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On Wings of Eagles

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On Wings of Eagles
Country Flag of the United States.jpg USA
Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen
Release Date 1986
Main Cast
Character Actor
Lieutenant Colonel Arthur E. 'Bull' Simons Burt Lancaster
H. Ross Perot Richard Crenna
Jay Coburn Paul Le Mat
Joe Poche James Sutorius
Rashid Esai Morales
Mohammad Kabir Bedi

On Wings of Eagles is a 1986 two-part mini-series, based on real events/persons, taking place during the 1979 Iranian revolution. Two employees of American computer company EDS are falsely imprisoned by local authorities and held for ransom while the country falls into chaos.

Under the circumstances, EDS CEO Ross Perot (Richard Crenna) has no other option but to employ the services of retired Lieutenant Colonel Arthur E. 'Bull' Simons (Burt Lancaster). He devises a plan to lead a team of local EDS employees to return to Iran and free their colleagues.

While most of the movie is set in the country of Iran, it is interesting to note that it was actually shot mostly in Mexico so some of the actors and extras were Mexicans. Some of the military equipment used in the film was also provided by Mexican film studios as well as the regional police and armed forces.

The following weapons can be seen in the miniseries On Wings of Eagles:


Walther P1

Lieutenant Colonel Arthur E. 'Bull' Simons organizes a weapons training for the EDS team with the Walther P1 in preparation for rescue mission. The gun is also seen in the hands of revolutionaries in some scenes.

Walther P1 - 9x19mm
’Bull’ Simons teaches EDS employees, many of whom never had proper firearms training, to fire the Walther P1.
Joe Poche (James Sutorius) shooting the Walther P1, is the first EDS employee who manages to impress with his shooting skills.

Colt M1911A1

The Colt M1911A1 pistol can be seen during weapons training in the USA and among the weapons stock that the EDS team assembles in their Teheran safe house.

Colt M1911A1 Pistol - .45 ACP
Jay Coburn (Paul Le Mat) firing his Colt 1911A1 during the training under the watchful eye of ‘Bull’ Simons.
A Colt 1911A1 (left) can be seen among the weapons that the EDS team has assembled to rescue their colleagues.

Unidentified revolver #1

A member of the EDS team (unaccredited actor) can be seen cleaning a unidentified revolver at the Teheran safe house prior to getting into action.


Unidentified revolver #2

An Iranian revolutionary is firing an unidentified revolver when a mob storms the central prison of Teheran to free the inmates.


Submachine Guns


Several Revolutionary Guards, most prominently Mohammad (Kabir Bedi), as well as Joe Poche of the rescue team are seen with the IMI Uzi throughout the movie.

IMI Uzi with buttstock collapsed - 9x19mm
After having emptied a magazine of his Uzi on a photo of the Shah, Mohammad announces the revolutionaries’ demands to EDS staff.
Joe Poche (right) cleans his Uzi as he and his colleagues listen to the Lieutenant Colonel’s plans at the EDS safe house in Teheran.
Revolutionary Guards armed with Uzi’s checking the last plane out of Iran for EDS employees hiding among the passengers.
Lieutenant Colonel 'Bull' Simons fraternizes with an Uzi carrying revolutionary (Alberto Estrella) at the last checkpoint before the border.

Heckler & Koch MP5A2

A Heckler & Koch MP5A2 submachine gun is seen in the hands of some revolutionaries during the siege of the US embassy.

Heckler & Koch MP5A2 with original "slimline" handguard and straight "waffle"-style magazine - 9x19mm.
An MP5A2 (right) can be seen as embassy staff emerge from the vault where they were hiding.
An MP5A2 is visible when Revolutionary Guards search for two missing EDS employees among embassy staff. Notice the trigger discipline.


The M3/M3A1 “Grease Gun” with a custom barrel shroud is seen used by both revolutionaries and EDS staff alike. All shots are from the left side so it’s impossible to say if it concerns the M3 or M3A1 variant.

