Flight of the Intruder (1991)

PG-13 | 115 mins | Drama | 18 January 1991

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HISTORY

A news item in the 6 Aug 1989 LAT reported that actor Richard Dreyfuss was under consideration for the role of “Camparelli.” Also in the cast were Brad Johnson and Richard Gere, but neither Dreyfuss nor Gere remained with the project. As stated in production notes in AMPAS library files, the initial phase of principal photography began 16 Oct 1989 at Pearl Harbor, HI, which substituted for a U.S. Navy air base in the Philippine Islands. Other locations included a remote section of the island of Kauai that resembled the terrain of Vietnam; the town of Hanapepe, which served as Po City in the Philippines; and a Navy missile facility on the west shore of Kauai. Eight days of the filming schedule were dedicated to location work at the foot of Mt. Waialeale, reputedly among the “wettest locales on earth.” However, the crew experienced only three hours of rain during its stay. Based on his experiences at the same location years earlier, while making King Kong (1976, see entry), executive producer Brian Frankish had a “kahuna” bless the cast, the crew, the ground, and all of the equipment to prevent any mishaps. An A-6 Intruder aircraft was transported to the location in pieces, trucked from St. Augustine, FL, to Long Beach, CA, and shipped to Kauai, where it was assembled by crane.
       Production continued aboard the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Independence, during a cruise from Ensenada, Mexico, to San Clemente Island off the southern coast of CA. The 110-man company was at sea for ten days, and coordinated the shooting schedule with Navy ... More Less

A news item in the 6 Aug 1989 LAT reported that actor Richard Dreyfuss was under consideration for the role of “Camparelli.” Also in the cast were Brad Johnson and Richard Gere, but neither Dreyfuss nor Gere remained with the project. As stated in production notes in AMPAS library files, the initial phase of principal photography began 16 Oct 1989 at Pearl Harbor, HI, which substituted for a U.S. Navy air base in the Philippine Islands. Other locations included a remote section of the island of Kauai that resembled the terrain of Vietnam; the town of Hanapepe, which served as Po City in the Philippines; and a Navy missile facility on the west shore of Kauai. Eight days of the filming schedule were dedicated to location work at the foot of Mt. Waialeale, reputedly among the “wettest locales on earth.” However, the crew experienced only three hours of rain during its stay. Based on his experiences at the same location years earlier, while making King Kong (1976, see entry), executive producer Brian Frankish had a “kahuna” bless the cast, the crew, the ground, and all of the equipment to prevent any mishaps. An A-6 Intruder aircraft was transported to the location in pieces, trucked from St. Augustine, FL, to Long Beach, CA, and shipped to Kauai, where it was assembled by crane.
       Production continued aboard the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Independence, during a cruise from Ensenada, Mexico, to San Clemente Island off the southern coast of CA. The 110-man company was at sea for ten days, and coordinated the shooting schedule with Navy flight operations. The Navy assisted by transporting exposed film to and from the laboratory, and providing a makeshift screening room to view dailies. Producer Mace Neufeld made special mention of Captain Thomas Slater, who allowed the placement of cameras throughout the ship, and regularly repositioned the vessel to maximize natural light. Filming proceeded for one week in San Diego, CA, followed by additional shots on the Independence. Photography concluded at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, CA, which housed a 150-foot set resembling downtown Hanoi, Vietnam, and a miniature missile base.
       Air battles were simulated using computer imaging, miniatures, matte paintings, animation, “Introvision shots,” and an array of other special effects techniques. The airplanes were radio-controlled scale models, capable of dropping bombs, firing missiles, and ejecting crewmembers. The 17 May 1990 LAT reported that model-builder Richard W. Booth and his company, Eaglery Movie Stunt Models, were paid more than $100,000 for their work, but went $28,000 over budget because Booth underestimated the amount of hours needed to complete the job. Flight of the Intruder was the first motion picture to employ Booth’s technique for creating more realistic “model footage” by replacing a stationary camera with one traveling at the same speed as the airplane.
