FIREFOX is an entertaining cold war fantasy piloted by actor-director Clint Eastwood. When the Russians develop a Mach 5 jet with thought-controlled weaponry, the free world needs someone to go and steal it from them in order to maintain the balance of power. Mitch Gant (Eastwood) was once a hotshot pilot and speaks fluent Russian, so despite his mental instability (he's suffering from posttraumatic stress as a result of his experiences in Vietnam), he's the man for the job. Gant is really the only character Eastwood has played who doesn't have a problem with authority. His bosses want a job done. They're on the side of right, so he does it. Along the way, he's aided by some Jewish dissidents (including a scientist played by Nigel Hawthorne) who are really a lot more heroic than Gant. Essentially, Eastwood has adapted an espionage thriller by Craig Thomas into a fun action film. The jet itself is, well, neat, and the final dogfight between the two Firefox prototypes is quite thrilling. The effects were produced by John Dykstra's firm, which also worked on STAR WARS, but Eastwood's own down-to-earth sensibility keeps things grounded in some kind of reality.
Clint Eastwood plays the part of an expert pilot whose mission is to steal a Soviet plane. The jet fighter is a technological wonder possessing secrets that the U.S. military is eager to obtain.
Shot on location in Vienna, Austria, which subs for Moscow.
The film had two lavish premieres. One was a benefit in Washington for the USO, chaired by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. The other was a benefit for the Museum of Modern Art at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.
Fritz Manes, the excecutive producer of the film and a longtime friend and collaborator of Eastwood's, plays the American submarine captain.
Warren Clarke, who plays Pavel Upenskoy, is perhaps best known for playing Dim, one of Alex's droogs, in Stanley Kubrick's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.
John Ratzenberger, who later played Cliff Clavin on the popular sitcom CHEERS, plays one of the American soldiers on the submarine.
Notice: Spoiler! The film ends with an editing trick found in several of Eastwood's films. In the last shot of the film, Eastwood's character (in this case, Mitchell Gant flying the Firefox) travels away from the camera, into the distance, and suddenly vanishes from the screen.