Synopsis by Don Kaye
Based on a true story, Bat 21 follows the harrowing adventures of Lt. Colonel Iceal Hambleton (Gene Hackman), whose plane is shot down over enemy territory while on reconnaissance behind enemy lines in Vietnam. Because Hambleton used to call the shots from behind a desk, he lacks combat survival experience and is forced to adapt while the enemy surrounds him on all sides. As the Air Force plans a risky rescue mission, he is befriended by pilot Bartholomew Clark (Danny Glover), who can't land to pick up Hambleton due to the enemy activity but keeps him company by radio. Hambleton's plight takes a turn for the worse once the brass decide to execute an intensive bombing mission in the area, whether or not they can rescue Hambleton. The colonel, meanwhile, confronted for the first time by the horrors of war, begins to reassess his role in the bloodshed. An overlooked film at the time of its release, Bat 21 is a smaller war picture that focuses on an ordinary man in an excruciating situation, and how it ultimately changes his life.
military-leader, war, against-all-odds, behind-enemy-lines, crash, friendship, mission [quest], POW/MIA, rescue, secrets, survivor