Black Hawk Down (2002)

R | 148 mins | Drama | 18 January 2002

THIS TITLE IS OUTSIDE THE AFI CATALOG OF FEATURE FILMS (1893-1993)
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HISTORY

An opening title card on the film reads, "Only the dead know the end of war--Plato." According to a 17 Dec 2001 Time magazine article, the print shown at the film’s press preview bore a different inscription, a quotation from T. S. Eliot that read: "All our ignorance brings us closer to death." Although there are no opening credits prior to the start of the story, several title cards are presented, with each offering information on the setting or historical background of the real life event on which the film is based. As noted in one title card, the film begins on 2 Oct 1993.
       According to historical sources, the background to the incident, sometimes called “The Battle of Mogadishu,” began in 1991, when a large-scale civil war erupted in Somalia following the ouster of long-time dictator Siad Barre. During the bloody civil war between the Somali National Movement and warlord Mohemed Farah Aidid, among others, and the simultaneous famine that took place over the next two years, it is estimated that more than 300,000 Somalis died. UN peacekeepers were brought into Somalia in late Apr 1992, following a ceasefire.
       On 5 Jun 1993, after a massacre of twenty-four Pakistani troops, the UN issued a resolution to apprehend those responsible. On 8 Aug 1993, four American soldiers were killed by a Somali detonated land mine, and by late Aug, 440 American elite troops from Delta Force and the U.S. Rangers were sent to Somalia under Maj. Gen. William F. Garrison’s command, with a mission to capture Aidid. As noted in the film, when the proposed three-week mission was still unresolved ... More Less

An opening title card on the film reads, "Only the dead know the end of war--Plato." According to a 17 Dec 2001 Time magazine article, the print shown at the film’s press preview bore a different inscription, a quotation from T. S. Eliot that read: "All our ignorance brings us closer to death." Although there are no opening credits prior to the start of the story, several title cards are presented, with each offering information on the setting or historical background of the real life event on which the film is based. As noted in one title card, the film begins on 2 Oct 1993.
       According to historical sources, the background to the incident, sometimes called “The Battle of Mogadishu,” began in 1991, when a large-scale civil war erupted in Somalia following the ouster of long-time dictator Siad Barre. During the bloody civil war between the Somali National Movement and warlord Mohemed Farah Aidid, among others, and the simultaneous famine that took place over the next two years, it is estimated that more than 300,000 Somalis died. UN peacekeepers were brought into Somalia in late Apr 1992, following a ceasefire.
       On 5 Jun 1993, after a massacre of twenty-four Pakistani troops, the UN issued a resolution to apprehend those responsible. On 8 Aug 1993, four American soldiers were killed by a Somali detonated land mine, and by late Aug, 440 American elite troops from Delta Force and the U.S. Rangers were sent to Somalia under Maj. Gen. William F. Garrison’s command, with a mission to capture Aidid. As noted in the film, when the proposed three-week mission was still unresolved after six weeks, pressure was put on Garrison to complete the mission as soon as possible.
       The mission that comprises the bulk of the film took place from mid-afternoon on Sunday, 3 Oct 1993 to early morning on Monday, 4 Oct, and lasted for approximately eighteen hours [sources variously list the duration as sixteen to twenty hours, but within the film it lasts sixteen hours]. Although the mission was to capture Aidid and top lieutenants, Aidid was not apprehended, and in the film, it is unclear whether Aidid himself or just his cohorts were the intended targets.
       Eighteen Americans were killed and eighty-four were wounded during the operation. While most sources indicate that the exact number of Somalis who died during the incident cannot be confirmed, it has been variously reported that between 350 and 1,000 died. Although not explicitly shown in the film, the bodies of fallen American soldiers were carried by a mob through the streets of Mogadishu, after which photographs of their mutilated bodies were shown in news media throughout the world. Many news sources about the incident have indicated that, following the operation’s failure, there was a greater reluctance during the late 1990s to have the U.S. become embroiled in other international peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.
