Lockheed Martin at the Movies
The 85th Academy Awards were held on February 24, and are the pinnacle of cinematic achievement. Since the early days of film, Lockheed Martin has had a supporting role in many award-winning movies and summer blockbusters, with the company’s aircraft taking center stage in a number of films' iconic scenes.
Spoiler alert: Read on for a highlight reel of Lockheed Martin aircraft in action.
During the heyday of silent film, Glenn L. Martin received $300 a day for flying his Model T trainer in the 1915 movie The Girl From Yesterday. The film starred Mary Pickford, one of the largest stars of the time and known as “America’s Sweetheart.” Pickford later was one of the co-founders of both United Artists and the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The final scenes of 1942’s Best Picture winner, Casablanca, are quite possibly the most famous in all of filmdom. A Lockheed Model 10 Electra —actually a large-scale model of a Model 10—plays a pivotal role as Victor Laszlo, played by Paul Henried, and Ilsa Lund Laszlo (Ingrid Bergman) flee the title city to escape the Germans.
In 1945’s A Guy Named Joe, which was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar, Spencer Tracy plays the ghost of Pete Sandidge, who died while flying a Lockheed P-38 Lightning and can’t move on until he knows the lovely Dorinda Durston (Irene Dunne) is taken care of. In the 1989 remake, Always, Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter play the star-crossed lovers. In this iteration, the ghost of Pete saves his best friend Al Yackey (John Goodman), who is flying a Consolidated PBY Catalinamodified as an airborne firefighter, from crashing.
In the early days of World War II, both the Lockheed Aircraft plant in Burbank, California, and the Hudson patrol bombers being built there were in a number of films. In 1942’s Desperate Journey, future U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Errol Flynn repatriate a Hudson that had been captured by the Germans.
Fail-Safe, a Sydney Lumet thriller from 1964 starring Henry Fonda and Walter Matthau is one of the few films where a Convair B-58 Hustler supersonic jet bomber has a role. The film was later remade as a TV movie with George Clooney.
When tower chief Roger McCroskey (Lloyd Bridges) famously says ‘I picked a bad day to stop sniffing glue’ in 1980’s Airplane!, he is surrounded by photos of the L-1011 TriStar, a three-engined Lockheed wide-body airliner. Later in the movie, as all manner of fire trucks, ambulances and riding lawnmowers rush out to the runway, a real version can be seen in the background in the hangar.
Though the Iron Eagle series of movies from the 1980's and early 1990's is often panned by critics for poorly formed characters, wooden dialog and plot issues, most aviation buffs love the flying scenes of the F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole fighter zooming over the Negev.
In recent films, Lockheed Martin’s fifth generations fighters have taken a starring role. In the Transformers series, the F-22 Raptor works with the Autobots, and is the form taken by Starscream, the evil, duplicitous Decepticon. And in 2012’s all-star superhero teaming, The Avengers, it was not a good day for the F-35B Lightning II - one gets ripped to shreds by the Hulk, and Nick Fury destroys another with an RPG after the decision is made to nuke the alien invaders.
Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, was one of the more buzzed about films this awards season. In it, Maya, the hyper-driven CIA analyst, gets on a turboprop C-130 transport to leave Afghanistan. At the very end of 2008’s Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker (also directed by Bigelow), Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner) gets off the workhorse transport in Iraq to start yet another tour of duty as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal tech.