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The Rock (1996) Poster

(1996)

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (8)
Sir Sean Connery insisted the producers build a cabin for him on Alcatraz, as he didn't want to travel from the mainland to the island every day. He got what he asked for.
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The premiere of the movie was held in the Prison Recreation Yard on Alcatraz.
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While filming, Alcatraz was still open to the public, and many visitors watched the movie being shot. However, on December 15, 1995, the federal government, which owns Alcatraz, partially shut it down, due to stalled budget talks, and filming continued with no visitors present.
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According to director Michael Bay, the script was written much more straight and serious than the final movie. Most of the humorous moments and lines were improvised during filming.
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Much of Nicolas Cage's dialogue was ad-libbed (including the "Zeus' butthole" line, which Michael Bay wanted to cut, but Cage insisted on having).
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It was Nicolas Cage's idea that his character would not swear. His euphemisms include "gee whiz".
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Michael Bay's favorite movie of his own.
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Quentin Tarantino was an uncredited screenwriter on this movie, along with Jonathan Hensleigh, who wrote the shooting script, and Aaron Sorkin.
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The guy who gets his car stolen by Sir Sean Connery is the same guy who got his car stolen by Ed Harris in National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007), another of producer Jerry Bruckheimer's movies, which also starred Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris.
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Dedicated to producer Don Simpson, who died during production.
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Producer Don Simpson was largely responsible for creating the critical General Hummel character. Simpson watched a 60 Minutes (1993) segment about the U.S. government's refusal to acknowledge soldiers who had died during covert overseas missions, and later read Colonel David H. Hackworth's memoirs which harshly criticized U.S. planning during the Vietnam War. He combined these elements into Hummel's character and, as Jonathan Hensleigh described, created "a really compelling villain: a soldier with a noble end, but, unfortunately, psychotic means."
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Along with "Entrapment (1999)," this was Sean Connery's favorite film of his own during the 1990s.
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There were tensions during shooting between director Michael Bay and Walt Disney Studios executives who were supervising the production. On the commentary track for the Criterion Collection DVD, Bay recalls a time when he was preparing to leave the set for a meeting with the executives and was approached by Sir Sean Connery in golfing attire. Connery, who also produced this movie, asked Bay where he was going, and when Bay explained that he had a meeting with the executives, Connery asked if he could accompany him. Bay complied, and when Bay arrived in the conference room, the executives' jaws dropped when they saw Connery appear behind him. According to Bay, Connery then stood up for him, and insisted that he was doing a good job and should be left alone.
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In 2016, the Chilcott report on Britain's involvement in toppling Saddam Hussein noted that one agent, who had falsified claims about observing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, had based his description of them on the nerve gas missiles featured in this movie.
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Some of the Navy S.E.A.L.s in this movie were played by real Navy S.E.A.L.s.
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According to William Forsythe, when he was three weeks into shooting the movie, and they were about to shift locations for filming, Forsythe was mistaken for an extra, when he was getting a hot dog from the set's catering. Forsythe said the employee told him that extras weren't allowed food from craft services, and she summoned security, who subsequently said that he was part of the main cast. Forsythe said "I ate my hot dog, but I'm thinking two things: the fact that, after three weeks on the movie, I was being forbade a hot dog, and, 'I don't know what the hell they've got for the extras today. Trail mix, maybe?'"
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Reportedly, Sir Sean Connery accepted the part of Mason after learning that Nicolas Cage had been cast as Goodspeed.
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In the scene in the interrogation room where FBI agent Stanley Goodspeed introduces himself to John Mason (Sir Sean Connery), John replies "But of course you are". This was exactly the same line he used when he met Plenty O'Toole in the casino scene in the Bond movie "Diamonds Are Forever (1971)."
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Michael Biehn, who has played Navy S.E.A.L.s, or some variation thereof on multiple occasions, apparently grew unsure of himself while acting for the first time here against real S.E.A.L.s. He told Michael Bay he was freezing up pretending to be the leader in front of them, as well as in Sir Sean Connery's presence.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger was offered the role of John Patrick Mason, but at the time the script was only eighty pages "with a lot of handwriting and scribbles, and it didn't seem fully baked." In a Reddit AMA, he stated he regrets not taking the role. Years later, however, he played a part as a convict with a mysterious past in Escape Plan (2013).
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Michael Bay's idea for a sequel involves a now-married Goodspeed in possession of the microfilm evidence who finds himself pursued by the government, and with nowhere else to turn, he's forced to ask Mason for help.