       According to a HR news item on 22 Jan 1998, Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Touchstone Pictures had recently acquired screen rights to the as yet unpublished Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden. In addition to the rights to Bowden’s non-fiction book, Bruckheimer and Touchstone also acquired the rights to a series of articles written by Bowden for The Philadelphia Inquirer . The news item noted that Bowden was signed to write the screenplay and Simon West was slated to direct. By 8 Sep 2000, as reported in a HR news item, Ridley Scott was in negotiations to direct the film and Ken Nolan had been assigned to rework Bowden's first draft screenplay. After Bruckheimer moved his company to the Sony/Columbia Pictures lot, the $90,000,000 production was scheduled for filming in Morocco, where Scott had recently shot much of his 2000 release, Gladiator (see below).
       Unlike the book, there are no back stories for the main characters and only allusions to decisions “in Washington” that may have hampered the mission. The film's cast was multinational, and all who portrayed Americans assumed appropriate accents for their roles. In most cases, the actual names of men involved in the mission were used. The onscreen credits list all of the Americans by one-word character names, usually the surname.
       Within the film, as noted in reviews, clarity for the audience necessitated that names are displayed on each soldiers’ helmet, although in reality, soldiers would not display their names thus. Within the film, dialogue and situations parallel portions of the U.S. Ranger’s Code, especially in the recurring theme, used in the film’s key art, “Leave no man behind,” which in the code is stated as “I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy...”
       The film’s end titles state that it was made on location in Sale and Rabat, Morocco. Various trade paper news items and press releases in the AMPAS library production file for the film indicate that the U.S. Military Base in Mogadishu was created at a Royal Moroccan Air Force field at Kenitra, twenty miles north of Rabat. The closing titles also thank and acknowledge the contributions of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, The Government of Morocco, The Governor and the People of Sale and the Centre Cinematographique Marocain. The producers also acknowledge the support and cooperation of the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Army in the making of the film. Footage from The Jerk (1979) and The Last of the Mohicans (1992), which was shown on television while the soldiers prepare for their mission is acknowledged in the end credits as being shown courtesy of Universal Studios Licensing, Inc. and Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. respectively.
       The end titles include the following dedication: “For My Mum, Elizabeth Jean Scott, 1906--2001.” Several additional end title cards briefly detail the results of the operation. Some of the title cards relate the following information: eighteen Americans (whose names are listed) lost their lives during the incident; as many as 1,000 Somalis died; Sgt. First Class Randy Shughart and Master Sgt. Gary Gordon, who attempted to rescue downed helicopter pilot Chief Warrant Officer Mike Durant, were posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the first soldiers to be so honored since the Vietnam War; Durant was released after eleven days in captivity; Garrison accepted full responsibility for the action; Aidid, who was not captured during the operation, died in 1995, after which Garrison retired from the Army. In Mar 2002, it was widely reported by source organizations that a GPS (global positioning satellite) device belonging to downed pilot Gordon was found in Afganistan, in a cave that had recently been cleared of Al Queda fighters; those reports, however, proved untrue.
       A LAT article of 5 Nov 2001, reported that several of the military personnel who appeared in the film were currently serving in Afghanistan. The article also revealed that, although filming was almost completed before the events of 11 Sep, an epilogue was being added to the film to discuss the Somalian incident and how it contributed to U.S. reluctance to become involved in later international conflicts. However, the HR review of the film stated that "In order to address less-than-subtle suggestions made by the film that the country's involvement in the Somalia conflict may have been ill-advised and/or poorly planned, a number of corrective, post-Sept. 11 sentiments have been clumsily grafted onto the back end, with awkward results." This material was not included in the viewed print, however, and according to an article by Bowden in the 28 Dec 2001 LAT , was cut just prior to the film’s Los Angeles and New York limited release openings.
       A documentary dealing with the historical incident, called “Ambush in Mogadishu,” was broadcast on the PBS series Frontline in 1998. In addition to being nominated by AFI as the 2001 Movie of the Year, AFI nominations were also received by Scott as Director of the Year, Janusz Kaminski for Cinematography, Pietro Scalia for Editing and Arthur Max for Production Design. Black Hawk Down was also included in the Ten Best lists of Time , Rolling Stone , National Board of Review , Screen International , LAT , Washington Post , New York Daily News and USA Today . The film received an Academy Award for Best Editing and was nominated for the following Academy Awards: Best Cinematography, Best Directot, Best Sound More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
10 Dec 2001.
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 1998.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Sep 2000.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 2001.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Dec 2001.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Nov 2001.
