Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Chuck Norris' Over-The-Top '80s Action Film That Is Inspired By Real Life Events

Alongside such names as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris has earned his place as one of the defining action stars of the 1980s. The real-life blackbelt appeared in numerous films of the action variety throughout the decade, with one of his most popular being "The Delta Force" from 1986. The film sees Norris' Scott McCoy return to action by joining the late Lee Marvin's Nick Alexander to stand up to a terrorist organization that has hijacked a Boeing 707. While this may sound like a pretty standard action '80s blockbuster plot, it's not as fictitious as one might think.

"The Delta Force" is actually inspired by two real-world events. The first is the hijacking of Trans World Airlines Flight 847, which occurred in Athens, Greece, on June 14, 1987. The flight from the film departed from the same city, the same number of hijackers make it aboard, and one of three members of the United States Navy held hostage on board is shot and tossed out, to name a few of the several parallels. The other event is Operation Entebbe: a counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission spearheaded by the Israel Defense Forces on July 4, 1976, that inspired elements of the latter portion of the film.

These real-world connections go a long way in giving "The Delta Force" a backbone to support its over-the-top '80s action. Unfortunately, the sequels it spawned received no such support.

The Delta Force sequels lack any concrete historical connections

"The Delta Force," while hardly a masterclass in filmmaking, a critical favorite, or a box office standout, managed to score some sequels. In 1990, the first of two, titled "Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection," arrived in theaters, taking moviegoers along with Scott McCoy to the fictional South American nation of San Carlos. He and his team are tasked with rescuing hostages in addition to disrupting the flow of drugs from the country into the United States. Unlike its predecessor, this film isn't based on any particular historical moments.

"The Colombian Connection" turned out to be an undeniable bomb, striking out with critics and failing to turn a profit by the time it left theaters. With that, it appeared that the "Delta Force" franchise was a thing of the past, but this wasn't the case. The following year, a third film in the franchise released to the public via the direct-to-video route. "Delta Force 3: The Killing Game" puts the spotlight on Chuck Norris' son, Mike, along with a new cast of Delta team operatives. Much like "The Colombian Connection," it lacks a real-world anchor and was torn apart upon release.

The two "Delta Force" sequels don't have much going for them, hence why they failed to become classics in the action genre. It likely wouldn't have made much of a difference, but perhaps, they could've benefitted from real-life inspiration. After all, the original "Delta Force" being tied to the Flight 847 hijacking and Operation Entebbe has certainly helped it maintain some form of relevance in popular culture.