Rotary Action logo by Mike Pepper utility helicopter A GUIDE TO HELICOPTERS  
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Black Hawk helicopter movie

Black Hawk Down (2001) - excellent aerial stunts and careful use of digital effects give Ridley Scott's superb drama (based on a true story about the Battle of Mogadishu) a chaotic sense of realism that's lacking in most historical war films. During the deployment of US forces on a special mission to arrest one of the corrupt locals, two Black Hawk helicopters are shot down by the heavily-armed Somali militia, leaving an injured pilot and soldiers at the mercy of the angry natives...

military convoy
US helicopters

over Mogadishu final approach landing zone

Later, Hughes 500 "little bird" choppers make strafing runs throughout the night, against the numerous enemy groups, to provide close air support for the American troops who are surrounded by rooftop snipers. A brilliant film about a terrifying siege situation in a war zone, this has spectacular rotary action scenes that rival the all-time classic Apocalypse Now.

Black Hawk helicopter
Black Hawk Down
Hughes 500 helicopters

The Boeing (MD) AH-64 Apaches and the Cayuses (or MD-500s) were on loan from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and several of the helicopter pilots were involved in the actual battle of 1993. - NATHAN DECKER

There are no AH-64 Apaches in the movie, and they're not operated by 160th SOAR (US Army special ops command). There were MH-60L Black Hawks flying around... All filming was done in Morocco, the US Department of Defense lent Hollywood the Nighstalkers' regiment for filming, and got permission from the Moroccans to base these aircraft and military units in the country. - IAN VINCENT FRAIN

Black Hawk helicopters over Mogadishu
helicopter wreckage in Black Hawk Down

bicycle soldier in Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk picks up cyclist

It's rather curious to note that, despite this film's title and obviously spectacular aerial scenes, not all of the DVD and bly-ray disc releases make prominent use of helicopter imagery on their box art.

Black Hawk Down extended cut DVD
Black Hawk Down special edition
Black Hawk Down blu-ray

Black Hawk Down, The True Story Black Hawk Down: The True Story (2003) - this 60-minute made-for-TV documentary is about the Battle of Mogadishu, in October 1993, which saw 15 American servicemen killed by Somalian rebels. It's only a standard nonfiction cash-in programme that feeds upon the commercial success of Ridley Scott's brilliant war movie. You can buy this on disc only because it's included in the 'special edition' DVD package of Black Hawk Down. - STEVEN HAMPTON

helicopter touchdown in Black Hawk Down