True fact about ‘True Lies’

July 16, 2014 by Mike Collins

Remember the action comedy True Lies, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger famously hops into a Harrier, bounces off a couple of police cars, balances his daughter on the jump- jet’s nose, and dispatches a terrorist who was dangling from an attached Sidewinder missile? Nothing true about that scene.

But it is true that the movie turned 20 years old yesterday. And it’s also true that some of the flying scenes in that movie involved actual Harrier jets. Three Marine Corps AV-8Bs were rented for the filming; the producers reportedly paid an hourly rate of $2,410 for more than 40 flight hours. The article did not say whether that was a wet rate or a dry rate. Regardless, the $100,000 or so was no more than a drop in the $100 million production budget. At the time of its release in 1994, not only was True Lies the first film to have a production budget in excess of $100M, but it was the most expensive film ever made.

This and several other true facts about True Lies are circulating online this week, commemorating the film’s anniversary. They’re on the Internet, so they must be true–right?

3 Responses to “True fact about ‘True Lies’”

  1. Max Trescott Says:

    I vaguely remember at the time reading a story that molds were created from an actual Harrier and those molds were assembled to form one or more Harrier’s used in the shooting, like the one Arnold is fighting on top of. The story stuck in my mind because there was some comment about when the molds were pulled off the Harrier, they removed some paint in one spot. I did a quick Internet search but didn’t find the article.

  2. Mike Collins Says:

    I wouldn’t doubt it, Max, the mockups looked very realistic. Shortly after the movie came out I saw a magazine article about its production, and there was a photo of Arnold’s “jet” in flight–hanging from a couple of cables attached to a crane.

  3. Rocky Medina Says:

    I remember there was a legal issue, with a
    promotional contest of winning a Harrier from this
    Movie, with the Pepsi company. A contestant. Won
    It. But in the end, he did not actually get a real flying
    Harrier, and a legal battle started, and they went to

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