The Delta Force (1986)

R | 129 mins | Adventure | 14 February 1986

Director:

Menahem Golan

Cinematographer:

David Gurfinkel

Production Designer:

Lucisano Spadoni

Production Company:

Cannon Films, Inc.
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HISTORY

       A 10 May 1985 HR article announced that actors Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson were hired as co-stars. Additionally, Joseph Zito would direct the picture. A 23 Jul 1985 HR news item reported that the movie was the second project in an exclusive six-picture deal that Norris had with Cannon Group, Inc. According to a 1 Aug 1985 HR article, actor Lee Marvin was hired to replace Bronson, who had an exclusive three-picture contract with Cannon at the time. Bronson left the project because he was committed to portraying labor leader “Jock Yablonsky” in HBO’s Act of Vengeance. The reshuffling of the cast was necessary when the start was pushed ahead to Sep 1985 although the 10 May 1985 HR stated the $12 million-film would begin filming in Jan 1986. The 1 Aug 1985 HR noted Cannon producer Menahem Golan made the switch to sidestep “political turmoil in the Middle East,” and also assumed the job of director, replacing Zito.
       A 19 Sep 1985 HR news item announced that principal photography began on 18 Sep 1985 in various locations in the Middle East. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that the film had a ten-week shooting schedule, and principal photography was completed 26 Nov 1985.
       In the picture’s opening sequence, Norris did six takes, carrying six-footer actor William Wallace across the desert sand during an aborted hostage rescue attempt.
       Palmahim, Israel, an area known for its sand dunes, was used to double for the Iranian desert during the failed attempt to rescue hostages from the American ... More Less

       A 10 May 1985 HR article announced that actors Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson were hired as co-stars. Additionally, Joseph Zito would direct the picture. A 23 Jul 1985 HR news item reported that the movie was the second project in an exclusive six-picture deal that Norris had with Cannon Group, Inc. According to a 1 Aug 1985 HR article, actor Lee Marvin was hired to replace Bronson, who had an exclusive three-picture contract with Cannon at the time. Bronson left the project because he was committed to portraying labor leader “Jock Yablonsky” in HBO’s Act of Vengeance. The reshuffling of the cast was necessary when the start was pushed ahead to Sep 1985 although the 10 May 1985 HR stated the $12 million-film would begin filming in Jan 1986. The 1 Aug 1985 HR noted Cannon producer Menahem Golan made the switch to sidestep “political turmoil in the Middle East,” and also assumed the job of director, replacing Zito.
       A 19 Sep 1985 HR news item announced that principal photography began on 18 Sep 1985 in various locations in the Middle East. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that the film had a ten-week shooting schedule, and principal photography was completed 26 Nov 1985.
       In the picture’s opening sequence, Norris did six takes, carrying six-footer actor William Wallace across the desert sand during an aborted hostage rescue attempt.
       Palmahim, Israel, an area known for its sand dunes, was used to double for the Iranian desert during the failed attempt to rescue hostages from the American Embassy in Tehran. For the sequence, two helicopters were obtained from the Israeli Air Force. A steel exterior helicopter shell was reproduced at a cost of $20,000 to withstand continuous intense heat and flames as Norris rescued Wallace. Another old, wrecked helicopter was burned and destroyed during filming. The shooting of Iranian scenes was left to the end of the schedule, allowing the “Delta” men to wear their hair short and be clean-shaved.
       Aside from the GH-53 helicopters and Hercules transport aircraft filmmakers borrowed from the Israeli Air Force, filmmakers used dune buggies, which are known in the military as “rapid-attack vehicles.” Used for ground reconnaissance, the equipment was developed by a San Diego, CA-based company known as Chenowth Racing Products. The vehicles came equipped with M-60 guns, a grenade launcher, and radio gear. A type of motorcycle, specially outfitted with miniature rockets, nine-millimeter submachine guns on the handlebars, and a muffler with a silencer, was also used during filming.
       Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel-Aviv, Israel, was one of two airports located in the country that were used to stand in for Algiers, Africa, Athens, Greece, and Beirut, Lebanon. Jaffa, Israel, was used to double for the city of Beirut.
       According to 24 Feb 1986 DV article, a group of twenty protesters, composed mostly of Arab-Americans, held a candlelight vigil outside the Los Angeles-headquarters of the Cannon Group during a black-tie reception at its new offices. No violence occurred but fliers were distributed criticizing The Delta Force filmmakers of being “Israeli hawks” and propagating “cruel, anti-Arab” sentiment. In defense of his picture, Golan said it was not “an anti-Arab movie,” but “an anti-terrorist movie.”

