[[quoteright:220:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/220px-Flight_of_the_intruder_1410.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:220:Starring Wilem Dafoe's mustache!]]

A [[TheNineties 1991]] [[TheFilmOfTheBook movie]] based on a novel of the [[Literature/FlightOfTheIntruder same name]] by Stephen Coonts, taking place during the UsefulNotes/VietnamWar. It follows the exploits of Lieutenant Jake "Cool Hand" Grafton following the death of his Bombadier-Navigator during a pointless air strike.

!!Contains examples of the following:

* AcePilot: A subversion, as "Cool Hand" Grafton is a bomber pilot. That said, he's considered to be an exceptionally skilled one.
** There is a scene in a bar featuring a game where someone rides a chair down a rail towards a mud pit. They have to pull the lever dropping a hook just in time to catch the wire to stop them. Pull the lever too soon or too late, and they get launched into the mud pit. A [[FeetOfClay fighter pilot]] tries and fails, then Jake tries it and succeeds.
* AirstrikeImpossible: [[spoiler:The one-plane SAM City bombing mission.]]
** And because the bombs didn't drop the first time due to a malfunction, they have to do it ''again''.
* AnachronismStew: The A-6E wasn't fielded in Vietnam during the setting of the film, but this was forgivable as all previous A and B models had been refit. What's not forgivable is a song by Stevie Ray Vaughan (from 1988) being played during a bar fight, despite the film being set in 1971.
* AntiAir: Given the protagonists' role as ground-attack pilots, tasked with flying at low altitude, they find themselves constantly exposed to virtually every flavor of this imaginable, often with horrifying results. Late in the film, Cole and Grafton decide to get some payback by attacking [[spoiler: SAM City.]]
* BackedByThePentagon: How else do you think the producers would have been able to scrounge up an aircraft carrier for the movie?
* BarBrawl: One that involves a crocodile.
* BerserkButton: While he is more than willing to perform airstrikes that kill hundreds of enemy troops, Grafton does not want to be reminded of how many peoples' deaths he has personally caused in his air strikes.
** Commander Camparelli seems to have almost nothing ''but'' berserk buttons. Or at least, Grafton seems incapable of doing anything except push them.
* BillingDisplacement: Fourth-billed Creator/RosannaArquette hardly appears.
* BurialAtSea: Morg receives this after being killed by the "peasant with a rifle".
* ChekhovsGunman: The Phantom Shitter
* ComingInHot: In the beginning of the film. There isn't anything particularly wrong with their plane, but Grafton's Bombadier-Navigator has been mortally wounded, and Jake is trying to help control the bleeding while trying to land the plane.
* CoolPlane: Half of the point of the movie is that the Grumman A-6 Intruder could be considered an [[AvertedTrope aversion]]. Limited to subsonic speeds, carrying no guns or air-to-air weapons, and resembling nothing so much as a giant tadpole with wings, the Intruder is as uncool as it gets, but is remarkably good at what it does, which is low-level attack, often at night.
** That said, part of the film does feature a variant of the Intruder designed to go after anti-aircraft radar sites, [[CrazyAwesome intentionally exposing itself to enemy fire in order to get the bad guy to reveal himself.]]
** The Douglas A-1 ''Skyraider'', call sign "Sandy", is a cool plane just because it's a prop-driven attack plane in a war that's two decades into the jet age.
* CompositeCharacter: Several supporting characters get merged (or get callsigns from other characters who are written out. Notably, New Guy becomes Razor, and Tiger Cole gets Razor's PornStache [[spoiler: and Major Allen's fate.]]
* CoolShip: The USS ''Independence''. It's a supercarrier that can carry and launch upwards of a hundred jets.
* DeathFromAbove: More often than not, the main characters. During the climax of the film, the US Air Force A-1 "Sandy" attack planes as well, which we get to see strafing and bombing the North Vietnamese Army troops [[spoiler: and dealing out a MercyKill to Tiger Cole.]]
* DeskJockey: The Intel officer is obviously not an aviator.
* DualWielding: Grafton during the finale.
* EjectionSeat: Played straight, twice, and averted once when a pilot chooses to try and evade the missile and fails.
