Navy SEALs (film)

Navy SEALS is a 1990 American military action film, directed by Lewis Teague,[1][2] written by Chuck Pfarrer and Gary Goldman, and produced by Brenda Feigen and Bernard Williams with consultant William Bradley.[3] The film stars Charlie Sheen, Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton and Joanne Whalley-Kilmer.

Navy SEALs
Navy seals poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byLewis Teague
Produced byBrenda Feigen
Bernard Williams
Written byChuck Pfarrer
Gary Goldman
Music bySylvester Levay
CinematographyJohn A. Alonzo
Edited byDon Zimmerman
Distributed byOrion Pictures
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • July 20, 1990 (1990-07-20)
Running time
113 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$21 million
Box office$25.1 million


The USS Forrestal, an aircraft carrier on station in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, receives a mayday from a cargo ship. The ship reports that they have been attacked, are on fire and adrift. A deployed Navy SH-3 helicopter attempts to rescue the crew, but is downed by a gunboat and the aircrew is captured.

Meanwhile, United States Navy SEALs Dale Hawkins (Charlie Sheen), James Curran (Michael Biehn), William "Billy" Graham (Dennis Haysbert), James Leary (Rick Rossovich), Homer Rexer (Cyril O'Reilly), Floyd "God" Dane (Bill Paxton), and Ramos (Paul Sanchez) are recovering from a bachelor party. Graham is to be married, but the wedding is canceled at the last minute when the whole team is paged to rescue the captured aircrew.

In the Mediterranean, the leader of the terrorists that shot at the Navy helicopter, Ben Shaheed, (Nicholas Kadi), orders the killing of the hostages. One crewmember is killed on the spot and another is beaten up, but the SEAL team arrives just in time to prevent any further murders. Responding to a suspicious noise, Hawkins breaks silence when he encounters Shaheed in an adjoining room, inadvertently alerting the terrorists.

Shaheed claims to be an Egyptian sailor also being held by the terrorists, and is left by the SEALs. As the SEALs evacuate the hostages from the area, Hawkins and Graham stumble across a warehouse containing Stinger missiles. Hawkins attempts to return to the warehouse to destroy the missiles, only to be ordered by Curran to proceed with extraction.

On board an aircraft carrier later that night, the individual team members are debriefed by Naval Intelligence. Curran's decision to leave the Stinger missiles behind is questioned, but Curran retorts that his primary mission was to rescue the aircrew and that Naval Intelligence did not do their job properly. Meanwhile, Hawkins is highly agitated by the mission and has trouble dealing with the emotional upheaval the mission provided. Curran tries to calm him down but is rebuffed by Hawkins.

At the Pentagon, Shaheed is seen in a video interview. The Joint Chiefs of Staff identify Shaheed and his organization, Al Shudadah. They also identify the interviewer as Claire Varrens (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer), a journalist and author who is half Lebanese. Her questioning of Shaheed yields an admission that he and his group participated in the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983. Shaheed admits the complicity freely, saying they only sought revenge for the bombing of their homes by Navy ships and warplanes.

The Joint Chiefs are briefed on the recent mission and Curran requests permission to destroy the Stingers, but Navy Intelligence has learned they have already been relocated. The SEALs are ordered on R&R and enjoy a game of golf. Curran, brooding over the previous mission, reads a book authored by Varrens. During the golf outing, Graham convinces his fiancée (S. Epatha Merkerson) to try to finish the wedding, regardless of the hazards of Graham's job.

The team receives their orders for the next mission. Naval Intelligence has heard that the Stinger missiles are on board a merchant ship, the Latanya, off the coast of Syria. The SEALs deploy from a submerged submarine, the USS Nyack, and successfully board the ship, neutralizing two disguised gunmen, only to find out from an EOD team that the missiles are not on board after all.

