Open main menu

Olympus Has Fallen is a 2013 American action thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt. It stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman, with Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Cole Hauser, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott, Radha Mitchell, and Rick Yune in supporting roles. The film depicts a North Korean-led guerrilla assault on the White House, and focuses on disgraced Secret Service agent Mike Banning's (Butler) efforts to rescue the President (Eckhart).

Olympus Has Fallen
Olympus Has Fallen poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAntoine Fuqua
Produced by
  • Antoine Fuqua
  • Gerard Butler
  • Alan Siegel
  • Ed Cathell III
  • Danny Lerner
  • Mark Gill
Written by
  • Creighton Rothenberger
  • Katrin Benedikt
Music byTrevor Morris
CinematographyConrad W. Hall
Edited byJohn Refoua
Distributed byFilmDistrict
Release date
  • March 18, 2013 (2013-03-18) (Hollywood)
  • March 22, 2013 (2013-03-22) (United States)
Running time
119 minutes[1][2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$70 million[3]
Box office$170.3 million[3]

The film was released on March 22, 2013, by FilmDistrict and earned $170 million against a $70 million production budget. It received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Fuqua's direction and Butler's performance, but criticized the violence and screenplay. Olympus Has Fallen was one of two films released in 2013 that dealt with a terrorist attack on the White House; the other was White House Down. A sequel titled London Has Fallen was released on March 4, 2016, with the principal cast members reprising their roles. Another sequel, Angel Has Fallen, is scheduled for a 2019 release.



Former Army Ranger Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is the lead U.S. Secret Service agent assigned to head the U.S. Presidential detail. Banning maintains a personal, friendly relationship with President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), First Lady Margaret (Ashley Judd) and their son Connor (Finley Jacobsen). During a snowy Christmas evening drive from Camp David to a campaign fundraiser, the car transporting the First Family spins out of control on a bridge due to icy conditions; Banning pulls Asher from the vehicle, but fails to save Margaret as she falls to her death inside the car.

Eighteen months later, having been removed from the presidential detail, Banning works at Treasury headquarters. During a meeting between Asher and South Korean Prime Minister Lee Tae-Woo (Keong Sim) at the White House, a North Korean terrorist organization, led by Kang Yeonsak (Rick Yune), mounts an air and ground assault that results in the capture of the building. The group is aided by treasonous members of the prime minister's own detail, including Dave Forbes (Dylan McDermott), a former Secret Service agent. Asher and several top officials are held hostage in the White House bunker; South Korean Prime Minister Lee is executed on live video. Before his own death, detail agent Roma (Cole Hauser) alerts the Director of the Secret Service Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett) that "Olympus has fallen".

During the initial assault by Kang's forces, Banning joins the White House's defenders. He falls back into the White House, disabling the internal surveillance and gaining access to Asher's satellite ear phone, which he uses to maintain contact with Jacobs and Speaker of the House Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), now the Acting President.

Kang seeks to use Asher's hostage status as leverage to force U.S. officials to withdraw the Seventh Fleet and U.S. forces from the Korean Peninsula, thus removing American opposition to a North Korean invasion of South Korea. He also seeks to destroy the American nuclear weapons stockpile by detonating them in their respective silos across the country, turning the United States into an irradiated wasteland. To accomplish this, he requires the access codes to a system called Cerberus, which are held by three top government officials, including the President, all of whom are inside the bunker. Asher orders the other two officials to reveal their codes to save their lives, certain that he will not give up his code.

Authorized to proceed, Banning’s first act is to save the President's son Connor, whom Kang plans to use to force Asher to reveal his Cerberus code. Banning finds Connor hiding in the building's walls and sneaks the boy to safety. Banning then begins reconnaissance, during which he kills several of the terrorists, including Forbes. Meanwhile, Army Chief of Staff General Edward Clegg (Robert Forster) convinces Trumbull to order an aerial SEAL assault on the White House. Kang discovers the assault force and activates the Hydra 6, an advanced anti-aircraft system built by the military. Discovering the system, Banning advises Trumbull and Clegg to abort the mission, but the new weapon system annihilates most of the assault force before Banning can stop it. Kang retaliates for the infiltration by killing Vice President Charlie Rodriguez (Phil Austin).

