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Air America (1990) Poster

(1990)

Trivia

The sequence where Robert Downey, Jr. is seen hanging from a rope flying across the skies above Thailand, including a Buddhist temple, was done for real, with Downey performing the stunt himself, after Director Roger Spottiswoode had rejected doing it, using such alternative techniques as bluescreen or back projection.
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Robert Downey, Jr. did the film for two reasons, for the big paycheck, and because he wanted to work with Mel Gibson, who he had the previous year seen in Lethal Weapon 2 (1989).
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According to Wikipedia, "PepsiCo wanted the filmmakers to use a fictional soda, rather than show opium being refined at their abandoned factory. Therefore, the producers added a line about wondering if Pepsi knew what was going on."
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The production rented twenty-six planes from the Thailand military, for use in the movie.
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Some of the stunt fliers declined to perform some of the more difficult and dangerous flying stunts.
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Veteran stunt fliers, aged around sixty, performed some more of the more difficult and dangerous flying stunts seen in the film.
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The film was withdrawn from more than one hundred theaters in Germany, when the Gulf War started in January 1991.
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The movie is set in 1969. This film was the second movie set in that year, that Robert Downey, Jr. had appeared in. The second one being 1969 (1988).
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This film was released eleven years after the source book by Christopher Robbins had been published. The book was released ten years after the events depicted in it. The book was one of several published works by the author on the film's subject area.
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This movie was filmed in three countries at forty-nine locations, including the U.S., England, and Thailand.
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In the Special Edition DVD "Making of" documentary, there is a discussion as to how much of Air America's plot is true, and how much is false. Some of the real-life pilots interviewed, claim that Air America did smuggle guns and drugs for the C.I.A., while others deny it, saying that the service only shipped food, medicine, and supplies. However, a historian in the documentary, asserts that only certain pilots were involved in the illegal activities. The characters of Gene and Billy are a perfect example of this. Gene, who is a bit crazy, cynical, and shady, has no problem getting involved in the illegal smuggling, so he, and pilots like him, would have been used for the real-life illegal smuggling. Whereas Billy, who is young, honest, and idealistic, would be used only for the straight supply drops, and would not be trusted for such illegal activities.
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The production of this movie had to deal with three major catastrophes, which were two types of natural disasters: a typhoon and two earthquakes.
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The "golden BB", about which Jack Neely talks, is a slang term referring to a single rifle shot that is so well placed, it can bring down a plane or other aircraft. Such a shot is demonstrated in the opening of the film.
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The motto of "Air America" was: "Anything. Anywhere. Anytime."
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Robert Downey, Jr. despised his experience making this film in Bangkok, Thailand, and has vowed never to return to the country ever again for as long as he lives.
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Tom Cruise, Bill Murray, Jim Belushi, and Kevin Costner were all considered for the role of Billy Covington.
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The character of General Lu Soong (Burt Kwouk) was allegedly based on Royal Laotian General Vang Pao.
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Sir Sean Connery was originally attached to play the character of Gene Ryack.
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The movie was originally developed around 1985, with Richard Rush at the helm as director. The film was intended to be the first comedy about Vietnam, but Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) beat it to the screens. Moreover, the Australian war movie about Vietnam, The Odd Angry Shot (1979), was a comedy.
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First of two movies, in which Mel Gibson and Robert Downey, Jr. have starred together. The second being The Singing Detective (2003).
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The covert operations of Air America are referenced in Lethal Weapon (1987). Mel Gibson starred in both.
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This movie is dedicated to the Assistant Director Mike Katzin. This was his final film.
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This film is set during the Vietnam War. In Lethal Weapon (1987), Mel Gibson played a cop, who was a Vietnam War veteran. He would later star in another Vietnam film, We Were Soldiers (2002).
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According to show-business trade paper "Variety", the picture utilized a "vast army of technical assistants to help carry out the stunt flying, and crashes on the atmospheric Thailand locations."
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Reportedly, Mel Gibson's salary on this movie was seven million dollars.
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This movie debuted at number three, at the U.S. box-office, and went on to gross around thirty-one million dollars domestically.
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Nancy Travis replaced Ally Sheedy in the role of Corinne Landroaux.
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First of two movies, in which Nancy Travis and Robert Downey, Jr. have appeared together. The second being Chaplin (1992).
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Roger Spottiswoode replaced Bob Rafelson as director.
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The movie was filmed between October 1989 and February 1990.
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The movie co-starred Robert Downey, Jr., in a film which involved story elements relating to drugs, with Downey having had a real-life drug addiction.
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The picture's opening title card read: "Laos, Southeast Asia, 1969".
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Film critic Leonard Maltin has noted that this movie bears no relation to the 1998 television series of the same name.
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The movie is set in 1969. When Billy receives the notice that his pilot license has been canceled, there is a poster in the background of an astronaut on the moon. That poster could not have existed before July 1969 when the first moon landing was made. Thus this movie had to happen in the last five months of 1969.
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According to Writer/Director Richard Rush, he had made a deal with Carolco Pictures for the film to be made there with the intention of directing the film himself after adapting Christopher Robbins book. Andrew Vajna then took the film away from Rush and brought in is own people to rework the story line.
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When Writer/Director Richard Rush had planned to Direct the film himself, he had already cast Sir Sean Connery as Gene Ryack in what would become Mel Gibson's role later when the film would be eventually was Directed by Roger Spottswoode. Connery loved the script and really wanted to work with Rush. Connery would go on to film "The Hunt For Red October" in its stead.
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When Richard Rush was attached to direct the film, he fought very hard to cast Kevin Costner as Billy Covington whom Andrew Vajna was completely against casting. Rush wanted him very badly for the film but when the project fell apart, Costner went on to Direct Dances With Wolves his Oscar winning film.
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Writer/Director Richard Rush almost practically disowns this film because of his conflict with Andrew Vajna. The reasons Rush cited were that he reneged on his deal, and he did let him cast Sean Connery and Kevin Costner. Vanja soon hired a pair of writers to completely rework Rush's screenplay and went on to hire both Mel Gibson and Robert Downey, Jr. as the films stars soon after.
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