A scientist who has created a super helicopter has defected to Libya and taken the machine with him. A secretive government agency hires an ex-Vietnam War pilot to go to Libya, steal the chopper and bring it back.
Donald P. Bellisario
Blue Thunder is a specially modified helicopter. It is for police work, but is armed and designed to counter street insurgencies. Its makers want to show what it will do, but have to train Los Angeles Police pilot Frank Murphy to fly and use it in order to allow it to operate in the city. Murphy and the project pilot have differences going back to Vietnam. The conflict between them continues to heat up as Murphy begins to suspect that Blue Thunder is more than has been disclosed.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Flying the most lethal weapon ever made... The Blue Thunder Special. At his fingertips, an infrared camera that can see right through your bedroom walls. A microphone that can record your most intimate conversations. And a 20mm electric cannon with six barrels that can turn your neighborhood into a raging inferno. But he's not headed for a war-torn country. He'll be cruising the skies of America. And only one man can stop him from using it on you. See more »
Although the city is Los Angeles and the action centers around the police department, the LAPD is never mentioned. The force is called the "Metropolitan Police," and their badges are silver, of a more generic style, instead of the distinctive LAPD bronze-colored badges depicting old Los Angeles City Hall. However, City Hall does figure prominently in several fly-bys. Screen shots uploaded to Google Maps at Circus clearly show squad cars with the "Metropolitan Police" logo. See more »
During the demonstration and strafing run by F E Cochrane when we first see the Blue Thunder, the armed helicopter fires at the red targets, but the cannon doesn't seem to be pointed at them, let alone turning. See more »
[after the liquor store robber shoots at them and the bullet pierces the chopper]
Welcome to air support.
See more »
The end credits are played over a still image of Murphy walking away from the wreckage of Blue Thunder. See more »
There are at least two versions of the movie differing in soundtrack. One version features an orchestral/piano version of the theme for the final credits (seen on German television), another version features a synthesizer version with drums for the final credits (seen on US DVD release). See more »
One of the things that really caught my attention about this film was the brief blurb at the beginning which stated something to the effect of "All of the surveillance equipment depicted in this film exists and is in use in the United States." Knowing what I do of technology, I am not surprised that those capabilities existed back then. However, I received a powerful demonstration of the stealth technology called "whisper mode" in the film, a couple of years after seeing it. I live near a major U.S. Army firing range, and our local airport hosts a considerable amount of military traffic. At this particular time, I was renting a house about one kilometer from the airport. I went out for a walk late one Sunday night, and, shortly after leaving the house, I heard a noise I could not identify. It was a loud hissing sound, 'which seemed very close at hand, but I could not locate the source, until I looked up. Passing overhead at about 200 meters was a Chinook helicopter, the type with two rotors, and fuselage that looks kind of like a banana. Normally, the rotor noise on these cargo helicopters will rattle windows, but this baby was tip-toeing out of town very quietly. If I had been indoors, I never would have heard it. This made me completely rethink the sequence where the helicopter was hovering right outside of a building, and the people inside couldn't hear it! I took it for artistic license at the time, but the demonstration I witnessed of "whisper mode" made it seem entirely feasible.
This film appealed to me strongly, for several reasons. I am a techno freak, to begin with, and I love anything that flies. Also, the characters in the movie are amazingly human, kooky, (especially the lead characters wife,) and easy to identify with. And the kind of shenanigans the Feds were trying to pull seem all too realistic to me, in light of some of the things that they have been caught doing! And I loved the response of sending a couple of F-15's armed with missiles after the renegade, when he is stooging around in downtown Los Angeles. Missiles are not known for being highly selective when they are of the heat seeking type, and urban areas are rich with thermal signatures which can confuse the tiny brain packed into an air-to-air missile. The filmmakers actually downplayed the havoc that could result from launching such weapons in a downtown area.
I found the film to be an enjoyable, realistic, thought provoking experience, which I would recommend to most people. The hardware is not the star, thanks to the excellent work of Roy Scheider and his supporting cast, and the dialog is tight and realistic. When informed that one of the suspects in a liquor store robbery is wearing a Hawiian shirt and a cowboy hat, Scheider's character says, "What ever happened to being inconspicuous?"
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