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Black Hawk Down (2001)

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160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

Director:

Ridley Scott

Writers:

Mark Bowden (book), Ken Nolan (screenplay)
Popularity
344 ( 92)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Josh Hartnett ... Eversmann
Ewan McGregor ... Grimes
Tom Sizemore ... McKnight
Eric Bana ... Hoot
William Fichtner ... Sanderson
Ewen Bremner ... Nelson
Sam Shepard ... Garrison
Gabriel Casseus ... Kurth
Kim Coates ... Wex
Hugh Dancy ... Schmid
Ron Eldard ... Durant
Ioan Gruffudd ... Beales
Tom Guiry ... Yurek (as Thomas Guiry)
Charlie Hofheimer ... Smith
Danny Hoch ... Pilla
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Storyline

Action/war drama based on the best-selling book detailing a near-disastrous mission in Somalia on October 3, 1993. On this date nearly 100 U.S. Army Rangers, commanded by Capt. Mike Steele, were dropped by helicopter deep into the capital city of Mogadishu to capture two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord. This led to a large and drawn-out firefight between the Army Ranges, US Special Forces, and hundreds of Somali gunmen; resulting in the destruction of two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters. The film focuses on the heroic efforts of various Rangers to get to the downed black hawks, centering on SSG Eversmann, leading the Ranger unit Chalk Four to the first black hawk crash site, Chief Warrant Officer Durant who was captured after being the only survivor of the second black hawk crash, as well as many others who were involved. Written by Matthew Patay: revised by Corbin L.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Rangers Lead the Way. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for intense, realistic, graphic war violence, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | Somali | Arabic

Release Date:

18 January 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Hawk Down See more »

Filming Locations:

Morocco See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$92,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$274,347, 30 December 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$108,638,745

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$172,989,651
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS (8 channels)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Eighteen hours of combat is compressed into less than three hours of screen time. See more »

Goofs

The uniforms worn are 3-color desert combat uniforms (DCU) with 6-color "chocolate chip" desert Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) helmet covers. This is correct. The new DCUs adopted in 1992 (after Desert Storm) had entered the supply chain by 1993 and had begun to be issued before the Somalia incident. Elite formations like the Rangers and Special Forces are usually the first to receive new equipment, and were so equipped in Mogadishu in October 1993. The reason they still wore the older camouflaged helmet covers was due to the fact that the covers had not been issued yet. It is has been historically quite common for US helmet covers and other camouflage accessories to lag behind in the distribution of new patterned uniforms. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dan Busch: There. Technicals, nine o'clock.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no studio logos at the beginning and the only opening credit is the title. See more »

Alternate Versions

The Extended Cut has about 7 minutes and 30 seconds of added footage:
  • Some rangers on the beach
  • The scene with Blackburn and Grimes is longer
  • The shooting range scene is extended
  • During the chess game with Randy and Gordy the line "Stranded and condemned, Gordy" is added after he moves his piece
  • The short scene after the meeting is edited different and as some lines added at the end
  • A ranger gets his arm looked at
  • Scene with Eversmann and Hoot is longer
  • On the way to target they added: Grimes adding his name to his helmet, two-min warning, and some lines
  • Chalk 3 shooting at delta in target building
  • Yurek sees a guy stealing a TV
  • Eversmann hearing about the second hawk on the radio
  • Short scene with Nelson and Twombly and the scene when Galantine tries to call them on the radio is moved to before they meet Yurek
  • A shot of crash site two before Durant grabs his gun
  • Steel asking about the convoy
  • Garrison looking at the monitor after Grody gets killed
  • Yurek, Nelson, and Twombly hear the praying
  • Steel asks again about the convoy
  • The little birds turn around and makes another run before going back to rearm
  • McKnight asks how much longer it takes to get the body out of the chopper
  • A lot added at the stadium: McKight yelling, "Don't let that man crawl!", Garrison walking around med area, Steel walking around med area, Sanderson talking to Grimes is moved
  • After Eversmann talks to Jamie he sees Garrison out side
See more »

Connections

Referenced in We're the Millers (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Ul Iyo Dirkeed
Written and Performed by Omar Sharif
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
One of the best war movies of all time
12 January 2002 | by shades033See all my reviews

When talking about war movies, there are many great ones that immediately spring to mind. Since the 70's, three of them have formed a bit of a holy trinity: Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, and Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. These three movies have set the bar for all other war movies that have come along since then. When it was announced that Gladiator director, Ridley Scott, would be adapting Mark Bowden's book, Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, filmgoers knew that they would be in for a treat.

