Black Hawk Down

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German title Black Hawk Down
Original title Black Hawk Down
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2001
length 143 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
JMK 14
Director Ridley Scott
script Ken Nolan
production Jerry Bruckheimer ,
Ridley Scott
music Hans Zimmer
camera Sławomir Idziak
cut Pietro Scalia

Black Hawk Down is an American war film from the year 2001 . The directed by the British Ridley Scott turned feature film portrays an episode of the civil war in Somalia , the Battle of Mogadishu on 3 and 4 October 1993. The presentation of the factual film served the book Black Hawk Down - No man left behind ( Original title Black Hawk Down ) by the journalist Mark Bowden , who wrote other books about US military operations in addition to this. The United States Department of Defense gave him access to all sources, but no comprehensive report existed.


Through a Somali informant, the commander of the American special forces learned of a meeting of key council members of the warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid in Mogadishu . In a quick operation, code-named "Irene" , they are said to be arrested by members of the Delta Force . Afterwards a transport to the US camp in a vehicle convoy is planned. The rangers assigned to fire protection expect little resistance and a return within half an hour. Therefore, they do without night vision devices , water and parts of protective equipment.

At 3:40 p.m. the task force begins the approach to its destination. At first, the operation went as planned, but it soon became clear that the Aidid militia responded much more quickly to this attack than to previous task force operations. Immediately after leaving the base, observation posts of the militia reported this to their headquarters. Shortly after the action began, the first rangers were wounded. Nevertheless, the task force succeeds in arresting and loading the prisoners into the main vehicle convoy from Humvees under the leadership of Lt. Col. McKnight.

On the way back, the resistance of the militia takes on an unexpected strength. Shortly afterwards, the Black Hawk Super Six One , which was flying over the combat area, was hit by an anti-tank shell. The helicopter with a crew of seven crashes almost 300 meters from the target building. A helicopter rescue team and part of the ground force are sent there immediately. The crew of an MH-6 Little Bird attack helicopter that lands at the crash site is able to rescue Sergeant Daniel Busch and fly out. Another helicopter drops a CSAR ( Combat Search and Rescue ) team from the task force, but is shot at itself and has to return to the base damaged.

The rescue team is stuck on the helicopter wreck and is attacked by a rapidly growing crowd of militiamen and armed civilians, including women and children. While the rescue team tries to fend off the Somalis attacks, the main vehicle convoy tries to break through to the crash site. However, the soldiers in the streets of Mogadishu have difficulty finding their way around and are inaccurately directed from the air, they are under constant fire and cannot break through the roadblocks without armored vehicles and heavy weapons. Two vehicles are destroyed by RPG-7 anti-tank shells. When the pointlessness of these attempts becomes clear, Colonel Daniel McKnight, the head of the motorcade, decides to return to the base to regroup and re-ammunition.

At the same time, around 5 p.m., the Black Hawk Super Six Four was shot down. It is about two kilometers from the original location of the task force.

In the meantime, General Garrison is assembling a provisional squad of staff and light infantrymen from the rapid reaction force at headquarters, which are sent into the city in lightly armored vehicles. This attempt fails because almost all roads into the city are blocked by impenetrable barriers. The soldiers come under massive fire and find no way to break through the blockades with the vehicles.

Shortly after the crash, a new attempt at air rescue is started over the second crash site: A Black Hawk drops two members of the Delta Force, Gary Ivan Gordon and Randall David Shughart . However, he was hit by an anti-tank shell in the air and had difficulty crash landing near the airport. The two dismissed soldiers try to defend the wreckage and the only survivor of the crash, the injured pilot Michael J. Durant . But they are overrun by a superior force of Somalis and killed one after the other. Durant, who has now fired his last magazine and is thus defenseless, is overwhelmed and captured by the Somalis.

When it got dark, 99 Task Force soldiers were still in Mogadishu. They hide near the first helicopter crash site and defend themselves against attacks by the Somalis. Only at this point did General Garrison turn to the Pakistani and Malaysian blue helmet troops and ask for help. Despite the language problems, a convoy of four Pakistani tanks, 24 Malaysian armored personnel carriers, two US light infantry companies and around 50 task force members were able to move by 11:30 p.m. For around two and a half hours, the association fought its way through Mogadishu in the dark and under fire.

A small team of rangers and Delta Force soldiers reach Super Six Four , but cannot find any survivors here. The wreck is destroyed by explosives. In Super Six One the encounter with the entrenched rangers succeeds. However, some of them, who cover the loading into the vehicles and the departure of the convoy, no longer find space and follow the vehicles on foot. The rescue convoy entered the football stadium controlled by the Pakistani military at 5:45 a.m. on October 4, 1993. The other rangers reach the stadium a short time later on foot. The Delta Force soldiers begin their search for the missing pilot.

In the credits, the number of those killed is given as over 1000 Somalis and 19 Americans.

Film music

The soundtrack comes from Hans Zimmer. The title "Barra Barra" is interpreted by Rachid Taha . "Gortoz A Ran" comes from Denez Prigent .

