When Doug’s father, an Air Force Pilot, is shot down by MiGs belonging to a radical Middle Eastern state, no one seems able to get him out. Doug finds Chappy, an Air Force Colonel who is intrigued by the idea of sending in two fighters piloted by himself and Doug to rescue Doug’s father after bombing the MiG base. Their only problems: Borrowing two fighters, getting them from California to the Mediteranean without anyone noticing, and Doug’s inability to hit anything unless he has music playing. Then come the minor problems of the state’s air defenses.
Iron Eagle is a 1986 American-Canadian action film directed by Sidney J. Furie and starring Jason Gedrick and Louis Gossett, Jr. While it received mixed reviews, the film earned US$24,159,872 at the U.S. box office. Iron Eagle was followed by three sequels: Iron Eagle II, Aces: Iron Eagle III and Iron Eagle on the Attack, with Gossett being the only actor to have appeared in all four films. The basis of the fictional story in the film relates to real life attacks by the United States against Libya over the Gulf of Sidra, in particular the 1981 Gulf of Sidra incident.
About the Story
Doug Masters, son of veteran U.S. Air Force pilot Col. Ted Masters, is a hotshot civilian pilot, hoping to follow in his father’s footsteps. His hopes are dashed when he receives a notice of rejection from the Air Force Academy. Making matters worse is the news that his father has been shot down and captured by the fictional Arab state of Bilya while patrolling over the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the incident occurring over international waters, the Arab state’s court finds Col.
Masters guilty of trespassing over their territory and sentences him to hang in three days. Seeing that the U.S. government will do nothing to save his father’s life, Doug decides to take matters into his own hands and come up with his own rescue mission. He requests the help of Col. Charles “Chappy” Sinclair, a Vietnam veteran pilot currently in the Air Force Reserve, who, while not knowing Col. Masters personally, had a favorable run-in with him years prior to meeting Doug and “knew the type.”
Chappy is skeptical at first; but Doug convinces him that, with his friends, he has full access to the airbase’s intelligence and resources and can give him an F-16 fighter for the mission. To Doug’s surprise, Chappy had already begun planning a rescue operation himself after he learned the outcome of Col. Masters’ trial. The combined efforts of Chappy and Doug’s team result in a meticulously planned mission and the procurement of two heavily armed F-16B planes, with Doug flying the second unit.
On the day of Col. Masters’ execution, Doug and Chappy fly their planes to the Mediterranean Sea and cross into the enemy state’s airspace. In the ensuing battle, they take out three MiG-23 fighters and destroy an airfield, but Chappy’s plane is damaged by an anti-aircraft gun. He tells Doug to climb to a high altitude and play the tape he made him the night before, then his engine fails and Doug listens as Chappy’s fighter goes down.
Chappy’s recorded voice gives Doug encouragement and details that help him to complete the mission and rescue his father. Making the enemy believe he is leading a squadron, Doug threatens the enemy state into releasing his father for pickup. Before Doug lands his plane, Col. Masters is shot by a sniper, causing Doug to destroy the airbase and engulf the runway with napalm to keep the army at bay while he lands and picks up his wounded father.
Just as they take off, Doug and his father encounter another group of MiGs led by Col. Akir Nakeshn, himself an ace pilot. The lone F-16 and Nakesh’s MiG engage in a dogfight until a missile from Doug finishes off Nakesh. Low on fuel and ammunition, the F-16 is pursued by the other enemy MiGs when a squadron of U.S. Air Force F-16s appear, warding off the MiGs before escorting Doug and his father to Ramstein Air Base in West Germany.
Iron Eagle (1986)
Directed by: Sidney J. Furie
Starring: Louis Gossett Jr., Jason Gedrick, David Suchet, Caroline Lagerfelt, Jerry Levine, Larry B. Scott, Robbie Rist, Michael Bowen
Screenplay by: Kevin Alyn Elders, Sidney J. Furie
Production Design by: Robb Wilson King
Cinematography by: Adam Greenberg
Film Editing by: George Grenville
Costume Design by: Lesley Neufeld
Music by: Basil Poledouris
Distributed by: TriStar Pictures
Release Date: January 17, 1986