Hero (1992)

PG-13 | 112 mins | Comedy-drama, Romance | 2 October 1992

Director:

Stephen Frears

Producer:

Laura Ziskin

Cinematographer:

Oliver Stapleton

Editor:

Mick Audsley

Production Designer:

Dennis Gassner

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures
Full page view
HISTORY

Production notes in AMPAS library files state that Laura Ziskin and Alvin Sargent first conceived the story while watching the 1988 presidential primaries, and realized television’s power to “create identity and reputation with a single act or image.” Ziskin later heard of a real-life incident involving a man who helped rescue plane crash survivors, and decided to “give the scenario a comic spin.” The 20 Jun 1991 DV announced that Ziskin would produce the project, then titled Hero and a Half, for Columbia Pictures. With Geena Davis and Dustin Hoffman already cast, the 10 Jun 1991 Var reported that Jeff Bridges was considered for the third leading role, which eventually went to Andy Garcia.
       A 19 Nov 1991 HR production chart indicated that principal photography began 30 Oct 1991. Filming began in Chicago, IL, at locations including the historic Drake Hotel, where an extra ledge was added to the north side of the building for the climactic sequence featuring “John Bubber’s” attempted suicide. After roughly three weeks in Chicago, the 15 Nov 1991 Screen International announced that production would relocate to Los Angeles, CA, on 18 Nov 1991. Plane crash effects involved a twenty-five-year-old Boeing 727 that was transported from an aircraft graveyard in Northern California. The vessel was then reassembled and lowered onto an unused bridge over the Piru River just north of Los Angeles. Crash rescue exteriors were completed over a week of night shooting, while interiors of the wreckage were shot on another 727 aircraft at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, CA. Pre-crash plane interiors were filmed on a stage at Universal Studios. ... More Less

