Addl sd eff
Foley by
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Rec
Sd mixer, Norway unit
Spec sd eff des and comp on
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff supv
Spec eff supv
Spec eff
Spec eff
Creature mechanics
Creature mechanics
Creature mechanics
Titles and opticals by
Spec eff, Norway unit
Spec eff lighting, Norway unit
Visual eff coord
Opt eff supv
Spec visual eff by
Motion control cam
Motion control cam
Motion control cam
Opt lineup
Addl spec visual eff by
Anim eff by
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Max and the Creatures puppeteered by
Max and the Creatures puppeteered by
Scr supv
Post prod supv
Marine services
Unit pub
Secy to Mr. Kleiser
Secy to Mr. Wald
Casting, Florida
Voice casting
Tech adv
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Prod accountant
Transportation coord
Transportation co-capt
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Asst to Mr. Kleiser
Teacher/ Welfare worker
Exec in charge of prod, Norway unit
Prod coord, Norway unit
Puppet mechanics, Norway unit
Puppet mechanics, Norway unit
Prod asst, Norway unit
Prod asst, Norway unit
Prod asst, Norway unit
Apprentice, Norway unit
Apprentice, Norway unit
Apprentice, Norway unit
Pilot
Mechanic
Video and graphic displays
Process projection by
STAND INS
Stunt double
Stunt double
ANIMATION
Computer anim by
Omnibus Computer Graphics
Omnibus Computer Graphics
Omnibus Computer Graphics
Omnibus Computer Graphics
Omnibus Computer Graphics
Omnibus Computer Graphics
Omnibus Computer Graphics
Omnibus Computer Graphics
Omnibus Computer Graphics
Omnibus Computer Graphics
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“Count On Me,” written by Jesse Barish, published by Bright Moments Music BMI, and Diamondback Music Co. BMI
“Lovefire,” written by Bob Esty and Michelle Aller, published by Aller and Esty Music BMI, performed by Bob Esty and Michelle Aller, produced by Bob Esty
“Trapped In My Mind,” written by David Kitay, Charles Valentino, and Stephanie Tyrell, published by Tyrell-Mann Music Corp. BMI
+
SONGS
“Count On Me,” written by Jesse Barish, published by Bright Moments Music BMI, and Diamondback Music Co. BMI
“Lovefire,” written by Bob Esty and Michelle Aller, published by Aller and Esty Music BMI, performed by Bob Esty and Michelle Aller, produced by Bob Esty
“Trapped In My Mind,” written by David Kitay, Charles Valentino, and Stephanie Tyrell, published by Tyrell-Mann Music Corp. BMI
“Blame It On The Bossa Nova,” written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, published by Screen Gems-EMI Music Inc., BMI, performed by Hollie Denei Hewitt
“Walk A While In My Blues,” written by Will Jennings, published by Willin’ David Music BMI and Blue Sky Rider Songs Inc. BMI, performed by Steve Tyrell
"You’re The One That I Want,” written by John Farrar, published by Unichapel BMI, John Farrar Music BMI and Ensign Music BMI
“I Get Around,” written by Brian Wilson, published by Irving Music Inc. BMI, performed by The Beach Boys, produced by Brian Wilson.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Navigator
Release Date:
30 July 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 30 July 1986
Production Date:
began 4 December 1985
Copyright Claimant:
PSO Presentations
Copyright Date:
30 July 1986
Copyright Number:
PA293928
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Print by De Luxe
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28230
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

As the Freeman family leaves a park after watching the South Florida Frisbee Dog Championship, twelve-year-old David Freeman announces that someday his dog, Bruiser, will win the Frisbee competition. However, his younger brother, Jeff, thinks their dog is feeble and winning would be a long shot. Soon, Jeff is dropped at a friend’s house, and the Freeman family arrives home. After dark, Helen Freeman asks David to escort Jeff on his walk home through the woods. The brothers meet but when Bruiser runs off, David searches for his dog, slips, and falls unconscious into a ravine. He awakens and returns to the house without Bruiser. He finds the front door locked and pounds on the door. A strange woman appears and asks who he is. He runs past her looking for his parents. The house has been redecorated and his bedroom is now a study. The homeowners call police to reunite David with his parents. At the police station, Detective Banks and a colleague pull a missing persons report on David dated 1978. As the officers drive David to his parents’ new address, David believes the year is 1978 and Jimmy Carter is the president of the United States. His answers are met with silence. They stop at an unfamiliar house. When Bill and Helen Freeman greet the detective at the door, David rushes to meet them. As his parents embrace him in joy and disbelief, David loses consciousness. Elsewhere, Dr. Louis Faraday of The National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) has been called to examine an alien spaceship tangled in an electrical tower. As Faraday ponders how to move the spaceship to a new location, David ... +