  1. hunger
  2. Vale Of Plenty
  3. Chant
  4. Quiet
  5. Mogadishu Blues
  6. Synchrotons
  7. Bakara
  8. Of The Earth
  9. Ashes To Ashes
  10. Tribal War
  11. Leave No Man Behind
  12. Still recapitulation

Criticism of the presentation of events

The film was supported by the US Army with material and extras, which is why there were certain "considerations". Some scenes were omitted, such as the desecration of two Delta Force soldiers ( Gary Gordon and Randall Shughart , both posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the pilot Michael J. Durant ). One soldier's name was changed in the film because he was later convicted in the United States of mistreating and raping his own daughter. Kathleen Canham Ross, then PR chief of the Pentagon office in Los Angeles, confirmed in a television documentary on ARD in 2003 that she had committed director Ridley Scott to omitting a scene that represented an actual incident at the beginning of the Battle of Mogadishu. A unit of the US Delta Force was accidentally under fire ( "friendly fire" ) by US Army Rangers . The Pentagon spokeswoman said that this scene had mistakenly given the impression that the special forces had been at odds and that the self-fire might have been deliberate. Ridley Scott himself claimed in the documentary that the scene was cut out for artistic reasons.

American journalists primarily criticized the film's political and historical premises or their lack of appreciation.

The British author George Monbiot complained that the film always shows the American soldiers as feeling, hoping and suffering people, while the Somali fighters, on the other hand, almost without exception as shadowy figures without individual human traits. In addition, he missed in his criticism a differentiated examination of the figure of Aidid , who was a brutal warlord, but only one of many who fought for power in Mogadishu. The fact that the escalation of the situation in Somalia came largely from the Americans is suppressed.

The participating actor Brendan Sexton confirmed that although critical questions about the meaning and effectiveness of the US intervention in Somalia and the targeted action against Aidid were taken up in the original script, these elements were then missing in the final version of the film. He wrote: “The Somalis are portrayed as if they did not know what was going on, as if they were trying to kill the Americans because, like all 'bad guys', they would do anything to bite the hand that they were feeds. In fact, many were angry because the US military presence sustained people associated with the corrupt Barre regime. The United Nations was also not very popular because at the time it was run by Boutros Boutros-Ghali , a former Egyptian government official who had also supported Barre's regime. Somalis had many reasons to be angry at the US presence, most notably when the US Army shifted from its original goal of distributing food and switched to hunting down General Aidid. Aidid had risen in the Barre regime, later helped overthrow it, and then became the number one public enemy of the US government. "

What is striking is the extensive lack of women and children among the Somali attackers. A fighting woman and a fighting child are shown briefly, but for the most part male militiamen are fighting the fight against US troops. Armed women and children were among the Somali attackers during the battle. In addition, the US soldiers are depicted as heroic fighters who, despite adverse circumstances, heroically defend themselves against large masses of opponents.


The lexicon of the international film judges: “Apart from the meticulous and realistic depiction of the battle turmoil, the film made in cooperation with the US Army hardly offers any information. Especially he does not take a position on the failed UN peacekeeping mission. "

David Bergmann of Filmstarts says that Black Hawk Down "has no patriotism to speak of," which adds "a lot to the film's authentic feel". Bergmann praises the “representation of the civil war”, which “turned out to be astonishingly differentiated”. The “technical implementation” and “the camera work by Slavomir Idziak fit into this positive overall picture, as it is not overly intrusive, but still remains close enough to the action to get under your skin in some scenes”. Bergmann considers “some lengths” that the film shows, as well as Hans Zimmer's film music, with critical words. However, the fact that the film tries to reproduce the acts of war "largely historically correct" has received positive recognition.


In 2002 the film Black Hawk Down was awarded two Oscars (Best Editing, Best Sound) and nominated for two more (Best Cinematography, Best Director). Ridley Scott was nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award that same year .


Two American MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were shot down in an attempt to capture high-ranking supporters of the warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu . The dispatched rescue unit got lost in the labyrinth of inner-city streets and came under enemy fire. Encircled, the US Army Rangers and Delta Force fought for their lives.

18 members of the task force ranger unit - originally 19 victims are given, but one soldier died in an attack two days later - and more than 1,000 Somalis allegedly lost their lives. The events caused a shift in public opinion regarding US engagement in Somalia. This commitment was embedded in the UNITAF / UNOSOM mission , which, as a “ humanitarian intervention ”, was supposed to ensure supplies to those affected by the famine in Somalia , but soon became involved in battles with various Somali “warlords”.

In Germany, the film only appeared in cinemas a year later than in America. According to Senator , the German distributor of the film, the theatrical release was "postponed due to current events". The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 in the United States must have been meant . At this point in time, the US DVD had already been available in Germany for six months.

The idea for this film came from Simon West . He urged Jerry Bruckheimer to secure the rights to Mark Bowden's book and hoped to direct, but then preferred to shoot Lara Croft: Tomb Raider .

Ridley Scott wanted Russell Crowe to play Sergeant First Class Norm "Hoot" Gibson , based on real-life characters "Hoot" Hooten and John "Mace" Macejunas, but Crowe had already signed up for A Beautiful Mind .

