Rotary Action logo by Mike Pepper utility helicopter A GUIDE TO HELICOPTERS  
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I Am Legend (2007) - this action-packed sci-fi monster-movie (technically a remake of The Last Man On Earth, and The Omega Man, but the first adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1954 novel to re-use the book's title), includes one flashback sequence with helicopters.

At the Brooklyn bridge, there is a Black Hawk landing at the film-set's pier, and a US Coast Guard HH-65 'Dolphin' that apparently crashes on takeoff (the crash is only implied, as it happens off-screen) when it's hit in mid-air by a New York police helicopter (a Eurocopter EC-120 Colibri). The EC-120 goes spinning out of control, with hangers-on falling off the landing skids, as it evacuates from a riverside heli-pad.

In the post-holocaust scenes, a high-angle view reveals some helicopter wreckage (a Bell 206) on a damaged rooftop.

I believe the paint scheme of the EC-120 that crashes into the Coast Guard HH-65C Dolphin was actually that of well-known New York tour company Liberty Helicopters (rather than being a New York police helicopter). - ALEX YOUNGS
EC-120 helicopter in I Am Legend

Coast Guard helicopter in I Am Legend

Iceman (1984) - this SF drama is notable for its blurry images of a helicopter, which a thawed-out caveman (John Lone) mistakes for the bird-god he worships, and he believes will carry him away into sky.

Iceman (2014) - this martial arts fantasy-comedy features a pair of Hong Kong police AS-355 TwinStars flying over the bridge where the finale's kung fu fighting happens. The hovering helicopter's marksman shoots darts at the hero.

Ice Soldiers (2013) - in this sci-fi action movie, a Sikorsky H-5 (S-51) takes off in the CGI background of an early 1960s scene in the arctic camp.

In the present day, there's a Bell 429 GlobalRanger (also probably CGI) from an oil company, landing at the northern site, and it departs just as a Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane arrives hauling a cargo container to the polar base.

Sleeve artwork for the DVD/ blu-ray release features Bell 205 'Huey' type helicopters (as pictured on right), which do not appear in the movie.
Ice Soldiers artwork

Bell 429 in Ice Soldiers

Seasprite helicopter in Ice Station Zebra
Ice Station Zebra (1968) - this Cold War drama features a Kaman SH-2 Seasprite (US Navy UH-2B) flying to rendezvous with the nuclear submarine at sea, where the helicopter uses its winch to lower a couple of passengers (including a Russian) down onto the surface-cruising boat.

Ice Station Zebra helicopter

Inception (2010) - this sci-fi action movie about dreams within dream worlds, features a white Eurocopter EC 135-T2, flown from a rooftop helipad across a city in Japan to an airport.

The Incredible Hulk (2008) - in this follow-up to Ang Lee's magnificent Hulk, the Marvel hero's franchise gets a reboot with a new cast and re-written origin story, and different military hardware appears in this film. Bell 205 'Huey' types are used for transport when army commandos make an effort to capture lone scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton).

On the campus, General Ross (William Hurt) calls up air support from just one AH-64D gunship (all CGI work), which attacks the Hulk, and the Apache is wrecked by thrown debris, so it plummets to the ground as detached rotors pinwheel overhead and the helicopter crashes and explodes while Hulk shields heroine Betty (Liv Tyler) from the fiery blast.

While the villainous Abomination rampages through New York streets, Banner drops from the rear loading-ramp of a Sikorsky (S-80E) CH-53E Super Stallion.

In later scenes, this helicopter shoots at the super-villain and whirls around just above Harlem rooftops as both Abomination and Hulk struggle while hanging from the chopper's underside. When the crashed Super Stallion leaks fuel and catches fire, threatening the heroine, Hulk blows out the flames with shockwave from a thundering hand-clap.

Bell 205 in The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988) - in this TV movie, Bill Bixby's scientist hero turns into bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno's green-skinned giant again, and meets the Norse thunder god Thor but, even working together, the heroes' muscle power fails to prevent the bad guys - gunmen, shooting darts, who kidnap a lady scientist - from escaping in a sheriff's helicopter (a Bell 206L LongRanger).

Skycrane welcome wagon from Independence Day

Independence Day (1996) - in this blockbuster sci-fi adventure, there's a Bell 204 helicopter, and a Sikorsky S-64 sky-crane that's fitted with an array of flashing lights to communicate with the alien spaceships that menace planet Earth.   [Thanks to Bill Hiers for these 3 pictures.]