---
Los Angeles Times
28 Dec 2001
Calendar, p. 1, 22.
New York Times
28 Dec 2001.
---
New Yorker
24 & 31 Dec 2001
p. 127.
Time
17 Dec 2001
pp. 74-76.
Variety
10-16 Dec 2001
p. 31.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Film by Ridley Scott
A Film by Ridley Scott
A Film by Ridley Scott; A Jerry Bruckheimer Production
in association with Scott Free; A Ridley Scott Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
Key 2d asst dir
2d unit dir
1st asst dir, 2d unit
1st asst dir, Morocco unit
1st asst dir, Morocco unit
2d asst dir, Morocco unit
2d asst dir, Morocco unit
2d 2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
3d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op and Steadicam op
Cam op
Cam op, 2d unit
Steadicam op, 2d unit
Key grip
Key grip, 2d unit
Key grip, Morocco unit
Aerial dir of photog
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Cam tech
Cam loader, Morocco unit
Cam loader, Morocco unit
Cam asst, Morocco unit
Remote head tech
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
2d grip
Key rigging elec
Best boy elec, Morocco unit
Rigging best boy
Video assist
24 frame video supv
24 frame video eff
24 frame video eng
Aerial cam
Aerial 1st asst cam
Wescam tech
Cam systems, grip & elec equip
Cam dollies for addl photog by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
Art dir
Art dir
Art dept coord
Storyboard artist
Graphic artist
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst set dec
Set dresser
Set dresser, 2d unit
Buyer
Const buyer, Morocco unit
Leadman
Asst prop master
Webbing master
Supv model maker
Model maker
Greensman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost coord
Key armorer
Armorer
Armorer
Armorer
Armorer
Armorer
Armorer
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus supv
Asst to Mr. Zimmer
Asst to Mr. Zimmer
Asst to Mr. Zimmer
Asst to Mr. Zimmer
Asst to Mr. Zimmer
Asst mus ed
Mus contractor
Mus clearance
Score mixer
Score rec
Score rec
Score rec
Asst eng
Asst eng
Asst eng
Asst eng
Sampling eng
Mus prod services provided by
Ambient mus by
Featured vocalist
BHD band
BHD band
BHD band
BHD band
BHD band
BHD musician
BHD musician
BHD musician
BHD musician
BHD musician
BHD musician
BHD musician
BHD musician
BHD musician
BHD musician
Addl score cues performed by
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Prod mixer
Prod mixer, 2d unit
Sd des ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
1st asst sd ed
Supv dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Boom op, 2d unit
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Addl re-rec mixer
Addl re-rec mixer
Supv ADR ed
Supv ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
Group ADR coord
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
Foley mixer
Supv Foley ed
Foley ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Post prod sd services
Re-rec stage services
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
VFX supv
VFX prod
Spec eff wireman/rigger
Spec eff senior tech
Spec eff senior tech
Spec eff senior tech
Spec eff senior tech
Spec eff lead tech
Spec eff lead tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Morocco spec eff coord
Spec eff supv plasterer
Spec eff unit crew
Spec eff unit crew
Spec eff unit crew
Asst spec eff supv
Spec eff floor supv
Spec eff workshop supv
Spec eff lead senior tech
Spec eff lead senior tech
Spec eff lead senior tech
Prosthetics eff supv
Prosthetics asst supv
Prosthetics workshop supv
Prosthetics workshop supv
Prosthetics makeup artist
Prosthetics makeup artist
Prosthetics head sculptor