M3 "Grease Gun" - .45 ACP. The later model M3A1 would eliminate the crank lever for cocking the bolt, and instead used a simple hole in the bolt for the shooter to use their finger.
To the right, a revolutionary can be seen holding an M3/M3A1 as a mob storms a local prison.
An EDS staff member carries several M3/M3A1’s as the EDS plane prepares to take off for Iran.
In Teheran, an M 3/M3A1 can be seen among guns being prepared for use during the rescue attempt.

Spitfire Carbine

Revolutionaries can be seen with Spitfire Carbines with the foregrip moved somewhat to the front of the barrel as opposed to the standard model. The movie was shot in Mexico and this gun was used by Mexican police forces so these guns were probably sourced locally.

Spitfire Carbine - .45 ACP


M1 Carbine

During the storming of the central Teheran prison, the M1 Carbine can be seen in the hands of both prison guards as well as revolutionaries.

M1 Carbine - .30 Carbine
A neat row of M1 Carbines can be seen as 'Bull' Simons negotiates with prison authorities.
One of the revolutionaries making his way into the prison carries what appears to be a WWII era M1 Carbine.

Vz.24 Czech Mauser

In several scenes, revolutionaries can be seen holding bolt action rifles. With this movie being shot in Mexico, it is most logical to assume these are VZ-24 Czech Mausers used by the Mexican army in the 1930’s/40’s.

Czech Vz. 24 - 7.92x57mm Mauser

Unidentified rifle

'Bull' Simons can be seen with an unidentified rifle around his country home. Later on, it also appears in Teheran in the hands of Joe Poche who eliminates several prison guards with it.

’Bull’ Simons coming home from a hunting party, note the good view on the bolt.
A good view on the receiver of the rifle as ‘Bull’ Simons sits down on his front porch.
Joe Poche with the rifle as he gets instructions from ‘Bull’ Simons how to deal with prison guards.

Assault Rifles


The FN FAL is seen in most scenes, most notably in the hands of local EDS employee Rashid (Esai Morales). It’s standing in for the Heckler & Koch G3 that was/is the service rifle for the Iranian army.

FN FAL - 7.62x51mm NATO
Prison guards emerge from the central Teheran prison with FN FAL’s, uncertain how to deal with the growing unrest.
Rashid firing a commandeered FN FAL to get the revolutionaries’ attention in front of the prison walls.
Prison guards surrendering to the revolutionary mob, note the FAL bayonet.
A group of border guards with FN FAL’s being photographed by the EDS team.
A good view of the receiver of the FN FAL as Rashid tries to bribe a border guard into not firing at the EDS team.
Judge Dadgar (Parviz Sayyad), chasing the EDS team across Iran, commandeers a FN FAL in the final scene.

Heckler & Koch G3

In a number of scenes, Iranian government troops can be seen using the Heckler & Koch G3. As the movie was shot in Mexico, these are probably regular Mexican military staff using their G3 service rifle.

Heckler & Koch G3A3 with wide handguard - 7.62x51mm NATO.
Iranian troops (actual Mexican soldiers used as extras) marching down an avenue with their Heckler & Koch G3’s to put down a demonstration.
Iranian troops clashing with protestors, note the wide handguards.
An Iranian soldier is seen slamming a protestor over his right shoulder while at the same time still keeping his G3 in his left hand.
Original period news footage showing the typical location of the G3 bayonet, right above the barrel rather than under it like most other rifles.


Most Kurdish fighters carry the AKM as their standard side arm, most notably ‘The Large Kurd’ (Miguel Ángel Fuentes) who uses it to deadly effect on government troops.

Maadi ARM with 30-round Bakelite plastic magazine - 7.62x39mm
’The Large Kurd’ holding his AKM as he boards the jeep carrying the EDS employees.
An AKM-equipped Kurdish escort team, note that the slant compensator of the front AKM seems to have been turned upside down.
A good view of the AKM on the back of ‘The Large Kurd’ as he and Lieutenant Colonel Simons exchange farewell greetings.
An AKM on the shoulder of a Kurdish rebel as wounded fighters are recovered from the scene of a gun battle.


