I got into a discussion with my boss the other day about the events depicted in the movie “Black Hawk Down.” We’d been discussing how October 3rd through the 4th marked the twenty-year anniversary of the so-called “Battle of Mogadishu.” Twenty years. Mark Bowden’s book, upon which the movie was based, was published in 1999. Ridley Scott’s incredible movie adaptation hit theaters in December of 2001.
I re-watched the movie on Netflix, and was reminded of what a damn fine piece of filmmaking the thing really is. It reminds me of the classic 1977 film “A Bridge Too Far.” That movie (itself an adaptation of a nonfiction book which chronicled the events of the failed Operation: Market-Garden during the Second World War) managed to weave several different storylines together into one wonderfully exciting and heartbreaking narrative. And it did so with one of the largest casts of movie superstars at the time, including Gene Hackman, Robert Redford, Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, etc. without any one of them overshadowing the story.
Speaking of large casts…as I watched Black Hawk Down again, I was struck by the sheer number of people that I had forgotten about; yet there they were, happily running alongside Humvees and such. I began Tweeting about it and quickly had to Tweet a second time, a third time, then a fourth. So I decided to blog it up and put all of the guys that I could recognize in one easy-to-browse location. We’ll begin with the obvious, big-name actors, then the so-called “character” guys who you’ve seen in a million different shows and movies…and then we’ll end up with the “WOW!! HOLY SHIT!!” guys. (WARNING: you may wear out your scroll wheel.)
Josh Hartnett, Eversmann
This dude was supposed to blow up, wasn’t he? Then he did Pearl Harbor, and…and…
Ewan McGregor, Grimes
He mainly made coffee then got knocked down. I know he’s Obi-Wan now, but to me he’ll always be Mark Renton.
Tom Sizemore, McKnight
This was a couple of years before Tom went batshit crazy and did a bunch of drugs and lived with Heidi Fleiss. Ah, the good ol’ days.
Eric Bana, Hoot
Before he was the lamest Bruce Banner ever, he was a Delta hard-ass. (Also? My late uncle Myron was nicknamed ‘Hoot’ and he trained soldiers to jump out of airplanes. Coincidence?)
Orlando Bloom, Blackburn
He’s become a pretty big star thanks to the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchises, but in this film he basically falls out of a helicopter.
Jeremy Piven, Wolcott
Yes, Ari Gold. Hug it out, bitches.
Ron Eldard, Durant
I’ve always enjoyed Ron’s work, from sitcoms with David Spade to the enjoyable role of Skank Martin in ‘Mystery Alaska’ to the alcoholic dad in ‘Super 8.’ The odd thing is that of all the big names in this movie, one of the most important roles (in my opinion) ends up in his capable hands. Good stuff
Kim Coates, Wex
Nowadays we know him as Tig from ‘Sons of Anarchy’ but the dude has 120 credits to his name, according to IMDB. Yes, you actually HAVE seen him in everything.
Ewen Bremner, Nelson
Spud. He will always be Spud. I wonder whether it was Ewan McGregor, his ‘Trainspotting’ co-star or Josh Hartnett, his ‘Pearl Harbor’ co-star that got him this gig…
Sam Shepard, Garrison
A veteran character actor who seems to specialize in authority figures, he’s also an accomplished playwright and stage performer. But he’ll always be Chuck Yeager to me. “Hey, Ridley…got any Beeman’s on ya?”
Ioan Gruffudd, Beales
Yes, Mr. Fantastic. Also, the “Is anyone out there?” lifeboat guy from Titanic. In this movie, he has a seizure. That’s about it, really.
Jason Isaacs, Steele
Always plays an asshole. Always. Hooah?
William Fichtner, Sanderson
Yes, THAT guy. The blind guy in ‘Contact.’ The shuttle pilot that wanted to shake the hand of the daughter something-something-Bruce Willis-something in ‘Armageddon.’ The guy in the bank at the beginning of ‘The Dark Knight.’ Yeah. THAT guy.
Glenn Morshower, Matthews
Always plays a colonel or something. Always. CoD fans will remember him as the voice of the SatCom guy in Modern Warfare II. He may actually be Jim Gaffigan from the future.
Richard Tyson, Busch
This guy has been a a ton of crap and ‘Kindergarten Cop’ where he played the bad dad. Also, he’s been in lighter fare like ‘There’s Something About Mary.’ His hair in this particular movie was modeled on a 1977 Luke Skywalker poster or a He-Man action figure.
Gregory Sporleder, Galentine
A very recognizable dude, he’s been in everything from a Sheryl Crow video to ‘The Rock’ where he appeared as one of the bad guys.
George Harris, Atto
One of the few non-soldiers that has a speaking part. You may remember him as Captain Katanga, the dude that basically SAVES INDY AND MARION RAVENWOOD WHEN NAZIS BOARD HIS SHIP!!!! Yes, that’s him. The swarthy tramp steamer captain from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark.’
Ty Burrell, Wilkinson
Okay, now we’re getting weird. Yes, that’s the guy from ‘Modern Family.’ Think that’s odd? Keep scrolling…
Brian Van Holt, Struecker
He’s on ‘Cougar town’ now, but he was also in SWAT (the movie) and some other things that mainly chicks would know.
Tom Guiry, Yurek
YOU’RE KILLING ME, SMALLS!! Yes, that’s him. Scotty Smalls from ‘The Sandlot.’ Wait, it gets weirder…
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gordon
Jaime. Fucking. Lannister. And yes, he had great hair even then.
Tom Hardy, Twombly
So, who did I miss? Yeah, I know there are some support people and such. Maybe I missed one of the villagers or medics. If so, leave a comment below! We’ll have to add a whole second page, maybe! And for shits and giggles, go back and watch this movie again. It’s a great flick, and it’s a lot more fun when you can play ‘spot that one guy!’