-->'''[[spoiler: Grafton]]''': Well, this is the end of Devil Five- O - Five. Say goodbye, asshole!
-->'''[[spoiler: Cole]]''': [[ExactWords Goodbye Asshole!]]
-->'''[[spoiler: Grafton]]''': EjectEjectEject
* EveryHelicopterIsAHuey: Averted. The one time a helicopter is featured in the film, it is an HH-3 "Jolly Green Giant" rescue chopper, easily recognized for being designed with a boat-hull for a lower body, being designed for amphibious operations.
* FatalFamilyPhoto: [[spoiler: The Boxman]] dies soon after receiving a letter from a girlfriend saying they're having a baby.
* FeetOfClay: The fighter jock in the bar.
-->'''Grafton''' ''(facetiously): Hey, are you really a fighter pilot?''
-->'''Fighter Jock''''': Never ask someone if he's a fighter pilot. If he is, he'll tell ya. If he's not, you'll just embarrass him!''
* FunWithAcronyms: A number of acronyms are used without explanation, such as...
** [[spoiler: Tiger Cole's]] last words: "'''''A'''lfa, '''M'''ike, '''F'''oxtrot,''" is military slang for "'''A'''dios, '''M'''other '''F'''uckers.", making this a GeniusBonus PrecisionFStrike as well.
** They call the anti-aircraft missiles "Sam": '''S'''urface to '''A'''ir '''M'''issile
* GunsAkimbo: How Grafton takes out the sniper at the climax of the film.
* GuyInBack: Due to the way their plane is designed, he's actually a Guy On The Right. The Bombadier-Navigators. [[note]]The senseless death of Grafton's first GIB, Morg, is what sets the plot in motion.[[/note]]
* HighSpeedMissileDodge: The pilots find themselves having to dive towards incoming missiles more than once in order to force them to overshoot. One pilot fails to do this, and is killed by the SplashDamage when the missile detonates near his plane.
* ITakeOffenseToThatLastOne: Grafton, Razor, and Tiger Cole freely admit to taking part in the BarBrawl, thus being at least partially responsible for many of the ensuing damages, and for evading the Shore Patrols so they could get back to the ship. [[ItMakesSenseInContext They swear the crocodile was unharmed when they left the bar, however.]]
* IronicNickname: Razor, decided upon as a better nickname than [[NewMeat New Guy]], for a pilot who doesn't look old enough to start shaving yet. When he turns out to be ''very'' bloodthirsty when it comes to defending downed fellow pilots, Camparelli decides that his new callsign is "Straight Razor".
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler: Grafton and Tiger Cole fly into restricted airspace and bomb a missile stockpile in downtown Hanoi, against standing orders. After a brief court martial, the judging officers learn that President RichardNixon has just authorized Operation Linebacker II, the unlimited aerial bombing of all enemy targets in North Vietnam, they are told not to tell anybody and returned to duty to avoid the embarrassment of punishing pilots doing precisely that.]]
* KillItWithFire: The Air Force "Sandy" attack planes drop napalm on the North Vietnamese troops to keep them away from downed American aviators.
* MadeOfExplodium: [[spoiler: SAM City]], {{justified|Trope}} for very obvious reasons.
* MemeticBadass: Commander "Dookie" Camparelli, in-universe. ScaryBlackMan, ''Third Generation Mafia'', '''he was built with the ship''', '''''he is a weapons system''''', and '''''THERE WAS A COST OVERRUN!!!'''''
* MercyKill: [[spoiler: Tiger Cole.]]
-->''I'd do the same for you.''
* MurphysBullet: After Grafton and Morg use sophisticated electronic countermeasures to throw off radar-guided anti-aircraft guns, [[SnipingTheCockpit Morg is hit]] when a man on the ground blindly fires a single shot into the night sky at the soudn of a jet.
* NewMeat: A new pilot has the bad timing to arrive very soon after the death of a beloved comrade. Everybody is too emotionally drained to come up with a nickname for him, they briefly consider calling him "New Guy", but decide on Razor instead.
* NomDeGuerre: Being a movie about combat pilots, there are quite a few. Cool Hand, Razor, The Boxman, Morgue, Tiger, etc.
