As goofy as this probably sounds, I love a good helicopter scene. I know it’s weird but I’ve been amazed at some of the great moments in movies that involve helicopters. In fact, you can sometimes find fantastic helicopter scenes in movies that aren’t necessarily that good. In light of that I’ve decided we would have some fun in this week’s Phenomenal 5. I’ve picked out 5 outstanding helicopter movie scenes that range from iconic to absolutely insane. Now considering how often helicopters have made their ways into movies it would be silly to call this the definitive list. But there’s no denying that these 5 helicopter scenes are certainly phenomenal.
#5 – “LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD”
I doubt anyone will ever call 2007’s “Live Free or Die Hard” the best film of the “Die Hard” series. But while it didn’t live up to the previous three movies, it was a fun flick and considerably better than the more recent franchise killer. Perhaps the coolest scene in the movie involves an incredible helicopter sequence. On their way to FBI headquarters, John McClane and his witness are ambushed by an attack helicopter in downtown New York. They are eventually flushed out of a tunnel but McClane always leaves his mark. He not only escapes the tunnel but he launches his car into the hovering chopper. BOOM! Insanely over the top but also insanely awesome.
#4 – “RAMBO III”
It’s pretty safe to say that John Rambo loves helicopters. There are three or four great Rambo chopper scenes that could easily make this list. But I went with a wild and intense sequence from “Rambo III”. In this installment of the testosterone-driven Stallone franchise Rambo tackles the Soviet occupied Afghanistan. While at a village with some Afghan freedom fighters, two Russian attack choppers attack. Armed with rockets and machine guns, the choppers decimate the village and the people there. Rambo dodges explosions and bullets until he reaches a mounted machine gun on top of a hill. In typical Rambo fashion he swings the turret and starts firing on an approaching chopper. It blows to bits sending the other chopper packing. 80s cheese no doubt but I love it.
#3 – “THE DARK KNIGHT”
For me, Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” is the best superhero movie ever made. A key ingredient to its tremendous success was the performance of Heath ledger as the Joker. The Joker’s advantage came from always being a step ahead of the Gotham Police. That was never more evident than in a scene where a police convoy is transporting Harvey Dent. Anticipating a police chopper escort, the Joker has his men fire cables from one high rise building to the other across the street. The chopper snags one of the cables which sends it careening into the side of the building and eventually crashing down in front of the convoy. It’s just one part of a truly incredible sequence.
#2 – “APOCALYPSE NOW”
I may not hold Francis Ford Coppola’s beloved 1979 war picture “Apocalypse Now” in as high regard as many do, but I do recognize some of the great moments it gives us. Maybe the most well known scene in the film comes after Martin Sheen runs into Robert Duvall’s wacky, surf-loving Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore. Kilgore leads his air calvary helicopter squadron in an attack on a Vietcong base based on nothing more than the fine surfing conditions in that area. The helicopter attack amid napalm drops and “Ride of the Valkyries” is for me the film’s most memorable scene. But it’s Coppola’s camera that makes it so good. His sweeping shots and perfectly framed chaos create one of the most visually stunning war sequences. This scene also leads to one of the most iconic film quotes in history – “I love the smell of napalm in the morning”. How could this scene not be on this list?
#1 – “28 WEEKS LATER”
Whenever I think of helicopter scenes in cinema my mind will always gravitate to the inventive, over-the-top, and down right nutty chopper sequence in “28 Weeks Later”. I won’t get into the whole “are the Rage virus victims zombies” debate, but they’re close enough for me. In the movies we’ve seen zombies killed in a variety of ways but never as they are here. I don’t want to spoil anything but let’s just say that our survivors are discovered hiding in the tall grass of a field by a huge ravenous group of snarling infected who instantly come running for them. But a friendly chopper steps in and boy does it take care of business. Pilot Harold Perrineau dips the nose of his helicopter to where his swirling blades are mere feet from the ground. You guessed it, he flies that thing right through the horde. Limbs fly, blood splatters, and heads roll in this graphic zombie/infected slaughter sequence. I still remember my first reaction when seeing it.
So there you have it. These are five phenomenal helicopter movie scenes that I love. But what about you? See something I missed? Please take time to share your favorites below.
These are all great! The 28 weeks later scene reminds me of a very similar chopper scene in Planet Terror, it’s pretty damn ridiculous and awesome!
Thanks man. The 28 Weeks Later scene was the inspiration for the list. So awesomely crazy.
Love 28 Weeks Later inclusion. I can’t really think of any others right off the bat. Isn’t there one in T2?
Yep. The liquid metal terminator drives a police motorcycle out of a window and into a chopper. He then oozes through the hole in the front glass. There’s a great one in the original Die Hard and I also considered Predator – it’s the introduction to the team.
