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Predator (1987) Poster

(1987)

Trivia

The weapon that Blain (Jesse Ventura) is using is a minigun. This is a weapon most commonly mounted on the side of a helicopter (or an aircraft carrier) and many, many modifications had to be made to make it usable in the film. It was powered via an electrical cable hidden down the front of Blain's trousers. The firing rate was slowed down to approximately 1/3rd the normal rate of fire, both to reduce consumption of blanks, and to make the spinning of the barrels visible on film. It is rumored that Ventura had to wear a bulletproof vest because of the forceful ejection of spent cartridges, but this is false. Unmodified miniguns eject out of the bottom, with the cases essentially falling out due to the force of gravity. Close examination of the film (especially the scene in which Mac fires the minigun at the fleeing predator, along with the other commandos) show that the ejection of the minigun was not changed.
Jump to: Cameo (1) | Spoilers (2)
Jesse Ventura was delighted to find out from the wardrobe department that his arms were 1" bigger than Arnold Schwarzenegger's. He suggested to Schwarzenegger that they measure arms, with the winner getting a bottle of champagne. Ventura lost because Schwarzenegger had told the wardrobe department to tell Ventura that his arms were bigger.
The film provided a variety of hardships for the actors, such as leeches, snakes, stifling humidity, heat and rough terrain. All of the night scenes were filmed during freezing-cold temperatures, which was especially hard on Arnold Schwarzenegger during the latter half of the film when the mud he had to wear (actually pottery clay) became cold and wet. He was warned it would take his body temperature down a few degrees and he shivered non-stop, even when they tried to heat him with lamps (it just made the clay dry out). He tried drinking jagertee--a schnapps mixture--to warm him but that just got him drunk.
After Dutch impales a baddie against a wooden post with his machete, he utters the immortal one-liner "Stick around!" This was apparently improvised on the spot by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally cast to play the Predator but he was dropped for being too short at 5 foot 9, Arnold Schwarzenegger and his team are bodybuilders who are between 6'2 and 6'5.
The original concept for this film originated as a joke. Someone said that the only person Rocky Balboa of the Rocky (1976) series of films had yet to fight was E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).
John McTiernan didn't like Puerto Vallarta because the brown leaves made it look less like a jungle.
According to an interview with director John McTiernan, the "hole in the jungle" appearance of the Predator was played by Jean-Claude Van Damme in a "blue screen" (actually red) suit. Van Damme quit after two days, unhappy with being cast as an uncredited special effect, but can be seen as the Predator in If It Bleeds We Can Kill It: The Making of 'Predator' (2001). The alien was scrapped, redesigned and was eventually played by Kevin Peter Hall who was 7'2" tall.
The Predator was first designed by a special effects company the studio picked to save money on. Stan Winston later created the Predator for $1.5 million; this other studio charged half that amount. Because of that, their Predator looked like someone in a lizard suit with the head of a duck, according to Arnold Schwarzenegger. When Winston was brought in to redesign the Predator, the final fight scene had to be reshot. The new Predator was 8-1/2 feet tall, but the recast Kevin Peter Hall was 7'2". The costume was heavy and off-balance and Hall couldn't see with the mask on; because of that, during the fight scene with Dutch, he actually did hit Schwarzenegger once.
Part of the shoot was 48 hours before Arnold Schwarzenegger's wedding rehearsal dinner. Jesse Ventura teased him about his nuptials, often ruining takes; director John McTiernan was not amused. Schwarzenegger missed the final preparation and Maria Shriver was not happy about that, because his mind was more on the film instead of their wedding.
The predator's blood - a goopy substance with the color of Mountain Dew - was made on-set using a mixture of the liquid from inside glow sticks, and KY jelly.
The sound editors called the Predator's shoulder gun the "Parrot Gun", because when it moved independent of the Predator while aiming, it reminded them of "Peter Sellers with a rubber parrot on his shoulder."
Peter Cullen was reluctant to take the job of voicing the Predator, as he injured his throat playing the title character of King Kong (1976), but eventually accepted after seeing a picture of the unmasked creature.
The mandibles of the predator were the idea of James Cameron.