Prosthetics senior tech
Prosthetics senior tech
Prosthetics senior tech
Visual FX by
Exec prod, Mill Film
Digital supv, Mill Film
CG supv, Mill Film
Prod supv, Mill Film
VFX coord, Mill Film
VFX ed, Mill Film
Digital color timer, Mill Film
FX elements by
Motion control by
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
3D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist
2D artist, Asylum
2D artist, Asylum
Visual effects by
Visual eff supv, Asylum
Visual eff supv, Asylum
Exec prod, Asylum
Exec prod, Asylum
Visual eff prod, Asylum
CG prod, Asylum
Inferno artist
Inferno artist
Inferno artist
Inferno artist
Inferno artist
Inferno artist
Inferno artist
Inferno artist
Inferno artist
CG artist
CG artist
CG artist
CG artist
CG artist
CG artist
CG artist
CG artist
CG artist
Visual eff ed
Head of tech
MAKEUP
Key makeup
Key hair stylist
Makeup, Morocco unit
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hair stylist, Morocco unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Loc and extras casting
U.K. casting
Casting assoc
Casting asst
Casting asst
Casting asst, Morocco unit
Casting asst, Morocco unit
Dialect coach
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
Unit mgr
Unit mgr, 2d unit
Prod supv
Prod supv
Prod mgr, Morocco unit
Asst to Mr. Souissi
Loc mgr, Morocco unit
Scr supv
Asst scr supv
Scr supv, 2d unit
Prod accountant
Unit pub
Product placement
Base camp mgr
Base camp mgr
Loc facilities mgr
Los Angeles prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst prod coord
Post prod supv
Post prod coord
Post prod coord
Shipping coord
Travel coord
Prod secy, Morocco unit
Loc accountant
1st asst accountant
1st asst accountant
Payroll accountant
Const accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant, Morocco unit
Production for JBF
Production for JBF
Operations for JBF
Asst to Mr. Bruckheimer
Asst to Mr. Bruckheimer
Asst to Mr. Bruckheimer
Asst to Mr. Bruckheimer
Asst to Mr. Bruckheimer
Asst to Mr. Scott
Asst to Mr. Scott
Special advisor to Mr. Scott
Asst to Mr. Lustig
Asst to Mr. Oman
Asst to Mr. Stenson
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Aerial coord
Aerial coord
Aerial safety coord
Aerial safety coord, 2d unit
Aerial military coord
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Consultant
Military adv
Military consult
USA Retired
Military consult
USA Retired
DOD USASOC Tech adv
USA
Morocco military liaison
Military adv, Morocco unit
Military adv, Morocco unit
Research
First aid
First aid, 2d unit
Set medic, Morocco unit
Trainer
Catering and craft service
Catering and craft service, Morocco unit
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Action vehicle coord, 2d unit
Asst action vehicle coord, 2d unit
Trans office mgr, Morocco unit
Control of Morocco labor, Morocco unit
Buyer, Morocco unit
Prod translator, Morocco unit
Prod translator, Morocco unit
Crowd marshall, Morocco unit
Crowd marshall, Morocco unit
Services in Morocco
End titles
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord, 2d unit
Asst stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War by Mark Bowden (New York, 1999).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
Additional score cues performed by the BHD Band: "Pinned Down," by Michael Brook
"Mogadishu Blues," by Heitor Pereira
"Bakara," by Jeff Rona
+
MUSIC
Additional score cues performed by the BHD Band: "Pinned Down," by Michael Brook
"Mogadishu Blues," by Heitor Pereira
"Bakara," by Jeff Rona
"Wings," by Hans Zimmer and Baaba Maal
"Veils," by Craig Eastman
"Reve Arabesque," by Martin Tillman
"Ascent," by Mel Wesson.
