SKYDIVING MOVIES- Skydiving in popular cinema-
Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), is a rookie FBI agent and former Ohio State quarterback who, with his partner Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey), is investigating a string of bank robberies by a gang of bank robbers known as the Ex-Presidents because they wear masks of Presidents Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Pursuing a theory of Pappas' that the criminals are surfers, Utah goes undercover to infiltrate the surfing community. Knowing little of the sport and lifestyle, Utah persuades orphan surfer girl Tyler Endicott (Lori Petty) to teach him to surf.
In the process, Utah develops a complex relationship with Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) the charismatic leader of a gang of surfers, Roach (James LeGros), Grommet (Bojesse Christopher), and Nathaniel (John Philbin), who accept Utah into their midst as they realize he's a great athlete. As he masters the art of surfing, Utah finds himself increasingly attracted to the surfers' adrenaline-charged lifestyle, Bodhi's philosophies - and to Tyler.
Following a clue gotten by analyzing toxins found in the hair of one of the bank robbers, Utah and Pappas lead an FBI raid on another gang of surfers. While criminals, these surfers aren't the Ex-Presidents and the raid inadvertently ruins a DEA undercover operation.
Watching Bodhi's group surfing, Utah suspects they are the Ex-Presidents from the way one of them moons everyone as one of the robbers did leaving the bank. He tails Bodhi and his suspicions are confirmed when Bodhi and Roach case a bank. Utah and Pappas stakeout the bank and the Ex-Presidents appear, wearing masks of Presidents Reagan, Carter, Nixon and Johnson. A furious chase ensues through streets, backyards, houses, alleys, etc. Though he has a clear shot at Bodhi, Utah is unable to shoot his friend and Bodhi escapes.
Bodhi aggressively recruits him into participating in a skydiving adventure, and Utah, still not having any hard proof that Bodhi is a bank robber, goes along. After the jump, Bodhi reveals that he knows Utah is an FBI agent, and has arranged for Tyler to be held hostage by his friend Rosie, a non-surfing thug; Utah is forced to participate in their last bank robbery of the summer. The robbery goes wrong and Grommet and an off-duty cop are killed; Utah is left at the scene.
Defying their FBI supervisor who arrested Utah for participating in the bank robbery, Pappas and Utah go to the airport where Bodhi, Roach and Nathaniel are about to board a plane a plane for Mexico (where Rosie and Tyler await them). Another shoot out ensues, in which Pappas and Nathaniel are killed and Roach seriously wounded. Bodhi and Roach take off in the plane, forcing Utah to board with them. Once airborne and over their intended jump point, Bodhi and Roach put on parachutes and jump from the plane. Without any other parachutes available in the aircraft, Utah jumps out of the plane and after the pair. Utah manages to intercept Bodhi before he lands, and the two parachute to the ground with Bodhi's chute. Once on the ground, Bodhi and Rosie meet up, check on Roach (who died either in the air or on landing) and escape. Bodhi orders Rosie to release Tyler, and then the pair leave with the money.
Utah eventually catches up with Bodhi two years later at Bells Beach in Australia, where a record storm is producing huge but lethal waves, an event Bodhi had talked about experiencing. After a brutal physical altercation on the surf, Utah manages to handcuff Bodhi to his own wrist, but, through Bodhi's persuasion, releases him to go ride the once-in-a-lifetime wave which will kill him. Utah walks away, throwing his FBI badge into the ocean.
Originally, Matthew Broderick and Charlie Sheen were to star in Point Break with Ridley Scott
directing. After acquiring the screenplay, the producers of Point Break began looking for a director. At the time, executive producer James Cameron was married to director Kathryn Bigelow who had just completed Blue Steel and was looking for her next
Point Break was originally called Johnny Utah when Keanu Reeves was cast in the title
role. The studio felt that this title said very little about surfing and by the time Patrick Swayze was cast, the film had been renamed Riders on the Storm after the song by The Doors. However, Jim Morrison's lyrics had nothing to do with the film and so that title was also rejected. It was not until halfway through filming that Point Break became the film's title because of its relevance to
surfing. "Point Break" occurs as an offhand phrase in the book Tapping the Source, which was the original inspiration for this film - Preston the surf guru tells Ike the protagonist "What you need's a good point break," Preston told him. "Some kelp beds out there to cut the chop."