For whatever reason, I don't remember hearing much about the civil war in Somalia or about the Battle of Mogadishu on which Black Hawk Down is based. The plan seemed simple enough: the Army is sent into Somalia by the government to try to put an end to the Civil War. On October 3, 1993, a group of them were sent on a quick mission to capture the Somali warlord that had been running the country with an iron fist. It didn't take long for the operation to go completely FUBAR as two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down. Things went from bad to worse, as the Rangers found themselves surrounded by thousands of armed Somalis, whose only goal was to shoot any American soldier that invaded their space. After "stirring up the hornet's nest", the mission becomes a desperate attempt to maintain the Rangers motto, "Leave No Man Behind".

Needless to say, Ridley Scott has made the ultimate war movie with Black Hawk Down. Unlike some war films that temper the battle with slower character-building sequences, you have to wait only thirty minutes for the Rangers' mission to go into effect. And the action doesn't stop for the next two hours, as the rest of the movie is filled with flying bullets, explosions and bloodshed. The fighting is so chaotic that it is hard to follow the action and tell what is happening, at times, and it becomes almost too easy to become desensitized to the violence. By the third time someone yells "RPG's!" though, the entire audience knows to duck and cover their ears.

While the American soldiers go in with a solid plan, it doesn't take long for panic to set in, and pretty soon, you're not sure which side is more disorganized. It's amazing to watch what seems like thousands of extras playing the Somali militia swarming over the soldiers, and the action and camerawork is reminiscent of a video game as the soldiers try to escape their precarious situation through the streets of Mogadishu. As the movie progresses, the tension continues to build as the grim and unrelenting hopelessness of the situation sets in both for the soldiers and the viewer.

It's pretty amazing how much has been made of the 19 downed American soldiers when over 1000 Somali men, women, and children were killed during the raid. While the movie is clearly weighed towards the American perspective, I can't imagine how it must have felt to be the guy who gets to play "Dead Somali with a Gun #354".

Although characterization has always been used extensively in war movies to get the viewer to care about the characters, Black Hawk Down works better because, for the most part, the soldiers are personified as little more than grunts in the field doing the bidding of their superiors. At least the soldiers had their names taped to their helmets, so that this didn't have the problem of some war movies, where it's sometimes hard to tell who is who. Some of the best performances of the film come from Tom Sizemore as the gung-ho Lt. McKnight and Josh Hartnett, who plays the sergeant who leads the mission and feels personal guilt every time a man is lost. Sam Shepard also is excellent as Major General William Garrison, who sits back in the safe zone watching his doomed men be overpowered by the enemy. Eric Bana's part is small, but he has some of the best lines in the film, really driving home the point of why soldiers do what they do. Ewan McGregor's role is even more minor and insignificant, but his Trainspotting compatriot, Ewen Bremner offers the movie's little bit of comic relief.

As expected in a Ridley Scott film, the visuals and camerawork are stunning with the movie having a gray almost monochromatic look that makes the orange flames and red blood really stand out. As is typical in Scott's recent movies, there is lots of flying dust, rubble and debris mixed with slow motion shots of falling bullet casings and splattered blood. He also uses animals and non-military personnel well in some of the shots to show that this firefight is happening in the middle of a populated market district.

A big deal has been made out of the blood and gore in Black Hawk Down, but what is any true war movie without it? Though most of the graphic violence on display is not far beyond Saving Private Ryan, there is at least one visceral sequence that will make most people squeamish, unless they watch those operation shows on The Learning Channel for entertainment. Black Hawk Down is quite an achievement in creating a realistic representation of an event in recent history. Most of this movie leaves the viewer aghast and incredulous of what they're watching, and it's hard to believe that something like this could possibly happen. Technically, this movie is an amazing feat that gives the viewer one of the most realistic impressions of what it would feel like to be in the middle of a war, which makes the atrocities of the event seem all the more real.

In a genre that has brought out some of the best in directors and actors, Black Hawk Down is easily the best war movie ever made, and it has replaced A Beautiful Mind as my candidate for Best Picture and Director.

Rating: 10 out of 10


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