Broken Arrow

Broken Arrow Information

Broken Arrow is a 1996 American action film directed by John Woo, written by Graham Yost, and starring John Travolta and Christian Slater. It deals with the theft of an American nuclear weapon.


Major Vic "Deak" Deakins (John Travolta) and Captain Riley Hale (Christian Slater) are pilots in the United States Air Force. After a boxing match between the two, the pilots are assigned to a top secret exercise on a B-3 Stealth Bomber (a fictional advanced version of the actual B-2 Spirit stealth bomber) with two B-83 nuclear bombs on board. Deakins and Hale take off from Whiteman Air Force Base carrying the two live nuclear weapons on an evening exercise over Utah.

After successfully evading Air Force radar during the exercise, Deakins begins a friendly conversation to distract and shoot Hale. A struggle ensues, ending when Deakins ejects Hale. He then drops the bombs from the plane. When the air force base regains radar contact with the aircraft, Deakins reports that "Hale's lost it. I'm punching out" and ejects, leaving the plane to crash on the mountainside over the Utah canyons.

A Special Forces team is sent to recover the warheads. They do not find the warheads in the remains of the plane and report a "Broken Arrow", a situation where nuclear weapons are missing. The team later locates the warheads in a canyon, but are killed while recovering them by mercenaries including Kelly (Howie Long), a corrupt member of the recovery team. Deakins arrives moments later and plots his next move with Pritchett (Bob Gunton), the operation's financier.

Meanwhile, Hale survives the ejection and is found by Park Ranger Terry Carmichael (Samantha Mathis) who, after a brief stand-off, is convinced to help him track down Deakins and foil his plot. After recovering the weapons from a hijacked Humvee and escaping to a nearby copper mine, Hale attempts to disable them using a safety feature which would render them unusable by intentionally entering the arming code incorrectly. Deakins, however, had anticipated this scenario, and Hale inadvertently arms the warhead.

Finding himself unable to disarm the warhead, Hale decides to place the unarmed weapon deep in the abandoned mine to prevent them from being used elsewhere. Deakins arrives and secures the unarmed warhead, leaving Hale and Terry to die in the upcoming explosion. Deakins is chased by a helicopter as the mercenaries proceed with their mission to blackmail the government with the threat of detonating the warhead in a civilian area. Pritchett berates him for allowing the helicopter to give chase and Deakins, fed up with his complaining, kills Pritchett by crushing his throat with a flashlight. Hale and Terry escape from the mine via an underground river just before the bomb detonates. The bomb's EMP disables and subsequently destroys the NEST Team sent in to recover the warheads. Terry and Hale track Deakins to a motorboat to be used for transporting the remaining warhead. While trying to steal the boat, Terry is forced to hide on board while Deakins moves the warhead. Hale is rescued by military forces.

Hale deduces that Deakins intends to move the warhead on board a train and sets off in a helicopter to find the train and hunt down the remaining mercenaries. Aboard the train, Hale finds Terry, whom Deakins has tried, but failed, to threaten into arming the weapon. A gunfight ensues in which the helicopter that Hale was on now with Colonel Wilkins (Delroy Lindo) is destroyed and Wilkins and most of Deakins' mercenaries are killed. With his own helicopter sabotaged by Hale and his plan falling apart, Deakins decides to detonate the nuke early. Kelly, realizing they will have no chance to get away in time, holds Deakins at gunpoint and demands he disarm the weapon. As the train passes over a viaduct, Hale leaps into the boxcar and kicks Kelly out to his death below. Deakins, still in possession of a device that can either disarm or detonate the bomb instantly, forces Hale to drop his gun and challenges him to a hand-to-hand fight. Hale uses his greater speed to match Deakins' strength, and leaps out of the train with the weapon's remote control and disarms it. As he does so, a detached train car slams into the boxcar from behind. Due to the impact from the collision, the disarmed warhead flies into Deakins and the entire train derails in a fireball, incinerating Deakins.

Hale survives and finds a 20-dollar bill fluttering on a twig in the debris; the same 20-dollar bill Deakins had stolen from him earlier plus the nuclear warhead damaged but intact. He then finds Terry and they formally introduce themselves to each other amidst the wreckage.

Cast & Crew

  • John Travolta as USAF Major Vic "Deak" Deakins
  • Christian Slater as USAF Captain Riley Hale
  • Samantha Mathis as US Park Ranger Terry Carmichael
  • Delroy Lindo as USAF Colonel Max Wilkins
  • Frank Whaley as Giles Prentice
  • Bob Gunton as Pritchett
  • Howie Long as USAF Master Sergeant Kelly
  • Casey Biggs as Novacek
  • Shaun Toub as Max
  • Vyto Ruginis as Johnson
  • Vondie Curtis-Hall as USAF Chief Master Sergeant Sam Rhodes
  • Kurtwood Smith as Secretary of Defense Baird
  • Carmen Argenziano as USAF Brigadier General Boone
  • Jack Thompson as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Daniel von Bargen as USAF General Creely
The original music score was composed by Hans Zimmer, and features guitarist Duane Eddy. An expanded double-disc limited set of the music score was released by La-La Land Records in February 2011. Also credited for additional music are Zimmer-regulars Don L. Harper and Harry Gregson-Williams


Broken Arrow was No. 1 at the North American box office its opening weekend grossing $15.6 million. It stayed on top for a second week and ultimately had a domestic gross of $70,770,147 and an international gross of $79,500,000, for a total worldwide gross of $150,270,147.

The film received mixed reviews from critics. Based on 30 reviews collected by the film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 53 percent of critics gave Broken Arrow a positive review (16 "Fresh"; 14 "Rotten"), with an average rating of 5.9 out of 10. Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated an average score of 61, based on 21 reviews.

During his review of the film on Siskel & Ebert & the Movies, Gene Siskel changed his vote for the first and only time, initially giving the film a "thumbs up" but changing it to a "thumbs down" after hearing Roger Ebert's criticisms.

See also

  • 1996 in film
  • Cinema of the United States
  • List of American films of 1996

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Broken_Arrow_%281996_film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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