Trivia / Nighthawks

  • Creator Backlash:
    • Sylvester Stallone was really disappointed with the way Universal studio reedited the movie (despite the fact that he did his share of reediting on the movie prior to studio's interference). He was really upset because of the removal of his dramatic scenes with Lindsay Wagner, including an emotional scene between him and Wagner in a restaurant (only mentioned in the final version of the movie) where his character breaks down and cries after his ex-wife refuses to remarry him.
    • Rutger Hauer felt that the film was a missed opportunity and the issue of international terrorism could have been handled more accurately: "We had only to play tags–the written story was much more dangerous."
  • Directed by Cast Member: When the original director, Gary Nelson, left the project, Bruce Malmuth took over production. When Malmuth couldn't make it on his first day to shoot the train chase, Stallone directed the chase himself to not miss a day of shooting. This caused trouble with the Director's Guild of America. Guild rules state that a DGA member cannot be fired so an actor can take over directing a film in which he is starring, so the producers asked for and received special permission for Stallone to direct the scene.
  • Divorced Installment: The story was originally planned as The French Connection III by screenwriter David Shaber at 20th Century Fox, and would have seen Popeye Doyle team up with a wisecracking cop, to be possibly played by Richard Pryor. The main plot was the same, but when Gene Hackman showed reluctance to do a third movie as Doyle, the idea was scrapped and Universal acquired the rights to the storyline.
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • In the scene where Stallone jumps onto a moving train and kicks out the wire-reinforced window, the window broke easily and knocked him off balance. Stallone has had a lifelong fear of heights and said about the helicopter stunt, "I've never been so scared in my life."
    • Rutger Hauer was injured twice while filming his death scene. In one instance, a squib meant to simulate a gunshot wound exploded on the wrong side and severely burned him. In the other, a cable that would yank him to simulate the force of being shot was pulled too hard, straining his back. Afterward, Hauer discovered that the cable was pulled with such force on Stallone's orders. This was the last straw for Hauer, who then threatened Stallone that he would "break [Stallone's] balls" if he ever did something like that again.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The theatrical trailer shows three extended scenes: Wulfgar looking at a city map in a subway while being observed by a street cop, Wulfgar slowly moving towards the building which he is about to blow up, and Deke and Matt walking across the street searching for Wulfgar in disco bars.
  • No Stunt Double: Stallone did a lot of his own stunts.
  • The Shelf of Movie Languishment: Because of problems with Stallone's and the studio's interference in post-production, the film was heavily re-edited and was released a year after it was finished.
  • Wag the Director: Stallone re-edited the film to cut down on Hauer's scenes, as he felt that Hauer was upstaging him.
  • Working Title: Attack and Hawks.
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