Arnold Schwarzenegger recommended Jesse Ventura for Blain, after interviewing him for the role. He thought he looked the part, was big enough, had a deep voice and was manly.
Due to health and safety regulations, Arnold Schwarzenegger was not allowed to light his cigar inside the helicopter near the beginning of the film. As a result the glow was added optically in post-production.
Arnold Schwarzenegger lost over 25 pounds before filming began in order to better fit the role of a special warfare operative, who would be lean as well as muscular.
Shane Black hated the glasses he was given to wear as Hawkins. He wanted to wear authentic military-issue ballistic glasses worn by actual troops in the field, but the director wanted him to look as geeky as possible.
An attempt was made to get shots of the Predator swinging from tree to tree using a monkey in a red special-effects suit. However, the monkey kept removing the suit and the idea was abandoned.
Because this was the first Predator movie, only the thermal vision and infrared vision was shown from the Predator's point of view (Predator 2 (1990) introduced many other vision modes for the predator), but with good attention to details you can get hints that the Predator has different vision modes even in this movie; The Predator can obviously see and avoid the trip wires that are hidden everywhere in the forest (which would actually not be visible if the Predator only used thermal visions). The predator can also see if the soldiers are carrying any kind of weapons or knives and if they are unarmed, indicating the Predator has a different vision mode which makes him able to detect solid metal.
Shane Black spent his free time on the set writing the screenplay for The Last Boy Scout (1991).
In an interview, Carl Weathers said the actors would secretly wake up as early as 3:00 a.m. to work out before the day's shooting. Weathers also stated that he would act as if his physique was naturally given to him, and would work out only after the other actors were nowhere to be seen.
The studio would not allow John McTiernan to shoot this film in anamorphic widescreen due to the complexities of the optical effects. As a sly sort of retaliation, the director added an anamorphic version of the film's opening 20th Century Fox logo, which looks noticeably stretched on screen.
Two of the actors portraying commandos besieged by the Predator have been elected to state governorships: Jesse Ventura (Independent) was elected Governor of Minnesota in 1998, and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Republican) was elected Governor of California in a hotly-contested recall election in 2003. In addition, Sonny Landham (Republican) ran an unsuccessful campaign for Governor of Kentucky in 2003. Both Landham and Ventura also sought to enter the Senate in 2008 in their states as, respectively, a Libertarian and an Independent. Both dropped out.
Hawkins was originally supposed to wear a distinctive red beret, most likely inspired by the U.S. Army's maroon airborne berets, worn by American paratroopers. Shane Black refused to wear it, as he thought it would look ridiculous in the jungle. He later regretted the decision, as he felt it would have made his character stand out.
The famous clicking/gurgling sound the Predator makes throughout the movie was thought up by Peter Cullen. After the producers approached him to give the Predator "a voice" he was taken back because he had no idea what something like that was suppose to sound like, not to mention that the producers were reluctant to show what the character was finally going to look like, they relented and Cullen who thought the Predator creature resembled a "horseshoe crab" remembered as a kid how if you turned one over they would "gurgle" and that became the Predator's "sound".
It is alleged that in the early 90's, the department of defence tested a form of camouflage that used millions of fibre-optic cables to "mirror" the opposite side of the object that is wanting to be hidden. They got the idea from the movie. The first time that people see the predator in his cloak, he is reaching for the foot of one of Arnold's guys that just got wasted. The idea behind the camouflage, was not to appear invisible but to replicate what is on the opposite side. In the DoD's test footage, when you look at the person wearing the camo (fiber-optic sheet) they simply appeared to look like a heat wave.
The "B" camera was given a reel of incorrect film stock, which is why some shots look a lot grainier than others.
Aliens (1986) was Jim Thomas and John Thomas's major inspiration behind "Predator". This later led to the crossover "Alien Vs. Predator" comic books, video games, action figures and two "Alien Vs. Predator" feature films released in 2004 and 2007.
Maria Shriver discussed decoration plans concerning her and Arnold Schwarzenegger's new home with him over the phone during filming. She later spent a couple of days on the set in Mexico. The stunt crew played a practical joke on the newly married couple by putting frogs in their shower.