After Banning disables Kang’s communications, Kang tries to execute Secretary of Defense Ruth McMillan (Melissa Leo) outside the White House in front of the media, but Banning rescues her. With his forces dwindling, Kang fakes his and Asher's death by sacrificing several of his men and the remaining hostages. However, Banning sees through the ruse. Kang eventually cracks Asher’s code using a brute-force attack and activates Cerberus. As Kang and his remaining men attempt to escape, Banning ambushes them and kills the remaining terrorists. During the fight, Asher tries to break free from Kang's grip and is subsequently shot by him in the stomach. Banning and Kang confront each other and a climactic fight breaks out, in which Kang quickly gains the upper hand. Eventually, Banning kills Kang by stabbing him in the head with a knife and disables Cerberus with the assistance of Trumbull and his staff, with only seconds to spare.

During daybreak, Banning walks out with Asher and is received by the soldiers posted to await their arrival. After the events, the United States begins to heal from the attack, while Banning once again heads the president's security detail.



Olympus Has Fallen was directed by Antoine Fuqua, based on a script by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt in their first screenwriting effort. The production company Millennium Films acquired the spec script in March 2012, and Gerard Butler was cast later in the month as the star.[4] The rest of the characters were cast throughout June and July.

In 2012, Millennium Films competed against Sony Pictures, which was producing White House Down (also about a takeover of the White House) to complete casting and to begin filming.[16]

Filming began in Shreveport, Louisiana, in mid-July 2012.[9] Because Olympus Has Fallen was filmed so far from its actual setting of Washington, D.C., the entire production relied heavily upon visual effects, particularly computer-generated imagery.[17] For example, computers were used to create nearly all of the opening sequence in which the First Lady is killed in a car accident, with chroma key greenscreen technology used to composite the actors into the computer-generated snowy scenery.[17] For scenes where actors walked in or out of the White House, a first-floor façade and entrance were built; computers added the second floor, roof, and downtown D.C. cityscape. Action scenes with the White House in the background were filmed in open fields and the White House and D.C. were added in post-production.[17]


The score was composed by Trevor Morris whose past projects included The Tudors and The Borgias.[18]. The score was recorded at Trevor Morris Studios in Santa Monica with the Bratislava Slovak National Orchestra.

The record was released on March 15, 2013 via Relativity Music Group label.

All music composed by Trevor Morris


Olympus Has Fallen was released in the United States on March 22, 2013.[6] It was initially scheduled for an April 5, 2013 release, but moved to avoid competition with The Heat, which was to open at the same time (its release was later pushed back to June 28). FilmDistrict distributed the film.[19]

The film's trailer was criticized for using the U.S. Emergency Alert System, and several cable companies were fined by the Federal Communications Commission for airing the ad.[20]

Olympus Has Fallen grossed $98.9 million in the U.S. and Canada and $70.3 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $170.2 million against a budget of $70 million.[3] In its first weekend, the film earned $30.5 million finishing second at the box office, and exceeded predictions of $23 million.[21][22]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 13, 2013, in the U.S. It earned $38.2 million in video rental sales in the U.S.[23]


Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 49% based on 189 reviews and a weighted average rating of 5.37/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It's far from original, but Olympus Has Fallen benefits from Antoine Fuqua's tense direction and a strong performance from Gerard Butler—which might be just enough for action junkies".[24] Metacritic assigns the film a weighted average score of 41 out of 100 based on 30 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[25] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[26]

Richard Roeper compared Olympus Has Fallen with the Die Hard series for sharing the same style and momentum, calling it as "just too much of a pale Die Hard ripoff." He gave the film a C.[27]

David Edelstein was much more negative about the film. While praising Butler's role as a "solid" character, Edelstein criticized the script and the violence of the film, writing "Olympus Has Fallen is a disgusting piece of work, but it certainly hits its marks – it makes you sick with suspense."[28]


Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett and Radha Mitchell returned for a sequel titled London Has Fallen revolving around a major terrorist strike on London during the funeral of the British Prime Minister.[29] Production was scheduled to begin in May 2014 in London, with Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt returning to pen the script. Director Antoine Fuqua, however, did not return due to his commitments on The Equalizer.[30]

On May 1, 2014, it was announced that Focus Features had acquired distribution rights to the sequel and would release it on October 2, 2015, though this was later pushed back to January 22, 2016.[31] However, the film's release was delayed to March 4, 2016. On August 18, 2014, it was announced that Charlie Countryman director Fredrik Bond would take over direction from Fuqua,[32] but Bond left the film on September 18, just six weeks before shooting was set to begin.[33] However, on September 28, 2014, it was announced that Babak Najafi would take over direction of the sequel.[34]