Production notes in AMPAS library files state that Laura Ziskin and Alvin Sargent first conceived the story while watching the 1988 presidential primaries, and realized television’s power to “create identity and reputation with a single act or image.” Ziskin later heard of a real-life incident involving a man who helped rescue plane crash survivors, and decided to “give the scenario a comic spin.” The 20 Jun 1991 DV announced that Ziskin would produce the project, then titled Hero and a Half, for Columbia Pictures. With Geena Davis and Dustin Hoffman already cast, the 10 Jun 1991 Var reported that Jeff Bridges was considered for the third leading role, which eventually went to Andy Garcia.
       A 19 Nov 1991 HR production chart indicated that principal photography began 30 Oct 1991. Filming began in Chicago, IL, at locations including the historic Drake Hotel, where an extra ledge was added to the north side of the building for the climactic sequence featuring “John Bubber’s” attempted suicide. After roughly three weeks in Chicago, the 15 Nov 1991 Screen International announced that production would relocate to Los Angeles, CA, on 18 Nov 1991. Plane crash effects involved a twenty-five-year-old Boeing 727 that was transported from an aircraft graveyard in Northern California. The vessel was then reassembled and lowered onto an unused bridge over the Piru River just north of Los Angeles. Crash rescue exteriors were completed over a week of night shooting, while interiors of the wreckage were shot on another 727 aircraft at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, CA. Pre-crash plane interiors were filmed on a stage at Universal Studios. The 30 Mar 1992 Var reported the recent completion of principal photography, roughly thirty days behind schedule.
       According to a 23 Sep 1992 DV news item, Chevy Chase worked five days as a “favor” to the filmmakers, and chose not to receive onscreen credit for his role as “Deke,” the “Channel 4 News” director. Hero marked the feature film debuts of comedian Tom Arnold; theater actress Cady Huffman; and Susie Cusack, sister of co-star Joan Cusack.
       A 24 Aug 1992 Var brief stated that Gloria Estefan struggled to write a title theme song for the picture, and was eventually replaced by Luther Vandross.
       According to the 18 Jun 1992 LAT and 27 Jul 1992 DV, the film received positive feedback at non-industry test screenings in Los Angeles. The 23 Sep 1992 DV stated that a benefit was held at the Cineplex Century Plaza theater, with proceeds donated to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times. An additional benefit screening for the California League of Conservation Voters was scheduled for 30 Sep 1992 at the Cary Grant Theatre on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio lot in Culver City, as stated in the 18 Sep 1992 DV. The 27 Sep 1992 NYT reported that the New York City premiere would also take place 30 Sep 1992 at the Fine Arts Theater.
       The 11 Jun 1993 DV called the film a domestic “disappointment” that grossed less than $20 million, but took in more than $44 million in foreign markets.
       End credits include “Special Thanks” to: The Riverside Community College Marching Band; California Film Commission; Illinois Film Commission; Drake Hotel; The people of Piru and Filmore, California; The people of Cook County, Illinois; and U.S.A. Today. An additional acknowledgment states: “Filmed at Sony Pictures Studios, Culver City, California.”
       The surname of VistaVision technician Scott Beattie is misspelled as “Beattle.”
       Although not credited in onscreen acknowledgments, the character “Joey” watches a scene from Columbia Pictures’ Ghostbusters (1984, see entry). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
20 Jun 1991.
---
Daily Variety
27 Jul 1992.
---
Daily Variety
18 Sep 1992.
---
Daily Variety
23 Sep 1992.
---
Daily Variety
11 Jun 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Sep 1992
p. 10, 14.
Los Angeles Times
18 Jun 1992.
---
Los Angeles Times
2 Oct 1992
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
27 Sep 1992.
---
New York Times
2 Oct 1992
Section C, p. 20.
Screen International
15 Nov 1991.
---
Variety
10 Jun 1991.
---
Variety
30 Mar 1992.
---
Variety
24 Aug 1992.
---
Variety
28 Sep 1992
p. 78.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures Presents
A Laura Ziskin Production
A Film by Stephen Frears
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
2d 2d asst dir, Chicago crew
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Chief lighting tech
Best boy elec
Rigging gaffer
Key grip
2d grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
Best boy elec, Chicago crew
Key grip rigging, Chicago crew
Best boy grip
24 frame videos & graphic displays by
Video Image
Video Image
Video Image
Video Image
VIdeo supv, Video Image
Video tech supv, Video Image
Video assist & tech dir, Video Image
Video Image crew
Video Image crew
Video Image crew
Video Image crew
Video Image crew
Video Image crew
Video Image crew
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Lead person
Prop master
Asst prop master
Set dresser
Set dresser
Const coord
Set des
Leadman, Chicago crew
Asst prop master, Chicago crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Asst cost des
Costumer, Chicago crew
Costumer, Chicago crew
MUSIC
Asst mus ed
Scoring mixer
Mus consultant
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Supv ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Foley supv
Foley ed
Prod mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd ed--U.K.
2d asst sd ed--U.K.
Asst sd ed--U.K.
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Spec eff, Chicago crew
Spec visual eff by
Visual eff supv, DQI
Visual eff prod, DQI
Exec prod, DQI
Prod coord, DQI
Opt supv, DQI
Opt line-up, DQI
Anim supv, DQI
Rotoscope artist, DQI
Anim coord, DQI
Digital compositing, DQI
Film processing tech, DQI
VistaVision cam op, DQI
VistaVision tech, DQI
VistaVision asst, DQI
VistaVision asst, DQI
Bluescreen asst, DQI
Spec mechanical des, DQI
Spec mechanical des, DQI
Prod asst, DQI
Prod asst, DQI
Process compositing by
Titles and opticals by
Titles des by
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Prod supv
Prod coord
Prod secy
Prod accountant
Asst to Ms. Ziskin
Asst to Mr. Caracciolo
Asst to Mr. Hoffman
Asst to Mr. Garcia
Loc mgr
Extras casting
Extras casting asst
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Craft service
Caterer
Unit pub
Public relations
Studio teacher
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Asst prod coord, Chicago crew
Loc mgr, Chicago crew
Asst loc mgr, Chicago crew
Transportation coord, Chicago crew
Transportation capt, Chicago crew
Transportation co-capt, Chicago crew
Office prod asst, Chicago crew
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Heart Of A Hero," produced by Luther Vandross, written and performed by Luther Vandross (featuring members of The Los Angeles Children's Chorus), courtesy of Epic Records
"The Man I Love," written by George & Ira Gershwin
"Hoping That Someday You'd Care," written by George & Ira Gershwin
+
SONGS
"Heart Of A Hero," produced by Luther Vandross, written and performed by Luther Vandross (featuring members of The Los Angeles Children's Chorus), courtesy of Epic Records
"The Man I Love," written by George & Ira Gershwin
"Hoping That Someday You'd Care," written by George & Ira Gershwin
"Theme From Close Encounters Of The Third Kind," written by John Williams.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Hero and a Half
Release Date:
2 October 1992
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 30 September 1992
Los Angeles and New York openings: 2 October 1992
Production Date:
30 October 1991--late March 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 October 1992
Copyright Number:
PA587311
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® Cameras & Lenses
Duration(in mins):
112
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31514
SYNOPSIS

In Chicago, Illinois, low-life criminal Bernie Laplante is found guilty of trafficking stolen goods and given six days of extended probation before his sentencing. During this time, his inexperienced young lawyer urges him to maintain a good employment record and repair his relationship with his estranged son, Joey. Meanwhile, Channel 4 News reporter Gale Gayley flies to Washington, D.C. to accept a prestigious broadcasting award. Determined to get back to the office, Gale rushes to catch the last flight home after the event. Just outside Chicago, the airplane experiences a malfunction during a rainstorm and crashes into a bridge only a few yards away from Bernie’s car. On his way to see Joey, Bernie views the wreckage as an inconvenience, but reluctantly decides to help. After removing his expensive shoes to keep them from getting wet, he opens the emergency exit door for the trapped passengers. Once they evacuate, a young boy approaches Bernie and begs him to rescue his injured father. Inside, Bernie helps Gale, whose leg is trapped under debris, and sneakily steals her purse in the process. Unaware that the boy’s father already made it off the plane, Bernie returns to the fuselage and saves the last passenger moments before the engine explodes. As medics arrive, Bernie searches the area for his shoes, but can only find one. Sometime later, he arrives at Joey’s house to apologize for missing their outing. His ex-wife, Evelyn, refuses to let him explain his lateness, and criticizes his shortcomings as a father. While hitching a ride back to the city, Bernie recounts the rescue to a homeless Vietnam veteran named John Bubber, proclaiming he does not plan to reveal himself ... +


