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Flight of the Intruder (1991) Poster

Trivia

Basil Poledouris had originally been scheduled to score Dances with Wolves (1990) but reluctantly dropped out to score this film for his close friend John Milius, with extremely damaging results to his career when he found himself suddenly unemployable at any studio making a picture with the then-hot Kevin Costner. To make matters worse, the film's release was delayed by nearly two years so he could have easily had time to score both films.
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Near the end of the film, the phonetic alphabet phrase "Alpha Mike Foxtrot" is spoken over the radio. This is an abbreviation for "Adios Motherfucker", which is said over the radio by downed aircrews, when they know death or capture is imminent.
Ed O'Neill was originally cast in this movie, but test audiences still thought of him as Al Bundy in the sitcom Married with Children (1987).
It took multiple takes to do the scene in the ready room where Guffy (Douglas Roberts) urinates in the coffee cup, the ship had a fire and a medical emergency in that same area about 20 minutes apart that disrupted the filming. Both the fire and medical emergency were involving the film crew.
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A 1:160 scale model of the city of Hanoi was built for the filming of the bomb-runs scenes. Buildings closer to the camera were detailed more while the furthest away buildings in the backround we only painted blocks of wood.
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While filming on the USS Independence CV-62 in November 1989 the crew kept the on board fire party busy with numerous small electrical fires they started with their lighting equipment.
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The song that Jake "Cool Hand" Grafton (Brad Johnson) and Virgil Cole (Willem Dafoe) gleefully sing in their A-6 Intruder after their successful bomb run on Hanoi is the 1964 hit Downtown made popular by British pop singer Petula Clark. During the Vietnam War going "Downtown" was military slang for bombing Hanoi.
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This film was filmed partly on the USS INDEPENDENCE CV-62. It went out for two weeks of filming in November of 1989.
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John Milius stated that making this film was one of the worst experiences he had.
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The prop-driven aircraft strafing & bombing Cmdr. Frank 'Dooke' Camparelli's crash area appear to be Douglas A-1 Skyraiders - produced just about too late for the end of WWII, but saw lots of service in the Korean War and in Viet Nam.
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During the newsreel scene, there is a shot of a drop tank with the squadron designation of VA-165. While the story was centered around VA-196, VA-165 was actually the squadron used to film the movie. All of the aircraft used for filming were re-painted with VA-196 markings used during the Viet Nam conflict era.
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Film debut of David Schwimmer.
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The MiG fighter chasing Grafton is incorrectly depicted as carrying only missiles. The MiG-17 had two cannons and would not have hesitated to use them to blow Grafton out of the sky.
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Richard Dreyfuss and Richard Gere were considered for the role of Virgil Cole, until Willem Dafoe was eventually chosen to play the character. Had Gere been chosen, this would have made the second time he would have played a military pilot: The first was An Officer and a Gentleman (1982).
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The scenes outside during the hearing in Subic Bay were actually shot at Naval Station Long Beach. USS Sides (FFG-14) can be clearly seen nested with other modern frigates. The benches were part of a small park for sailors to relax without leaving the base.
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Milius arrived on board aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-61) 16 March 1991 in response to a sailor's letter to John E. Ferraro, VP Acquisitions, Paramount Pictures Corporation, asking them to provide a copy of the war movie that came out while Ranger was at war. (Letter from Robert D. Graham, 22 FEB 91, FITRON ONE (VF-1).
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Danny Glover and Willem Dafoe both share the same birthday. Glover was born on July 22nd, 1946 and Dafoe was born on July 22nd, 1955.
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Willem Dafoe and Tom Sizemore previously appeared in Born on the Fourth of July (1989).
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"Virgil Cole" (which is not a common name) is also the name of the main character of the Robert B. Parker "Virgil Cole & Everett Hitch" western series of books.
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Rosanna Arquette and Ving Rhames also appear in Pulp Fiction (1994).
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One of four Vietnam War themed films starring Willem Dafoe. The other films are Platoon (1986), Off Limits (1988) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989).
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Tom Sizemore and Ving Rhames also appear in Bringing Out the Dead (1999).
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Danny Glover and Willem Dafoe would later appear in Manderlay (2005).
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Ving Rhames plays a character named CPO Frank McRae. There is in fact an actor named Frank McRae.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

After being shot down over Vietnam Danny Glover's character is rescued by a pilot who commandeers an aircraft against orders. In 1988 in the movie "Bat*21." Danny Glover plays a pilot who similarly commandeers an aircraft against orders to affect a rescue of someone shot down over Vietnam.
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See also

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

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