This week’s Phenomenal 5 list has been rolling around in the back of my mind for a long time. I’ve attempted to put it together on many occasions but I was never able to narrow it down to just five. With “Captain Phillips” hitting the theaters the time is perfect. So today we’re looking at five phenomenal movie rescues. I can’t tell you how long the list was of movies I wanted to include. Narrowing it down to 10 was a chore – 5 was almost impossible. There have been so many great rescues throughout the history of cinema. So considering that, I would never call this the definitive list. But I will say without hesitation that these five movie rescues are certainly phenomenal.
#5 – “BLACK HAWK DOWN”
It started as a quick snatch-and-go operation in Somalia. Delta Force and Ranger units are dispatched to capture the top advisers to the brutal warlord Aidid. But one small mishap sends the mission into chaos. Soldiers get separated and two Black Hawk choppers get shot down in the middle of the occupied city. Under the mantra “No one gets left behind”, the soldiers who made it out head right back into the danger to save their comrades. Heroism, sacrifice, and loss follow in some of the grittiest and most believable combat ever put on film. This is a Ridley Scott masterpiece and a great movie rescue.
#4 – “TAXI DRIVER”
This certainly wouldn’t qualify as the most traditional inclusion on this list, but Travis Bickle’s rescue of young Iris from the clutches of a dirty pimp is certainly a memorable one. Bickle clearly isn’t the most stable of heroes and his motivations may be cloudy at best, but his actions definitely made a huge impact on Iris’ life. Violent, startling, and unforgettable, “Taxi Driver” features one of the most well known endings in cinema delivered from the great Martin Scorsese. It’s also a great rescue that I had to include on this list.
#3 – “THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS”
I can honestly say that Michael Mann’s “The Last of the Mohicans” is one of my all time favorite movies. It’s a brilliant adaptation featuring fantastic action, a great love story, beautiful locations and music, and yes even a great movie rescue. [SPOILER] The film’s amazing finale takes place high on the cliffs of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With the captive Alice Munro being escorted by the evil Huron Magua to his village, a headfirst rescue attempt by Uncas doesn’t go well. But his father isn’t far behind and the final showdown in this tragic ending is unforgettable. There are so many great things about this film and the big rescue attempt at the end is near the top of that list.
#2 – “ARGO”
Ben Affleck’s Oscar winning “Argo” is an entire movie centered around one amazing and daring rescue attempt. It follows the incredible rescue of six United States diplomats trapped inside a hostile Tehran, Iran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. It moves through the planning and eventual edge-of-your-seat execution of this seemingly absurd plan. “Argo” is filled to the brim with tension and suspense. It’s such a phenomenal true story and watching it all under Affleck’s skillful direction is pure joy. It’s a great movie and a great movie rescue.
#1 – “RETURN OF THE JEDI”
Hopefully my position as a full-fledged Star Wars geek won’t disqualify this choice in some readers eyes. I say that because even without my bias, the rescue of Han Solo from Jabba’s lair is one of the greatest movie rescues of all time. I love that whole sequence. The film opens with Luke, Leia and company carrying out their plan to rescue their captive friend on Tatooine. It involves infiltration, a bit of trickery, and then an escape. But things go wrong leading to their capture. Things play out and soon we’re outside with Han, Luke, and Chewie about to be executed via the Sarlacc Pit. A fantastic battle breaks out featuring light sabers, lasers, and even Boba Fett. It’s one of my favorite Star Wars action scenes and it’s a phenomenal movie rescue.
So there a five of the best movie rescues. There are so many out there that I could include. I can’t wait to read who you would have included. Please share your favorites in the comments below.