      The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “Special Thanks to: Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Brigade Quartermasters, Ltd., Chenowth Racing Products, Inc., Dugit T. A. Underwater Equipment, Gargoyles Sunglasses.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 Feb 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 May 1985.
p. 1, 34.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 1985
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Feb 1986
p. 3, 8.
Los Angeles Times
14 Feb 1986
p. 4.
New York Times
14 Feb 1986
p. 14.
Variety
19 Feb 1986
p. 12.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Co-Starring:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
The Cannon Group, Inc. Presents
In A Golan-Globus Production
Of A Menahem Golan Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
2d unit dir
1st asst dir
Unit prod mgr
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
3d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit photog
Cam op
Focus puller
Focus puller
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Still photog
Key grip
Best boy
Best boy
Elec
Asst elec
Asst elec
Cam op, 2d unit
Focus puller, 2d unit
Focus puller, 2d unit
Cam asst, 2d unit
Cam asst, 2d unit
Still photog, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
Best boy, 2d unit
Grip, 2d unit
Grip, 2d unit
Asst grip, 2d unit
Elec, 2d unit
Elec, 2d unit
Elec, 2d unit
Asst elec, 2d unit
Asst elec, 2d unit
Asst elec, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dept coord
Sketch artist
Draughtsman
Draughtsman
Art dept buyer
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
3d asst ed
3d asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dresser
Asst set dresser
Asst set dresser
Asst set dresser
Asst set dresser
Standby painter
Prop master
Prop asst
Prop asst
Prop asst
Const mgr
Asst set dresser, 2d unit
Asst set dresser, 2d unit
Asst set dresser, 2d unit
Asst set dresser, 2d unit
Prop master, 2d unit
Prop asst, 2d unit
COSTUMES
Cost
Armourer
Asst armourer
Ward mistress
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Asst armourer, 2d unit
Ward, 2d unit
Ward, 2d unit
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus ed
Scoring mixer
All mus written and performed on
All mus written and performed on
New England Digital
New England Digital
New England Digital
New England Digital
New England Digital
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd mixer, 2d unit
Boom op, 2d unit
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Supv dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
Supv foley ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Addl sd services
Foley by
Re-rec
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Audio programming
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Title des
Title des
Main titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup asst
Makeup asst
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Makeup artist, 2d unit
Makeup artist, 2d unit
Hairstylist, 2d unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Casting, Los Angeles
Casting, Los Angeles
Casting, Israel
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Prod coord, Los Angeles
Prod coord, Los Angeles
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod secy
Crowd casting
Unit pub
Prod accountant
Prod auditor
Prod auditor, Los Angeles
Paymaster
Army consultant
Army liaison
Aviation consultant
Transport capt
Transport capt
Mechanic
Mechanic
Action vehicles
Unit doctor
Unit doctor
Dial coach, Arabic
Dial coach, Arabic
Security officer
Loc mgr, 2d unit
Scr supv, 2d unit
Transportation capt, 2d unit
Post prod supv
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
DETAILS
Release Date:
14 February 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 14 February 1986
Production Date:
18 September--26 November 1985
Copyright Claimant:
Cannon Films, Inc., & Cannon International, B.V.
Copyright Date:
11 March 1986
Copyright Number:
PA298070
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
129
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Israel, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28038
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

April 1980 in the Iranian desert, 200 miles southeast of Tehran, as a military helicopter explodes on an airstrip, Col. Nick Alexander, commander of America’s Delta Force, orders Maj. Scott McCoy to abandon the mission. Instead, McCoy rescues trapped soldier, Pete Peterson, from a burning helicopter, and carries him to safety. A news broadcast reports that a mission to free American hostages in Tehran failed. Soon, McCoy tells Col. Alexander that he is resigning. Five years later in Athens, Greece, an airport maintenance worker hides several weapons in an airplane bathroom supply closet. When he leaves, he tells a flight attendant he fixed a plumbing leak. Soon, Abdul, a Middle-Eastern terrorist, removes the hidden weapons from the bathroom. He gives a gun to his partner, Mustafa, and they announce they are hijacking the airplane. Abdul grabs the purser, Ingrid, and orders her to open the cockpit. She knocks on the door but gets no response. Abdul gets impatient, and removes the pin from a grenade and lets it fall to the ground. Finally, the door opens, and the pilot, Capt. Campbell, cooperates. Abdul orders Ingrid to pick up the grenade pin, and he instructs another pilot to insert it back into the weapon. He tells the crew they will take orders from him now. As the pilot redirects the flight to Beirut, Lebanon, he pushes a hidden switch that alerts the American Embassy in Iran and the White House of the hijacking. At the Pentagon, General Woodbridge tells staff that the president has ordered Delta Force to stop the terrorists, and Col. Alexander is summoned to lead the mission. On the plane, Abdul announces that he declares war on ... +