+
SONGS
"Tall King Dub," written by Raz Mesinai, performed by Badawi, courtesy of Reachout International Records, Inc. (R.O.I.R.), by arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
"Ul iyo Dirkeed," written and performed by Omar Sharif
"Suspicious Minds," written by Mark James, performed by Elvis Presley, courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG Entertainment, under license from BMG Special Products
+
SONGS
"Tall King Dub," written by Raz Mesinai, performed by Badawi, courtesy of Reachout International Records, Inc. (R.O.I.R.), by arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
"Ul iyo Dirkeed," written and performed by Omar Sharif
"Suspicious Minds," written by Mark James, performed by Elvis Presley, courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG Entertainment, under license from BMG Special Products
"Barra Barra," written by Rachid Taha and Steve Hillage, performed by Rachid Taha, courtesy of Mondo Melodia/Barclay
"Right Turn," written by Jerry Cantrell, performed by Alice in Chains, courtesy of Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"You're the Devil in Disguise," written by Bernie Baum, Bill Giant and Florence Kaye, performed by Elvis Presley, courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG Entertainment, under license from BMG Special Products
"Die Born," written by Travis Meeks, performed by Days of the New, courtesy of Geffen Records, under license from Universal Music Enterprises
"Gortoz A Ran--J'Attends," written by Denez Prigent, performed by Denez Prigent & Lisa Gerrard, courtesy of Barclay France, under license from Universal Music Enterprises
"Jump Around," written by Eric Schrody and Larry Muggerud, performed by House of Pain, courtesy of Tommy Boy Music
"Creep," written by Scott Weiland, Dean De Leo, Robert De Leo and Eric Kretz, performed by Stone Temple Pilots, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Projects
"Falling to Pieces," written by Michael Bordin, Roddy Bottum, Bill Gould, James Martin and Michael Patton, performed by Faith No More, courtesy of Slash Records/London-Sire Records, Ltd., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Dhibic Roob," written and performed by Omar Sharif
"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," written by Jimi Hendrix, performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan, courtesy of Epic Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Minstrel Boy," arranged by Joe Strummer, Scott Shields, Martin Slattery and Tymon Dogg, produced by Scott Shields, Martin Slattery, Joe Strummer and Richard Flack, performed by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros, Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros appear courtesy of Hellcat Records.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 January 2002
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Los Angeles: 18 December 2001
Los Angeles and New York openings: 28 December 2001
Production Date:
8 March--29 June and early November 2001
Copyright Claimants:
Revolution Studios Distribution Company, LLC Jerry Bruckheimer, Inc.
Copyright Dates:
13 February 2002 13 February 2002
Copyright Numbers:
PA0001069667 PA0001069667
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby; SDDS (Sony Dynamic Digital Sound); DTS in selected theatres
Color
Kodak; Technicolor
gauge
35mm
Duration(in mins):
148
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
38095
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On Saturday, 2 Oct 1993, restless American soldiers stationed at the temporary U.S. base at Mogadishu airport in Somalia, learn of a mission set for the next day. They are to capture warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid and others who have been attempting to stop the distribution of food following a time of famine in which more than 300,000 Somalis have died. Under the command of Maj. Gen William F. Garrison, a down-to-earth career officer from Texas, the men prepare for a potentially dangerous mission, but one that should take no more than thirty minutes. Rangers and Delta Force members are to be dropped into Mogadishu by Black Hawk Helicopters, capture Aidid and a handful of others from the designated site, then leave the area in Humvees which will rendezvous with them on the ground. Most of the men are anxious for the chance to go on a real mission, and spend Saturday evening amusing themselves, watching a video of The Jerk , talking and playing chess. Some are afraid, but the idealistic Ranger Staff Sgt. Matt Eversmann thinks that their mission will help “The Skinnies” as they call the Somalis. A few soldiers write "death letters" to their families, which some think is unlucky. Shortly before 3:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, Ranger Spec. Grimes, who frequently complains about being forced to work behind a desk because of excellent typing skills and an ability to make the perfect cup of coffee, is apprehensive after being told that he will be coming on the mission ... +


