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
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
After the original draft of the script was re-written, the character of Cochrane was added as a foil to Murphy and added the back story of Vietnam and their rivalry. Originally Bryan Brown was cast to play Cochran, but had to drop out because of a scheduling conflict with the mini-series The Thorn Birds (1983). Malcolm McDowell was cast at the very last minute and was not aware that he had to fly in a helicopter as the Cochrane character has to in the film because of his fear of flying. Despite that, he still took the role and did fly inside the helicopter. See more »
In the dogfight with Cochrane, Murphy's Gattling cannon fires but does not rotate. See more »
John Badham is a curious director and I think he gets it right in this one. After all Roy Scheider never stunk it up in his illustrious career and he hits all the right notes in this one as Frank Murphy the Vietnam Vet trying to escape the memories of his war experience. When Malcolm McDowell shows up (and honestly, who plays an a--hole better than McDowell in his heyday?) to become Murphy's nemesis. The very underrated Warren Oates as the crotchety commanding officer and Candy Clark as Murphy's girlfriend, who is the ultimate heroine of the plot, turn in solid performances. The helicopter clearly steals the show though as anyone between the ages of 7 and 21 had to just be glued to the screen watching that bird strut its stuff. Great action sequences and rather good photography during the climactic chase scene.
I still have fond memories of this film which I saw in the drive in as a kid and I think it's what films of this genre should be...a couple of hours of wild fun!..."Follow My Leader"
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