Rotary Action logo by Mike Pepper utility helicopter A GUIDE TO HELICOPTERS  
HOME  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Bat 21 publicity photo
Bat 21 Sea King

BAT*21 (aka: Bat 21, 1988) - this offbeat Vietnam War movie is based upon a true story about the difficulties of a priority rescue mission - to pluck a missing officer (Gene Hackman) from enemy territory, and the friendship which develops between him and a recon pilot (Danny Glover).

The movie was filmed in Malaysia, with Sikorsky S-61A helicopters (from the Malaysian air force) posing as American search-and-rescue rotorcraft.

Some fixed-wing action precedes the climactic helicopter evacuation sequence.

The movie begins with an S-61 landing on a golf course to pick up Hackman's character, and fly the officer to a command base.
S-61 helicopter in Bat 21

Sikorsky S-61 in Bat 21

In addition to the S-61 transport, the movie's featured helicopter is a a UH-1N (Bell 212) Twin Huey.
Twin Huey in Bat 21

Bat 21 helicopters

Bat 21 rescue flight

Bat 21 rescue helicopters

During the first rescue attempt, the low-flying S-61 rescue chopper is escorted by a Twin Huey gunship.

low-flying S-61 in Bat 21

The S-61 is damaged by enemy shots fired from the ground, and it makes an emergency landing.
S-61 copter in Bat 21

S-61 under attack in Bat 21
emergency landing in Bat 21

Twin Huey rescue flight in Bat 21
Huey drops mines in Bat 21

The Twin Huey provides fire support, and it even deploys anti-personnel mines, but it gets hit and is forced to withdraw.

So, their first combat-rescue attempt is a failure.
S-61 on ground in Bat 21

Movie goof: the silhouette of a helicopter (a Bell 206) making an aerial shot can be seen as a shadow on the ground below.
Bell 206 shadow in Bat 21

Later, the heroic pilot 'borrows' a Twin Huey from the base (helicopter movie cliché here: a decidedly wobbly take-off) and mounts a second rescue attempt.
Huey mission in Bat 21

Bell 212 in Bat 21

Twin Huey rescue flight in Bat 21
Bat 21 helicopter stunt

The Bell 212 flight manages to pick up the officer but, shortly after, this Twin Huey chopper is also forced down by enemy fire.
Twin Huey damaged in Bat 21