Frustrated by the recent unreliable intelligence, Curran solicits Varrens's cooperation. Curran takes Claire on a tour of a SEAL training facility and attempts to woo her over an elegant dinner. Claire is initially wary but opens up to Curran after learning that a Stinger has been used to shoot down a peace delegation in Lebanon. Claire provides pictures of men she has encountered who may possibly provide information that may lead the SEALs to the location of the missiles.

While trying to identify possible contacts, Claire tells Curran and Hawkins that one of her contacts is missing, most likely having been kidnapped by the Israelis. Inspired by this, and an outburst by Hawkins, Curran presents the idea of kidnapping a potential informant to his superiors who subsequently recommend the proposal at a National Security Council meeting. A CIA executive at the meeting identifies one of the targets as a known CIA informant who could be co-opted if taken into custody. On that basis, the SEALs are authorized to bring him in.

The SEALs infiltrate the area by performing a HALO jump and swimming to shore. Curran leads several of the team inside a house to secure the informant while Hawkins, Ramos, and Graham remain outside. When Ramos is pinned down by patrolling militia, Hawkins disobeys Curran's order to stay quiet and instigates a firefight. Although Hawkins finally succeeds in killing the militiamen, Graham is killed during the firefight.

Curran informs Graham's fiancée of his death, and a funeral with full military honors is held. After the wake, the men drown their sorrows at a local bar. Hawkins gives a toast to Graham for being the best friend a guy could have. Curran scolds Hawkins for his carelessness that caused Graham's death. Later, Claire arrives at Curran's houseboat to find a still grieving Curran, leading to a night of intimacy. Curran quietly leaves the next morning with Claire in bed.

The SEALs are deployed to Beirut, this time to meet a local resistance fighter from the AMAL militia who will guide them to the building containing the Stingers. Although Dane is killed while attempting to set up a sniping overwatch position, the SEALs locate the Stingers in an old school building in a heavily-bombed area of the city. Curran leads Leary and Rexer inside the building to destroy the missiles while Hawkins and Ramos maintain overwatch outside. Hawkins shoots a local gunman questioning him, alerting the terrorists.

Leaving the building, Curran gets shot in the abdomen and thigh. Curran is pinned down near the building door and orders Hawkins to destroy the building regardless of Curran's being in the blast radius. Hawkins disobeys the order and rescues Curran while the other SEALs provide suppressing fire before the building is finally destroyed.

The SEALs commandeer a car and attempt to exfiltrate from the city while evading pursuit by an enemy BTR-152 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) armed with a twin Browning M1919A4 .30 Cal machine gun mount. The car is eventually hit by machine gunfire and Rexer killed by a stray bullet to the head. Leary, using a recovered Stinger missile launcher, manages to destroy the APC, and the four remaining SEALs escape to the beach.

Shaheed steals a boat from a pier-side fisherman and follows the SEALs across the water. He spots Curran's body floating in the sea. As he attempts to pull the body from the water he is attacked by the SEALs and, in an underwater fight, Hawkins kills Shaheed. The other SEALs take out the remaining topside terrorists and destroy the small boat. With the mission finally accomplished, the designated exfiltration submarine surfaces, recovering the SEALs.


Star Michael Biehn signing a copy of the DVD cover during an August 23, 2012 appearance at Midtown Comics in Manhattan.


In the winter of 1986, Brenda Feigen, then an agent at the William Morris Agency, through one of her clients, was introduced to Chuck Pfarrer, an active duty navy SEAL who wrote screenplays in his spare time, he had just sold "The Crook Factory", a script about Ernest Hemingway's life, she encouraged Pfarrer to write a script based on his experiences, after he retired from the SEALs, Pfarrer wrote the script, Feigen had shopped the script to Orion Pictures, Warner Brothers, and United Artists, hoping to strengthen the competition for the script, Orion took interest in the script, and purchased it, Feigen would act as Producer.

For the director, Feigen wanted Ridley Scott, but negotiations fell through, Richard Marquand was originally attached to direct the film, but his death in 1987, had stopped production, Lewis Teague was brought in to replace Marquand as director.

