Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Twilights Last Gleaming

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
1 Ratings
Rate This

Rate This

Director  Robert Aldrich
Initial DVD release  January 24, 2003 (Spain)
Language  English
7/10 IMDb

Genre  Sci-Fi, Thriller
Music director  Jerry Goldsmith
Twilights Last Gleaming movie poster
Writer  Ronald M. Cohen, Edward Huebsch, Walter Wager
Release date  February 9, 1977 (1977-02-09)
Cast  Burt Lancaster (Gen. Lawrence Dell), Roscoe Lee Browne (James Forrest), Charles Durning (President David T. Stevens), Joseph Cotten (Arthur Renfrew - Secretary of State), Melvyn Douglas (Zachariah Guthrie), Richard Jaeckel (Capt. Stanford Towne)
Similar movies  Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Lone Survivor, Salt, Zero Dark Thirty, The Incredible Hulk, Independence Day
Tagline  We have invaded Silo 3. We are prepared to launch nine nuclear missiles. We demand ten million dollars, Air Force One... and you, Mr President.

Twilight s last gleaming 1977

Twilight's Last Gleaming is a 1977 film directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Burt Lancaster and Richard Widmark. The film was a West German/American co-production, shot mainly at the Bavaria studios.


Twilights Last Gleaming movie scenes

Loosely based on a 1971 novel, Viper Three by Walter Wager, it tells the story of Lawrence Dell, a renegade USAF general, who escapes from a military prison and takes over an ICBM silo in Montana, threatening to launch the missiles and start World War III unless the President reveals a top secret document to the American people about the Vietnam War.

Twilights Last Gleaming movie scenes

A split screen technique is used at several points in the movie to give the audience insight into the simultaneously occurring strands of the storyline. The film's title, which functions on several levels, is taken from The Star-Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States of America:

Twilights Last Gleaming movie scenesO say, can you see, by the dawn's early light / what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming. Twilights Last Gleaming movie scenes

High contrast twilight s last gleaming


Twilights Last Gleaming movie scenes

After escaping from a military prison, the rogue Air Force General Lawrence Dell and accomplices Powell, Garvas, and Hoxey infiltrate a Montana ICBM complex that Dell helped design. Their goal is to gain launch control over its nine Titan nuclear missiles. The infiltration does not go as planned, as the impulsive Hoxey guns down an Air Force guard for trying to answer a ringing phone. Dell then shoots and kills Hoxey. The three then make direct contact with the US government (avoiding any media attention) and make their demands: $10 million ransom, and that the President go on national television and make public the contents of a top-secret document.

Twilights Last Gleaming movie scenes

The document, which is unknown to the current president but not to certain members of his cabinet, contains conclusive proof that the US government knew there was no realistic hope of winning the Vietnam War but continued fighting it for the sole purpose of demonstrating to the Soviet Union their unwavering commitment to defeating communism.

Twilights Last Gleaming movie scenes

Meanwhile, Dell and his two remaining men remove the security countermeasures to the launch control system and gain full launch capability over the complex.

Twilights Last Gleaming movie scenes

While the President and his Cabinet debate the practical, personal, and ethical aspects of agreeing to these demands, they also authorize the military to send an elite team led by General MacKenzie to penetrate the ICBM complex and incinerate its command center with a low-yield tactical nuclear device. Just as the device is about to be set, the commando team accidentally trips an alarm, alerting Dell to their operation. The furious Dell responds by initiating the launch sequence for all nine missiles. As the military and President Stevens watch the underground missile silo launch covers begin to open, they agree to call off the attempt and the launch is aborted with mere seconds to spare. During this time, the captive Air Force guards attempt to overpower Dell and his men, resulting in the death of Garvas and another guard.

Eventually, the President agrees to meet the demands, which include allowing himself to be taken hostage and used as a human shield while Dell and Powell make their escape from the complex. As the president leaves the White House, he asks the Secretary of Defense to release the document should he be killed in the process. US Air Force snipers take aim and shoot both Dell and Powell, but also accidentally shoot the President, who with his dying breath asks the Secretary of Defense if he will release the document. The Secretary cannot bring himself to answer.


  • Burt Lancaster as Gen. Lawrence Dell
  • Richard Widmark as Gen. Martin MacKenzie
  • Charles Durning as President Stevens
  • Melvyn Douglas as Secretary of Defense Guthrie
  • Joseph Cotten as Secretary of State Renfrew
  • Paul Winfield as Willis Powell
  • Burt Young as Augie Garvas
  • Richard Jaeckel as Capt. Towne
  • Roscoe Lee Browne as James Forrest
  • William Marshall as Attorney General Klinger
  • Gerald S. O'Loughlin as Brig. Gen. O'Rourke
  • Leif Erickson as Ralph Whittaker
  • Charles Aidman as Bernstein
  • Charles McGraw as Air Force General Crane
  • William Smith as Hoxey
  • Simon Scott as Gen. Phil Spencer
  • Charles McGraw as Air Force Gen. Peter Crane
  • Morgan Paull as Morgan Paull
  • Bill Walker as Willard
  • David Baxt as Sgt. Willard
  • Glenn Beck as Lieutenant
  • Ed Bishop as Maj. Fox
  • Phil Brown as Rev. Cartwright
  • Gary Cockrell as ´Capt. Jackson
  • Don Fellows as Gen. Stonesifer
  • Weston Gavin as Lt. Wilson
  • Garrick Hagon as Driver Alfie
  • Elizabeth Halliday as Stonesifer's Secretary
  • David Healy as Maj. Winters
  • Thomasine Heiner as Nurse Edith
  • William Hootkins as Sgt. Fitzpatrick (as Bill Hootkins)
  • Ray Jewers as Sgt. Domino
  • Ron Lee as Sgt. Rappaport
  • Robert Sherman as Maj. LeBeau
  • John Ratzenberger as Sgt. Kopecki
  • Robert MacLeod as State Trooper Chambers
  • Lionel Murton as Col. Horne
  • Robert O'Neil as Briefing Officer
  • Shane Rimmer as Col. Alexander B. Franklin
  • Pamela Roland as Sgt. Kelly
  • Mark Russell as Airman Mendez
  • Rich Steber as Capt. Kincaid
  • Drew W. Wesche as Lt. Witkin
  • Kent O. Doering as Barker
  • Allan Dean Moore as Sperling - a sharpshooter
  • M. Phil Senini as a Sharpshooter
  • Rich Demarest as a Sharpshooter
  • Gary Harper as Air Force Sgt. Andy Keen
  • Distribution

    The film did poorly at the box office.

    In France it recorded admissions of 88,945.

    It was unsuited for videocassettes, because the split-screen effects do not work well in low resolution of that format. After the rights reverted to the film’s German co-producers, a major remastering effort was done by Bavaria Media, who released a Blu-ray edition, distributed in the United States by Olive Films in 2012.


    Twilight's Last Gleaming Wikipedia
    Twilights Last Gleaming IMDb Twilights Last Gleaming