Forget Airwolf and Stringfellow Hawke, forget Mash and those lovely old Bell 47’s, this is the only helicopter movie you’ll ever need to watch.
Dangerous Encounter was made in 1982 and starred Larry Hagman as an ex-military helicopter pilot, living across the border in Mexico. He’s tracked down by his old flame played by Susan Anspach. Hang on, why on earth am I explaining the story to you? Forget the story, it’s ever so slightly corny. Forget the 1980’s synthesizer music too. Just watch the helicopter sequences, the film is full of them. One sequence after another of Hagman’s Hughes 500 being pursued by a combination of Lamas and a Gazelle. I don’t know how long the YouTube version below will remain online, so take the chance to view it now.
Shot before CGI, certainly before health and safety, risk assessments and insurance companies, it has sequences of helicopters flying through buildings, under very low bridges and chasing each other, Jason Bourne car chase style, down town centre streets with people standing on the pavement watching them fly by.
The greatest thing for me is that there’s absolutely no way anyone can just shrug their shoulders and utter the letters, “CGI” as so often happens these days. OK, so some sequences are a little far fetched, but a lot of it is very accurate, with most engine noises, sequences of startups and so forth obviously directed by someone who knew about flying turbine helicopters.
Apparently, Hagman was in the cockpit for most of the flying sequences, including through the buildings and bear in mind they won’t have nailed it first take. He only found out later how dangerous it was. These days, the film is almost unobtainable and VHS copies change hands on eBay for significant sums. I promise you, if you’re into helicopters, this isn’t a waste of ninety minutes.