Air Force One
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FAQ Contents

A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Air Force One can be found here.

While U.S. President James Marshall (Harrison Ford), his wife Grace (Wendy Crewson), and daughter Alice (Liesel Matthews) are returning from a diplomatic dinner in Moscow, Air Force One (their jet) is hijacked by a group of Russian 'ultranationalist radicals' led by Ivan Korshunov (Gary Oldman). Although escorted safely to his escape pod, the President sneaks back into the plane and secretly works to defeat the terrorists, while Vice President Kathryn Bennett (Glenn Close) is forced to deal directly with Korshunov who vows that he will execute one hostage every half-hour until their demands are met.

Air Force One is based on an original screenplay by American screenwriter Andrew W. Marlowe. A novelization, also titled Air Force One was released in 1997 by American mystery writer Max Allan Collins.

It's not the plane they want. Their goal is to force the President to arrange for the release of General Radek (Jürgen Prochnow), the dictator of a rogue terrorist regime in Kazakhstan who is currently being held in a prison in Moscow.

How does the movie end?

With the pilot dead, the President is forced to fly Air Force One, calling upon his experience 25 years ago flying light airplanes. However, when the plane is attacked by several Radek loyalists flying MiG bombers, it loses engines and countermeasures and sustains major damage to the tail, rudder, and elevator, making it impossible to land. Consequently, a dangerous midair rescue is attempted. Air Force One is ziplinked by cable to a U.S. Air Force IUSAF) Hercules C-130 Rescue plane, and parajumpers are dispatched to bring the survivors across. Although the President is suppoed to be the first rescuee, he hangs back to let Grace, Alice, and wounded Chief of Staff (Paul Guilfoyle) go first, leaving Agent Gibbs (Xander Berkeley), Major Caldwell (William H. Macy), and the President yet to be transported. Just then, the final engine on Air Force One goes out, and the plane begins to descend into an inevitable crash landing into the Caspian Sea. Suddenly, Gibbs pulls out a gun, shoots Caldwell and the last parajumper, and turns the gun on the President. They struggle for the zipline strap, which the President manages to secure to himself just as the zipline breaks from the doorframe. The President is whisked out the door, leaving Gibbs behind. As Air Force One crashes into the water, the President is pulled into the Hercules. When he is safely aboard, the Hercules pilot informs the anxious White House that the call name of the Hercules is now Air Force One, indicating that the President is on board. In the final scene, the Vice-President tears up the presidential incapacity order, the President hugs his family, and the F-15s resume their position flanking Air Force One as it brings the President home.

"Air Force One" is designated as the air traffic control sign of any USAF aircraft carrying the President of the United States.

In the script, Agent Gibbs was a CIA spook who was angry at his country. He knew the terrorists from his CIA days, so they included him in their operation. This scene was considered too long to tell, so it was cut from the film.

Though it's never stated in the film, the implication is that he would frame Major Caldwell for Marshall's murder, and claim that he fought him off long enough to get off the plane. This is supported in the film's novelization.

No real AFO 747 was used. A large part of the crew took a tour of the real Air Force One before filming. They based some of the film's scenes, where the terrorists disguised as journalists survey the plane's layout and begin to take their seats, on the touring experience. The character of Deputy Press Secretary Melanie Mitchell was based largely on their real life tour guide, and the crew felt uncomfortable having to film the character's execution by the terrorists. For the exterior scenes, the producers rented a Boeing 747-212B aircraft, N703CK from Kalitta Air and repainted it to replicate the iconic Air Force One livery (later painted with fake bullet holes in the tail). Flying scenes were done with CGI. Interior scenes of the aircraft were done in a studio set. According to IMPDb, the VC-25A is seen throughout the movie with the main action scenes being based around it. This is obviously not one of the actual ones but a very good representation. Registration N703CK, c/n 19727/54 built in 1970, rented from American International Airways, precursor to Kalitta Air. Previously flew for Japan Air Lines as JA8103. In this photo, where it's parked at Moscow waiting for the President, notice the lack of a bulge on the nose just below the cockpit where the real aircraft would have a mid-air refueling point.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 2 days ago
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