This was a spec script that accidentally found its way to 20th Century Fox.
Shane Black, who plays commando Hawkins, is actually a writer. The producer wanted Black, who was writing Lethal Weapon (1987), close to him to review the script.
Third film in which Arnold Schwarzenegger wears a Seiko model H558-5009 diver's watch. Since nicknamed "The Arnold", it is highly sought-after by collectors and regularly trades for values in excess of its original retail cost. Its distinctive black collar and stainless steel fittings suitably complements Schwarzenegger's exaggerated arm muscles in his early films.
Arnold Schwarzenegger never worked again with producer Joel Silver after this film.
All the actors are wearing Vietnam-era surplus canvas load-bearing gear, not the more modern (post-1967) nylon gear.
Joel Hynek, a special effects supervisor who directed the design of the alien's camouflage effect, is the son of J. Allen Hynek PhD, who originated the "Close Encounter" hierarchy for categorizing interactions with aliens. Dr. Hynek was a Professor of Astronomy at Northwestern University.
Film debut of Jesse Ventura.
This film had the second biggest opening weekend of 1987; Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) had the first.
One of the elements in the sound of the "snap" to Predator-vision is a whip crack.
Arnold Schwarzenegger believed the reason "Predator" was such a hit was because the heroes were impressively muscular and big.
The original "Hunter" model was a large creature with a long neck, a head shaped like a dog and one big eye in the middle. This can be seen on the camouflage demo's on the DVD. It was only when Stan Winston moved in that the complete design of the now "Predator" changed, along with the title.
The studio's insurance company would not agree to insure the production unless a body guard was hired for the actor Sonny Landham (Billy) for the sole purpose of protecting people from Sonny. The body guard followed Sonny around everywhere to ensure that Sonny didn't get into a fight since he was well known to be a very violent and short tempered actor.
The map Gen. Phillips uses to brief Dutch is a map of Brazil. The area that the map shows is a region known as "cerrado biome", in core areas with small and medium trees, wooded savanna and gramineous-woody savanna. Given that, the big tropical forests with deep ravines and huge trees are geographic incorrect, once that featured region on the map is called Chapada das Mangabeiras, in the plateaus in the center of Brazil.
Although they were never mentioned in the final film, the full names of the main characters in the original script Were Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer, SSA George Dillon, Sergeant Mac Eliot, Sergeant Blain Cooper, Sergeant Billy Sole, Corporal Poncho Ramirez and Corporal Rick Hawkins.
The original plot had Dutch Schaefer pitted against the Predator alone. Arnold Schwarzenegger thought this was a bad idea. The script was rewritten to include a team of crack commandos.
Most of film was shot under the original title "Hunter", it was only later when the creature design was changed that the movie became "Predator". The clapperboards showing the original title can be seen in the outtakes on the special edition DVD.
John McTiernan admitted that R.G. Armstrong was too old for his part, but kept him simply because he liked him. Added to this, the actor wore "too much" tanning makeup to hide his age somewhat.
Both John McTiernan and Arnold Schwarzenegger lost 25 pounds during the film. Schwarzenegger's weight loss was a professional choice. McTiernan lost the weight because he avoided the food in Mexico due to health concerns.
John McTiernan was keen to make the comrade banter between the soldiers as real as possible. To help this along, the cast trained together on location with weapons, fitness and a military training regime that started at 6am every morning and included the use of communication with the silent, military hand signals that we see so much in the movie. He stated that "even though many of the cast had military backgrounds" he "wanted them all to get a chance to know each other, develop as a group and endure something rough and conquer it together."
During the closing credits, Shane Black is seen prominently displaying a copy of Sgt. Rock #408 (Feb. 1986). In the DVD commentary, John McTiernan notes that at the time, Arnold Schwarzenegger had an adaptation of Sgt. Rock in production, and that's why the comics were on set, so he could read them. He described the scene where Dutch (Schwarzenegger) walks up to Billy (Sonny Landham), who senses the Predator's presence out in the bush, as a "Sgt. Rock moment".
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, and Sven-Ole Thorsen would appear in the movie The Running Man (1987), which was released the same year as this film.
The film changed its title from "Hunter" to Predator (1987) to avoid confusion with Hunter (1984).