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Don Simpson died during production, and they tried at first to keep the news from Michael Bay until he finished the day's filming. Nicolas Cage accidentally broke the news to him.
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The studio wanted this movie shot in Los Angeles, with only a handful of exteriors of Alcatraz and San Francisco to complete the illusion, but director Michael Bay refused, telling them "I gotta shoot on this island because this island is so fucking bitchin."
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(At around one hour and twenty-two minutes) It took a while for Michael Bay to convince Nicolas Cage and Sir Sean Connery to go underwater while flames blasted above the surface at the mark, but both actors eventually agreed. There are safety divers immediately outside of frame during the sequence. "It was very frightening", adds Cage. "And Sean wasn't happy about it."
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This movie marks the third time that Michael Biehn has played a Navy S.E.A.L. The first was in The Abyss (1989), and the second was in Navy S.E.A.L.s (1990). He also played a Colonial Marine Corporal in Aliens (1986).
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Sir Sean Connery (John Patrick Mason) says he was trained by British Intelligence, like his old character James Bond.
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There are several theories that Sir Sean Connery's character is, in fact, an older version of his own James Bond character. However, since Sean last played Bond in 1983, the time setting of this movie would have to be 2013, with John Patrick Mason being 83 years old.
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"The car chase in San Francisco turned out to be the biggest clusterfuck I've ever done in my entire filming career", said director Michael Bay. He said getting clearances for even a two-block stretch required thousands of signatures, and when they fell behind on the shooting schedule, it resulted in a trio of studio reps arriving to give him a stern talking. Luckily, Sir Sean Connery offered to sit in, which tempered their "reaming" somewhat.
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The car chase was inserted after early screenings revealed "a big flat hole". Director Michael Bay recalls wanting to add the car chase to appease younger moviegoers, and one of the writers took issue with Bay "talking about demographics." Bay adds that "this is a writer who'd never had a script made into an actual movie", so he shut him down saying "this is a business." Of the three writers listed on IMDB, only Mark Rosner had no previous movie experience (or since).
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Ed Harris could not stop laughing at the actor playing the tour guide at Alcatraz. "I just had the giggles that day."
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Most of the scenes involving F/A-18s are stock footage of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.
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Michael Bay walked off the movie for a couple hours once, and was threatened with a $60 million lawsuit when the studio tried scrapping the scene where the SEALs approach the island from underwater. He held his ground, though, and they budged first.
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Producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer first read the script for this movie while overseeing post-production on Crimson Tide (1995).
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Sir Sean Connery wanted the water heated to ninety degrees for those interior sequences after they gain entry, but after the crew caught the stomach flu within a few hours of each other, the doctor identified the water as "a big incubator".
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Nicolas Cage showed Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer Jaws (1975) to highlight Richard Dreyfuss' performance as what he wanted to do in the bomb-dismantling scene. "I admit that I steal from other places. I think that actors should be allowed to do that."
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Los Angeles based British screenwriting team Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais were brought in at Sir Sean Connery's request to re-write his lines, but ended up altering much of the movie's dialogue.
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Nicolas Cage and Michael Bay differed as to the reasoning behind the early scene of Goodspeed naked with the guitar. Bay says it's because he knew Cage wanted to show off his body, so they decided just to get it out of the way up front, but Cage says he simply wanted to establish that the character was at home.
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Each morning and evening the cast and crew made their way across the bay to location by way of the Red & White Fleet, a charter tour service, whose boats also carry the four thousand tourists a day who visit Alcatraz.
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It was in Sir Sean Connery's contract that his coverage would be filmed first, "and that's great", said Nicolas Cage. "I'm fine with that." The day of the morgue shoot-out though was a long one, and Nicolas was dead tired by the time it came to his turn and began having trouble with his excess dialogue.
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Ed Harris is still not happy with Michael Bay's occasional preference for tight shots while he's acting with his entire body.
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Goodspeed's "Eat that you f*ck!" was originally "Did I ever tell you I was gonna be a dad?" Nicolas Cage hated it, but tried the line out at the request of Jerry Bruckheimer, who conceded it didn't work as well as what replaced it.
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Harry Humphries arrived on-set one day to find a man suspended in the air and consumed by fire. He immediately grabbed an extinguisher to put out the flames only to hear Michael Bay yelling at him for interrupting a stunt. "It's the movies man!"
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Ed Harris had issues with his character of General Hummel, this movie's antagonist, as the sympathy he had for the character felt at odds with Hummel's threat of devastating an entire city. "There was a lot of grey area", said Bay, "and it wasn't fully explored in the movie."