A Kurdish revolutionary (left in below screenshot) can be seen carrying the AK-47, rather than the AKM carried by almost all of his comrades.

Poly Technologies AK-47 - 7.62x39mm.
The rifle being carried by the revolutionary at the left of the "large Kurd".


Revolutionaries can be seen with what appears to be a XM16E1 Rifle after they have raided weapons stock of a local police station.

XM16E1 rifle with 20 round magazine - 5.56x45mm
A revolutionary waving his XM16E1 after police stocks have been raided and gun fights break out in the streets.
An angry revolutionary crowd, the XM16E1 visible on the right, makes its way to the prison to free prisoners.
A close-up of the front section of a well-worn XM16E1 as revolutionaries breach the doors of the central prison.

Machine Guns


In several scenes, the FN MAG 58 can be seen used by government troops as well as by revolutionaries.

FN MAG 58 - 7.62x51mm NATO
An FN MAG 58 equipped armoured vehicle, captured by young revolutionaries, driving through the streets of Teheran.
A prison guards firing at revolutionaries with an FN MAG 58 (left). Interestingly, he uses the carrying handle rather than the buttstock to steady the gun.

Mendoza M1934

A Mendoza M1934 LMG can be seen at the last checkpoint before the border. This movie was shot in Mexico so the gun’s rather out-of-place appearance is easily explained.

Mendoza M1934 Light Machine Gun - 7x57mm
The Mendoza M1934 mounted on the back of a truck, note the typical ‘duck-foot’ bipod and the absence of a magazine.


One of the pieces of original news footage shows a few revolutionaries carrying a tripod mounted MG3 through the streets of Teheran.

MG3 with tripod - 7.62x51mm NATO


Marlin Model 1898

The pump-action shotgun can be seen in the hands of embassy guards as well as in the weapons assembled by the EDS team at the safe house. On closer inspection, it appears to be one of the many variations of the Marlin Model 1898.

Marlin Model 1898 - 12 gauge
A guard, equipped with a short-barreled shotgun, closes an embassy gate.
A shotgun (middle) among the weapons gathered for the rescue operation of the EDS staff.

Winchester Model 1897

A Winchester Model 1897 with a pistol grip is the side arm of ‘Bull’ Simons, both during the training in the US as well as during the rescue operation in Iran. Several embassy guards can be seen with the Winchester Model 1897 defending the location against revolutionaries.

Winchester Model 1897 Riot Gun - 12 gauge
’Bull’ Simons fires his Winchester 1897 to make the team accustomed to the sound of guns shots.
The team departing from the training location, note the good view of the pistol grip on the Winchester 1897.
’Bull’ Simons checking his Winchester 1897, note the excellent view on the repeating mechanism.

Unidentified shotgun

An unidentified shotgun (resemble the Winchester Model 1912) can be seen at ‘Bull’ Simon’s house near the fireplace. It is never taken off the wall and may thus be a prop.



M20B1 "Super Bazooka"

In the days leading up to the actual revolution, a revolutionary is seen firing a M20B1 "Super Bazooka" at a government armoured vehicle.

M20B1 "Super Bazooka" - 3.5" rocket
Even though it looks quite impressive, firing a bazooka from a balcony of an apartment probably has some nasty side effects.

M1874 bayonet

The Kurdish fighter identified as ‘The Large Kurd’ carries an impressive bayonet in his belt. It can be identified as the bayonet for the Gras M80 Model 1874 rifle due to the pointed end of the scabbard, the curved handguard (to allow rifles to stand against eachother) and the wooden/brass grip.

Gras M80 Model 1874 rifle with bayonet – 11×59mm
Two images of ‘The Large Kurd’ with the bayonet. Note how especially on the right the bayonet (and the AKM) are dwarfed in comparison to his large body.

DIO LP26 flare gun

In original news footage, a revolutionary demonstrator is seen holding a DIO LP26 flare gun against a statue of the disposed Shah.


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