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Deadly Encounter (1982)

Not Rated | | Action, Drama | TV Movie 19 December 1982
An ex-combat helicopter pilot (Larry Hagman) helps a widowed ex-girlfriend (Susan Anspach) find the black book her husband kept from mobsters.


William A. Graham


David J. Kinghorn (teleplay), Robert Boris (teleplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Larry Hagman ... Sam
Susan Anspach ... Chris Butler
James Gammon ... Frank Kitchens
Michael C. Gwynne ... John Servasco
José Chávez José Chávez ... Station Attendant (as Jose Chavez T.)
Jack Dunlap Jack Dunlap ... Mickey
John Graham John Graham ... Sagebrush Man
Arnold Jeffers Arnold Jeffers ... Paul
Hank Hendrick Hank Hendrick ... Aide
Roger La Rue ... Tall Officer (as Roger LaRue)
Glenn Miller Glenn Miller ... Pocotello Pete
Tim O'Connor ... Mechanic
Janet Graham Janet Graham ... Waitress (as Janet Rasak)
Gregorio Sánchez Sr. Gregorio Sánchez Sr. ... Doctor (as Gregorio Sanchez Sr.)
Gregorio Sánchez Jr. Gregorio Sánchez Jr. ... Doctor (as Gregorio Sanchez Jr.)


An ex-combat helicopter pilot (Larry Hagman) helps a widowed ex-girlfriend (Susan Anspach) find the black book her husband kept from mobsters.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

pursuit | helicopter | chase | See All (3) »


LARRY HAGMAN...takes on "the mob" in a race to find a hidden multi-million dollar fortune in...Deadly Encounter [Video]


Action | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

19 December 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American Eagle See more »

Filming Locations:

Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The Hughes 369HS flown by Hagman's character was destroyed in a collision with an aerial cableway on 17th April 1982. Sadly, three of the four people on board were killed: one was the aircraft's owner, Glenn Miller (who appears in the film as the truck driver Pocatello Pete). It is unknown whether the accident occurred during filming. See more »


During the initial chase sequence the helicopters are seen flying down a busy street at low level, but in onboard shots (looking rearward) the street is totally deserted. See more »

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User Reviews

Last of the seat-of-the-pants aviation classics
8 December 2018 | by bobbyp1966See all my reviews

And I say that because, as with the previous Graham helo flick "Birds of Prey", there is a lot of down-to-earth, analog, seat-of-the-pants, visceral stunt flying which today would have the Screen Actors' Guild, the FAA, OSHA, CPSC, the ACLU and probably the ASPCA pitching red-faced conniptions. Helos flying under bridges downtown, trying for loops around canyon arch-bridge midspans, skidding along downtown streets between the buildings, and so on. Even for '70s and '80s standards, it was, to put it mildly, gutsy; nowadays, they'd call it "crazy", "treacherous" or "illegal as hell", and much of the production budget would be lost on fines and bail. But it all made the movie, despite the slightly-cheesy '40s-style plot laced with tension between the exes who must work together to fend off the bad guy.

To that end, I doubt, if they'd've used John Wayne as "Sam", he would've used the word "horny" as the late, great Larry Hagman did...and no gal would dare slap The Duke, real-life or scripted. So, there's Lar, with a track record of playing sleazy, easy JR Ewing to pull it off. And he takes it on the chin--er, cheek. But the acting in this film pales in comparison to the flying; to "watch for the acting" would be like watching "Baywatch" to watch David Hasselhoff act. Face it. "We know where y'all live, guys, and what grabs ya", saith Hollywood. Or its rogue element which brought us this fine piece of aviation gold, as they did with David Janssen in "Birds of Prey" in 1973.

Sometimes, the good stuff flies well under the radar of the Emmy, Oscar and Golden Globe folk. This and its prequel are two major examples. True sleepers which don't put you to sleep. Enjoy.

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