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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>

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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 »


The design of Airwolf's guns seem incompatible with her landing gear. The gear is seen deployed from the "wings" with the weapons both deployed and not, revealing there isn't enough room for the guns, ammunition feeding system *and* the landing gear struts. See more »


Michael 'Archangel' Coldsmith Briggs III: Straight at the Libyan coast! You trying to egg them out?
Carrier Commander: There's no need for that, sir. If your boys don't get that chopper in 4 hours, our boys go in and blow it away!
Faye: Our 'boys,' Captain, include women! One of whom has already given her life on this mission!
Carrier Commander: I'm sorry, ma'am, it's just a figure of speech!
See more »

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

Bring this to DVD, please!
11 December 2004 | by David_Powell3006-1See all my reviews

Oh, my. When I was a kid I couldn't miss a week of this series, and this is the movie that started it all. It really has a decent plot, given the times it was made in. In 1984, the idea of a third world nation like Libya getting something nasty from a shadowy mercenary type was very real. In 1982, Israel had taken out an Iraqi nuclear reactor that Saddam Hussein had bought from contacts in Europe. In 1982, also, the Falklands war saw the British running into a lot of trouble with Exocet missiles hitting their destroyers.

In "Airwolf," one scene which took a lot of guts to do features an attack by the hijacked helicopter launched against a destroyer. The idea of nasty weapons getting to nations that might mean ill to people has only become more powerful. In 1987, three years after the television movie aired, a U.S. Frigate, the Stark, was "accidentally" hit for real by an Iraqi fighter in the Persian Gulf.

So, in that context, and with the height of the Cold War, the idea of powerful organizations like "The Firm" that Moffet was working for and which our two main pilot good guys get involved with, made for some powerful stuff. The performances only added to the power of it, especially for a kid like myself, with Jan-Michael Vincent doing a great job as the brooding, reluctant hero, and Ernest Borgnine (Who I had only seen doing comedy in reruns of "McHale's Navy" at the time) doing incredible work as well. This series really was a nice thing for him, and boy did he deserve the chance to do something like this. Finally, who could forget Alex Cord as Archangel, all in white except for the black lens in his glasses over his injured eye? White limousines, a white helicopter of his own, and beautiful female aides dressed in white, and the cane he walked with because of his injuries. Definitely a chilling figure in his own right. Man, this was an awesome show for a kid in 1984. Also, it makes points about the duties of people to what is right, the question of when the lines of the fight for good cross with the desire for power, and all the classic stuff. Bellisario came through with this and "Magnum, P.I." about the same time, I believe, which was quite good for him. Everyone associated with this project turned in good work - including the folks who designed the fold-out cannons on Airwolf's winglets, which were impressive in how they folded out and so forth. - Vincent was awesome in the melancholy and quiet scenes where he was just playing his cello by the lake or hanging out and thinking. The show topped this all off with one of the best scores of the 1980s. Definitely a winner. The toppings are all there, but underneath, with the writing, directing, and the performances, the substance is there in force. Great, great show.

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