Air America (1990)

R  |   |  Action, Comedy  |  10 August 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 20,898 users   Metascore: 33/100
Reviews: 42 user | 23 critic | 13 from

A young pilot finds himself recruited unwittingly into a covert and corrupt CIA airlift organization operating in Vietnam War Era Laos.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Major Donald Lemond
Senator Davenport
Jack Neely (as Art La Fleur)
Marshall Bell ...
David Bowe ...
General Lu Soong
Harvey Jason ...
Sinjai Plengpanit ...
Gene's Wife (as Sinjai Hongthai)
Natta Nantatanti ...
Gene's Daughter


Air America was the CIA's private airline operating in Laos during the Vietnam War, running anything and everything from soldiers to foodstuffs for local villagers. After losing his pilot's license, Billy Covington is recruited into it, and ends up in the middle of a bunch of lunatic pilots, gun-running by his friend Gene Ryack, and opium smuggling by his own superiors. Written by Jeff Cross <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

pilot | cia | vietnam war | soldier | laos | See All (60) »


The Few. The Proud. The Totally Insane. See more »


Action | Comedy


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

10 August 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Air America: locos por el peligro  »

Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)


$31,053,601 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The sequence where Robert Downey Jr. is seen hanging from a rope flying across the skies above Thailand including a Buddhist temple was done for real with Downey performing the stunt himself after director Roger Spottiswoode had rejected doing it using such alternative techniques such as blue screen or back projection. See more »


When the right engine was hit by ground fire and was said to have lost oil pressure, it is doubtful that thrust could be maintained. With the extent of damage requiring fire extinguishers, it is most likely that it would have been feathered. This did not occur and during the landing sequence, it can clearly be seen that this engine is developing its usual thrust, the props both appearing to be turning as they would be when synchronized. Also if thrust were lost on that engine, a large amount of left rudder with about 3 degrees elevation of bank on the dead engine side would be required and none of this is seen in the film. See more »


[first lines]
Richard Nixon: There are *no* American combat forces in Laos.
See more »


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Run Through The Jungle
Written by John Fogerty
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User Reviews

An action movie best played for laughs
28 January 2002 | by (Yorkshire, England) – See all my reviews

I actually thought this film improved with each viewing - some of the comic lines were lost first time around, with people speaking together, and rotor noise from the aircraft. Air America is probably a little too script-by-numbers, but only if you think about it too much - the key is to just enjoy the action and the comedy. I couldn't tell whether Mel Gibson's character was incredibly laid back, or if the actor just wasn't giving his all - but for me, the more interesting characters were the supporting cast anyway: David Marshall Grant as Rob Diehl and Art LaFleur as Jack Niely. There were a few too many pilots to pad all of the cast out, but the collective effort provided much of the humour. Robert Downey, Jnr. was perhaps the best out of the main cast, from cheesy 'eye in the sky' pilot ('the traffic is kinda sad, kinda bumsy-looking'), to Air America rookie, lost in a world of 'bar girls, squiggly writing on signs, and more bar girls'. Neither Gibson or Downey, Jnr. were particularly convincing as pilots, but luckily the planes (such as Pilatus Porters and Caribous) had enough character to pull off the airborne scenes. Downey, Jnr.'s character had a spectacular, if not slightly drawn out, crash-landing scene, slowly dismantling his aircraft as he slid along an old airstrip. The soundtrack was also a bonus, placing the film in time where the main characters were slightly anachronistic. Frank Sinatra's 'Come Fly With Me' saved the cliched ending with the same droll humour that was peppered throughout the rest of the movie. Overall, Air America is a film best watched with your brain switched to 'idle' - although the subject is serious, the film is best as pure entertainment.

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