April 1980 in the Iranian desert, 200 miles southeast of Tehran, as a military helicopter explodes on an airstrip, Col. Nick Alexander, commander of America’s Delta Force, orders Maj. Scott McCoy to abandon the mission. Instead, McCoy rescues trapped soldier, Pete Peterson, from a burning helicopter, and carries him to safety. A news broadcast reports that a mission to free American hostages in Tehran failed. Soon, McCoy tells Col. Alexander that he is resigning. Five years later in Athens, Greece, an airport maintenance worker hides several weapons in an airplane bathroom supply closet. When he leaves, he tells a flight attendant he fixed a plumbing leak. Soon, Abdul, a Middle-Eastern terrorist, removes the hidden weapons from the bathroom. He gives a gun to his partner, Mustafa, and they announce they are hijacking the airplane. Abdul grabs the purser, Ingrid, and orders her to open the cockpit. She knocks on the door but gets no response. Abdul gets impatient, and removes the pin from a grenade and lets it fall to the ground. Finally, the door opens, and the pilot, Capt. Campbell, cooperates. Abdul orders Ingrid to pick up the grenade pin, and he instructs another pilot to insert it back into the weapon. He tells the crew they will take orders from him now. As the pilot redirects the flight to Beirut, Lebanon, he pushes a hidden switch that alerts the American Embassy in Iran and the White House of the hijacking. At the Pentagon, General Woodbridge tells staff that the president has ordered Delta Force to stop the terrorists, and Col. Alexander is summoned to lead the mission. On the plane, Abdul announces that he declares war on American imperialists, Zionists and other “antisocial atrocities.” In the cabin, a Jewish woman named Sylvia Goldman hides her wedding ring because it has Hebrew letters on it. The terrorists order first class passengers to join the others. Soon, Delta Force assembles at Pope Air Force Base [AFB] in North Carolina, and members wonder if McCoy will join them although he is ostensibly retired and now raises horses. Mustafa empties Sylvia’s purse, and discovers her wedding ring. He shows it to Abdul, who orders Ingrid to identify all the Israelis that transferred from a connecting El-Al flight, and collect their passports. The terrorists hold three American Navy divers hostage in the first class section and beat them. They order Ingrid to select the passports with Jewish names or die, but she refuses and Mustafa slaps her. McCoy arrives at Pope AFB at the last minute, and joins Delta Force on its mission. Ingrid announces the names of Jewish passengers to be segregated in first class. As Ben Kaplan is called, his wife, Edie, pleads with him to stay, but he cooperates, and tells his wife that they will survive just as they survived the concentration camps. Edie stands in the aisle, and hysterically pleads with the other passengers to fight the terrorists. Passenger Robert Levine calms her and settles her in her seat. Harry Goldman and Robert Levine are called. When David Rosovsky is summoned, he protests he is not Jewish. A nun named Sister Mary vouches for him, but Mustafa points his gun and orders her to sit. Then, Father O’Malley ignores Mustafa and tells Abdul in first class that he is as Jewish as Jesus Christ. The terrorist orders him to sit. When the hijacked plane reaches Lebanon, the air traffic controller tells them the airport is closed to all international flights. Abdul orders Capt. Campbell to land the plane, but cars and trucks block the runway. The captain tells the air traffic controller to clear the runway or all 144 passengers and crew will die. The Lebanese minister of defense repeats by radio that the plane cannot land. Then Capt. Campbell explains Mustafa is torturing a Navy diver, he overrides the minister’s command, and lands the plane as the runway is hastily cleared. In the air, Col. Alexander briefs his men that the mission has been organized into three parts to rescue the passengers and crew with maximum efficiency. As the hijacked plane sits on the runway, Jamil, a Lebanese commander speaks on the radio to persuade Abdul to release women and children. Abul refuses, and demands fuel. Several more armed terrorists board the plane, while the Jewish men, two Navy divers, and the priest are covered in black hoods and taken to a jail cell at the terrorists’ headquarters in Beirut. Soon, Delta Force is alerted that the hijacked plane is on its way to Algiers in Africa. When the plane lands, the American ambassador to Algeria demands the release of women and children. As they are evacuated, the terrorists collect their valuables. Before Abdul returns Sylvia Goldman’s wedding ring, he licks it. Soon, Col. Alexander receives orders from Gen. Woodbridge to attack and gives McCoy the signal to begin the mission. Soon after, Alexander