During the Vietnam War, Colonel Hambleton's aircraft is shot down over enemy territory and a frantic rescue operation ensues.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Ten years after his son went MIA in Vietnam, U.S.Marine retired Colonel Jason Rhodes assembles a private rescue team to find Americans held in POW camps in Laos.

Director: Ted Kotcheff
Stars: Gene Hackman, Patrick Swayze, Robert Stack
The Package (1989)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Experienced Green Beret sergeant Johnny Gallagher is escorting a prisoner, Airborne Ranger Thomas Boyette, back to the US, but Boyette escapes and Gallagher must risk life and limb to catch him.

Director: Andrew Davis
Stars: Gene Hackman, Tommy Lee Jones, Joanna Cassidy
Class Action (1991)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Jed Ward is an attorney who specializes in whistle blower, David vs. Goliath, type cases. He finds a client who is suing an auto company over a safety problem that has had a severe effect ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Apted
Stars: Gene Hackman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Colin Friels
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

During the air war over Vietnam, a US Navy A-6 Intruder bomber pilot schemes with a hardened veteran to make an unauthorized air strike on Hanoi.

Director: John Milius
Stars: Danny Glover, Willem Dafoe, Brad Johnson
Narrow Margin (1990)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney is sent to protect a woman who accidentally witnessed a Mafia murder.

Director: Peter Hyams
Stars: Gene Hackman, Anne Archer, James Sikking
Target (1985)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Chris Lloyd does NOT get along with his father Walter. Walter is too careful, cautious, and boring to Chris, and never tries anything new, and Chris had to live by the same standards when ... See full summary »

Director: Arthur Penn
Stars: Gene Hackman, Matt Dillon, Gayle Hunnicutt
War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A young officer, just out of West Point is sent to Vietnam, where the men don't respect him until he gets wounded and returns to be a wiser soldier and a better commander

Director: Aaron Norris
Stars: Tony Pierce, Robert F. Lyons, Michael Dudikoff
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A retired CIA agent is recruited to participate in a prisoner exchange with the Russians.

Director: Nicholas Meyer
Stars: Gene Hackman, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Kurtwood Smith
Under Fire (1983)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Three journalists in a romantic triangle are involved in political intrigue during the last days of the corrupt Somozoa regime in Nicaragua before it falls to a popular revolution in 1979.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Stars: Nick Nolte, Ed Harris, Gene Hackman
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Floyd, the owner of a bar on the Texas coast, has been depressed for a year after his wife disappeared in a swimming accident. He lives with his senile father-in-law "The General" and is ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Masterson
Stars: Gene Hackman, Teri Garr, Burgess Meredith
Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A group of ex-rough riders, an ex-prostitute and a gunfighter enter a horse race in the desert.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Gene Hackman, Candice Bergen, James Coburn
The Chamber (1996)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A young man fresh out of law school tries to win a reprieve for his racist grandfather who is on death row.

Director: James Foley
Stars: Chris O'Donnell, Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Captain Bartholomew Clark
...
Colonel George Walker
...
Ross Carver
...
Sgt. Harley Rumbaugh
...
Major Jake Scott
Joe Dorsey ...
Colonel Douglass
Michael Ng ...
Vietnamese Man (as Rev. Michael Ng)
Theodore Chan Woei-Shyong ...
Boy on Bridge
...
Helicopter Crew
Scott Howell ...
Helicopter Crew
Michael Raden ...
Helicopter Crew
Timothy Fitzgerald ...
EB-66 Officer
Stuart B. Hagen ...
EB-66 Officer (as Stuart Hagen)
Jeffrey Baxter ...
Helicopter Gunner (as Jeff Baxter)
Edit

Storyline

Lt. Col. Iceal "Ham" Hambleton is a weapons countermeasures expert and when his aircraft is shot over enemy territory the Air Force very much wants to get him back. Hambleton knows the area he's in is going to be carpet-bombed but a temporary shortage of helicopters causes a delay. Working with an Air Force reconnaissance pilot, Capt. Bartholomew Clark, he maps out an escape route based on golf courses he has played. Along the way however, he has to face enemy forces and the death of some of his fellow soldiers. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Trapped behind enemy lines. A whole army after him... And only one man can save him.

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 October 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bat 21  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Gross:

$3,966,256 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The true story's ending was quite different. Navy SEAL LT Tom Norris and Vietnamese SEAL Petty Officer Nguyen Van Kiet took a sampan in to pick up Col. Hambleton after repeated attempts failed with major losses of helicopters and men. LT Norris was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. See more »

Goofs

The "Jolly Green Giant" helicopter is actually a Siskorsky S-61, a type built for the U.S. Navy. The Siskorsky HH3-F was used by the U.S. Air Force and featured a ramp at the rear of the fuselage. The S-61 did not have a ramp. See more »

Quotes

[as Capt. Bartholomew Clark flies away in a helicopter on an unauthorized flight]
Col. George Walker: When he gets back here, sergeant, I'm throwing his ass in the stockade!
Sgt. Harley Rumbaugh: We don't have a stockade, sir!
Col. George Walker: I'll build one!
See more »

Connections

Edited into Gale Force (2002) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A well-made Vietnam movie but ...
15 February 2002 | by (UK & Germany) – See all my reviews

.... this was supposed to be a "true" story, so why not tell it as it really happened? Of course, there are always budget restraints and other considerations that come into play. But I can never quite work out why Hollywood changes crucial facts of a real story when making "true-life" movies of this type. Don't get me wrong - I saw this movie for the first time just last week, a full 13 years after it first appeared, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It didn't glorify war at all, and some of the scenes were quite shocking and moving. However, having read the TRUE story of BAT 21 some years ago, I couldn't help thinking "hang on a minute - it didn't happen like that!!!" In reality, the actual 1972 mission to rescue Lt. Col. Hambleton was a very complex affair that lasted for 12 days, the downed airman finally being rescued by a two-man team consisting of a US Navy SEAL lieutenant (who won the Medal Of Honour in the process) and a South Vietnamese Army Ranger. Why not include this in the movie if you're out to tell anything like the true story? Also, several US aircraft and choppers were shot down in the process, with 10 American airmen killed and two more captured. But apart from the superbly done abortive helicopter rescue attempt and the shooting of the captured crewmen, the movie led us to believe that the rescue mission merely consisted of Hambleton (Hackman) escaping & evading on the ground with Clark (Danny Glover) circling above and talking to him on the radio. In reality, Clark was himself shot down early in the mission and had to be rescued, and his role in the actual Hambleton rescue was therefore nothing like that depicted in the film.

But, that said, why let the truth get in the way of a good story? And despite its shortcomings on the historical accuracy front, this was a thoroughly enjoyable film that didn't gloss over or sanitize the horrors of war. Despite my nit-picking, I'd definitely recommend it.


12 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
compression comeback-1
Bat 21 cisneros2004
Shooting thofry
who's that guy? TinaSparkle
Here's the true story: cheasta77
Cassette tape caledoniadesigns
Discuss Bat*21 (1988) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?