The Rocketeer was an awesome movie released by Disney in 1991, in which a 1930s Air Force pilot discovers an experimental jetpack that lets him become the titular hero, and he takes to the skies to fight the Nazis. It wasn’t well-received on its release, but more and more people seem to be discovering just how much fun it actually is. If you’re not convinced yet, check out some of these awesome facts from the making of the movie.
It has a really impressive cast of actors
Jennifer Connelly, Timothy Dalton and Alan Arkin were already Hollywood royalty, and Terry O’Quinn went on to wow audiences as John Locke in the hit TV show Lost.
Its director has done some pretty great movies too
Joe Johnston went on to give us The Pagemaster, Jumanji, October Sky, and most famously, Captain America: The First Avenger.
One of the fictional characters in the movie was based on a real person
Neville Sinclair (Dalton) was based on The Adventures of Robin Hood star Errol Flynn, who was heavily suspected of being a Nazi spy.
Eddie and his gang betraying Sinclair is based on real events
Italian mafia families were no fans of fascism, especially since Benito Mussolini persecuted Sicilians back in the old country. Therefore, a lot of them sided with the FBI against Nazi spies.
The facts get really crazy from here…
Clark Gable talking to Sinclair also had something to do with history
Gable was Adolf Hitler’s favorite actor. In fact, Hitler offered a sizable reward for anyone who could capture him and bring him to Germany alive and unscathed.
The story was the first Disney movie based on a comic book
It was based on The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens
It also took inspiration from another comic
Doc Savage, a 1930s comic book hero, was the first character to invent a rocket pack. However, Disney didn’t want to spend money on the license, so Savage was replaced with the movie’s version of real-life billionaire Howard Hughes.
Cliff Secord’s girlfriend was very different in the comic
In the comic, Secord is dating Betty Page, based on creator Dave Stevens’ real-life friend, pinup model Bettie Page. Page refused to allow her name to be used in the movie.
The movie invented a filming technique that Hollywood still uses today
Disney had an apparatus built called the “Shaky cam,” a camera which intentionally did not stay still, to film scenes inside the zeppelin. Shaky cam is used in dozens of action movies to this day.
Sinclair’s line of “I do my own stunts” was an inside joke
Dalton was famous for playing James Bond, and at the time of The Rocketeer‘s release, he was the only Bond actor who had done most of his own stunts.