Nine things you didn’t know about the “Black Hawk Down” movie


1. On the last day of their week-long Army Ranger orientation at Fort Benning, the actors who played the Rangers received a letter that had been anonymously slipped under their door. The letter thanked them for all their hard work, and asked them to “tell our story true”, signed with the names of the Rangers who died in the Mogadishu firefight.


2. The nickname given to the Somalis by the Rangers, “Skinnies,” does not actually refer to the famine and rampant malnutrition in Somalia. It is the nickname given to an alien race in Robert A. Heinlein’s novel “Starship Troopers”, which was a popular book passed around the battalion, and is on the required reading list at West Point. The Rangers felt that Somali culture was so strange that they seemed to be from another planet.

3. The set was constantly bothered by stray dogs running into shots. Ridley Scott kept them in because he liked the authentic feel of their presence. Eight dogs were adopted by various members of the production and were eventually brought back to the US with them.

A U.S. Soldier from 67th Forward Support Company, 220th Battalion, 41st FIRES Brigade plays with local stray dog who has become protective over the soldiers living on the Joint Security Station 2 in Wasit, Iraq, Aug. 13, 2008.

4. Spc. Grimes, played by Ewan McGregor, is a fictional character, though given his administrative position and penchant for coffee, he is unabashedly based on the real-life Ranger clerk Spc. John Stebbins, who was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during the battle. However, Stebbins was convicted in 2000 for child molestation and is currently serving a 30-year prison term. As a result, the Pentagon apparently pressured screenwriters to alter his name in the film, although a spokeswoman for the movie defended the change as “a creative decision made by the producers.”

5. Actual Army Rangers -assigned by the Department of Defense- were used during the movies scenes of fast-roping from Black Hawk helicopters.

Seventh Special Forces Group (Airborne) Green Berets move into position to fast rope out of a UH-60 helicopter onto their objective at Eglin AFB, Fla., Feb. 15, 2012.

6. Two of the Black Hawk helicopters used in the film were named the “Armageddon” (after the film Armageddon (1998), film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer) and the “Gladiator”, after the film Gladiator (2000), also directed by Ridley Scott. Bruckheimer believed this to be a sign of good luck.

7. Brendan Sexton III (Kowalewski) was unhappy working on the film because it conflicted with his views on US foreign policy in general and specifically with regard to US actions in Somalia (both before and during the 1992-93 peacekeeping operations there). He told Salon.com after the film opened that he and another actor improvised a scene with anti-imperialist materials, but it was all cut from the film before it was released.

8. Black Hawk Down was actually the second time actor Tom Sizemore played an Army Ranger. He played an Army Ranger from 2nd Ranger Battalion in Saving Private Ryan.

9.Some of the radio chatter in the movie was taken from actual radio transmissions made during the battle.

-Information sourced from IMBD

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