By the early 1980s, numerous innovations had come to popular cinema: darker plots, better technical effects, personality-driven actors, the antihero. Many of these could be seen in "Firefox," the movie version of a high-tech espionage thriller novel.
Produced and directed by Clint Eastwood, who also acted in the lead role, the basic plot was not complicated: a raffish soldier-of-fortune type fighter pilot is smuggled into the Soviet Union to steal a fabulously-advanced "MiG-31" fighter plane nicknamed "Firefox." This warplane was so futuristic that its pilot could fly it by thought alone. The hero filched the plane (from the Edwards weight-and-balance hangar), and the great chase began. The movie's characters were more complex and intense than their counterparts of the1950s, and the mood of the picture was often surly. But at bottom it was aerial action which counted with the audience, and the film offered plenty of that.
Much of the filming was done on the Edwards ramp, where an F-4 Phantom and a T-38 had been made available for cockpit shots. The large hangar was also used for the night scenes. As with the other movies, the Flight Test Center provided general support as well, and many of the base personnel enjoyed the chance to appear in the film as extras.
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