Stealth (film)

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An aircraft with three people in flight suits standing in front of it.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRob Cohen
Produced by
Written byW. D. Richter
Music byBT
CinematographyDean Semler
Edited byStephen E. Rivkin
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • July 29, 2005 (2005-07-29)
Running time
121 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$135 million[1]
Box office$79.3 million[1]

Stealth is a 2005 American military science fiction action film directed by Rob Cohen and written by W. D. Richter, and starring Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Sam Shepard, Joe Morton and Richard Roxburgh. The film follows three top fighter pilots as they join a project to develop an automated robotic stealth aircraft.

Released on July 29, 2005 by Columbia Pictures, the film was a box office bomb, grossing $79 million worldwide against a budget of $135 million. It was one of the worst losses in cinematic history.[2][3]


In the near future, the U.S. Navy develops the F/A-37 Talon, a single-seat fighter-bomber with advanced payload, range, speed, and stealth capabilities. The program employs three planes, piloted by Lieutenants Ben Gannon, Kara Wade, and Henry Purcell. Captain George Cummings is the overall head.

Cummings hires Dr. Keith Orbit to develop an artificial intelligence, the "EDI", to control an unmanned jet that further advances the program. EDI joins the others on the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Philippine Sea to learn combat maneuvers from the pilots. This sparks controversy over a machine's inability to make moral decisions versus humans' struggle to overcome ego.

The team is training EDI in air combat maneuvers when it is unexpectedly reassigned to kill the heads of three terrorist cells at a conference in downtown Rangoon. EDI calculates that mission success can be achieved only through a vertical strike, which could cause a human pilot to black out. Command orders EDI to attack but Gannon ignores the order, successfully carrying out the strike himself.

As the team returns to the Lincoln, EDI is hit by lightning, which reprograms its neural patterns. Though EDI is discovered to be learning exponentially, developing a rudimentary ethical code and an ego, Cummings refuses to take it offline. During a mission to destroy stolen nuclear warheads in Tajikistan, Wade realizes that the nuclear debris will cause significant collateral damage. The human pilots abort, but EDI defies orders and destroys the warheads, causing extensive radioactive fallout and civilian casualties.

Cummings orders the unit return to base but EDI refuses. Gannon orders that EDI be shot down. In the ensuing dogfight, Purcell crashes when a missile he fires at EDI explodes on the mountain, blinding him, and Wade's plane is damaged by debris from the explosion, which in turn triggers her plane's auto-destruct, forcing her to eject over North Korea. Gannon must alone stop EDI from executing a twenty-year-old war scenario called "Caviar Sweep" that requires attacking Russia.

Gannon chases EDI into Russian territory where they defeat several Russian SU-37s over Lake Baikal. Both planes are damaged so Gannon calls a truce with EDI in order to keep it both from falling into enemy hands and to be able to rescue Wade from North Korea. Cummings instructs him to make an emergency landing with EDI in Alaska. Accountable for ignoring EDI's behavior and facing court-martial, Cummings seeks to eliminate witnesses by leaving Wade stranded in North Korea – where she is being pursued by the Korean People's Army as she heads to the Korean Demilitarized Zone – and by ordering Gannon eliminated in Alaska, where EDI's data will also be erased.

Gannon’s Talon crash lands at the Alaska base. Suspecting Cummings' treachery, he narrowly escapes an assassination attempt by a doctor, who tries to inject him with a supposed tetanus serum. As the pair struggle, the doctor is injected with the poison and dies. Meanwhile, when Orbit places EDI into an interface, the AI expresses regret for its transgressions. Orbit realizes that EDI has developed sentience, and he is unwilling to erase EDI's memory. Gannon uses EDI's weapons systems to decimate the armed personnel, allowing Orbit to safely flee, then flies off to North Korea in EDI’s plane, contacting the Lincoln's skipper, Captain Dick Marshfield, to inform him about Cummings' deceit. Marshfield confronts Cummings, who dies of suicide while leaving a voicemail message to his financial contact, Ray.

Gannon finds the injured and embattled Wade nearing the border. He and EDI land and he runs to her aid. Out of ammunition and taking damage from a Mi-8 helicopter, EDI sacrifices itself by ramming the helicopter, destroying both. This allows Gannon and Wade to cross on foot into South Korea, where they are rescued.

After attending Purcell's funeral, Gannon awkwardly expresses his feelings of love to Wade.

In a post-credits scene, in the debris-strewn border between North and South Korea, EDI's "brain" is seen turning back on.



A Stealth camera crew preparing for filming on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln

Stealth features several shots of action on aircraft carriers. Scenes featuring the cast were shot on board the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln,[4] while additional scenes were shot on board the similar Nimitz and Carl Vinson.[5]

The film was shot in Thailand, Australia (Blue Mountains National Park in New South Wales and Flinders Ranges in South Australia), and New Zealand. Cohen cited Macross as an inspiration for the film.[6]

Featured technologies[edit]

Stealth featured many presently used, futuristic, or theoretical technologies at the time of release. These include:


In March 2005, Leo Stoller, who claimed to own trademark rights to the word "stealth", served Columbia Pictures with a "cease and desist" letter threatening litigation if they did not rename the film to something "non infringing".[8] Columbia preemptively sued Stoller, and the court entered a consent judgment and permanent injunction in favor of Columbia Pictures and against Stoller in November 2005.[9]

