Fire Birds (1990)

Fire Birds



Critic Consensus: Despite the talent on board, Fire Birds is little more than a subpar military adventure sporting video game-like action, outdated philosophy, and uneven acting.

Movie Info

In this high-flying action film, Jake Preston (Nicolas Cage) is a cocky, young pilot who is part of a special high-tech helicopter force on a mission to combat a group of South American drug czars. Under the guidance of flight veteran Brad Little (Tommy Lee Jones), Preston must not only knock out the drug cartel, but win back the heart of his ex-girlfriend Billie Lee (Sean Young) to boot.

Rating: PG-13
Genre: Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Nick Thiel, Paul F. Edwards, Dale Dye, John K. Swensson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 3, 2004
Touchstone Pictures


as Jake Preston

as Brad Little

as Billie Lee Guthrie

as A.K. McNeil

as Janet Little

as Gen. Olcott

as Darren Phillips

as Sharon Geller

as Doug Daniels

as Dewar Proctor

as Oscar DeMarco

as Tom Davis

as Steward Rives

as Scott Buzz

as Butch Tippet

as Stoller

as Lt. Steve Dobbs

as Capt. Tejada

as Latino Pilot

as Jesse Little

as Dance Partner

as Sharon Geller
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Fire Birds

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Critic Reviews for Fire Birds

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (9)

If you think of movies as big-screen video games, see Fire Birds. If not, you may want to skip this Top Gun with copters and cartels.

Full Review… | May 28, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

David Green structures the film in the mold of the time-honored boys-into- men military exercise, but don't go looking for The Sands of Iwo Jima.

Full Review… | May 28, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Lean, mean, clean and empty-hearted, Fire Birds is a video-game recruiting poster with a bomb ticking inside--a bomb that never goes off.

Full Review… | May 28, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Sir. No, sir.

Full Review… | May 28, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

The action here is more like something you'd expect to pop a quarter in a machine for.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Fire Birds resembles a morale booster project leftover from the Reagan era.

Full Review… | September 16, 2008
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Fire Birds

If making movies was like a game of chess then this film is the equivalent of a game of checkers. Shadows of Top Gun (made 4 years earlier)are all over this except that the co-star here is the justifiably reputable Apache helicopter. In point of fact there are portions of this that actually feel more like a advertisement for that WMD machine.The actors charisma is counted on to disguise that weakness ... and though attempted, ultimately failed, which is why you probably never heard of this.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Jake Preston (Nicolas Cage) is a helicopter pilot training for war against a famous nemesis. Jake is the most skilled flyer of everybody, but he has a team of other helicopter flyers behind him including Brad Little (Tommy Lee Jones), who helps Jake train to be an even better pilot.
I thought "Fire Birds" was a good action movie. It might not be the best of its kind, but it's certainly not a bad movie. The training sequences and the final showdown between the Fire Birds and their major enemy is exciting. If you like action movies and especially if you like flying movies, I recommend getting "Fire Birds." NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2000. Underrated action/flying flick to me.

Jason Owens

Super Reviewer


At last!!! I have been trying to remember the name of this film and find it for ages! Known as Wings of the Apache in the UK. This is basically Top Gun with the Apache gunship helicopter...I didn't even realize at the time Nicholas Cage and Tommy Lee Jones were in this! Must have have been a long time ago when I saw it, but it has some great action scenes. Well worth checking out!

Dean King

Super Reviewer

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