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Michael Bay recalled the on-set catering at Alcatraz and eating steak and lobster in rooms "where men were taken to their lowest existence."
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The "mine" cart scene was initially meant to be a big chase with carts hanging from a ceiling track as opposed to ones on traditional rails, "but we ran out of money." Remnants of it are seen in the hanging cart in which Goodspeed lands.
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Nicolas Cage wrote his dialogue for the scene where the soldier has a gun to the back of his head just a few minutes before the shoot, and he had his lines on cue cards. Michael Bay immediately said no to the presence of the cards, but Nic said he'd been doing it for years in a pinch, and Michael relented and said he could see Nic reading. "I don't believe it", said Cage. "I think that was just a phobia of his."
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In the trailer, several shots appear to show Goodspeed firing an M-4 assault rifle. While Goodspeed does acquire an M-4 during the course of the movie, he never actually fires it.
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Michael Bay worked closely with Ed Harris to develop his character as concretely as possible, later adding a sympathetic edge to Hummel.
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Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais provided uncredited re-writes of Sir Sean Connery's dialogue.
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Nicolas Cage was concerned that he "looked like a little Japanese schoolboy" in his S.C.U.B.A. gear while the other actors all looked cool. Michael Bay admits to intentionally making him look ridiculous.
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Stanley Anderson portrayed the President in another Michael Bay movie, "Armageddon (1998)."
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Nicolas Cage signed on to this movie initially just to work with the producing team of Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. He felt their movies had a "timely" sensibility about them.
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Picture-lock was delayed as Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer disagreed over the number of helicopter shots showing the rogue unit approaching the island. "We compromised."
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Ed Harris wasn't necessarily thrilled with the excessive amounts of coverage Michael Bay shot of his scenes. "They shoot you head on, they shoot you from underneath, they shoot you right and left, they shoot you from above, they shoot you on the move. He just loved the camera." Michael recalls Ed "testing" him during a rehearsal by suggesting the actors are the only ones up on the screen, but Michael told him his name would be up there too. "It's like two dogs sniffing each other out."
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Sir Sean Connery approved of Nicolas Cage changing his character's name from Bill Goodspeed to Stanley Goodspeed.
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Michael Bay flew the Concorde to the U.K. to pitch Sir Sean Connery on the role, but was still nearly late for the meeting.
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Michael Bay heard from James Cameron once that various crew members had told him the two are very similar on-set. Jerry Bruckheimer says Cameron's a "total asshole" when he's working, and asked Michael Bay why he'd want to emulate that. "For some reason he liked the image of being like the tough guy, the guy with the whip, the yeller and screamer, but Michael's a good guy. He's so obviously a sweet guy at heart. Talk to the crew they'll give you another story, but as far as the actors are concerned, they never had a hard time with him."
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"There's a major logic flaw in the movie", said Michael Bay. "Why are the boilers working on the Rock when this island hasn't been used for years?" He answers his own question saying "Screw it, it's entertaining, don't you think?"
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Ed Harris pointed out that he worked with Michael Biehn on The Abyss (1989) saying "that experience bound a lot of us together, almost like being in a war of some kind."
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Michael Bay turned down this movie six months prior to finally saying yes. "The story just wasn't serious enough for me."
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Nicolas Cage's (Stanley Goodspeed's) line delivery when he tells the guards to remove Sir Sean Connery's (Mason's) handcuffs stemmed from an Elvis Presley story he had recently told Connery involving girls in white panties wrestling chimpanzees. "Sometimes these ideas come from strange places."
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Producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer had decided they were going to dissolve their partnership when the production of this movie finished mostly due to Bruckheimer's taking issue with Simpson's drug abuse problems. Simpson, however, died of drug abuse related heart failure before this movie was released, and the movie was dedicated to him.
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People told Nicolas Cage he could never work in an action blockbuster because he was "too quirky". He took that as a challenge.
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Cinematographer John Schwartzman is one of Nicolas Cage's cousins. Schwartzman's stepmother, Talia Shire is Cage's aunt.
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Directors frequently tell Nicolas Cage that his ideas are "off the wall, and offbeat", but Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer encouraged it on this movie in part because the script wasn't yet finished when Cage signed on. One example saw Nicolas decide that Goodspeed should be wary of having kids. Bruckheimer felt that would be "too dark, and not positive enough", but when they sent the script to Robert Towne, the famed screenwriter agreed with Nicolas Cage.
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Theatrical movie debut of Vanessa Marcil (Carla Pestalozzi).
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The furnace on Alcatraz is made by "Bay Foundry", a reference to Director Michael Bay.