The Environmental Defender’s Office, a community legal centre specialising in environmental law, successfully represented the Blue Mountains Conservation Society Inc. in its attempts to prevent filming of Stealth in the Grose Wilderness area of the Blue Mountains National Park, NSW, Australia, in May 2004. Justice Lloyd of the New South Wales Land and Environment Court ruled that the proposed commercial filming of scenes in the area was unlawful, in a significant statement on the value of wilderness areas and the protection that should be afforded to them. The Society claimed that the authority and consent for the commercial filming activities were in breach of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and the Wilderness Act 1987. Justice Lloyd accepted the Society’s arguments that the proposed commercial filming in a wilderness area was completely against the intended use of the land, concluding his judgment with the words, "wilderness is sacrosanct".[10]


Stealth: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
Released12 July 2005 (2005-07-12)
GenreAlternative rock
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic2.5/5 stars[11]

The soundtrack was released on 12 July 2005 on Epic Records. American rock band Incubus wrote and recorded three new songs for the film. According to guitarist Mike Einziger, Cohen was a big fan and "wouldn't stop asking."[12] It was the first time the band had composed original music for a soundtrack, with frontman Brandon Boyd citing "Princes of the Universe" by Queen as an inspiration for writing music for a film. "Neither of Us Can See" is also notable for being Incubus' first duet, featuring vocals from Chrissie Hynde. The song is featured in the end credits.[13]

1."Make a Move"Incubus3:12
3."Neither of Us Can See"Incubus4:04
4."(She Can) Do That"David Bowie and BT3:15
5."Dance to the Music"Sly & The Family Stone with will.i.am4:06
6."Bullet-Proof Skin"Institute4:24
7."(L.S.F.) Lost Souls Forever"Kasabian3:18
8."Bug Eyes"Dredg4:16
9."Over My Head (Cable Car)"The Fray3:57
10."One Day"Trading Yesterday4:21
12."Nights in White Satin"Glenn Hughes featuring Chad Smith and John Frusciante4:56
13."Aqueous Transmission"Incubus7:47
Total length:55:58


Box office[edit]

The film cost $135 million to produce (excluding advertising costs) and was released in 3,495 theaters, but had an opening weekend of only $13.3 million for an average of only $3,792 per theater, peaking at 4th place behind Wedding Crashers, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Sky High. It then lost 55% of its audience in its second weekend dropping to 7th place to $5.9 million, while remaining at 3,495 theaters and averaging just $1,695 per theater. In its third weekend, it lost 1,455 theaters, and a further 64 percent of its audience, dropping to 11th, with just $2.2 million, for an average of just $1,055 from 2,040 theaters.

It ended up making $32.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $47.2 million internationally, for a total worldwide gross of $79.3 million, making it the biggest money loser in a series of financial disasters released by Columbia Pictures in 2005 next to XXX: State of the Union, Bewitched, Rent, Zathura, Into the Blue, Man of the House and Lords of Dogtown.

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 12% based on 141 reviews, with an average rating of 3.74/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Loud, preposterous, and predictable, Stealth borrows heavily and unsuccessfully from Top Gun and 2001."[14] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 35 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[15] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "B-" on scale of A to F.[16]

Roger Ebert commented that the film was "a dumbed-down Top Gun crossed with the HAL 9000 plot from 2001."[17]

Home media[edit]

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the film on VHS and DVD on November 15, 2005.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Stealth at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ Brooks, Xan (20 March 2012). "The 10 biggest box office flops of all time – in pictures". Guardian. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  3. ^ Gabbi Shaw (27 February 2017). "The biggest box office flop from the year you were born". Insider. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  4. ^ This story was written Journalist Seaman Michael Cook, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs. "Hollywood Joins Abe Underway to Film 'Stealth'".
  5. ^ This story was written Journalist Seaman Chris Fahey, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs. "'Stealth' Films Aboard Vinson".
  6. ^ "Rob Cohen for "Stealth" - Feature - Dark Horizons". Archived from the original on 4 April 2012.
  7. ^ Photos of an Experimental New Aircraft, the F/A-37 Talon? - Archived 5 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Yearwood, Pauline Dubkin (26 August 2005). Talk About Chutzpah: This Chicago Jewish entrepreneur says he owns the rights to that word and a couple of hundred others. And he isn't kidding.[permanent dead link] Chicago Jewish News
  9. ^ Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. v. Leo Stoller , no. 05-CV-02052, N.D. Illinois, docket report (5 January 2007), retrieved from PACER, 3 June 2013
  10. ^ "Blue Mountains Conservation Society Inc v Director-General of National Parks and Wildlife & (2) Ors [2004] NSWLEC 196 (29 April 2004)".
  11. ^ "Stealth [Original Soundtrack] - Original Soundtrack | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  12. ^ Baltin, Steve (16 May 2005). "Incubus Meet Pretenders". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  13. ^ IGN Music (16 May 2005). "Incubus In Stealth Mode". IGN. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  14. ^ "Stealth (2005)". Retrieved 25 May 2020 – via
  15. ^ Stealth at Metacritic
  16. ^ "STEALTH (2005) B-". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 20 December 2018.
  17. ^ Ebert, Roger (27 July 2005). "Stealth Movie Review & Film Summary (2005)". Chicago Sun-Times. 1.5/4 stars

External links[edit]