Reeves liked the name of his character as it reminded him of star athletes like Johnny Unitas and Joe
Montana. He described his character as a "total control freak and the ocean beats him up and challenges him. After a while everything becomes a game... He becomes as amoral as any criminal. He loses the difference between right and
wrong". Swayze felt that Bodhi was a lot like him and that they both shared "that wild-man
Two months before filming, Lori Petty, Reeves and Swayze trained with former world class professional surfer Dennis Jarvis on the Hawaiian island of
Kauai. Jarvis remembers, "Patrick said he'd been on a board a couple of times, Keanu definitely hadn't surfed before, and Lori had never been in the ocean in her
life". Shooting the surfing sequences proved to be challenging for both actors with Swayze cracking four of his ribs. For many of the surfing scenes he refused to use a stunt double as he never had one for fight scenes or car chases. He also did the skydiving scenes himself and the film's aerial jump instructor Jim Wallace found that the actor was a natural and took to it right
away. The actor ended up making 55 jumps for the film. Swayze actually based aspects of his character after one of his stunt doubles, Darrick Doerner, a top big wave
Point Break was released on July 12, 1991 in 1,615 theaters, grossing $8.5 million on its opening weekend. With a budget of $24 million, the film went on to make $43.2 million in North America and $40.3 million internationally for a worldwide total of $83.5
The film received positive to mixed reviews from critics. Roger Ebert gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote "Bigelow is an interesting director for this material. She is interested in the ways her characters live dangerously for philosophical reasons. They aren't men of action, but men of thought who choose action as a way of expressing their
beliefs". In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin praised Reeves' performance: "A lot of the snap comes, surprisingly, from Mr. Reeves, who displays considerable discipline and range. He moves easily between the buttoned-down demeanor that suits a police procedural story and the loose-jointed manner of his comic
roles". Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C+" rating and Owen Gleiberman wrote "Point Break makes those of us who don't spend our lives searching for the ultimate physical rush feel like second-class citizens. The film turns reckless athletic valor into a new form of
aristocracy". In his review for the Washington Post, Hal Hinson wrote "A lot of what Bigelow puts up on the screen bypasses the brain altogether, plugging directly into our viscera, our gut. The surfing scenes in particular are majestically powerful, even awe-inspiring. Bigelow's picture is a feast for the eyes, but we watch movies with more than our eyes. She seduces us, then asks us to be
bimbos". Rolling Stone magazine's Peter Travers wrote "Bigelow can't keep the film from drowning in a sea of surf-speak. But without her, Point Break would be no more than an excuse to ogle pretty boys in wet
suits". USA Today gave the film two out of four stars and Mike Clark wrote "Its purely visceral material (surf sounds, skydiving stunt work, a tough indoor shootout midway through) are first-rate. As for the tangibles that matter even more (script, acting, directorial control, credible relationships between characters), Break defies belief. Dramatically, it rivals the lowest surf yet this
year". Time magazine's Richard Corliss wrote "So how do you rate a stunningly made film whose plot buys so blithely into macho mysticism that it threatens to turn into an endless bummer? Looks 10, Brains
At the 1992 MTV Movie Awards, Point Break was nominated for three awards including "Most Desirable Male" (Keanu Reeves), "Most Desirable Male" (Patrick Swayze), and "Best Action Sequence" for the second jump from the plane. In it, Agent Utah jumps out of a plane without a parachute to catch Bohdi and rescue Tyler. Utah catches up with Bodhi and holds a gun to his head. However, Bodhi refuses to pull the rip cord and Utah must decide between dropping his gun (so he can hold on and pull the rip cord) or letting the two fall to the ground.