As the Freeman family leaves a park after watching the South Florida Frisbee Dog Championship, twelve-year-old David Freeman announces that someday his dog, Bruiser, will win the Frisbee competition. However, his younger brother, Jeff, thinks their dog is feeble and winning would be a long shot. Soon, Jeff is dropped at a friend’s house, and the Freeman family arrives home. After dark, Helen Freeman asks David to escort Jeff on his walk home through the woods. The brothers meet but when Bruiser runs off, David searches for his dog, slips, and falls unconscious into a ravine. He awakens and returns to the house without Bruiser. He finds the front door locked and pounds on the door. A strange woman appears and asks who he is. He runs past her looking for his parents. The house has been redecorated and his bedroom is now a study. The homeowners call police to reunite David with his parents. At the police station, Detective Banks and a colleague pull a missing persons report on David dated 1978. As the officers drive David to his parents’ new address, David believes the year is 1978 and Jimmy Carter is the president of the United States. His answers are met with silence. They stop at an unfamiliar house. When Bill and Helen Freeman greet the detective at the door, David rushes to meet them. As his parents embrace him in joy and disbelief, David loses consciousness. Elsewhere, Dr. Louis Faraday of The National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) has been called to examine an alien spaceship tangled in an electrical tower. As Faraday ponders how to move the spaceship to a new location, David is scared as he is wheeled through a hospital hallway. His mother promises that no harm will come to him, and a doctor calls his parents away. David thinks he was only gone for a few hours, but sees his brother, Jeff, now a teenager, standing by the door. Jeff describes how David went missing eight years ago, and every weekend, their parents insisted Jeff post missing person flyers with David’s photograph. As he hands David a flier, he says it is 1986. His parents return, and say the doctor wants to run some tests. David tells his mother that if he has truly been away eight years, it seems like a bad dream. Later, Dr. Faraday and his team transport the alien spaceship in a flatbed truck to an empty airplane hangar. At the hospital, David wakes and tells Jeff that he hears a voice over and over but does not understand the words. Reassured by Jeff that he is not going crazy, David falls back to sleep. At NASA, Dr. Faraday and his team are unable to penetrate the spaceship. Later, the doctor attaches electrodes to David’s head, and another doctor interviews him about his adventure in the woods. As he speaks, his brain waves create linear drawings of a spaceship on a computer screen. His doctor forwards the drawings to Dr. Faraday at NASA. Soon, Dr. Faraday visits the Freemans and asks that David be put under his care. David refuses until the doctor suggests he can explain the mystery behind David’s disappearance. He asks David to spend two days at NASA so the staff can determine the truth, and he agrees. As David rides with Dr. Faraday, he hears alien voices the doctor cannot detect. David is sequestered in a bedroom with toys, and a state-of-the-art television set. Soon, intern Carolyn McAdams delivers dinner in an automated food cart, and discovers David has missed out on recent popular culture. Later, more electrodes are attached to David’s head and he is interviewed. As David responds, scientists notice alternate answers appear in English on their computer screens, but soon, the answers switch to an alien language, and Dr. Faraday addresses the screen directly. It responds that the trip from the planet Phalon took 2.2 solar hours. Then, the screen scans though several uncharted solar systems until it locates Phalon. The computer activity upsets David, who pulls off the electrodes and runs away. Back in his room, Carolyn McAdams reveals to David that his stay has been extended. He persuades her to contact his parents to rescue him. At night, David hears alien voices asking for his help. He hides in Carolyn’s automated food cart and escapes undetected by guards. The food cart transports him to the hangar where the alien spaceship is stocked. As he circles the mollusk-shaped craft, liquid metal pours from a hatch and forms a floating staircase. Slowly, he climbs the stairs and enters the vessel. There, Max, a robot pilot, admits to summoning David, and ushers him into a chair that rises from the floor. David possesses information Max needs to complete his mission. Max calls him “the navigator,” and explains that he must access navigational charts that have been stored in David’s memory. His own data was wiped out when he plowed into an electrical tower. When instruments reveal security has been breached, NASA staff descends on the hangar. Dr. Faraday commands David to leave the ship. Instead, NASA scientists watch helplessly as the spaceship breaks free from its mooring with David inside. When David orders the pilot to travel twenty miles away, Max directs the ship twenty miles above Earth. Exasperated, David gives an order to return to his planet. They land in a field surrounded by cows. There, David learns that Max’s mission is to study species from other planets. After he studied David it was too dangerous to send him back in time so he returned him to the place where David was found. David will let Max have the charts he needs, if Max returns him to his family. However, helicopters carrying NASA scientists appear, and David orders Max to escape somewhere they cannot be found. Max submerges the spacecraft underwater and David is introduced to other specimens Max collected. The animals are hungry, and one grabs David’s NASA cap and devours it. Once Max scans David’s memory, he absorbs much American culture and sounds increasingly human. David makes the mistake of calling Max a geek, and the robot shuts down the engines. As the craft plunges to Earth, David discovers how to fly the spaceship. Meanwhile, Dr. Faraday wants to talk to Carolyn McAdams because she was the last person to see David, and finds her at the Freeman house explaining to David’s family what has happened. Soon, David and Max are lost. They travel from Japan to San Francisco, and scare some travellers on the road when they stop to ask for directions. David teaches Max a Beach Boys song as they head toward Florida. From the air, the spaceship reaches Al’s Gator City, and David deduces they must be in Florida. After landing, David borrows change from Al to use the payphone. He talks to his brother Jeff and asks him to devise a signal that can be seen from the air so he can navigate his way home. David flies the ship, following Turnpike signs to Fort Lauderdale. Meanwhile, Jeff climbs to the roof of the house with a box of fireworks. The first few rockets he ignites malfunction, but then a few launch and colors burst in the night sky. Bill and Helen stand on their front lawn watching for the spaceship. As David sees the fireworks and lands, NASA scientists and police surround the house. David steps out of the craft and says he no longer belongs with his family and apologizes to his parents. He ducks inside the spaceship and leaves. He tells Max he knows he should be with his family but he belongs back in 1978. Max tells him that a return to the past might bring about his death, but David has to try. The ship goes back in time, and David wakes up in the ravine. When he reaches his front door, his parents call to him from their boat dock. As he steps onto their boat, David tells his mother he loves her, hugs Bruiser, and tells Jeff he loves him too. Jeff notices a tiny alien creature sticking out of David’s backpack. David pushes the creature back and silently motions Jeff not to say anything. In space, Max says to David, “See you later, alligator!” David gazes up at the sky and smiles.
+

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.