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Harry Humphries helped Ed Harris in re-working some of Hummel's dialogue to soften the character's edges and make him more believable.
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Mason stabbed Hendrix's hand and pins it to the cart, but they removed the shot for being too gruesome and out of character.
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(At around forty-two minutes) John Patrick Mason (Sir Sean Connery) insists on having a suite from the Fairmont Hotel, which is conveniently located at 950 Mason Street.
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Nicolas Cage improvised a pratfall for Goodspeed during the scene where he and the Navy S.E.A.L.s plan the raid on Alcatraz, but despite finding it hilarious and trying to find a way to work it into the scene, Michael Bay ultimately nixed it as being a bit too twisted. They kept Nic's suggestion to have him vomiting immediately afterwards though.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger was actually considered for Nicolas Cage's role in this movie, not Sir Sean Connery's role. He also was considered for Nicolas Cage's role in Face/Off (1997), which would have paired him with Sylvester Stallone, who was considered for John Travolta's role in that same movie.
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This is the first time Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris played hero and villain. The other being National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007).
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The cast includes two Oscar winners: Sir Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage; and one Oscar nominee: Ed Harris.
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Average Shot Length = 2.6 seconds. Median Shot Length = 2.5 seconds.
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At the beginning of the movie, General Hummel kisses his wife's gravestone, and leaves behind his Medal of Honor, the highest award in the armed forces of the U.S. It is bestowed on a member of the U.S. armed forces who distinguishes himself "conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States."
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Nicolas Cage thinks it's both fascinating and sad seeing "this shift where many directors are coming out of music videos and commercials." Adrian Lyne, Tony Scott, and Michael Bay are examples of such directors.
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Sir Sean Connery suggested that Michael Bay "needed to rehearse more and just slow down in the morning", and Bay took the advice.
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Tony Scott was originally supposed to direct, but turned it down to direct "The Fan (1996)."
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Michael Bay was not pleased that their set became a hot spot for visiting studio executives from outside studios.
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Nicolas Cage took inspiration from Matthew Modine's performance in Birdy (1984) for the bit where he's holding the flares and yelling at the jets.
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Ed Harris and Michael Biehn appeared in The Abyss (1989).
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Nicolas Cage presented the Best Actor in a Supporting Role segment at the 1988 Oscars when Sir Sean Connery won for his performance in The Untouchables (1987).
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Director Michael Bay and producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer first worked together when the director shot a video for them on Days of Thunder (1990).
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Nicolas Cage thinks Sir Sean Connery has far better posture than he does. He credits Connery's passion for golfing. "I have no passion for golf."
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John Patrick Mason (Sir Sean Connery) is said to have been first captured in 1962, which was the year that Connery first starred as James Bond in Dr. No (1962).
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The "room 26" reference is a "private message" to Nicolas Cage's son, who was born on the 26th.
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John C. McGinley and Tony Todd appeared in Platoon (1986).
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Nicolas Cage had grown frustrated with compact discs in his own life and decided to incorporate a love of old-fashioned LPs into his character of Stanley Goodspeed.
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Jonathan Hensleigh (Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) and Armageddon (1998)) was denied a writing credit on this movie, but Michael Bay believes he "made the movie that Hensleigh wrote." Aaron Sorkin did some punch-up work as well.
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Michael Bay is still not happy with the second unit's work with the obvious dummy falling out of the cart.
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Aside from the obvious references to Sir Elton John's "Rocket Man", there is another, more subtle astronaut-themed reference: Major Baxter's first name is Tom, hence Major Tom, the ill-fated astronaut from David Bowie's "Space Oddity".
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The second time Nicolas Cage and William Forsythe play compatriot-type antagonist to one another. The first was Raising Arizona (1987).
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(at around eight minutes) The Beatles LP that Goodspeed buys is "Meet The Beatles".
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When Captain Frye, a U.S. Marine, says, "Let's be all that we can be", he is using a U.S. Army recruiting slogan of the time, "Be All You Can Be."
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Michael Bay wanted to do a broader appealing movie than Crimson Tide (1995).
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This movie and Armageddon (1998), both directed by Michael Bay, featured the song "Leaving on a Jet Plane."
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Sir Sean Connery and Ed Harris appeared in Just Cause (1995).
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Writing team David Weisberg and Douglas Cook are childhood friends.
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In the scene in which Paxton demands to know from Womack who Mason is, Paxton utters, "Yeah, I know all the cloak and dagger stories." This line was a direct reference to William Forsythe's earlier movie Cloak & Dagger (1984).