In 2006, a special edition of Point Break was released on DVD. Entertainment Weekly gave it a "B" rating and wrote "The making-of docs (at their best discussing Swayze's extracurricular skydiving — that really is him doing the Adios, amigo fall) will leave you
The film has inspired a piece of cult theater, Point Break Live!, in which the role of Johnny Utah is played by an audience member chosen by popular acclamation after a brief audition. The new "Keanu" reads all of his (or her) lines from cue-cards for the duration of the show, "to capture the rawness of a Keanu Reeves performance even from those who generally think themselves incapable of
Point Break was listed in the VH1 series I Love the 90s on the episode 1991. Many celebrities, including Dominic Monaghan, Maroon 5, Mo Rocca, Michael Ian Black, Hal Sparks & Jackass's Chris Pontius, commented about the movie and why it deserved to be included in the episode. As Hal Sparks says "We never saw Bodhi die... I smell a sequel, Point Break 2 – Paddling Out". The use of the term "Paddling Out" drew suspicions that a possible sequel could involve Bodhi "Paddling Out" to New Zealand (as reinforced by his quote in the film).
The scene in which Utah jumps after Bodhi without a parachute was ranked seventh in Empire magazine's Top 10 Crazy Action Sequences. The scene was also tested by the Discovery Channel series MythBusters. It was determined that Utah and Bodhi would not have been able to free-fall for 90 seconds (as illustrated in the movie), nor would they have been able to hold a conversation in mid-air. However, it was determined that, by streamlining his body, Utah could have conceivably caught up with Bodhi after jumping from the
plane. Entertainment Weekly ranked Point Break as having one of the "10 Best Surfing Scenes" in
Drop Zone (film)
is a 1994 action movie directed by John Badham. It stars Wesley Snipes, Gary Busey and Yancy Butler.
Aboard a commercial airliner, U.S. Marshal Pete Nessip (Wesley Snipes) and his brother Terry (Malcolm Jamal-Warner), a fellow marshal, are escorting prison inmate Earl Leedy (Michael Jeter), who is a computer wizard, to a high-security prison.
When an apparent terrorist hijack attempt blows a hole in the airplane, Terry is sucked out to his death, and the terrorists parachute out of the same hole, taking Leedy with them. A devastated Pete is blamed for overreacting to the incident, and he is forced to turn in his badge.
Pete believes that the assault may have been an elaborate prison break meant to free Leedy. But the force refuses to listen saying that the chances of sneaking a parachute through airport security and parachuting at 30,000 are impossible. Renegade skydiver and former DEA agent Ty Moncrief (Gary Busey) is the mastermind behind the attack, which culminated in the first-ever parachute jump from a commercial jet at 30,000 feet. Ty plans to use Leedy to hack into the DEA mainframe computer in Washington DC so Ty can auction off the names of undercover agents to drug cartels worldwide.
Ty has scheduled this to be accomplished during an Independence Day parachute exhibition and fireworks display, which is the one day every year when security is loosened around the airspace above Washington DC. Because skydiving played a part in the airplane hijacking, Pete finds his way to Jessie Crossman (Yancy Butler), a world-class skydiver and ex-con, whose ex-husband Jagger, unknown to all, is part of Ty's crew. Jessie agrees to train Pete how to skydive, if he will sponsor her team for the parachute exhibition.
When Jessie's parachuting friend Selkirk (Corin Nemec) is severely injured after using a faulty parachute that Ty had intended for Jessie to use, Pete is appointed to take Selkirk's place. When Jagger is found dead, tangled in some high-voltage power lines, it is obvious that his death was a murder engineered by Ty, and with Pete's help, Jessie now is seeking revenge on Ty. On the night of the Independence Day exhibition, she sneaks into Ty's parachuting plane, holding them at gunpoint in order to determine an explanation for Jagger's death. but Ty's men kick her outside and then parachute out, Jessie now managing to grab hold of the plane door bar lets go on a free fall just as Pete and the parachuting team arrive and rescues her, floating down safety to the roof of the DEA mainframe office where TY has already arrived.