On October 10, 2014, it was announced that Jackie Earle Haley would join London Has Fallen as a Deputy Chief Mason.[35] Filming for the sequel began on October 24, 2014.[36] The film was released on March 4, 2016.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Digital Cinema Package (DCP) – FilmDistrict USA Release
  2. ^ "OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (15)". British Board of Film Classification. March 21, 2013. Archived from the original on March 24, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Olympus Has Fallen (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-05-25.
  4. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (March 16, 2012). "Gerard Butler climbs 'Olympus Has Fallen'". Variety.
  5. ^ Sneider, Jeff (June 22, 2012). "Aaron Eckhart joins 'Olympus Has Fallen'". Variety.
  6. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (December 14, 2012). "FilmDistrict Moves 'Olympus Has Fallen' To March 22, 2013".
  7. ^ a b Kit, Borys (July 10, 2012). "Melissa Leo and Rick Yune Joining 'Olympus Has Fallen'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  8. ^ Sneider, Jeff; McNary, Dave (June 25, 2012). "Angela Bassett joins 'Olympus'". Variety.
  9. ^ a b c Kit, Borys (July 12, 2012). "Ashley Judd, Robert Forster Join 'Olympus Has Fallen'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  10. ^ Kit, Borys (July 9, 2012). "Cole Hauser Joins Action Movie 'Olympus Has Fallen'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  11. ^ Kroll, Justin (June 29, 2012). "Dylan McDermott climbs 'Olympus'". Variety.
  12. ^ Patten, Dominic (July 7, 2012). "'Olympus Has Fallen' Adds Radha Mitchell".
  13. ^ "Lance Broadway Goes from Major League Baseball to OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN". Archived from the original on 2013-02-15.
  14. ^ Kit, Borys (July 25, 2012). "Tory Kittles Joins 'Olympus Has Fallen'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  15. ^ "Interview with Malana Lea".
  16. ^ Kit, Borys (April 10, 2012). "Antoine Fuqua Circling 'Olympus' as White House Thriller Race Heats Up". The Hollywood Reporter.
  17. ^ a b c Ian Failes, "How VFX saved Washington: Olympus Has Fallen", Fxguide, 25 March 2013.
  18. ^ "Trevor Morris to Score 'Olympus Has Fallen'". Film Music Reporter. January 14, 2013.
  19. ^ "FilmDistrict to Distribute Olympus Has Fallen". October 26, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  20. ^ Robertson, Adi (3 March 2014). "Cable companies fined $2 million for using Emergency Alert System tone in movie trailer | The Verge". The Verge. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  21. ^ "Weekend Box Office Report: 'The Croods' and 'Olympus' Lead New Releases, Movies With". Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  22. ^ "Box office has risen: Patriotic 'Olympus Has Fallen' beats Hollywood's expectations". The Washington Post. March 25, 2013. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  23. ^ "Olympus Has Fallen (2013)". The Numbers. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  24. ^ "Olympus Has Fallen". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  25. ^ "Olympus Has Fallen". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  26. ^ "Box Office Report: 'Croods' Opens to Solid $44.7 Million; 'Olympus Has Fallen' Nabs $30.5 Million". The Hollywood Reporter. March 24, 2013. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  27. ^ Roeper, Richard. "Olympus Has Fallen Review -". Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  28. ^ Edelstein, David (March 22, 2013). "Edelstein on Olympus Has Fallen: Hollywood Has Made Us a Vengeful Nation". Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  29. ^ "OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN Sequel LONDON HAS FALLEN Moving Forward with Gerard Butler". Collider.
  30. ^ "London Has Fallen heads to AFM".
  31. ^ "Focus Features Dates 'Olympus' Sequel 'London Has Fallen' For October 2015". 2013-03-22. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  32. ^ "Fredrik Bond to Direct 'Olympus Has Fallen' Sequel". Variety. August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  33. ^ Kit, Borys (September 18, 2014). "'Olympus Has Fallen' Sequel Loses Its Director". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  34. ^ "Babak Najafi to Helm London Has Fallen". September 28, 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  35. ^ Sneider, Jeff (October 10, 2014). "'Olympus Has Fallen' Sequel Lands Jackie Earle Haley As First New Cast Member (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  36. ^ "Instagram". Retrieved December 18, 2015.

External linksEdit