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|Les Chevaliers du ciel|
French theatrical poster
|Directed by||Gérard Pirès|
|Produced by||Eric Altmeyer
|Written by||Gilles Malençon|
|Based on||Tanguy et Laverdure
by Jean-Michel Charlier
|Running time||102 minutes|
Les Chevaliers du ciel (English: Sky Fighters) is a 2005 French film directed by Gérard Pirès about two air force pilots preventing a terrorist attack on the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris. It is based on Tanguy et Laverdure, a comics series by Jean-Michel Charlier and Albert Uderzo – of Astérix fame, which was also made into a hugely successful TV series from 1967 to 1969 making Tanguy and Laverdure, the two main heroes, part of popular Francophone culture.
The film starts out at the Farnborough Airshow where a demo Mirage 2000-10 is stolen. Captains Antoine Walk'in Marchelli (Benoît Magimel) and Sébastien Fahrenheit Vallois (Clovis Cornillac) are instructed to escort it back. They find the rogue Mirage flying stealthy under a Qatar Airways Airbus A340. They get the order to abort when the rogue Mirage is about to fire on Fahrenheit. Walk'in is forced to shoot the demo Mirage down when it is about to fire a R550 Magic missile at his wingman, disobeying an order which results in Marchelli being kicked out of the air force. Vallois resigns when informed by Marchelli.
They get a promise to be reinstated if they fly a Cannonball race ("cannonball run", i.e. "sprint" or "dash") over hostile territory to the Horn of Africa for Special Missions to help sell the Mirage to an Asian customer. Its competition consists of an F-16.
During the race, their tanker does not show up for in-flight refueling because terrorists have killed the crew. This forces the Mirages to land in hostile territory where their aircraft are taken. Walk'in and Fahrenheit manage to escape with one of the planes and destroy another, one plane however remains in the hands of the terrorists.
The terrorists plan to shoot down a tanker over Paris during the Bastille Day celebrations but 'Walk'in and Fahrenheit intercept the rogue Mirage and shoot it down over an unpopulated area.
Les Chevaliers du Ciel was filmed in co-operation with the French Air Force. Initially the standard safety rules applied, but eventually the minimum allowed altitude was reduced to 3 m (10 ft) and the minimum distance between aircraft was reduced to 1 m (3 ft). The filming of these flight sequences seen in the film were mainly done from the air, as opposed to Top Gun where most of the filming was done from the ground.
To achieve this, one of the Mirage's external fuel tanks was modified to fit a camera. A HD camera was considered for this purpose, but it did not fit in the fuel pod. Tracking shots were done from a hired Lear Jet.
Additionally, jet aircraft are not allowed to fly over Paris. As a result of this, all the Paris filming had to be done on the actual Bastille Day (14 July) for which the filming crew got special permission.
- Maiden flight: April 27, 1991
- Model: 1 seat
- Maximum speed: Mach 2.2
as a commercial aircraft (Qatar Airways)
as tanker aircraft
as UN transport aircraft.
flown by Walk'in to drop sky divers.
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