Follow TV Tropes


Film / The Delta Force

Go To

The Delta Force is an action film produced by The Cannon Group in 1986 and directed by Menahem Golan.

After a plane is hijacked by terrorists, the Delta Force lead by Col. Alexander (Lee Marvin in his final film role) and Maj. McCoy (Chuck Norris) are deployed to solve the crisis.

The film got two sequels; Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection in 1990 and Delta Force 3: The Killing Game in 1991.

This film has the examples of:

  • Action Prologue: The Delta Force retreating after the Epic Fail cluster-fuck that was Operation Eagle Claw . Also a Downer Beginning.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Hundred terrorists charge a schoolhouse thinking their opposition consists only of two Delta Force operators, only to turn tail and run when one operator sets off the explosives that they had planted in the building before the terrorists arrived.
  • Advertisement:
  • Badass Crew: The Delta Force themselves.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: The terrorists during the first half of the film.
  • Bland-Name Product: The flight whose hijacking inspired the movie was TWA Flight 847, the movie's version is ATW (for American Travelways) Flight 282.
  • Berserk Button: To the terrorists, Jewish people. The Dragon in particular loses his shit when he learns there are Jew folks in the plane. They don't like Christians, either—which becomes pretty tragic when the Delta Force's contact within Beirut, a Mossad deep-cover agent posing as a priest, gets exposed because his church was searched by the terrorists while he was communicating with his superiors (and thus was caught) for no good reason other than the terrorists' leader getting paranoid about having a Christian so close to his base.
  • Advertisement:
  • Big Bad: Captain Abdul Rafai of the New World Revolutionary Organization.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The movie ends in an Israeli airport, with the hostages celebrating their liberation with their families while the Delta Force solemnly carry Pete's body (their only casualty) to the transport plane back home.
  • Bond One-Liner: After shooting a terrorist hiding under a bed, Scott tells him to "sleep tight."
  • Colonel Badass: Colonel Nicholas Alexander, the man who gives Major Scott McCoy his orders.
  • Cool Bike: Scott gets to ride on a dirt bike with dual rocket launchers, machineguns, and rear-facing grenade launchers. Twice.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: McCoy's final fight with Rafai is completely one-sided.
  • Ensemble Cast: Chuck Norris, Lee Marvin, George Kennedy, Robert Vaughn, Joey Bishop, Martin Balsam, and Bo Svenson, to name a few.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Dragon has a Pet the Dog moment with a girl who reminds him of his own daughter, and the terrorists allow the children and female passengers to leave once the plane lands.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The film could be used as an instructional video at said academy.
  • Irish Priest: Father O'Malley. When terrorists are grouping their captives, he says that he should be grouped with the Jewish hostages, because he considers himself both a Jew and a Christian.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Pete uses it on a terrorist commander to find out where they took some of the hostages. It was apparently effective.
  • Just Plane Wrong: Toward the end of the rescue, a Boeing 707 is shown practically bulletproof in that it takes fire from Kalashnikov rifles as it is taking off only to have the bullets apparently glance off its metal skin. In real life, such a plane's relatively thin aluminum skin would be perforated and the plane rendered unsafe or unable to fly. There's also the issue of supposedly USAF C-130s having Israeli Air Force numbers (since the C-130s were leased from the Israeli military for the film), but that issue is quite minor and easily overlooked compared to the Bulletproof Boeing.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Between the (named) terrorists, the hostages, and the titular Delta Force, there are quite a few characters in the movie.
  • Majorly Awesome: Scott McCoy. No surprise, being played by Chuck Norris.
  • Mandatory Unretirement: Scott resigns his commission after Operation Eagle Claw fails, but is reinstated with a promotion for this crisis.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: Captain Rafai tries to defend himself from McCoy with pistol, knife and AK-47. None of them save him.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: McCoy delivers one to Captain Rafai at the end of the movie.
  • Oh, Crap!: Colonel Alexander is debriefing the hostages who have been released, and finds out that the terrorists have received reinforcements during a previous landing. This is just when Delta Force is about to attempt a hostage rescue, and they've just cut off radio communications. Alexander has to drive onto the airfield to stop them, alerting the terrorists to their presence.
  • Pregnant Hostage: An Arab hijacker who swears the Germans didn't kill enough Jews in World War II, pummels a sailor nearly to death with a chair's armrest, swears that he (or one of his allies) will drive a truck full of explosives straight to the White House one day, and flies off the handle when he sees an abandoned ring with Hebrew script on it, yet orders some hostages to vacate their seats so a pregnant hostage can recline. He even has the other hostages give up their pillows for her.
  • Rated M for Manly: The theme music alone and the fact that it stars Chuck Norris is what sells it.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The plane hijacking is very similar to the TWA Flight 847 incident, which had happened in the previous year. The story's Action Prologue also happens during the botched Delta operation to save hostages from Iran.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The return of the hostages in Israel, where they receive a heroes' welcome from their families, who seem utterly oblivious to the Delta Force operators who ferry Pete's body, their sole fatality in the operation aboard the plane back home.
  • Storming the Castle: The Delta Force assault the school the terrorists are using to keep the hostages, freeing them. Shortly after, the terrorists attempt to retake it... less successfully.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Chuck Norris rides a bike with mounted rocket and grenade launchers in this film... 'Nuff said.
  • The Something Force: The team in the title.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Count on Alan Silvestri's theme music to appear whenever the Delta Force are on screen.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: After the aforementioned No-Holds-Barred Beatdown McCoy could easily have finished Rafai then and there with his bare hands, or with the assault rifle laying nearby. Instead he goes and gets on his motorcycle, and uses it's dual grenade launchers to blow up not only the terrorist but the car he was sitting in.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: See "Ripped from the Headlines" above. Some scenes (like the terrorists asking a stewardess to check the passengers' passports to see which ones were Jewish) actually happened on the Real Life event. What is pure fiction is the titular Delta Force charging in to kick ass and take names (the hostages were eventually released, after a great many days).


Example of: