A disillusioned pilot shot down over war-torn Bosnia is ensnared in the conflict in war-torn Bosnia. In the crosshairs of the enemy and an assassin, the spoiled pilot runs for his life as his commanding officer risks all to save him.


John Moore


Jim Thomas (story) (as James Thomas), John Thomas (story) | 2 more credits »
3,852 ( 220)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Owen Wilson ... Burnett
Gene Hackman ... Reigart
Gabriel Macht ... Stackhouse
Charles Malik Whitfield ... Rodway
Joaquim de Almeida ... Piquet (as Joaquim De Almeida)
David Keith ... O'Malley
Olek Krupa ... Lokar
Vladimir Mashkov ... Tracker
Marko Igonda ... Bazda
Eyal Podell ... Petty Officer Kennedy
Geoff Pierson ... Admiral Donnelly
Aernout Van Lynden Aernout Van Lynden ... Aernout Van Lynden
Sam Jaeger ... Red Crown Operator #1
Shane Johnson ... Red Crown Operator #2 (as Shane Mikael Johnson)
Don Winston Don Winston ... Red Crown Operator #3


Fighter navigator Chris Burnett wants out: he was looking for something more than the boring recon missions he's been flying. He finds himself flying the lone Christmas day mission over war-torn Bosnia. But when he talks pilot Stackhouse into flying slightly off-course to check out an interesting target, the two get shot down. Burnett is soon alone, trying to outrun a pursuing army, while commanding officer Reigert finds his rescue operation hamstrung by politics, forcing Burnett to run far out of his way. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Mission: to evade and survive See more »


Action | Drama | Thriller | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for war violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The U.S. Navy ship used is the U.S.S. Carl Vinson (CVN 70), which has been used in several other movies. See more »


As Burnett walks away from the mass grave, he is covered in mud as he hid within the mass grave to avoid being captured by Serbian soldiers. However, in later scenes no trait of mud is seen on Burnett. See more »


Ejup: Lokar's coming back here again, killing everyone.
Babic: It's true. Lokar killed everyone. Children and women. Buried them up in the hills.
Chris Burnett: In the hills? Yeah! I saw them, I saw the graves!
[Burnett has a flashback of the mass graves he encountered earlier]
Chris Burnett: Yes! I saw them! I saw the bodies in the hills. Tell them, I'm an American! I'm on your side!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK theatrical version had one dialogue substitution (removal of a single use of the word "fuck") to secure the "12" rating. For the DVD/video release, this substitution was waived by the BBFC. See more »


Followed by Seal Team Eight: Behind Enemy Lines (2014) See more »


What'd I Say
Written and Performed by Ray Charles
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

User Reviews

"Bat*21" meets "Top Gun" meets "Enemy at the Gates", inspired by the all time classic and often copied, "The Most Dangerous Game" !!
4 April 2018 | by DeuceWild_77See all my reviews

Writers Jim & John Thomas ("Predator"), must have been fans of the jungle war movie, "Bat*21" ('88), the Peter Markle directed film starring Gene Hackman and Danny Glover, based on a book by William C. Anderson, which composed the basis for the story that originated "Behind Enemy Lines", with the help of screenwriters Zak Penn & David Veloz. Throwed in the jingoistic / patriot upbeat feeling of the all american pilots from "Top Gun" ('86) and a cat & mouse game, featuring a sniper, that reminds a bit of "Enemy at the Gates" ('01), released earlier in the same year, and the cult classic, "The Most Dangerous Game" ('32) and the end result is an entertaining action / popcorn flick, far away from some kind of realism, but it's never boring to follow.

Gene Hackman leads the picture in a reverse role of his Lt. Colonel Iceal Hambleton from "Bat*21", here he's taking the Danny Glover's role, helping the navigator Owen Wilson escape from an army of angry Serbians, behind the enemy lines, after his McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet has been shot down in no man's land. Owen Wilson was an evident bad choice for the role, he can't act and his screen personna doesn't fit in a movie like this, but in the actor's defense, he was in good shape and surely can run for his life.

Gabriel Macht is good in his brief turn as the pilot, Wilson's partner, and David Keith and the portuguese actor Joaquim de Almeida, can do their respective military / commanding roles in their sleep, but Russian actor Vladimir Mashkov stole the movie as the bloodthirsty tracker / sniper in a memorable performance in terms of wickedness. He looks and feels like an emotionless predator hunting his prey and sweats charisma on screen.

The movie makes use of a competent cinematography (especially in wide shots from the air) and so-so action scenes, that brings nothing new to the table, but at least it maintain the viewer awake. The C.G.I. is often used and abused... the movie could have been way better if the production used more practical effects and stuntwork.

In short, "Behind Enemy Lines", wasn't made to be a rather serious war movie on the subject matter, but just an escapist action film to please a lazy sunday afternoon at the movies. Some reviewers here got it wrong, sometimes a movie is just a movie, things that happens in fantasyland, and thinking to much into it, will destroy the experience. Grab a few beers and a pack of smokes and just enjoy it for what it is, and i guarantee to you that this movie will never bore...

I give it a 6.5 !!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

30 November 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Behind Enemy Lines See more »


Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,736,133, 2 December 2001

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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