The US Army actively supported the film with vehicles and weapons. The helicopters MH-60K, MH-6 and AH-6 Little-Bird were provided by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (160th SOAR). In addition, a ranger platoon from Bravo Company of the 75th Ranger Regiment supported the recordings. So the so-called "Fast Roping" - the fast abseiling - was carried out from the Black Hawks by them. Your platoon leader Lt. Brian McCroskey was there in Somalia in 1993. Keith Jones, pilot of the 160th SOAR, also flies the helicopter in the rescue of Daniel Busch. As in Somalia, he gets out and takes care of Busch. The actors also received training in their field of activity from the US military. The ranger actors were trained in Fort Benning , the Delta Force actors in Fort Bragg, and the pilot actors in Fort Campbell in the use of weapons, combat techniques, general military principles and movement in urban areas.

The film was shot on the west coast of Morocco in Salé and Rabat . The sunrise shown in the film is actually a sunset.

In the German version, AC 130 Specter combat helicopters are spoken of during the briefing . However, this is an error in the synchronization, since a helicopter of this type does not exist. What is meant is a variant of the Lockheed C-130 transport aircraft, the AC-130 Specter Gunship , which is specially equipped for attacking ground targets. It should therefore correctly read AC 130 Specter Gunship , although these were not in use at the time of the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia.

Ridley Scott dedicated the film to his mother Elizabeth Jean Scott, who died in 2001. Ridley's brother Tony dedicated the thriller Spy Game - The Final Countdown to his mother .

The two soldiers dropped at the wreck of the Black Hawk Super Six-Four, Gary Ivan Gordon and Randall Shughart , tried to defend the wreck and the surviving pilot Michael J. Durant, but were overrun and killed by an overwhelming Somali force. The images of their bodies being dragged through the streets by the Somalis went around the world. Both were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor .

Matt Rierson, the 19th American to die in Mogadishu, was killed by a Somali mortar two days after the Black Hawk crashed. Therefore, as in the credits of the film, 19 fallen soldiers of the task force are often counted in this operation.


  • Mark Bowden : Black Hawk Down - No man is left behind (Original title: Black Hawk Down - A Story of Modern War ). German by Heinz Tophinke et al. Heyne, Munich 2002, 575 pages, ISBN 3-453-86831-5
  • Eckhard Pabst: "Let's go and get this thing done!" - War as the continuation of cultural differences by other means in Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down. In: Petersen, Christer (ed.): Signs of war in literature, film and the media. Vol. I: North America and Europe. Ludwig, Kiel 2004, ISBN 3-933598-81-8 , pp. 170-194.
  • Holger Pötzsch: Black Hawk Down: Film between reflection and construction of social reality. In: International Review of Education . 55, 2009, pp. 269-284, doi: 10.1007 / s11159-008-9128-6 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Certificate of Approval for Black Hawk Down . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , May 2010 (PDF; test number: 90 179 V).
  2. " March Order for Hollywood - The US Army Directs the Cinema ". A film by Maria Pia Mascaro (duration: 44 minutes, year of production: 2003). First broadcast on January 14, 2004, ARD, 11 p.m., film minutes 15 '– 17'.
  3. Kaus, Mickey: What Black Hawk Down Leaves Out - That Somalia raid really was more a debacle than a victory. . Slate comment on January 21, 2002. Date found: February 6, 2007.
  4. Hamrah, AS: Allied forces - The Pentagon gives filmmakers access to hardware and locations in exchange for script input. Where does PR end and censorship begin? , Page 3. Boston Globe, July 4, 2004. Accessed February 6, 2007.
  5. George Monbiot: Both Savior and Victim . In: The Guardian . January 29, 2002 ( online at [accessed January 24, 2014]).
  6. Brendan Sexton III: An Actor Speaks Out - What's Wrong With Black Hawk Down , The Somalis are portrayed as if they don't know what's going on, as if they're trying to kill the Americans because they - like all other “evildoers "- will do anything to bite the hand that feeds them. But the Somalis aren't a stupid people. In fact, many were upset because the US military presence propped up people tied to the old, corrupt barre regime. The United Nations wasn't too favored either - because the UN was run at the time by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, a former Egyptian official who also supported Barre's regime. The Somalis had plenty of reason to be upset with the US presence, especially when the US objective changed from “food distribution” to basically kidnapping Gen. Aidid. Aidid had climbed the ranks of Barre's regime, later helped to depose him and then became the US government's "Public Enemy Number One."
  7. ^ Battle of Mogadishu at, accessed January 24, 2014.
  8. Black Hawk Down. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed September 27, 2018 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  9. Film starts : film review , David Bergmann
  10. ↑ The candidates for the “Directors Award” have been determined - ( memento of March 9, 2005 in the Internet Archive ), January 23, 2002, the candidates for the “Directors Award” have been determined
  11. Black Hawk Down does not start. In: May 12, 2002, archived from the original on March 5, 2016 ; accessed on September 27, 2018 .
  12. ^ "Black Hawk Down" in the USA and Somalia ( Memento from March 9, 2005 in the Internet Archive ), January 23, 2002, "Black Hawk Down" in the USA and Somalia