* NoOneGetsLeftBehind: The climax of the film. [[spoiler: The North Vietnamese capitalize on this by using downed airmen as bait to draw the Air Force rescue aircraft in closer to their anti-aircraft guns.]] Leads to a HeroicSacrifice.
* PercussiveMaintenance: Tiger claims that when the targeting computer fails, that the manual says you should ''kick'' it to get it going again. Which he proceeds to do.
* PlaneSpotting: Where to start? Obviously, there is the A-6 Intruder and its A-6B "Iron Hand" SAM-hunting variant. We also see A-1 Skyraiders, an HH-3 Super Jolly Green Giant helicopter, and a variety of other planes.
* PlayingPossum: An NVA trooper is shot dead by [[spoiler: Commander Camparelli]] when he tries to search the cockpit of his crashed plane.
* PornStache: It's a wonder that Wilem Dafoe's mustache didn't get a ''casting credit''.
* RaceLift: The Sino-American girl that Grafton has a romance with in the book is replaced by the blonde widow of a pilot unnamed in the film, who was a friend to the slain Morg and his family.
** Also, Commander Camparelli presumed to be white in the novel, is a BigScaryBlackMan in the movie. And he is [[MemeticBadass Third Generation Mafia]].
* RevisedEnding: [[spoiler: The ending is tightened up a bit by the removal of the Air Force Major, and thus his entire mini-arc, from the end of the book. His HeroicSacrifice instead goes to Tiger Cole, calling in an airstrike on himself because the NVA are using him as bait. A lot more of the supporting characters are otherwise directly involved, however, with Grafton saving Dookie Camparelli rather than Tiger Cole.]]
* RogueAgent: [[spoiler: Grafton and Tiger Cole decide to do a two-man raid in downtown Hanoi. In the book, the target was the Communist Party Headquarters, in the movie, it was a stockpile of anti-aircraft missiles]]
* SeriousBusiness: "The Phantom Shitter", which turns out to be a ChekhovsGunman
* ShooOutTheClowns: The movie becomes rather more serious after [[spoiler: The Boxman]] dies.
* ShoutOut: The film scheduled for movie night is ''Film/TheyShootHorsesDontThey'', starring JaneFonda.[[note]]It gets cancelled due to a lack of nudity.[[/note]]
* ShownTheirWork: Which is appropriate, as Stephen Coonts was an Intruder pilot during the UsefulNotes/VietnamWar.
** Of note, the use of the HighSpeedMissileDodge, or rather, the unsuccessful use of it. One plane suffers a "near hit" from a missile, which detonates without quite hitting the plane. This is shown to be quite effective, as in RealLife, many anti-aircraft weapons are designed to detonate close to their target, [[SplashDamage peppering them]] with a [[FlechetteStorm very large volume of shrapnel]].
* SnipingTheCockpit: How Morg dies, due to a [[MurphysBullet guy on the ground firing a single shot blindly into the night sky]].
* SoundtrackDissonance: ''Downtown'', being sung by Grafton and Cole as [[spoiler: SAM City is blown to pieces]].
* StarDerailingRole: This film ended Brad Johnson's career in Hollywood movies and reduced him to roles in straight-to-video features.
* TrappedBehindEnemyLines - The climax of the movie.
* TheOtherMarty: Originally, Ed O'Neill, star of ''MarriedWithChildren'' played the prosecuting attorney in the court martial scene. The moment he appeared at a test screening, people laughed at the sight of [[MarriedWithChildren Al Bundy]] in an army uniform. The scene had to be reshot with Fred Thompson in the role.
* WarIsHell: Even for the flyboys.
* WhatTheHellHero
* WildWeasel: One mission flown in the movie has them in a variant of the Intruder designed for "Iron Hand" missions, hunting down enemy AntiAir radar sites. A key weapon in this mission is the Shrike, which can follow the enemy's radar signal to the target. The climactic battle at the end of the film has the Intruders flying a daylight mission to suppress enemy air defenses and clear a safe path for the Air Force bombers.
* WouldNotShootACivilian: Not on purpose, anyhow. [[spoiler:Although the one-plane air raid Grafton and Cole went on went dangerously close to averting this.]]
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