       Prior to filming, technical consultant Captain Samuel Lee Sayers, USN (Ret), acquainted the actors with the operation of the A-6 Intruder using technical manuals and footage of bombing missions from the Vietnam War. Cast members underwent “physiology tests,” such as treading water while in full “flight gear,” being placed in a simulated high-altitude environment without an oxygen mask, and undergoing the ejection-seat process. The actors also met with Navy pilots to better understand their “philosophy and attitude,” and experienced an actual flight in a Navy jet.
       A report from the American Humane Association stated that a scene depicting contact between a merchant seaman and a crocodile was simulated through editing, and no actual contact was made. However, a brief altercation between two crocodiles resulted in one being treated for a bite on the nose. The film was rated “Acceptable.”
       The 19 Jan 1990 DV announced the retirement of director of photography Fred J. Koenekamp following completion of the film.
       An article in the 16 Sep 1990 LAT revealed that actor Ed O’Neill played a minor character, but his footage was removed after preview audiences laughed at his performance, due to his starring role in the television comedy, Married…With Children (Fox Network, 1987 – 1997). O’Neill was cast in the uncredited part by director John Milius, a longtime friend.
       The 15 Mar 1990 HR announced a 13 Jul 1990 opening, although the article questioned the appeal of the picture’s Cold War theme as relations were improving between the U.S. and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). On 6 Jun 1990, Var reported that the opening would be delayed for at least two more months while changes were made to special effects sequences. Two weeks later, the 20 Jun 1990 Var noted that the film’s excessive running time elicited a lukewarm response from preview audiences. Paramount Pictures removed several scenes, including those featuring actress Rosanna Arquette. Mace Neufeld disapproved and collaborated with John Milius on a final edit that satisfied all parties. The release was postponed once again, attributed by the 29 Jul 1990 LAT to competition with two other war films scheduled for summer openings. Also, John Milius had only recently filmed “an optional scene,” featuring actors Danny Glover and Brad Johnson, aboard the USS Ranger. Because of scheduling conflicts with the Navy, Milius had to wait for an aircraft carrier to dock at San Diego before the scene could be completed. The final production budget was estimated at $30 million. After several more delays, the 23 Aug 1990 DV announced a Jan 1991 opening over the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday weekend. According to the 7 Nov 1990 HR, Available Light, Ltd., had recently completed the special effects sequences.
       Flight of the Intruder opened 18 Jan 1991 to negative reviews, several of which complained about the strong presence of stock war film clichés. The May 1991 California owed the picture’s failure to the fact that it opened during the final weeks of the 1991 Gulf War, making it a reminder of “the current, unresolved tensions in the Middle East,” rather than the Vietnam conflict of two decades earlier. Opening weekend receipts were estimated at $5 million nationwide.
       Opening credits are preceded by the statement: “The A-6 was the U.S. Navy’s medium attack bomber during the Vietnam conflict. It flew at tree-top level in any weather at night and alone. The aircraft had no defensive weapons. It was called – the Intruder." A title card establishes the setting as: “Off the coast of North Vietnam after 7 years of war. September 10, 1972.”