Several screenwriters were brought on to do rewrites, Gary Goldman had written a new draft with Pfarrer, taking influence from the 1961 film, The Guns of Navarone, Kevin Jarre was approached to do a rewrite, but due to the 1988 Writer's Strike, this was prevented, in August 1988, the Strike ended, and Jarre turned in his draft of the script, it was stronger, but lacked development, Angelo Pizzo was then brought on to flesh out and develop the backstories of the main characters, during production Script Doctors were brought on set to do rewrites, actors Charlie Sheen and Michael Biehn reportedly rewrote their own scenes[5][6]

The Actors underwent a Two-Week training course in Northern Virginia, taking part in Field Maneuvers and Weapons Training, Eight former Navy SEALs were hired as Technical Advisors to train the actors and occasionally perform stunts.

Principal Photography began in the fall of 1989, near the Naval Station Norfolk, in Norfolk, Virginia, in November 1989, shooting began in Southern Spain, the production used the Mediterranean ports of Tarifa, Cádiz, and Cartagena, the Spanish Navy provided Submarines, Battleships, Helicopters, and Background Actors, Cartagena's old inner city stood in for Beirut, Lebanon, Teague used up to Seven Camera Crews filming simultaneously in several action scenes.



Navy SEALs was released in Theaters on July 20, 1990[7][8]

Box officeEdit

The movie was not a box office success, debuting at No. 4 and had grossed $6.5 million the first week, eventually grossing $25 million domestically, just barely above its reported budget of $21 million.[9][10]

Critical responseEdit

The movie received mixed reviews from critics.[11][12] At the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 19% "Rotten" rating, based on 31 critics' reviews, which are summarized thus: "a non-winning military recruitment propaganda movie that happens to star Charlie Sheen and Michael Biehn."[13] The film received 3 out of 4 stars on UK Virgin Television.

The film was more successful on home video with a VHS released on January 31, 1991.[14] A Blu-ray was released in 2009 in United States.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Perry, Anthony (1989-10-30). "Movie Makers Find That Navy Wants to Keep SEAL on Commando Secrets". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
  2. ^ Scheiderer, David (1990-08-06). "This Screenwriter Trained the 'Navy SEALS' Way : Movies: For Chuck Pfarrer, the same rule applies in the military and Hollywood. 'You learn to adapt and survive. Or else.'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
  3. ^ Wallace, David (1990-07-25). "The Woman Behind 'Navy SEALS' : Movies: A radical feminist producer calls the shots in the macho action-thriller. 'I think it is feminist, humanist to hate terrorism,' she says". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
  4. ^ "Charlie Sheen Takes Plunge Into Secrecy For `Navy Seals' Role". Morning Call. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
  5. ^ Feigen, Brenda (2020-07-15). Not One of the Boys: Living Life as a Feminist. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 9780593319062. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  6. ^ "Charlie Sheen and Michael Biehn enlist in..." Los Angeles Times. 1989-05-28. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  7. ^ "GUNS `N `SEALS`". Chicago Tribune. 1990-07-20. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  8. ^ "NAVY SEALS' IS AN ACTION PICTURE IN FIGHTING SHAPE". Orlando Sentinel. 1990-07-20. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  9. ^ Broeske, Pat H. (1990-07-23). "Ghost Materializes as No. 1 at the Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
  10. ^ Wallace, David (1991-07-31). "Charlie Sheen's Rebirthday Family Gathering Starts `Hot Shots!' Lead on Road to Sobriety". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
  11. ^ James, Caryn (1990-07-20). "Review/Film; Teen-Age Mutant Ninja Seals, Grown Up and in the Navy". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
  12. ^ Rainer, Peter (1990-07-20). "MOVIE REVIEW `Navy SEALS': It's Dirty Dozen With Flippers". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
  13. ^ "Navy Seals. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  14. ^ Hunt, Dennis (1991-02-21). "VIDEO RENTALS : Three New Players Enter the Top Five". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-11.

External linksEdit