Broken Arrow
Broken arrow ver1
Theatrical poster
Directed by John Woo
Produced by Bill Badalato
Terence Chang
Mark Gordon
Written by Graham Yost
Starring John Travolta
Christian Slater
Samantha Mathis
Howie Long
Music by Hans Zimmer
Editing by Joe Hutshing
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) February 9, 1996
Running time 108 min.
Country Template:USA
Language English
Budget $55 million (estimated)
Gross revenue $150,270,147
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

Broken Arrow is a 1996 American action film directed by John Woo, written by Graham Yost, and starring John Travolta and Christian Slater. The original music score was composed by Hans Zimmer, and features the legendary guitarist, Duane Eddy. It deals with the attempted 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. The film begins with a boxing match between the two, where Hale is beaten by Deakins. During the fight, Deakins (whom Hale considers a mentor and his closest friend) tells Hale the story of the rope-a-dope, demonstrating that, when your opponent shows you one thing, he will do another. After the match, Hale gives the money bet on the match back to Deakins, saying he had stolen it from his wallet. Later, 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 nuclear weapons on board. Deakins and Hale take off from Whiteman Air Force Base in the bomber 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 during which he distracts Hale to check their starboard window. At this point, he draws his gun to shoot Hale. A struggle ensues, ending when Deakins ejects Hale. He then drops the missiles from the plane. When the airforce 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.

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

Hale survives the ejection and is found by Park Ranger Terry Carmichael (Samantha Mathis) whom, 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 it and 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; blackmailing 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 the mine via an underground river just before the bomb detonates. The bomb's EMP (Electro-magnetic pulse) 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 onboard while Deakins moves the warhead. Hale is rescued by military forces.

Hale deduces that Deakins intends to move the warhead onboard a train and sets off in a helicopter to find the train and hunt down the remaining mercenaries. Aboard the train, Hale finds Terry, who has been forced to arm the weapon by Deakins. A gunfight ensues in which most of Deakins' mercenaries are shot dead (Kelly being kicked out of the train to plummet to his death). The train is set on fire when one of the bullets hits a fuel barrel. Hale faces off against Deakins in hand-to-hand combat in the boxcar containing the warhead. Hale overcomes Deakins' superior abilities and retaliates with a flurry of blows, which stuns Deakins. Hale then leaps out of the train with the weapon's remote control and disarms it. At the same instant, a detached train car slams into the car Hale just left. 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 he had stolen from Deakins earlier. He then finds Terry and they formally introduce themselves to each other amidst the wreckage.


Box officeEdit

Broken Arrow was #1 at the box office its opening weekend grossing $15.6 million. It stayed on top for a second week and ultimately had a domestic gross of US$ 70,770,147 and an international gross of $79,500,000, for a total worldwide gross of $150,270,147[1].


As discussed in United States military nuclear incident terminology, it "initially involves an apparent Pinnacle-Broken Arrow event, as the nuclear weapons are supposedly jettisoned in an emergency, but as this is a ruse to steal the weapons, it actually depicts a Pinnacle-Empty Quiver event by the above definitions. However, the subsequent detonation of one of those weapons constituted a Pinnacle-Broken Arrow event."

External linksEdit


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