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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.
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jan-Michael Vincent ... Stringfellow Hawke
Ernest Borgnine ... Dominic
Alex Cord ... Michael Coldsmith Briggs III
David Hemmings ... Dr. Charles Henry Moffet
Belinda Bauer ... Gabrielle Ademaur
Deborah Pratt ... Marella
Eugene Roche ... Senator William Dietz
W.K. Stratton W.K. Stratton ... Chuck Gordon
Dean Wein ... Mark, Co-Pilot
Frank Annese Frank Annese ... Major Mufta Ben-Kamal
John Calvin ... Blaze
Philip Bruns ... Mitch, the Director
Tina Chen ... Faye
Herbert Jefferson Jr. ... Carrier Commander
Gary Epper ... Red Star Controller


Airwolf is a high tech helicopter created by a government agency called "THE FIRM". The scientist who created it, is also a bit deranged, he steals it and takes it to Libya. Deputy Director Michael Colesmith Briggs, codenamed Archangel, who oversaw the Airwolf project has to try and get it back. Stringfellow Hawke, the only other man other than the creator who knows how to fly Airwolf, is recruited by Archangel to go to Libya to try and get it back. Only problem is that Hawke is a bit of a loner and an introvert, and his fee for doing this job is that THE FIRM must locate his brother, who is MISSING IN ACTION in Vietnem, dead or alive. Written by <rcs0411@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

22 January 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Airwolf - Eine unschlagbare Waffe See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The movie is a re-edited version of the TV series pilot. It also includes some action scenes from the first season. See more »


When Airwolf is being shot by Libyan tanks it gets covered by sand and dust. In next shot it's shiny and clean again. See more »


Major Mufta Ben-Kamal: [Major Ben-Mufta and Dr. Moffet are watching a scantily clad dancer in a nightclub] I don't understand what you Westerners see in women with such skinny bodies, in the desert a body like this would wither and die in a matter of hours.
Dr. Charles Henry Moffet: After a few hours with such a body, what would it matter?
Dr. Charles Henry Moffet: [watches the dancer intently] I want her...
Major Mufta Ben-Kamal: Ah... That will be difficult, we believe she is an American spy.
Dr. Charles Henry Moffet: Perhaps I can question her for you...
Major Mufta Ben-Kamal: I could do that... Of course, Brother Kadafi was most pleased...
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Alternate Versions

The home video release of this has a huge number of differences to the original TV version. Many of the scenes are shuffled in order and are much re-edited, and of most note is that much of the original dialogue is dubbed with especially recorded alternate versions, with much stronger swearing (including several instances of the "f" word) Some elements of the story (generally ones that would continue as threads in the TV series) are completely eliminated. Various differences include:
  • The opening credits captions are different, running slower.
  • A different version of the theme tune is played on the opening sequence.
  • Archangel discussing with the Senator the development of Airwolf (which gives much of the project's background) is much abridged.
  • Shots of Airwolf's on-board radar and maintanance screens are completely different.
  • Numerous scenes have different backing scores and sound effects.
  • A couple of close-ups of the photos in Hawke's cabin are of completely different photos to the original version.
  • For some reason, (most of) the story behind the paintings adorning the walls in Hawke's cabin is removed.
  • On the TV version, before Moffet and his crew head off to Libya in Airwolf, they destory a fighter jet over the desert. On the video version, there is a completely different version of the effectivley the same scene, with them destroying three figher jets over the ocean.
  • Asides from adding much stronger language, the video release also for some reason also changes numerous lines of dialogue. For pure example, when Hawke tells Dominic that he's got a tough mission for the pair of them, Dominic quips "What're we gonna do, kidnap Kadaffi?"; the TV version's "Nothing that simple" becomes "No, a helicopter". There's numerous other instances of lines of dialogue being changed.
  • The closing credits are (slightly) different.
  • The whole chunk of story of where Hawke and Dominic find a hiding place for Airwolf for after they retreive it (in a hollow mountain) and the whole last few minutes after Hawke's recovered & hidden Airwolf, and saying he'll only return it if the Firm find solid information on his missing brother, are completely gone.
  • The video version finishes (rather abruptly) with Hawke and Dominic having defeated Moffet, flying off over the ocean into the sun-set (in a piece of footage used on the TV episode 'Mad Over Miami') and the film finishing; as opposed to the TV version which has several more minutes with Hawke and Archangel discussing the return of Airwolf on condition that Hawke's brother is found, then Hawke going back out to the lake to play his cello.
  • Interestingly, there is a scene where twisted creator Dr. Moffet is torturing the kidnapped Gabrielle in the desert, that was in the original TV version but not on this release. This scene is quite strong and as a result is often edited out by many TV showings; considering the stronger nature of the video version, it's surprising it was not included. As this scene is not on the video release and is often cut out on TV, it could be considered to be quite rare
See more »


Followed by Airwolf (1987) See more »


by Cat Stevens
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User Reviews

Pilot lacks the action and fun of the series
9 November 2003 | by Wizard-8See all my reviews

What will probably surprise viewers who find the video of this pilot in video stores is the amount of foul language in something that was made for TV. Well, that's explained by the fact that what's on video is the edit that was released to theaters overseas, with the language a silly way to try and hide the made-for-TV origins.

I can see why this was released to theaters overseas; some of the production values are pretty high, and would fit pretty comfortably on a movie screen at the time. Still, I am sure that the people who did see this in a theater were pretty disappointed. Now, the opening sequence is great, flashy and action-filled. However, after that point there is hardly any action until the very end, and filled with talk talk talk. Strange thing is that despite all that talk, a number of plot points remain unclear, like why the two pilots decided to defect to Libya with Airwolf's designer. And while some production values are high, there are also some surprisingly shoddy moments. The island assault sequence, for example, is incompetently directed and edited. And some cost-saving measures like stock footage or reused footage come across like contempt for the viewer. Still, I must admit these cost-saving measures are nowhere as blatant and lazy as what was done for the ill-advised fourth season of the show!

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