Pete tries to find access to the DEA machine control room, eliminating Ty's men one by one. He breaks in and holds Leedy who has already starting the downloads, as hostage. But Ty appears who has kidnapped Jessie threatening to kill her unless Pete releases Leedy. A fight breaks out between Pete and Ty until both of them go falling out the office window. Luckily, Pete opens his emergency parachute as Ty tumbles to his death. Pete lands safely on the ground and is escorted away by paramedics, but spots Leedy wearing a DEA jacket leaving the scene, until one of the team members, Swoop, leaps from the building parachuting down onto Leedy. Pete tells Jessie that in a few years he will try jumping again.
Drop Zone was one of two skydiving action movies released in 1994; the other was Terminal Velocity. The original idea came from two professional skydivers, Tony Griffin and Guy Manos. One of the film's screenwriters, Peter Barsocchini, would later write High School Musical. Steven Seagal was originally intended to star (for a rumored $15 million).
The film bears some resemblance to the 1994 action movie Freefall, which is about a skydiving spy who uncovers a plot to expose the identities of undercover Interpol
agents. The insurance policies of Wesley Snipes and most of the cast precluded them from skydiving. However, that really is Michael Jeter doing the tandem jump.
The fact that the two main characters — Nessip (who is black) and Crossman (who is white) — are not linked romantically is contrary to Hollywood plot conventions. This might hint at the reluctance of the producers to stage an interracial romance, but the part of Crossman was originally written for a man.
The Paramount Parks (now owned by Cedar Fair) featured drop tower amusement rides called Drop Zone: Stunt Tower, which were based on the movie. The attractions are now named Drop Tower: Scream Zone.
The musical sting that plays when Swoop's races to help the stricken skydiver has been frequently used in movie trailers, most notably The Mask of Zorro and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (incidentally, a track from this film bears a strong resemblance with the one for Drop Zone). It is a thirty second excerpt from "Too Many Notes-Not Enough Rest" by Hans Zimmer, available on the soundtrack album.
The green C-47 used in the skydiving scenes is currently on display at the Valiant Air Command air museum in Titusville, Florida.
The Gypsy Moths
The Gypsy Moths is a 1969 American film starring Burt Lancaster, based on the novel of the same name by James Drought. It is the story of three barnstorming skydivers and their effect on a midwestern American town. At the time, the sport of skydiving was in its infancy.
The movie also features Gene Hackman (fresh from his role in Bonnie and Clyde) and Deborah Kerr renewing her association with Lancaster from their previous work in From Here to Eternity and Separate Tables. The movie focuses on the differences in values between the town folk and the hard living skydivers and features Deborah Kerr's only nude love scene in her movie
The director, John Frankenheimer, expressed his anguish and disappointment at the critical reception of this piece and subsequent narrow release in the United States. The film was widely seen in Australia and the local skydiving fraternity there were quick to seize the opportunity to promote their sport.
Elmer Bernstein composed the score.Additional cast
Carl Boenish, aerial cinematographer
Terminal Velocity (film)
Terminal Velocity is a 1994 action movie starring Charlie Sheen as a daredevil skydiver who becomes mixed up with Russian spies. It was written by David Twohy and directed by Deran Sarafian. Originally, Sheen's role was written for Tom Cruise, although William Baldwin was also considered. The script itself sold for US $500,000. The musical score was composed by Joel McNeely.
A Boeing 747 lands in the middle of a desert. A young Russian woman is tortured by getting dunked in the aquarium of her apartment until she drowns dreadfully. Skydiving instructor Richard 'Ditch' Brodie (Charlie Sheen) takes on a new client, Chris Morrow (Nastassja Kinski), who on her first jump doesn't open her parachute and apparently dies.
Brodie discovers that Morrow faked her death and that she is really a Russian spy trying to recover a shipment of gold. Brodie uses all of his skydiving skills to outwit the villains and to stay alive.
The final stunt - with Sheen at the wheel of a Cadillac Allanté falling to earth - was a mixture of bluescreen and camera work, as a real car was suspended beneath a helicopter and then a reverse zoom made it seem as if it were in free-fall.