GenreAction, Biography, Sci-Fi ScreenplayJames L. Conway CountryUnited States
Release dateJuly 1980 WriterKen Pettus (screenplay), Thomas C. Chapman (story), James L. Conway (story) CastDarren McGavin (Harry Forbes), Robert Vaughn (Gordon Cain), Gary Collins (Steve Bancroft), James Hampton (Lew Price), Philip Abbott (Frank Morrison), Joseph Campanella (Frank Lafferty) Similar moviesIndependence Day, Avatar, Edge of Tomorrow, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Men in Black, Close Encounters of the Third Kind
TaglineIt started with an accident in space . . . and led to the terrifying secret in . . . HANGAR 18
Hangar 18 full movie 1980
Hangar 18 is a 1980 action science fiction film directed by James L. Conway and written by Ken Pettus with the story by Thomas C. Chapman and Conway. The film stars Darren McGavin, Robert Vaughn, Gary Collins, James Hampton, and Pamela Bellwood.
Hangar 18 involves a U.F.O. cover-up, following an incident aboard the Space Shuttle. The orbiter is launching a satellite, which collides with a nearby unidentified object. The collision kills an astronaut in the launch bay. The incident is witnessed by astronauts Price and Bancroft.
After returning to Earth, both men investigate what they know happened, but which the government tries its best to hide. The damaged alien spacecraft has been recovered after making a controlled landing in the Arizona desert, and brought by scientists to an Air Force base to be concealed and studied. Entering the ship, the scientists find it to have been manned by a crew of two aliens—both now dead. The technicians make three discoveries—a woman in some sort of stasis, who later awakens screaming; symbols on the control panels match those used in ancient Earth civilizations; the ship's computer reveals extensive surveillance footage of power plants, military bases, industrial plants and major cities worldwide. One of the scientists deduces that the ship could not have reached Earth on its own, and that a mother ship—larger, faster and more long ranged than the one recovered—is still out there.
Meanwhile, with their dogged pursuit to uncover the truth, both Bancroft and Price are targeted by the government. Chased by agents, Bancroft manages to get away, but Price is killed. Bancroft eventually manages to make his way to Hangar 18, where the alien craft is being studied.
As the researchers discover evidence aboard the spacecraft that the aliens were planning to return to Earth, government agents remotely fly a jet filled with explosives into the hangar—a move aimed at killing off all involved in the cover-up in a final attempt to maintain secrecy. After the explosion, a news bulletin is released about the hangar explosion, causing a congressional hearing for evidence about the activities in Hangar 18. It is revealed that Bancroft and a few others survived the explosion, since they were inside the alien ship.
Gary Collins as Steve Bancroft
James Hampton as Lew Price
Robert Vaughn as Gordon Cain
Pamela Bellwood as Dr. Sarah Michaels
Philip Abbott as Lt. General Frank Morrison
Joseph Campanella as Frank Lafferty
Tom Hallick as Phil Cameron
Steven Keats as Paul Bannister
William Schallert as Professor Mills
Darren McGavin as NASA Deputy Director Harry Forbes
Cliff Osmond as Sheriff Duane Barlow
Stuart Pankin as Sam Tate
H. M. Wynant as Flight Director
Parts of the movie were filmed in Midland and Big Spring, Texas, and at the former Pyote Air Force Base, as well as the former Webb Air Force Base.
When the film was released The New York Times film critic Vincent Canby dismissed the film, writing, "Hangar 18 is the sort of melodrama that pretends to be skeptical, but requires that everyone watching it be profoundly gullible ... It stars ... Robert Vaughn as the ruthless and fatally unimaginative White House Chief of Staff ... In the supporting cast is Debra MacFarlane, who plays a beautiful female specimen found aboard the saucer, a young woman who looks amazingly like a Hollywood starlet. But then, I guess, she is. The flying saucer itself looks like an oversized toy that might have been made in Taiwan."
Hangar 18 was released in US theaters in July 1980. The film was released in Ireland on March 13, 1981. Hangar 18 was one of the very few American films to be theatrically shown in the Soviet Union. It premiered on the TV channel 1 on the New Year night of 1982. Because of the general unavailability of films with elements of science fiction and the action genre, it achieved enormous popularity among Soviet youth. In May 1989, Hangar 18 was featured in an episode of the movie-mocking television show Mystery Science Theater 3000 during the KTMA era. The film was released by Sunn Classic Pictures, an independent U.S.-based film distributor whose library is now owned by Paramount Pictures, notable for presenting what TV Guide called "... awful big-screen 'documentaries' [like] In Search of Noah's Ark and In Search of Historic Jesus". Hangar 18 was released on Blu-ray on June 25, 2013. A version with an alternate ending was televised as Invasion Force. Leonard Maltin's 2015 Movie Guide says that the new ending undermines the whole film.