I am so with you on the Dark Knight. Loved the chosen scenes!
Thanks! The Dark Knight is awesome isn’t it?
It is one of the best things ever, in my honest opinion!
Oh I agree. I love everything about that picture. 5 star film for me!
Most definitely. That was truly a rare masterpiece. The acting, the cinematography, the script… just stunning! Sorry, I can truly rave about it indefinitely 😛
Great picks! Can’t disagree with any of them.
Good stuff Keith but this only reminds me of the fact I still haven’t seen Apocalypse Now! Make me watch it. Please!!! 😉
Wellll, considering I’m the only person on the planet that thinks Apocalypse Now is seriously overrated, I won’t begrudge you for missing it. 😉
Ignore Keith, 😉 it’s a great movie. Don’t watch the redux version first though. Check out the original.
LOL. I think the end kills everything the rest of the film does. Well, I also hate the drawn out drunken stupor at the very first of the film. Between those two bookends is some truly great cinema.
You serious Clark?
Great list. I love a good helicopter scene. One of my favourites is from the old Sam Raimi/Liam Neeson flick, Darkman. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9wVzDytTFU
Yes!!!! I remember Darkman! I watched it over and over when it first game out. Great mention!!!
Ha-ha, that’s funny, me and my brother watched it a lot as well. 😀
First thought was Apocalypse Now, glad to see it on the list! I also remembered I Am Legend where those left behind jump on the rails with his wife on board.
Oh yes, I completely forgot about that one. That is a good scene! Thanks for the comment!
Let’s not forget the original zombie helicopter scene in Dawn of the Dead where that unfortunate zombie with no sense of his surroundings gets the top of his head sliced off.
Yep! That’s a classic! Who knows, that may have been the inspiration for 28 Weeks Later!
Great list, man! I love them all. Good pick with Apocalypse Now and 28 Weeks too! I’m a big fan of Blue Thunder myself with Roy Scheider. Nice job 🙂
Wow! Blue Thunder! Great mention bro. I forgot about that film. Haven’t seen it in years!
Thanks! Great stuff. Had some killer stunts and fantastic aerial work. No CGI – just plain and simple helicopter / flying maneuvers!
There was also the tragic one from Twilight Zone : The Movie
Yes! The one that killed Vic Morrow and a small child. A girl I think. That was very sad. Took a long time for Landis to recover from that.
Yep. That’s the one. So tragic.
Terminator 2 for me. Cooool list, choppers rule! (that is sooooo wrong!)
Me love helicopters! Another one that I thought of AFTER I wrote this up was Black Hawk Down!
of course, the title is a bit of a giveaway lol! remember Blue Thunder with Roy Schneider?
I live the BHD scene where the second chopper goes down. It’s that “oh crap, we’re screwed” moment. The moment when everything turns upside down. Great scene.
Great choices Keith but No Blackhawk Down?
LOL, I just mentioned BHD in the comments below. GREAT film!!!
Good list, die hard one is a bit controversial but I liked it 😀 Haha 28 weeks later scene is hysterical xD
I hear ya! Zombie choppy choppy! Classic!!!!!
Think that will be on World War Z? 😀
Hmmm. Good question.
Saw a helicopter crash into some zombies in the trailer so maybe 😀
Ha, good timing for this one — I just watched 28 Weeks Later for the first time a couple weeks ago. Wasn’t a huge fan of the film, but that scene was nuts. Great call there, Keith 🙂
Thank man! I quite like the movie but I can see where it opens itself to criticism. But that scene is just a hoot!!!
I’ve only seen three out of the five Keith but agree they’re great. I’d swap one of them with the one from Superman: The Movie though. The Superman-rescues-Lois chopper scene remains one of my favorite movie scenes of all time!
OH that’s a great one Ruth! Completely forgot about it. It’s a great scene no doubt!
Glad you think so! 😀
It’s funny you mention that movie. I just bought it on Blu-ray and haven’t seen it in a long time. Maybe that explains why forgot that great scene.
I actually just watched it a few days ago. My friend Ted kindly gave me his BD as he’s getting the Superman box set 😀
Well I know you enjoyed it more than I just enjoyed This Means War. Not going to be the friendliest of reviews! 😉
Cool list Keith, what about Predator? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9-GtzLljPU
Yep! I mentioned it in the comments section. The introduction to the team. It’s a good one. Ended up not making it because the chopper itself didn’t play a prominent role in the actual scene.
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Color me interested! Never seen that one.
Charles Bronson, Robert Duvall, and John Huston in a provision escape film. 70s pulp but a good helicopter story.
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