[[caption-width-right:300: [[SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou Which one is trying shoot us?]]]]
''Nighthawks'' is a 1981 thriller starring Creator/SylvesterStallone (pre-Rambo), Billy Dee Williams, Creator/RutgerHauer, Nigel Davenport, and Persis Khambata, with appearances by Lindsay Wagner, Joe Spinell as a cop and Hilary Thompson as a flight attendant.
''Nighthawks'' is about a terrorist named Heymar Reinhardt (Hauer in a portrayal of a terrorist that's both refreshingly ''and chillingly'' realistic), who operates under the alias of Wulfgar. Stallone and Williams play two cops named Deke [=DaSilva=] and Mathew Fox, respectively. [=DaSilva=] and Fox, who operate undercover, have their cover blown when two other officers approach them and tell them, ''in broad daylight no less'', that they have been chosen to be part of an anti-terrorist unit assembled by a British counter-terrorist specialist named Peter Hartman (Davenport). Hartman believes that Wulfgar is heading to New York, after his cover was blown by another terrorist who unintentionally gave his passport to the police, and he wants to stop him before it's too late. Unfortunately, Wulfgar is already in the states, and is staying with a flight attendant named Pam (Thompson).
One thing that is interesting to note is that this film was scored by [[Music/EmersonLakeAndPalmer Keith Emerson]], who also scored Creator/DarioArgento’s ''Inferno'', and part of the score for ''Film/GodzillaFinalWars''.
Not to be confused with [[NighthawksShot that painting]].
* BadassBeard: [=DaSilva=] sports an awesome one throughout the film.
* BeardOfEvil: Wulfgar sports one in the beginning of the film, but loses it after he realizes that the police have identified him.
* BlondeGuysAreEvil: Well, really just Wulfgar, at least after he gets a face-lift. Before the lift, he had brownish hair.
* BulletsDoNotWorkThatWay: A close-up of [=DaSilva=]'s partner chambering a round in his sniper rifle is ruined by the fact that it's clearly a blank cartridge.
* CassandraTruth: When Pam asks Wulfgar what he does for a living, after meeting him, he says "I'm an international terrorist." She doesn't believe him until she opens his suitcase and he then kills her offscreen.
* ChekhovsGun: There are a few notable ones. Two of them are found in Hartman's lectures, the most notable one being when he says "hesitation kills." Another one is mentioned twice in the examples below. See if you can spot it.
** Hartman tells [=DaSilva=] that he went through the trouble of studying the background of each person on the anti-terrorist unit, and he says that Wulfgar will do the same. Turns out that he's mostly right. The only thing he got wrong is that Wulfgar has ''Shakka'' do the homework instead of doing it himself.
* ClusterFBomb: There are a few throughout the film, but the most memorable one is when Wulfgar has wounded Fox, and [=DaSilva=] slips a "fuck" between every other word as he shouts threats to the retreating Wulfgar.
* CuriosityKilledTheCast: Poor Pam, Wulfgar ''told'' you that he was a terrorist, so you really shouldn't have been so surprised when you saw those grenades in his suitcase.
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: ''So very much'' in Wulfgar's case. Underestimating him will get not only yourself killed, but also anybody unlucky enough to be in the general vicinity.
* DisguisedInDrag: [=DaSilva=] has a penchant for this.
* GenreSavvy: Hartman. There's a reason he's the instructor for the anti-terrorist unit.
* JurisdictionFriction: [=DaSilva=] is very uncomfortable with Hartman's "shoot first" mentality that he wants the cops to have when dealing with Wulfgar. He actually has an argument with Hartman over this mentality. His coming to terms with this is the only reason [=DaSilva=] survives when facing off against Wulfgar. There are also examples earlier in the film when different divisions of the police department don't seem to like each other much if at all.
* MoodWhiplash: Quite a few. The most tragic of these is perhaps when Hartman dies. One moment, he's talking to [=DaSilva=] about getting chinese food, and then he sees Shakka at the top of the escalator he's on. It doesn't end well for him.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Wulfgar is obviously based on Carlos the Jackal -- his introduction where he shoots dead several police sent to arrest him resembles Carlos' 1975 shooting of two unarmed DST agents and an informant in Paris.
* OhCrap: There are a small number. Wulfgar has one just as he realizes that he's fallen for [=DaSilva=]'s trap at the end of the film. Hartman also has one when he sees Shakka waiting for him at the top of an escalator.
* PetTheDog: Subverted. Wulfgar asks [=DaSilva=] to take small infant off the tram car holding the hostages, but ''only'' because killing the infant would make terrorist organizations unwilling to hire him, and he wants to find "work."
* TheSociopath: Wulfgar, Wulfgar, '''WULFGAR'''. Where do we even begin?