       End credits include “Special thanks to the U.S. Navy A-6 pilots: CDR. W. H. ‘Otis’ Shurtleff USN, Commanding Officer; CDR. ‘Too Tall’ Indorff USN, Executive Officer; LCDR. ‘Bank’ Bankowski, Jr. USN; LCDR. J. A. ‘Chief’ Bloom USN; LCDR. G. H. ‘Buck’ Gordon USN; LCDR. J. W. ‘Emmet’ Kelley USN; LCDR. R. O. ‘Charge’ McHarg USN; LCDR. R. J. ‘Yak’ Yasky USN; Lt. M. S. ‘Slinger’ Briddell USN; Lt. M. F. ‘Felcher’ Greene USN; Lt. J. D. ‘Beeker’ Hirsch USN; Lt. D. A. ‘Frenchy’ Lafleur USN; Lt. H. ‘Donger’ Le USN; Lt. T. R. ‘P-Nuts’ Lowry USN; Lt. M. L. ‘Tattoo’ Mahan USN; Lt. R. E. ‘Scrape’ McClain USN; Lt. B. C. ‘Brews’ Miller USN; Lt. T. E. ‘Mole’ Molitor USN; Lt. K. S. ‘Odie’ O’Donnell USN; Lt. J. W. ‘Gramps’ Pettigrew USN; Lt. R. D. ‘Mr. Niceguy’ Russell USN; Lt. R. L. ‘Simo’ Simon USN; Lt. R. T. ‘Neck’ Steeneck USN; Lt. D. E. ‘Sticks’ Stickles USN; Lt. W. T. ‘Lipton’ Teasdale USN; Lt. J. J. ‘Welder’ Wilczynski USN; LTJG. R. C. ‘Prince’ Fawcett USN’;
       An additional statement reads: “The cooperation of the Department of Defense and the Department of the Navy is gratefully acknowledged, specifically the following persons and units: The Secretary of Defense; the Secretary of the Navy; the Chief of Naval Operations; the Commander Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Director Carrier and Air Station Programs Division; the Commander Medium Attack Electronic Warfare Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet; the Navy Chief of Information; Captain Thomas Slater, USN, and the officers and men of USS Independence (CV 62); Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands; Attack Squadron One Two Two; Attack Squadron One Two Eight; Attack Squadron One Nine Six; Fleet Composite Squadron One and; the maintenance and support officers and men of “The Boomers”—Attack Squadron One Six Five”; “The producers wish to thank: The commanding officer and crew of Coast Guard Group San Diego, CA; the Film Commission and City of Savannah; the City of Savannah Airport Commission; the State of Georgia Air National Guard, Colonel Carl Poythress, Major Pat Welch, Sergeant Dave Bassinger; Lieutenant Mike Rowlands and Lieutenant Eric Tibbets; Lynn Thompson of Cold Steel”; “Special thanks to: Don Zimmerman; Tom Younger, NATC Patuxent River; The Grumman Aerospace Corporation; Richard Milligan, Joe Ruggiero, John Gilbert"; and, "Filmed on location on the island of Kauai in the state of Hawaii.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
California
May 1991
pp. 28-29.
Daily Variety
9 Aug 1989.
---
Daily Variety
6 Nov 1989.
---
Daily Variety
19 Jan 1990.
---
Daily Variety
23 Aug 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Mar 1990
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Nov 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jan 1991
p. 13, 83.
LA Weekly
18 Jan 1991.
---
Long Beach Press-Telegram
18 Jan 1991.
---
Los Angeles Times
6 Aug 1989.
---
Los Angeles Times
17 May 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
29 Jul 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Sep 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 Jan 1991
p. 12.
New York Times
18 Jan 1991
p. 19.
