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Air Force One (1997)

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Hijackers seize the plane carrying the President of the United States and his family, but he - an ex-soldier - works from hiding to defeat them.


1,925 ( 511)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
General Alexander Radek (as Jurgen Prochnow)
AFO Navigator / Major Bridges


The President of the USA goes to Moscow and gives a stirring speech outlining the USA's new "Zero-tolerance" policy with respect to terrorism. On the flight home, terrorists take over Air Force One (the President's official plane) and take the passengers (including his wife and daughter) hostage. The terrorists plan to execute one hostage every half-hour unless/until their demands are met. However, the President is a former Medal of Honor winner, so the terrorists may be in for a surprise... Written by Afterburner <aburner@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The fate of a nation rests on the courage of one man. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

25 July 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

AFO  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$85,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$37,132,505 (USA) (25 July 1997)


$172,620,724 (USA) (30 January 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Russian general the hijackers want released is a cameo by Jürgen Prochnow, who starred as the captain of the U-Boat in director Wolfgang Petersen's breakthrough hit Das Boot (1985). See more »


When Marshall and Korshunov are fighting, Korshunov presses Marshall's face against a panel of buttons which are obviously fake. See more »


[first lines]
Major Perkins: [after landing in Kazakstan] Quick head count! One, two, three, four, five. Move out!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Per Marshall's comment to her, the aide who helps him with the fax machine (portrayed by Messiri Freeman) is listed in the credits as "Future Postmaster General". See more »


References Airport 1975 (1974) See more »


Written by Eugène Pottier (as Eugene Pottier) and Pierre Degeyter
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

It is what it is......fun
7 March 2005 | by (Whitman , Mass) – See all my reviews

Nonstop action, thrilling suspense, dark humor, and a brilliant concept, this flag waving over the top action adventure was a good two hours in 1997.

The story: Enroute back to the States from Russia, Russian Nationals hijack the President's plane and hold him and his family (as well as most of his staff) hostage aboard Air Force One in order to release a Rouge General captured earlier.

Harrison Ford from his first minute to his last looks comfortable in his Presidential role. That's to say, Ford appears, acts and just plain feels like he should be President. (Come one who saw this movie and wanted him to run). Gary Oldman's performance as the main villain (Ivan) should be up there with the likes of Alan Rickman's Hans from Die Hard and John Malkovich's Leary-Booth-Carney from In the Line of Fire (coincidentally directed by Wolfgang Peterson as well). Glenn Close pulls of the Vice President role with smirks and spunk.

Stars aside I think the supporting cast should get an equal if not harder pat on the back. These guys…and girls…. really made the movie. They're the ones that brought the chuckles and caused gasps. Wendy Crewson (The Good Son) nailed her role with more grace than a first lady has actually shown in the last recallable years. Paul Guilfoyle ("CSI", The Negotiator), was the kind gentle, "best buddy", chief-of-staff, who brought a small smile to your face every time he is on-screen. Xander Berkeley ("24", Terminator 2), plays the chilling secret service agent Gibbs. The lovable William H. Macy plays the good-mannered Air Force Officer who puts himself in harm's way for the President more time than the Secret Service agents do. He just doesn't get enough screen time toward the beginning. And Dean Stockwell will have you cussing under your breath as the power-hungry Secretary of Defense. And it seems that Wolfgang Peterson watched every great Action/Military movie of the past 3 years and hired all those "briefing room generals". For this I applaud him. As for the terrorist, they rival those of Die hard. Cold, stone-faced, funny, smooth, and just plain hateable, they did their job.

The bulk of the movie takes place aboard the Air Force One no kidding eh?). And boy do you believe it. The production designer (Williams Sandell) obviously paid attention to detail, mimicking the real Presidential Aircraft. Small, claustrophobic and believable.

Andrew W. Marlowe's script gets it job done as well. Nothing award winning. It's everything you would expect given the story it has to tell. Couple times it will make you cringe, but again, look what it needs to accomplish.

The late Jerry Goldsmith's score for this movie is a hands down classic. Only having two weeks to score the film after Peterson rejected Randy Newman's work, Goldsmith with the help of Joel Mcneely composed one of the most bombastic, riveting, emotional, suspenseful, and patriotic scores I've heard come out of the film world. It works perfectly with the movie.

A few times your mind is going to be stretch you may have to resort to the "It's just a movie" mindset. Overall its fun. Not a bad way to spend 2 hours. Harrison Ford for President.

51 of 79 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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