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MythBusters (2003) proved that covering yourself entirely in mud doesn't, in fact, conceal your body heat, because after only a short time, the mud on your skin becomes warmer.
Kevin Peter Hall stated in an interview that his experience on the film, "wasn't a movie, it was a survival story for all of us." For example, in the scene where the Predator chases Dutch, the water was foul, stagnant and full of leeches.
The film originally featured a Native American soldier as the lead. This character eventually evolved into Billy.
Most of the cast and crew suffered from traveller's diarrhoea since the Mexican hotel in which they were living was having problems with the water purification. The only ones who didn't get sick were Arnold Schwarzenegger and John McTiernan.
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Carl Weathers joked in an interview that Arnold Schwarzenegger got him addicted to cigar smoking during filming. Arnold, famous for smoking cigars, offered Weathers to smoke one, who initially declined because he was a non-smoker from his pro-football player days but eventually gave in. Once he tried it Arnold gave him an entire box full of cigars. Weathers ended this part of the interview by looking to the camera and cheerfully declaring "Shame on you Arnold! Shame on you!"
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One of only four movies featuring two United States governors with roles as actors (not "self" credits).
Two waterfalls are used in the climax of the movie, both near Palenque in Mexico. The first is Misol Ha, just outside the village (beginning and end of the sequence), and the other is Agua Azul about an hour's drive away (the middle part of the sequence).
Film debut of Shane Black.
The sidearms carried by the troopers are Desert Eagle handguns.
In the scene where the Special Forces team attack the village, the guerrilla who gets blown up in the van is played by Henry Kingi. Kingi would play Columbian Scorpions member El Scorpio in the sequel Predator 2 (1990).
Dutch's last name in the script is Schaefer.
According to John McTiernan's DVD commentary, some minor cuts were done for R rating. Predator 2 (1990) on the other hand had to be cut 20 times for R rating.
Carl Weathers was always the first choice to play Dillon.
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John McTiernan broke his wrist while on location, but kept working.
When the film was broadcast on ITV in the UK in 1991, some violent scenes in the film and bad language were cut for censorship and for time: Mac warning Dillon that he'll bleed him, if he gives up his position again. The severing of Dillon's right arm and his demise. The Predator ripping out Billy's skull and spine and Dutch calling the Predator "One Ugly Motherfucker" when The Predator removes his mask.
First screenplay written by brothers Jim Thomas and John Thomas.
Blain's gun Old Painless could only fire shells for five seconds at a time.
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The idea for the film was inspired by a joke. Following the release of Rocky IV (1985), there was a joke around Hollywood that Rocky Balboa's next opponent would be E.T.
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The film was dedicated to the memories of Agustin Ytuarte and Federico Ysunza, who were both killed on March 31, 1986, in the crash of Mexicana Flight 940.
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Commitments by Arnold Schwarzenegger delayed the start of filming by several months. The delay gave Joel Silver enough time to secure a minor rewrite from screenwriter David Peoples.
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Stunt director Craig R. Baxley made his directorial debut with the film Action Jackson (1988) which was released the following year, and was produced by Joel Silver who also produced this film. Three of the actors from this film appeared in that film; Carl Weathers as the title character, Bill Duke as Cap. Armbruster, and Sonny Landham as Mr. Quick.
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Apart for this film, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sonny Landham have something else in common - they both played with Sylvester Stallone in prison movies. Arnold in Escape Plan (2013) and Sonny in Lock Up (1989).
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Shane Black came up with the coarse jokes that he tells in the film.
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Anna says the Predator is called "El que hace trofeos de los hombres... The demon who makes trophies of men.". "El que hace trofeos de los hombres" is actually Spanish for "Which makes trophies of men." The correct translation would be "El demonio que hace trofeos de los hombres."
Supposedly, Jerry Goldsmith was originally approached to score the film, but was unavailable.
The Predator's blood was originally supposed to be orange.
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Kevin Peter Hall had previously portrayed an alien on safari for human quarry, in the low-budgeted Without Warning (1980).
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The stuntman who doubled Arnold Schwarzenegger for the fall into the river blew out his knee performing this particular gag.