President 'Lone Star' (Bill Pullman) escapes from Washington aboard a Sikorsky S-61L, just before the invading aliens nuke the White House. Another helicopter, presumably carrying his staff, is destroyed by spillover from the fried White House. - NATHAN DECKER

In addition to the 'welcome wagon' choppers, and the presidential ones (some note ought to be made, I think, that the scene in which the second of these tries to takeoff as the White House is exploding is one of the most iconic shots ever), there's also the small helicopter that the First Lady uses, and is later found crashed, when trying to leave L.A. Will Smith swipes a Huey to go looking for his missing girlfriend. - BILL HIERS

Presidential helicopters leave the White House helicopters destroyed in White House demolition

Indio (1989) - in this jungle adventure, Francesco Quinn sets a trap for a Bell 206 JetRanger.

He lures it into flying pursuit of him, across the ground, and then with a slash of the machete he releases a tall tree that had been drawn to the ground. The tree springs up, slams into the helicopter, and brings it down.

(Thanks to PAUL HIGSON for info.)
Indio helicopter stunt


S-55 helicopter, In Like Flint

Inspector Gadget (1999) - Disney's live action version of the popular cartoon show gives us Matthew Broderick as the titular cyborg law-enforcer who, among other built-in contraptions, has rotor blades (computer animation, of course) emerge from his hat so that he can fly around the city.

In addition to Gadget's copter function: a Eurocopter AS-350 A-Star appears as a TV news helicopter very briefly.

At the end, the evil Dr Claw attempts to get away in a black AS-355 TwinStar, but it crashes. Both Claw and his pet cat parachute to safety, though. - BILL HIERS
airborne cop Inspector Gadget

TwinStar helicopter in Inspector Gadget
Inspector Gadget helicopter stunt

A-109 helicopter in Interceptor
Interceptor (1989-90) - "a game show made by the same people who produced Treasure Hunt, this British TV programme's contestants had to work out clues and find a 'target', while they were chased by the 'Interceptor' armed with a laser-tag 'gun'. The airborne transport is an Agusta A-109." - JEREMY HUNT

The Interceptor (aka: Zapreshchennaya realnost, 2009) - this Russian sci-fi actioner has a pair of Hind gunships (all CGI work), flying towards a target building in climactic scenes. One crashes into the other, and both helicopters are destroyed in midair, when a writhing mass of giant alien tentacles launch their pre-emptive anti-aircraft strike.

The Interview (2014) - this lame American comedy, about an assassination plot, features a Sikorsky S-61N-1 Silver, in (extremely unlikely!) North Korean military markings, that first appears in rural China, where soldiers meet a US TV producer.

In the climactic battle during the heroes' escape, another version of this big helicopter appears, in gunship mode (with stub wings and rockets), shooting at a hijacked tank.

There is a slow-motion sequence with special effects where a shell from the tank shoots down the S-61, resulting in a crash 'n' burn finale.

Sikorsky helicopter, Intimate Enemies Intimate Enemies (aka: L'Ennemi intime, 2007) - a war story directed by Florent Emilio Siri, this drama about French soldiers in Algeria, features a battered Sikorsky H-34 (S-58), used for the film's medevac and troop-carrying scenes, and there's one brief shot of a Piasecki (Boeing Vertol) H-21B Workhorse.

Into The Sun (2004) - in this film's pre-titles sequence, a US paramilitary 'black ops' team (led by Steven Seagal's hero), caught up in a 'Golden Triangle' firefight, are saved from death by the timely arrival of their Bell Twin Huey gunship, which is defended by its side-mounted machine-gun during the special forces' medevac flight.

Invader (aka: Naked Robot 4½, 1992) - a low budget SF action thriller, about UFOs causing a USAF stealth plane to crash on its test flight, this features helicopter action (only miniature work, though) with special effects created by producer John R. Ellis.
John Ellis with model helicopter

Invasion U.S.A. (1985) - this action movie starring Chuck Norris features a Hughes 300 fitted with a loudhailer warning citizens to stay indoors, and other helicopters drop leaflets to inform the public of a military curfew. The bad guys have a Bell Huey to land their gunmen on the roof of a government office building, but our hero uses a grenade launcher to destroy the chopper. Finally, three gunships hover above the climactic street battle, and one chopper shoots at a group of terrorists.

The Invisible (2007) - in this ghost-story movie, a red Eurocopter AS-350 police rescue helicopter takes off from the search location in the woods.

The Invisible Man (1975-6) - this short-lived TV sci-fi series stars David McCallum. Episode The Klae Legacy features a Bell 206 JetRanger air-taxi used by one of the corporate owners. The chopper is also used by kidnappers (it's an inside job) as their getaway vehicle. Episode Sight Unseen has stock footage of a Bell 206 police helicopter flying on patrol.

helicopter in TV series Invisible Worlds
Richard Hammond's Invisible Worlds (2010) - this is a science documentary TV series in three episodes.