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As Stanley drives the Ferrari through the auto repair garage, he says, "Oh, well, why not?" He crashes through the window. On the outside of the glass it says "You wreck 'em. We fix 'em." a fitting message since he soon thereafter completely demolishes the car.
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During the chase scene after Mason escapes from the hotel, he crashes through a truck delivering bottled water. In The Presidio (1988), Sir Sean Connery's character tracks a smuggling operation that involves the same type of truck.
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Nicolas Cage and Xander Berkeley appeared in "Leaving Las Vegas (1995)."
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Pat Skipper played an uncredited U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander, working at the Pentagon in this movie. He also played Bill Scully, Jr. in The X-Files (1993), who was Dana Scully's older brother. Bill Scully was also a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy, and also worked at the Pentagon.
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Despite being first billed, Sir Sean Connery doesn't come on the screen until twenty-five minutes into the movie.
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Ed Harris, Xander Berkeley, and Todd Louiso appeared in Apollo 13 (1995).
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General Hummel's wife was forty-eight when she died.
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This marks the second time Michael Biehn played a soldier with a shoulder-mounted body-cam. The first time was as a Colonial Marine in Aliens (1986).
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This movie was released on June 7, 1996, which was the 41st birthday of William Forsythe (Ernest Paxton).
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This was director of photography John Schwartzman's first experience using the Super 35 format. He used it as he felt that he could do more dynamic camera moves. It wasn't until he shot Seabiscuit (2003) that he could use a Digital Intermediate to solve the problem with the Super 35 format.
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Ed Harris (Hummel), David Morse (Baxter), and Gregory Sporleder (Frye), all appeared in movies starring Tom Hanks: Sporleder in "A League of Their Own" (1992), Harris in "Apollo 13" (1995), and Morse in "The Green Mile" (1999).
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Raymond Cruz and William Forsythe appeared in The Substitute (1996).
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Nicolas Cage and William Forsythe appeared in Raising Arizona (1987).
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Four of this movie's co-stars appeared in two movies released in 1998. David Morse and John Spencer in The Negotiator (1998), and Bokeem Woodbine and Tony Todd in Caught Up (1998), respectively.
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Richard Francis-Bruce also edited Fifty Shades Darker (2017) and Fifty Shades Freed (2018), both filmed by director of photography John Schwartzman.
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Nicolas Cage and Michael Biehn appeared in Deadfall (1993).
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Raymond Cruz and Michael Biehn appeared in Havoc (2005).
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In this movie, William Forsythe says that he knows all about the cloak and dagger stories, when he is talking to Womack about J. Edgar Hoover. Forsythe was in Cloak & Dagger (1984).
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This movie is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #108.
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Sean Connery and John C. McGinley work together in 1991 "Highlander II The Quickening."
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The Rock is a favorite of Academy Award winner Guillermo Del Toro.
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Michael Biehn and Danny Nucci work together in James Cameron Movies. Michael Biehn work with James Cameron in 1984 The Terminator, 1986 Aliens, and 1989 The Abyss. Danny Nucci work with James Cameron in 1997 Titanic.
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Bokeem Woodbine and Michael Biehn appeared together 3 years earlier in Strapped (1993).
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The scene in which FBI Director Womack is thrown off the balcony was filmed on-location at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, California. The filming led to numerous calls to the hotel by people who saw a man dangling from the balcony.
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When Stanley (Nicolas Cage) and Carla (Vanessa Marcil) are making love on the roof of their apartment, the Sir Elton John song "Rocket Man" is playing in the background. This is the same song that Stanley refers to later in the movie (at around one hour and fifty-five minutes) when he kills Captain Darrow.
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Goodspeed only swears twice in this movie when he kills the last two villains. Throughout the rest of the movie, his language is tame, saying words like "gosh" and "friggin", while other characters get the profanity laden lines.
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Body Count: twenty-five.
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The first and the last casualties on Hummel's team comes in the same way: both military men were victims of the nerve gas.
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David Morse (Major Tom Baxter) had already succeeded in unleashing a devastating virus as biologist Dr. Peters in 12 Monkeys (1995).
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In the original script, Major Baxter betrays General Hummel and fires the shot that kills him during the stand-off. Whereas in this movie, his betrayal is a momentary head fake before turning his fire on the mutineers.
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The same number of men take Alcatraz hostage in this movie (thirteen), as the number of men who take the Nakatomi Building hostage in Die Hard (1988). Though, in this movie, General Hummel has one more henchman who dies earlier in the movie from the nerve gas before the incursion into Alcatraz occurs.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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