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Birds of Prey (1973)

Not Rated | | Action, Crime, Thriller | TV Movie 30 January 1973
A former fighter pilot now working as a radio station traffic reporter witnesses a bank robbery. He chases down the bank robbers and a hostage in his helicopter.

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(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Harry Walker
... Jim McAndrew
... Teresa Jane
Harry Klekas ... Captain Slater
Sam Dawson ... Inspector Sinclair
Don Wilbanks ... Trucker
James W. Gavin ... Police Pilot
Paul Grace ... Robber #1
Wayne D. Wilkinson ... Robber #2
Larry Peacy ... Robber #3
Larry Doll ... Robber #4
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Storyline

Harry Walker, X-military pilot, works for a radio station in Salt Lake City as a traffic helicopter pilot. While on his rounds he observes a bank robbery taking place and the abduction of a female teller. He follows, 1st the criminals in their car, then they transfer to a helicopter. Harry is running out of fuel so he stops on the road to flag down a tanker truck, gets fuel then continues the pursuit. Written by Robert Fiedler <fied2032@dpnet.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Before Blue Thunder, There Was ... Birds of Prey

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

30 January 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aetoi tou prasinou valtou  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the stunt pilot on the film, David Janssen did some of his own flying in this movie. "A favorite project of [pilot Jim] Gavin's was the 1973 made-for-TV movie titled Birds of Prey. It starred David Janssen as a traffic reporter who discovers a bank robbery. 'Birds was a ground-breaking project,' he says. 'We took the helicopter out of its normal environment, put it in the city streets and did all the work with Janssen in flight for real. In fact, since he was a pilot Janssen did a lot of the flying, and I'd sit opposite him.' (Flying Magazine, June 1988, p. 30) See more »

Quotes

Teresa Jane: Look, I don't expect someone like you to understand.
Harry Walker: Yeah what do I know?
[pauses]
Harry Walker: But I knew a guy once. Married young, married beautiful. He even treated her right the first year. And then for the next ten he broke her heart a day at a time. Moral - before you waste ten years, waste a month.
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User Reviews

It's an action/chase thriller from the '70s with helicopters instead of cars.
13 June 2000 | by See all my reviews

This film was part of the edge-of-your-seat action/chase genre made popular in the '70s. Films like Vanishing Point, and Smokey and the Bandit, where nothing more than a car chase sequence with a little cohesive drama or comedy thrown in.

The makers of Birds of Prey obviously had the same thing in mind, but they added an interesting twist; helicopters instead of cars.

David Janssen plays Harry Walker, an ex-WWII fighter pilot longing for the glory days of dog fights and heroic aerobatics. He is a now twice divorced, lonely, and somewhat bitter, Salt Lake City helicopter traffic reporter. Ralph Meeker plays Jim "Mac" McAndrew, a former war buddy of Walker's who prefers to stay on the ground, forget flying, war planes, and the past, to focus on the his career as a Salt Lake City cop.

On a routine day Walker witnesses a bank robbery from the air. He calls it into Mac who thinks he's pulling a gag. The robbers kill a bank guard and take a hostage then get away in a stolen car. The chase begins. The police join the chase as car and chopper scream through urban Salt Lake City.

This was a pretty good film for a made-for-TV movie. The flying sequences are well done and well coordinated. The flying stunts, including diving under overpasses, flying into and out of buildings, tumbling (auto-rotating), and flying between sky scrapers, are all done with real helicopters. No toys on strings or models with goofy trick photography were used. The acting and drama aren't bad, but that's not what this movie's about. Like Top Gun, this movie's about flying.


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