Speed Limits has a Robinson R-44 take-off demo that explains how a helicopter works.

Out Of Sight includes an MD 500E doing airborne maintenance of overhead power cables, and shows how an A-Star helicopter is used by fire-fighters on patrol searching for forest fires.

Iron Eagle (1986) - this first movie in the USAF action series, created by director Sidney J. Furie, is about an unofficial but heroic rescue mission. The featured rotor-craft are Bell AH-1 Cobra helicopters.
Cobra gunships in Iron Eagle

Iron Eagle 4 helicopter
Iron Eagle IV (1995) - this sequel features a Bell 206-L used as flying taxi service by a USAF officer, but when the LongRanger is used as a getaway vehicle, it is blown up in mid-air by the enemy's jet-fighter plane.

Bell LongRanger in Iron Eagle 4
exploding helicopter in Iron Eagle 4

The movie also has a row of Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopters seen in the hanger at an airbase.
Bell helicopters in Iron Eagle 4

Iron Man (2008) - this superhero action movie features a couple of Sikorsky MH-60A Black Hawk choppers, which find Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) alone in the desert, after he escapes from the Afghan camp.
Black Hawk in Iron Man


helicopters attack in Iron Man 3

Ishtar (1987) - this comedy adventure features a Bolkow MBB-105D, first seen landing at the emir's palace, and later used by CIA agents to search the Moroccan desert for a pair of Americans mistaken for spies. Upon finding the unwitting heroes (Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman), the airborne gunman shoots at them.

They return fire and the helicopter is forced to retreat, until the CIA send in a gunship (a Bell 222) which fires rockets, but our heroes are promptly joined by a revolutionary leader (Isabelle Adjani) armed with automatic weapons and, in the ensuing defensive firefight, the air strike is called off.
Bolkow in Ishtar

The Island (1980) - a charmingly ludicrous but quite entertaining adventure thriller adapted by Peter Benchley from his novel about nasty pirates in the Caribbean. After the climactic massacre of all the baddies by stalwart hero (Michael Caine), a US Coast Guard helicopter (a Sikorsky S-62) discovers the Coast Guard ship, but the chopper is unable to land on the vessel because there are bodies strewn all over the flight deck.

 THE  ISLAND  (2005)

EC 120B in The Island

Island Of Greed (1997) - an impressive gangster thriller set in Taiwan and directed by Michael Mak, this action drama sees a political bigwig thrown out of a helicopter with a noose around his neck. In the spectacular finale, the heroic cop's gunship attacks an escaping convoy of triad gangsters and, even though the helicopter is shot down, the bad guy still gets beaten.

Westland Whirlwind in Island of Terror
helicopter visits rural island

Island of Terror (1966) - "in this British sci-fi horror, doctor-heroes travel in a helicopter (a Westland Whirlwind, UK version of the Sikorsky S-55) to a besieged island to solve a problem involving bone-sucking monsters. At the end of the movie, the chopper returns for the scientists, the pilot having missed all the fun." - BILL HIERS

The Italian Job remake
Hughes vs Cooper

The Italian Job (2003) - Hollywood's remake of the British adventure movie relocates most of the car chase action to Los Angeles, but keeps the iconic Mini Coopers and traffic gridlock choas that were essential to the gold thieves' getaway plan in the original 1969 caper.

During the climax of this crime thriller, top badguy (Edward Norton) uses a McDonnell Douglas 500E helicopter to follow the street route of an armoured van that's carrying his stolen bullion and, after the gang's clever daylight robbery, also pursues hero driver (Mark Wahlberg) into a coach depot, flying inside the building and forcing the Mini car into a corner.


It Came From Beneath The Sea helicopter

It Came From Outer Space helicopter
copter landing in It Came From Outer Space

Bell 47D in It Came From Outer Space
It Came From Outer Space (1953) - "in this alien invasion B-movie classic, we see an extremely rare Bell 47D, with an open roadster cockpit and landing wheels instead of skids.

The movie was filmed in fabulous 3-D (with coloured glasses handed out in theatres) and, in one scene, the Bell descends towards the camera - and you, the viewer - until it fills the entire screen." - NATHAN DECKER

helicopter in It Came From Outer Space

It Happpened One Night autogyro
It Happened One Night (1934) - in this Oscar-winning romantic comedy directed by Frank Capra, an autogyro (a Kellett K-3) lands at a wedding to deliver the groom, but the bride (Claudette Colbert) is a runaway.

This was one of the earliest flying appearances of an actual rotary aircraft in a feature-length movie.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) - "in this comedy treasure-hunt movie by Stanley Kramer, we see a sheriff department's Bell 47G helicopter chasing Mickey Rooney and Buddy Hackett in a light plane." - NATHAN DECKER