In Chicago, Illinois, low-life criminal Bernie Laplante is found guilty of trafficking stolen goods and given six days of extended probation before his sentencing. During this time, his inexperienced young lawyer urges him to maintain a good employment record and repair his relationship with his estranged son, Joey. Meanwhile, Channel 4 News reporter Gale Gayley flies to Washington, D.C. to accept a prestigious broadcasting award. Determined to get back to the office, Gale rushes to catch the last flight home after the event. Just outside Chicago, the airplane experiences a malfunction during a rainstorm and crashes into a bridge only a few yards away from Bernie’s car. On his way to see Joey, Bernie views the wreckage as an inconvenience, but reluctantly decides to help. After removing his expensive shoes to keep them from getting wet, he opens the emergency exit door for the trapped passengers. Once they evacuate, a young boy approaches Bernie and begs him to rescue his injured father. Inside, Bernie helps Gale, whose leg is trapped under debris, and sneakily steals her purse in the process. Unaware that the boy’s father already made it off the plane, Bernie returns to the fuselage and saves the last passenger moments before the engine explodes. As medics arrive, Bernie searches the area for his shoes, but can only find one. Sometime later, he arrives at Joey’s house to apologize for missing their outing. His ex-wife, Evelyn, refuses to let him explain his lateness, and criticizes his shortcomings as a father. While hitching a ride back to the city, Bernie recounts the rescue to a homeless Vietnam veteran named John Bubber, proclaiming he does not plan to reveal himself to the media so he can keep a "low profile." He leaves his other shoe in Bubber’s car, and is later fired for showing up to work in his stocking feet. At the hospital, Gale learns that the savior has not been identified, and begins interviewing the other survivors for clues. Those who encountered Bernie during the accident lie to make him seem more heroic, and soon the public becomes engrossed with the story. When Bernie’s missing left shoe is recovered at the crash site, Channel 4 station manager James Wallace issues a $1 million reward in exchange for an interview with the courageous stranger now known as the “Angel of Flight 104.” Before Bernie can reveal himself, however, police catch him in an entrapment scheme and arrest him for attempting to sell Gale Gayley’s credit cards. Using Bernie’s right shoe as proof, John Bubber presents himself as the hero and wins the public’s admiration as a humble, indigent veteran. In addition to a luxurious suite at the Drake Hotel, Bubber is outfitted with an expensive new wardrobe and fresh haircut. Over time, Gale realizes she is attracted to Bubber, who uses his sudden celebrity to encourage his admirers to help the homeless. Inspired by Bubber’s kindness, Bernie’s lawyer takes a loan out on her car to cover his bail. Once free, Bernie goes to the hospital where Bubber is visiting sick children and attempts to expose the ruse, but his cries go unnoticed. When police recover Gale’s stolen credit cards, the reporter investigates Bernie, hoping to learn how they came to be in his possession after the crash. Although she finds her broadcasting award in Bernie’s apartment, she assumes Bubber stole her purse in a moment of weakness and sold its contents to Bernie, who is now attempting to blackmail the famous “Angel.” Just then, Gale sees a newscast reporting that Bubber has climbed outside his hotel window and intends to jump. Again believing Bernie to be responsible, Gale rushes to the scene and sends him onto the ledge to apologize. As the two men discuss Bubber's guilt over the deception, Bernie wipes his face with his dirty hands. Watching footage on the television inside, Gale recalls Bernie’s mud-covered face from the night of the crash and realizes he is the actual hero. In the midst of a nervous breakdown, she telephones her boss and quits her job at the network. Instead of admitting the truth, Bernie convinces Bubber to continue the charade while using a portion of his reward money to support Joey’s education. As they shuffle back toward the window, Bernie slips and falls. Firemen insist reaching for him would be too dangerous, but Bubber pulls him to safety. Afterward, Bernie watches news coverage of Joey and Evelyn speaking with reporters about the strength of his character, insisting there is a good man underneath his hardhearted exterior. Gale thanks Bernie for saving her life, but promises the truth will remain “off the record.” Although he keeps his identity a secret from the public, Bernie takes Joey to the zoo and tells him what really happened. Moments later, a mother cries out that her daughter has fallen into the lion cage. Looking at his son, Bernie sighs, takes off his shoes, and walks off in the direction of the accident. +

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

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