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The original plan for the movie was to have several predators. Luckily for Arnold Schwarzenegger, that didn't pan out.
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Richard Chaves was bitten by ants.
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Dillon tells Anna to "vamos"; it means move on in Spanish and Portuguese.
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Dutch covers himself in mud to screen his body heat and then hides in a tree to ambush the Predator. In the Christopher Pike novel The Eternal Dawn, the lead character Alisa, who is a vampire, does the same with an unknown assailant, except with leaves as well.
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Geoff Murphy was first attached to direct.
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Shane Black's character, Hawkins, is seen reading a Sgt. Rock comic book. At one point, a Sgt. Rock film was in development with Arnold Schwarzenegger starring as the title character.
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When the script was pitched around Hollywood, the shorthand description used for it was "'Alien (1979) in the jungle."
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Arnold Schwarzenegger got so sick during shooting that he did a whole scene with an IV drip in his arm. He gets thinner as the movie progresses because he was afraid to eat the food in Mexico.
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The "rebel camp" location has become a tourist attraction in Mexico.
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The machete weighed 20 lbs. The crew came up with the idea to throw it so Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn't have to carry it anymore.
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Editor Mark Helfrich says he may have let the helicopter scene run too long..."I had a lot of cool helicopter shots... I wanted to use them. I guess I was influenced by Apocalypse Now (1979)."
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Arnold Schwarzenegger "wanted to do a film like The Magnificent Seven where a team of guys work together."
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Jesse Ventura said that firing the Minigun is "like shooting a chainsaw."
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Vietnam vet Richard Chaves said that being in the jungle "was an instant déjà vu."
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John McTiernan was impressed with Elpidia Carrillo, "She knows more about the character than I do."
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The screenwriters' intent was to "strip away elements of the modern, organized world. Here's a guy with the most technological weaponry and he's reduced to making bows and arrows."
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The screenwriters did a lot of research into U.S. Special Forces operations in South America to make sure how they would really sneak into the jungle.
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The screenwriters based the film on classic mythological stories: "[There have] always been creatures like Predator. The Cyclops, the Minotaur. They represent darkness."
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The actors learned how to be a real military unit by performing maneuvers and marches in the jungle.
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Real poisonous snakes and scorpions invaded the set during filming.
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The crew would chop down leaves and re-plant them in front of the camera for some shots.
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When they started shooting in the jungle, 300 Mexican crew members showed up. It was 200 more than they needed.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger posed for photos with the snake around his shoulders.
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A crew spent two weeks wiring the jungle with explosives to create the destruction in military assault scene.
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The Predator's scaly flesh is based on koi (carp) and locusts.
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The crew had to improvise and use the resources of the jungle to their advantage, too. Stuntmen dug giant holes, and locals made massive nets out of vines.
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Bill Duke improvised the shaving. The crew scrambled on set to make a razor that squirts blood.
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The tree that Predator stands on was made from concrete by a crew of 50.
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The crew didn't burn any jungle. The explosion location had already been burned to the ground two years prior. They did spray-paint a lot of stumps black, though.
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Stan Winston was inspired by a painting of a Rastafarian warrior in the producer's office.
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John McTiernan got the idea for the nuclear bomb countdown from a dream he had in high school.
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Each character has different camo makeup. Dutch wears "strong lines" to show that he's a leader.
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The "Predator-vision" was created using special effects and a heat-vision camera.
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To make the fireballs, the crew would just dump gasoline around and light it up.
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One of the movie's animators actually "cut" his own name into Predator's costume.
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The crew covered Arnold Schwarzenegger in mud by shooting it through a hose like they were "stuccoing a house."
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Spoofed in the song "Nathan the Predator" by Bonecage.
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Cameo 

Sven-Ole Thorsen: Arnold Schwarzenegger's friend and frequent collaborator appears as the Russian Officer.

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The black helicopter pilot seen at the end of the movie is Kevin Peter Hall, the actor who plays the Predator. John McTiernan gave him the brief on-screen role because his "work as Predator was so exhausting."
Body count: 69 humans (most of them at the hands of Dutch Schaefer), 1 scorpion, 1 boar, and 1 predator.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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