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Flight of the Intruder
Flight of the Intruder is a 1991 Vietnam War film which was an adaptation of a Stephen Coonts novel and starred Brad Johnson, Danny Glover, and Willem Dafoe as US naval aviators serving aboard the aircraft carrier USS Independence during the height of the conflict. These aviators fly the A-6A Intruder, a carrier-based strike aircraft that carried offensive missiles and bombs but was not outfitted with defensive guns. The film was directed by John Milius, best known for helming such notable war films such as The Wind and the Lion and Red Dawn, as well as being the screenwriter of Apocalypse Now and Magnum Force. Despite being a high octane action film with outstanding aerial combat sequences and excellent special effects by ILM, Flight of the Intruder suffered greatly from being released during the height of the real life ground war in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. With assistance from the US Department of Defense, the film also was one of only a few to feature actual A-6 Intruders in carrier flight operations. Several scenes from this film would also be reused in such war films as We Were Soldiers and Charlie Wilson's War, as well in the television show JAG.
The following weapons were used in the film Flight of the Intruder:
Rifles / Carbines
Near the start of the film where a peasant in a rice paddy takes a pot shot at the A-6 Intruder piloted by Lieutenant Jake "Cool Hand" Grafton (Brad Johnson) and his Bombardier/Navigator LT Morgan "Morg" McPhearson (Christopher Rich) with a French-made Berthier bolt-action rifle (possibly either the Model 1907-15 or the Model 1907-16 rifles). "Morg" was fatally wounded by the shot and was bleeding to death by the time the two returned to their carrier. It should be noted that French-made infantry rifles like the Berthier series rifles and the MAS-36 were commonly encountered in Indochina during the time of the Vietnam War due to many of these weapons being left behind by French forces after the French Indochina War (1945-1954).
SKS Rifle / Type 56 Carbine
The SKS rifle is seen commonly mixed in with AK-47 variants amongst the enemy troops at the end of the film. Due to the fact that they all appear to have the Chinese style 'pig sticker' spike bayonet, they should officially be called "Type 56 Carbines" (the name for the Chinese SKS).
AK-47s were used by NVA soldiers throughout the film. We never see any truly good closeups of the guns, however, they look to be Poly Tech Legends and not Norinco Type 56 rifles.
In some shots, the rifles appear to be the Hudson AK-47 replica (a Japanese metal replica gun) that is commonly used in films for non-firing scenes.
Long-Barreled AK variant
During one of the interior sound stage "effects" shots on a blue screen, we see a long-barreled AK variant with a strange flash hider. Since most of the interior blue screen shots (they still used blue screen for film at the time, whereas nowadays digital compositors prefer green screens) did not employ actual firing guns, this mockup is probably firing acetylene gas to simulate gunfire.
During Morg's funeral, a Marine Corps honor guard can be seen bearing M14 Rifles fitted with M6 bayonets, with the magazines removed.
Mosin Nagant M91/30 Sniper Rifle
Near the end of the film, an NVA sniper (Dr. Akio Mitamura) can be seen using a sniper version of the Mosin Nagant, chasing after the protagonists as they're trying to flee from the combat zone after being shot down, in order to be rescued by helicopter.
An M1911 appears in the film as the sidearm of Lieutenant Commander Virgil "Tiger" Cole (Willem Dafoe) during the film. He can be seen cleaning it when discussing the 'Sam City' mission with "Cool Hand" (Brad Johnson). It is a Government-Issued M1911, not the M1911A1, as it has the straight backstrap and no relief cuts around the trigger guard on the frame.
Colt Mark IV Series 70
Virgil "Tiger" Cole (Willem Dafoe) has a blued Colt MK IV Series 70 when he is shot down over enemy territory. His Series 70 pistol has the same diamond grips he had on the M1911 on the ship.
The only instances where actual M1911A1s appear are in the holsters of the Marines who escort Cole and Grafton to their court martial, however, these pistols are always holstered (so it is only a guess that they are indeed M1911A1 pistols) and later in the hands of CMDR Camparelli as his survival sidearm. Camparelli uses the M1911A1 to kill a Pathet Lao soldier and the gun is later used by Grafton to take out an NVA sniper.
Smith & Wesson Model 12
LT Grafton (Brad Johnson) carries a K-Frame 6 shot Smith & Wesson Model 12 "Airweight" Snub-nose revolver. The Model 12 was built between 1953 to 1986 and had an alloy frame, designed for pilots. It is basically an alloy frame Model 10 snub revolver. It is distinguishable from the Model 36 or USAF M-13 because it is a 6 shot revolver as opposed to a 5 shot. The actor Brad Johnson also has large hands, so a J-frame revolver would look much smaller in his grip.
Smith & Wesson Model 36
Lieutenant Junior Grade Jack 'Razor' Barlow (Jared Chandler) is seen preparing for Operation Linebacker II, and loading his small J-Framed revolver. It appears to be a 5 shot Smith & Wesson Model 36.
Near the end of the film, an HH-3 "Jolly Green" rescue helicopter sent to airlift "Cool Hand" and Commander Frank "Dooke" Camparelli (Danny Glover) can be seen armed with an M60 machine gun for the door gunner, though the choppers relied mostly on the A-1 Skyraider, commonly called "Sandy", ground attack planes to clear out most of the enemy ground fire for them.
There are several appearances in the film of Browning M2HB heavy machine guns, erroneously shown being used by North Vietnamese forces as anti-aircraft weapons when in reality they'd be using DShK heavy machine guns instead. M2HB's also appear in a quad mount used as the main armament of a faux ZSU-23-4 anti-aircraft vehicle instead of the real vehicle's quad 23mm autocannons.
Hispano-Suiza HS.404 (fake)
The M2 autocannon, the American license-built version of the Hispano-Suiza HS.404 appears in the film as the gun armament of US Air Force A-1H "Sandy" ground-attack planes that are called in to clear out Vietnamese forces in order for search & rescue choppers to safely rescue the protagonists near the end of the film. Since all A-1s were out of military service during filming, the two Skyraiders seen in the film are unarmed warbirds. Mocked-up barrels are seen in certain shots, but not in others.
Since FAA regulations forbid mounting weapons on civilian aircraft, any weapons on seen on the civilian-owned warbirds are mock-ups. The mocked-up barrels are only seen in certain scenes, however, and the A-1s are clearly unarmed in certain shots.
Seen briefly, an NVA soldier carries an RPG-7 while riding in a troop truck. Though the RPG-2 was much more commonly used by the NVA (known as the B-40 rocket), the RPG-7 is not impossible, considering that the events occur in 1972.
Mocked up Soviet ZSU-23-4 Mobile AA gun
Seen during the final bombing mission is the excellent mocked up ZSU-23-4 Mobile AA gun originally mocked up from an M8A1 Cargo Tractor chassis for the film Red Dawn, also directed by John Milius. However, it makes one wonder what the cost was of shipping it from Newhall, California to the island of Kauai, HI. This ZSU is armed with quad Browning M2HB heavy machine guns for its main armament (note the guns in the Red Dawn ZSU were different as they were mockups that never fired). This ZSU does fire its Browning M2HB machine guns at the oncoming American planes. It should also be noted the ZSU-23-4 is an anachronism as the system did not enter into Vietnamese service until 1975, well after the period in which the movie takes place.
Miniature Fake ZSU-23-4 Gun
In the studio soundstage shots, we see a lot of excellent, but obvious miniature models. One of the models seen firing "acetylene flashes" to simulate AA fire is a miniature model of the ZSU-23-4.