Con Air is a 1997 action film directed by Simon West and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It was nominated for two Oscars and won a Razzie (source). Starring Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, and Steve Buscemi, Con Air follows the story of Cameron Poe (Cage), an Army Ranger who is released after serving several years for involuntary manslaughter. Although he can now go home to his family in Alabama, he is placed aboard a plane filled with dangerous convicts who are being transported to various prisons around the country. When the plane is hijacked by the convicts, Poe has to figure out a way to stop them.
Watch the official movie trailer below:
Nevada Filming Locations
Con Air was filmed on location in Utah and Nevada. Some of the Nevada filming locations included Wendover Airfield and Valley of Fire State Park (source). However, one of the film’s most exciting scenes featured a plane crash on the Las Vegas Strip.
Similar to how Jason Bourne was able to use the planned demolition of the Riviera to their advantage and feature a thrilling SWAT BearCat crash through the casino floor, Con Air was able to use the scheduled demolition of the Sands and feature a plane crashing and sliding through the Las Vegas Strip, ultimately ending up in the Sands lobby.
Bruckheimer complimented the helpfulness of Las Vegas locals in making the shoot happen (source), although there were also many Las Vegas residents who were unaware of what was going on. Several residents called the police during filming when they saw planes circling above the Las Vegas Strip (source).
Fourteen cameras were set up to shoot the scene because the production team knew that they only had one shot at it. A C-123 aircraft was gutted to make it as light as possible and a 250-foot track and cable system was created to pull the plane into the lobby (source).
Watch the plane crash scene below:
Some parts of the scene were pieced together using a combination of digital compositing, live special effects, and even a miniature model of the Las Vegas Strip.
Learn more about the making of the plane crash scene:
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