film starring Gene Hackman, Danny Glover, and Jerry Reed. The film is Based on a True Story
, about the controversial (and very costly) rescue of Lieutenant Colonel Iceal "Gene" Hambleton, after he survives being shot down over Vietnam
, finding himself directly in the path of the North Vietnamese Army's Easter Offensive of 1972.
The film contains examples of the following tropes:
- Abandon Ship: Hambleton punches out when the plane he is riding in is hit by a Surface to Air Missile. He is forced to watch helplessly as the plane explodes before any of the other crew can escape.
- Badass Bookworm: Hambleton is a very experienced electronics warfare officer. The fact that the Communists would very much like to capture him and find out what he knows is a large reason why the Air Force attempts a very risky and ultimately very costly operation to retrieve him.
- Black Best Friend: In a way. Captain Bartholomew "Birddog" Clark is the Foward Air Controller pilot who keeps watch over Hambleton with his O-2 Skymaster.
- Chekhov's Skill: Hambleton is an avid golfer, having memorized the layout of some of his favorite golf courses. This is used to allow Hambleton and his rescuers to communicate when they know the enemy is listening in on their radio transmissions.
- Death from Above
- Ejection Seat: How Hambleton escapes the doomed EB-66. The other crew members are not so lucky.
- Plane Spotting: The movie includes quite a few aircraft from the Vietnam War, including UH-1 Hueys, HH-3 Jolly Green Giants, the O-2 Skymaster, and the EB-66 Destroyer.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The HH-3 Jolly Green Giant chopper sent to rescue Hambleton is shot down, and the crew are killed.
- Trapped Behind Enemy Lines
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The first scene of the film is Hambleton and another officer casually teeing off on a golf course, as a very large helicopter slowly comes in for a landing immediately behind them.
- War Is Hell
- Yanks With Tanks