Variety
6 Jun 1990.
---
Variety
20 Jun 1990.
---
Variety
21 Jan 1991
p. 78.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures presents
A Mace Neufeld and Robert Rehme production
A John Milius film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
2d unit dir
Prod mgr/1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Co-exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst photog
1st asst photog
2d asst photog
2d asst photog
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
1st company grip
2d company grip
2d company grip
Dolly grip
Shotmaker provided by
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Motion control photog by
Motion control photog by
Motion control photog by
Motion control photog by
Motion control photog by
Motion control photog by
Motion control photog by
Motion control photog by
Motion control photog by
Motion control photog by
Motion control photog by
1st asst cam, 2d unit
C cam op, 2d unit
C cam 1st asst, 2d unit
C cam 2d asst, 2d unit
C cam 2d asst, 2d unit
Elec
Elec
Elec (Hawaii)
Elec (Hawaii)
Elec (Hawaii)
Grip
Grip
Grip
Grip
Grip (Hawaii)
Grip (Hawaii)
Grip (Hawaii)
Grip, 2d unit
Grip, 2d unit
Grip, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Prod illustrator
Prod illustrator
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Apprentice film ed
Apprentice film ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Prop master
Asst prop master
Leadperson
Const coord
Const supv
Const supv
Greensperson
Prod painter
Swing (Hawaii)
Swing (Hawaii)
Asst props (Hawaii)
Paint dept head
Paint dept foreman
Sign writer
Sign writer
Sign writer
Sign writer
Sign writer
Propmaker foreman
Propmaker foreman
Propmaker foreman
Propmaker
Utility foreman
Prop shop/Mechanical
Prop shop/Mechanical
Prop shop/Mechanical
Prop shop/Mechanical
Painter
Propmaker foreman (Hawaii)
Propmaker (Hawaii)
Propmaker (Hawaii)
Propmaker (Hawaii)
Propmaker (Hawaii)
Propmaker (Hawaii)
Labor (Hawaii)
Greensman (Hawaii)
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Key costumer
Set costumer
Costumer, 2d unit
Costumer (Hawaii)
Costumer, 2d unit (Hawaii)
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Utility sd
Prod sd mixer, 2d unit
Supv sd ed
Supv dial ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
ADR mixer
ADR mixer
Foley mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley artist
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Rec
Dolby Stereo consultant
Utility sd
VISUAL EFFECTS
Vis eff prod by
Mechanical eff & props
Mechanical eff & props
Prop shop/Electronic crew
Prop shop/Electronic crew
Prop shop/Electronic crew
Prop shop/Electronic crew
Spec eff coord
Spec eff supv
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Process compositing by
Vis eff ed
Title des
Titles & opticals
Miniatures supv
Vis eff coord
Video and graphic displays by
Computer anim by
Computer anim by Rhythm & Hues
Computer anim by Rhythm & Hues
Computer anim by Rhythm & Hues
Computer anim by Rhythm & Hues
Computer anim by Rhythm & Hues
Computer anim by Rhythm & Hues
Computer anim by Rhythm & Hues
Computer anim by Rhythm & Hues
Computer anim by Rhythm & Hues
Computer anim by Rhythm & Hues
Computer anim by Rhythm & Hues
Computer anim by Rhythm & Hues
Computer anim by Rhythm & Hues
Addl vis eff by
Addl vis eff by Introvision
Addl vis eff by Introvision
Addl vis eff by Introvision
Addl vis eff by Introvision
Addl vis eff by Introvision
Addl vis eff by Introvision
Addl vis eff by Introvision
Addl vis eff by Introvision
Addl vis eff by Introvision
Addl vis eff by Introvision
Addl vis eff by Introvision
Addl vis eff by Introvision
Model aircraft by
Model coord
A-6 des eng and lead pilot
Model pilot
Model pilot
Hanoi miniatures by
Anim and addl opticals by
Anim and addl opticals by Available Light
Anim and addl opticals by Available Light
Anim and addl opticals by Available Light
Anim and addl opticals by Available Light
Anim and addl opticals by Available Light
Anim and addl opticals by Available Light
Anim and addl opticals by Available Light
Anim and addl opticals by Available Light
Anim and addl opticals by Available Light
Anim and addl opticals by Available Light
Anim and addl opticals by Available Light
Anim and addl opticals by Available Light
Anim and addl opticals by Available Light
Hanoi matte painting by
Addl anim and opticals by
Addl anim and opticals by R & B Films
Addl anim and opticals by R & B Films
Addl anim and opticals by R & B Films
Addl anim and opticals by R & B Films
Addl anim and opticals by R & B Films
Addl anim and opticals by R & B Films
Matte artist
Miniature eff by
Addl spec vis eff by
A division of Lucasarts Entertainment Company, Marin County, California
Addl spec vis eff by Industrial Light & Magic
Addl spec vis eff by Industrial Light & Magic
Addl spec vis eff by Industrial Light & Magic