On Saturday, 2 Oct 1993, restless American soldiers stationed at the temporary U.S. base at Mogadishu airport in Somalia, learn of a mission set for the next day. They are to capture warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid and others who have been attempting to stop the distribution of food following a time of famine in which more than 300,000 Somalis have died. Under the command of Maj. Gen William F. Garrison, a down-to-earth career officer from Texas, the men prepare for a potentially dangerous mission, but one that should take no more than thirty minutes. Rangers and Delta Force members are to be dropped into Mogadishu by Black Hawk Helicopters, capture Aidid and a handful of others from the designated site, then leave the area in Humvees which will rendezvous with them on the ground. Most of the men are anxious for the chance to go on a real mission, and spend Saturday evening amusing themselves, watching a video of The Jerk , talking and playing chess. Some are afraid, but the idealistic Ranger Staff Sgt. Matt Eversmann thinks that their mission will help “The Skinnies” as they call the Somalis. A few soldiers write "death letters" to their families, which some think is unlucky. Shortly before 3:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, Ranger Spec. Grimes, who frequently complains about being forced to work behind a desk because of excellent typing skills and an ability to make the perfect cup of coffee, is apprehensive after being told that he will be coming on the mission because another soldier has broken his wrist playing Ping Pong. Sure that they will be back before nightfall, some of the men leave night gear and canteens at the base, and as they fly toward the city, chat about how beautiful the blue water and sandy beaches of Somalia are. Passing over one area, they wave to a young boy on the ground, not knowing that the boy is using a cellphone to relay information about the incoming helicopters to Aidid’s soldiers. A few minutes later, as the American Black Hawk helicopters hover over the drop site, automatic weapons and mortars are fired at them, causing the first casualty, Ranger Pvt. First Class Todd Blackburn, who sustains a serious injury when he falls to the ground. While some of the men, led by Ranger Lt. Col. Danny McKnight and Delta Sgt. First Class “Hoot” Gibson find the men they have been sent to capture and start to load them on one of the Humvees, extensive sniper fire increases and a Black Hawk flown by Chief Warrant Officer Cliff “Elvis” Wolcott goes down. Via television monitors at the base, Garrison surveys the situation and orders the men to go to the crash site, secure a perimeter and pick up survivors. Garrison then bitterly comments “We just lost the initiative.” As various groups approach the crash site, the assault from the Somalis becomes more intense and many of the Humvees are unable to get through. Ranger Sgt. Dominick Pilla, who mans a machine gun on top of one of the Humvees, is the first man killed by gunfire. Meanwhile, the rigid Capt. Mike Steele orders Eversmann to head a group and go to the crash site. Eversmann and several other soldiers reach the site, but are trapped and forced to take cover in an abandoned building. As many more men are killed or sustain multiple injuries, another helicopter, flown by Chief Warrant Officer Mike Durant, is hit and forced down. Durant survives the crash, despite a badly broken leg, but cannot leave the helicopter. Hordes of armed civilians now take to the streets and run towards the crash sites, making Garrison realize that all helicopters and Humvees must pull back and regroup. He then sends word to the Pakistani army that also occupies the city that they must assemble as many armored vehicles as possible at Pakistani Stadium, which is located in a safe area of Mogadishu. By the early evening, some of the men still trapped begin to despair that they have been abandoned, but Garrison repeatedly issues orders that no man, dead or alive, will be left behind. By late evening, many of the dead and wounded arrive back at the airport base as more troops prepare a rescue mission. Several men who have sustained injuries, including McKnight, are determined to go back and rejoin the others. In a helicopter over the city, two Delta snipers, Delta Sgt. First Class Randy Shughart and Delta Master Sgt. Gary Gordon, repeatedly request permission to rescue Durant. Garrison finally agrees, after which Shughart and Gordon are dropped near Durant’s helicopter and pull him to a safe place. As an increasingly large and hostile group of Somalis draws near, Shughart and Gordon are both killed and their bodies are grabbed by the frenzied mob. After Durant runs out of ammunition, he tries to hold onto a photograph of his wife and young child as the mob attacks him. His life is spared when one of Aidid’s men stops them, saying he is wanted as a live prisoner. By early Monday morning, the armored vehicles depart Pakistani Stadium and additional helicopters leave the base. The ground vehicles approach the crash sites and reach the buildings, where pockets of soldiers are holed up. When the convoy reaches Eversmann and his men, they quickly evacuate the wounded and the body of a Ranger Cpl. Jamie Smith, a friend of Eversmann who died from a massive leg wound. There is not enough room in the armored vehicles to hold all the men, though, and many, including Eversmann, must run alongside, using the vehicles as cover. To the cheers of friendly Somalis and their fellow soldiers, the men finally reach Pakistani Stadium at 6:30 on Monday morning, sixteen hours after the start of their mission. As they rest, drink glasses of water offered by Pakistani soldiers and have their wounds tended, several survivors reflect that they did not become soldiers to be heroes. Grimes, who proved his worthiness as a soldier and survived the mission, is handed a cup of tea, and Eversmann sits next Smith's body and explains why he does what he does. +

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