talks to Ingrid, and learns that several hostages were taken to an undisclosed location in Beirut, and aborts the mission. With thirty seconds to go, Alexander sounds a warning siren. The terrorists hear the noise, and begin shooting at whatever is on the runway. Abdul orders the captain to fly the plane, then stands by an open cabin door, shoots the remaining Navy diver and his body drops onto the runway. Col. Woodbridge gives Delta Force orders to travel to Israel for reinforcements, because the hijacked plane is on its way to nearby Beirut. There, Col. Raffi Amir, head of Israeli Intelligence, promises to put Alexander and McCoy in touch with operatives in Lebanon. After conducting a funeral in Mediterranean Beach, Lebanon, Father Nicholas, a Greek Orthodox priest, observes terrorists transferring hooded hostages to a nearby schoolhouse. Abdul notices the priest, but Jamil claims he is trustworthy. Soon, Father Nicholas, an operative, shows McCoy and Pete Peterson the schoolhouse where the hostages are being held. He leaves the men in a parked van, and returns to his church to transmit a message. There, Abdul and his men abduct the priest, who warns the Americans to escape before he is thrown from a balcony and killed. Delta Force members are chased by other terrorists through Beirut until the terrorists crash and die. On a Navy ship, Col. Amir notes that Father Nicholas’ message was interrupted. Alexander responds that the mission must continue. When McCoy and Peterson reunite with the rest of the Delta Force, McCoy reveals that some hijacked hostages are at the schoolhouse, while others were taken to the terrorists’ headquarters. McCoy leads a team through underground tunnels to the school perimeter. Once inside the building, he uses portable explosives to blow a hole in the floor of the room in which the hostages are being held. The American team charges in, killing surprised terrorists, and transporting hostages to safety. Soon, Peterson radios Alexander that terrorists and hostages have already left headquarters, and Alexander orders the Delta Two team to find them. Back at the schoolhouse, McCoy and team member, Bobby, kill Jamil with rocket launched grenades when he and reinforcements return. When McCoy detonates the school building, an angry terrorist mob disburses. Meanwhile, McCoy travels by motorcycle to the Lebanese desert to find the terrorist convoy. On a deserted road, Abdul berates the driver of the lead car for stopping when he sees McCoy on his motorcycle in the distance. Before the driver can restart his vehicle, McCoy launches rockets from the bike, blowing up the lead car. When Abdul orders his men to drive back to Beirut. McCoy blows up another terrorist jeep and Peterson’s Delta Two team arrives with backup. As a full-scale attack begins, McCoy knocks the driver of a military truck unconscious. Meanwhile, Abdul wounds Peterson, and causes the American’s vehicle to crash. Abdul escapes to a nearby house. McCoy orders the existing Delta team to meet Alexander at the airport. Meanwhile, McCoy crashes through the window of the house with his motorcycle and attacks Abdul. They fight until Abdul escapes to his car. McCoy launches a rocket from his motorcycle that kills Abdul. When the hijacked plane is heavily guarded at the airport, Alexander and his men sneak through a chain link fence, and kill several terrorists, clearing a path to the aircraft. In the cockpit, Alexander asks Capt. Campbell if he has enough fuel to fly to Israel. The captain says as long as the runway is clear, they can take off. Alexander and his team load all the passengers onto the plane. Although McCoy is missing, the plane prepares for takeoff. Terrorists guarding the airport entrance see the airplane’s turbines move, but before they can stop the plane, McCoy kills them and several other terrorists in jeeps racing toward the moving plane. At the rear airplane door, Delta team members throw a rope to McCoy. He guides his motorcycle beneath the door, grabs the rope and pulls himself to safety. As the plane takes off, Delta team hands out cans of beer to rejoicing passengers, In first class, as a doctor administers to Peterson, he asks McCoy if everyone was saved. When McCoy responds, “Yes," Peterson promises to see him when he sees him, and dies. At Israel-Ben-Gurion Airport, women and children passengers and a marching band cheer the returning hijacked airplane. Families joyfully reunite while Delta Force solemnly lowers Peterson’s body onto a military transport plane. Delta Force team glances back at the American passengers dancing and rejoicing on the runway. McCoy and Alexander shake hands on a job well done, then the transport plane returns to America. +

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

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