Addl spec vis eff by Industrial Light & Magic
Addl spec vis eff by Industrial Light & Magic
Addl spec vis eff by Industrial Light & Magic
Addl spec vis eff by Industrial Light & Magic
Addl spec vis eff by Industrial Light & Magic
Addl spec vis eff by Industrial Light & Magic
Spec eff
Spec eff
Gimbal supv
Gimbal supv
Prop shop, elec
Prop shop, elec
Prop shop, elec
Prop shop, elec
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Scr supv
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Set accounting
Prod supv/Loc mgr Hawaii
Prod office coord
Asst prod office coord
Casting asst
Casting asst
Extras casting
Government relations
Asst to Mr. Milius
Asst to Mr. Milius
Asst to Mr. Neufeld
Asst to Mr. Winter
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Craft service
Helicopters provided by
Spec eff asst
Prod office coord, 2d unit
Scr supv, 2d unit
Loc mgr, 2d unit
Aerial consultant
Aerial consultant
Aerial consultant
Prod secy (Hawaii)
Prod secy (Hawaii)
Prod secy (San Diego)
Prod asst (Hawaii)
Prod asst (Hawaii)
Asst accounting
2d unit asst prod accountant
Casting (Hawaii)
Casting (San Diego)
Transportation capt (Hawaii)
Asst capt (Hawaii)
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Shotmaker driver
Craft service (Hawaii)
First aid
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Aerial unit coord
Stunt pilot
Stunt pilot
Stunt parachutist
Stunt parachutist
Stunt coord, 2d unit
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coonts (Annapolis, 1986).
SONGS
“Bo Diddley,” by Ellas McDaniel, performed by Bo Diddley, courtesy of MCA Records
“Love Potion #9,” by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, performed by The Clovers, courtesy of EMI, a division of Capitol Records, Inc., by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
“Downtown,” by Tony Hatch, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” by Carole King & Gerry Goffin, performed by Roberta Flack, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
+
SONGS
“Bo Diddley,” by Ellas McDaniel, performed by Bo Diddley, courtesy of MCA Records
“Love Potion #9,” by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, performed by The Clovers, courtesy of EMI, a division of Capitol Records, Inc., by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
“Downtown,” by Tony Hatch, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” by Carole King & Gerry Goffin, performed by Roberta Flack, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Rockin' Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu,” by Huey P. Smith, performed by Johnny Rivers, courtesy of EMI, a division of Capitol Records, Inc., by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
“The House Is Rockin',” by Stevie Ray Vaughan & Doyle Bramhall, performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, courtesy of CBS Records, Inc., Music Licensing Department
“This Magic Moment,” by Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman, performed by Jay and the Americans, courtesy of EMI, a division of Capitol Records, Inc., by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
“Last Date,” written and performed by Floyd Cramer, courtesy of Step One Records.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 January 1991
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 18 January 1991
Production Date:
16 October 1989--July 1990
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
20 February 1991
Copyright Number:
PA515852
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras & lenses
Duration(in mins):
115
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30012
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On September 10, 1972, an American A-6 “Intruder” aircraft, piloted by Lieutenant Jake “Cool Hand” Grafton, bombs a non-strategic target in Vietnam. While flying at low altitude to avoid enemy radar, bombardier Lieutenant Morgan “Morg” McPherson is struck by gunfire from an armed peasant. Hoping to save his comrade, Jake returns the plane to the aircraft carrier, Independence, but Morgan is already dead. The next day, Jake writes a letter to Morgan’s wife, admitting that her husband’s death was needless. Meanwhile, new recruit Lieutenant Junior Grade Jack “Razor” Barlow, and Lieutenant Commander Virgil Cole, a veteran on his third tour of duty, join the crew. During a private meeting with Razor, Commander Frank Camparelli warns that, despite his African-American appearance, he is “third-generation mafia,” and not a man to be trifled with. Aware of Virgil Cole’s notoriety among Navy pilots, Camparelli cautions him to be on his best behavior. Elsewhere on the ship, Jake discusses the rumored stockpile of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) in Hanoi, North Vietnam, with Guffy, who maps bombing targets. While Guffy does not deny the rumor, he reminds Jake that attacks on the enemy capital have been forbidden throughout the history of the war. Later, Virgil, Razor, Jake, and a pilot named Boxman spend the evening at a naval base in the Philippine Islands. Jake visits the McPherson home to find war widow Callie Joy packing the family’s possessions. She cynically assumes Jake is making a courtesy call on behalf of his superiors, ... +


On September 10, 1972, an American A-6 “Intruder” aircraft, piloted by Lieutenant Jake “Cool Hand” Grafton, bombs a non-strategic target in Vietnam. While flying at low altitude to avoid enemy radar, bombardier Lieutenant Morgan “Morg” McPherson is struck by gunfire from an armed peasant. Hoping to save his comrade, Jake returns the plane to the aircraft carrier, Independence, but Morgan is already dead. The next day, Jake writes a letter to Morgan’s wife, admitting that her husband’s death was needless. Meanwhile, new recruit Lieutenant Junior Grade Jack “Razor” Barlow, and Lieutenant Commander Virgil Cole, a veteran on his third tour of duty, join the crew. During a private meeting with Razor, Commander Frank Camparelli warns that, despite his African-American appearance, he is “third-generation mafia,” and not a man to be trifled with. Aware of Virgil Cole’s notoriety among Navy pilots, Camparelli cautions him to be on his best behavior. Elsewhere on the ship, Jake discusses the rumored stockpile of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) in Hanoi, North Vietnam, with Guffy, who maps bombing targets. While Guffy does not deny the rumor, he reminds Jake that attacks on the enemy capital have been forbidden throughout the history of the war. Later, Virgil, Razor, Jake, and a pilot named Boxman spend the evening at a naval base in the Philippine Islands. Jake visits the McPherson home to find war widow Callie Joy packing the family’s possessions. She cynically assumes Jake is making a courtesy call on behalf of his superiors, until he explains his close friendship with Morgan. That evening, the airmen attend a disreputable saloon, where they brawl with a group of belligerent merchant seamen. After evading arrest, Jake meets Callie at the officers’ club, where they dance until closing, then retire to her home to make love. Jake spends the following day with Callie and her young daughter before returning to the ship. When Virgil is assigned as Jake’s new bombardier, the pilot suggests an unauthorized raid on Hanoi. Virgil appreciates Jake’s intentions, but discourages the idea, certain that it would result in a court martial. However, during their next mission, Boxman is killed by a SAM, and Virgil agrees to Jake’s plan. While viewing newsreel footage from Hanoi, they notice a number of SAMs on display in the background. Their research is interrupted by Guffy, the phantom prankster who has been leaving excrement in the executive officers’ quarters. In exchange for Jake and Virgil’s silence, Guffy reveals the exact location of the missiles. Following their next mission, Jake and Virgil take a detour to Hanoi and destroy the stockpile. The North Vietnamese government issues a false statement, saying the raid destroyed a children’s hospital, and Camparelli berates the airmen for compromising peace negotiations. At the ensuing inquiry, Virgil takes a flippant attitude, declaring the war a pointless endeavor. Jake defends his actions, believing he saved American lives, and is ready to accept the consequences. However, when President Richard Nixon orders “unrestricted bombing of all military targets in North Vietnam,” charges are dropped against Jake and Virgil. Regardless, Camparelli considers the airmen untrustworthy and confines them to the ship until they can be transferred. The next day, Camparelli is stranded behind enemy lines during a daylight raid. With the executive officer’s permission, Jake and Virgil go to their commander’s rescue, but they are also stranded after their airplane is shot down. While Jake attends to the injured Camparelli, Virgil is shot by a Vietnamese soldier. Certain that he is dying, Virgil ignites a smoke grenade, signaling the rescue team to strafe and bomb the area. As napalm falls around them, Jake and Camparelli take refuge in a narrow valley, where they are followed by an enemy soldier. After signaling a rescue helicopter, Jake dispatches the soldier, allowing himself and Camparelli to be pulled to safety. Sometime later, as U.S. involvement in the war draws to an end, Jake smiles as he reads a letter from Callie. Camparelli is offered the command of his own ship, and hopes to have Jake as a crewmember. +

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

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