|Directed by||Colin Eggleston|
|Written by||John D. Lamond|
|Music by||Brian May|
John Lamond Motion Pictures
|Distributed by||Roadshow Entertainment|
|Box office||AU $76,170 (Australia)|
Sky Pirates (also known as Dakota Harris) is a 1986 Australian adventure film written and produced by John D. Lamond, and directed by Colin Eggleston. The film was inspired by Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), as well as borrowing liberally from The Philadelphia Experiment (1984), The Deer Hunter (1978), Dirty Harry (1971) and Mad Max (1979).
In 1945, the Second World War is about to come to an end. Meanwhile, the Australian military has come across an ancient device which can be used to travel through time. It is imperative that the Allies have it and the Axis powers do not.
The experienced aviator Lt. Harris (John Hargreaves) gets assigned to transport the precious item to Washington, D.C.. Reverend Mitchell (Simon Chilvers), Mitchell's lovely daughter Melanie (Meredith Phillips), General Hackett (Alex Scott) and Major Savage (Max Phipps) are aboard the Douglas C-47 Skytrain transport. During the flight the power of the magic cargo makes the laws of nature fade, hereby causing a tremendous tempest which leaves Harris no other choice than to ditch the aircraft.
In rescue boats they discover a weird and misty area full of wrecked ships of different eras. Rev. Mitchell claims there was a connection to the so-called Philadelphia Experiment. Harris remains unimpressed and concentrates on the survival of Melanie and his crew, even for the price of immolating the arcane freight against Savage's explicit orders.
Back home Savage has Harris sentenced for insubordination by a military court. Harris escapes and seeks to unveil the background of these occurrences. He beseeches Rev. Mitchell's daughter Melanie to team up with him. Together they strive to retrieve the lost magic item. They disclose and confound Savage's hidden agenda before they become a happy couple.
- John Hargreaves as Lt. Harris
- Meredith Phillips as Melanie Mitchell
- Max Phipps as Major Savage
- Bill Hunter as O'Reilly
- Simon Chilvers as Rev. Mitchell
- Alex Scott as Gen. Hackett
- Adrian Wright as Valentine
- Peter Cummins as Col. Brien
- Tommy Dysart as Bartender
- Arron Wayne Cull as Logan (as Wayne Cull)
- Alex Menglet as Sullivan
- Nigel Bradshaw as Spencer
- Chris Gregory as Appleton
- John Murphy as Gus
Sky Pirates was able to utilize a number of war birds that were found in Australia including CAC Mustangs, Douglas C-47 Skytrain, Grumman Mallard and North American B-25 Mitchell. Principal photography took place in Australia from May to June 1984.[N 1]
The music in Sky Pirates was composed by Brian May, who also scored the first two Mad Max films. The soundtrack was produced, edited and mastered by Philip Powers four years later as part of his Australian film music archive project, four years later, on the label, oneMone Records. Sky Pirates: Original Soundtrack Recording was released on CD in 1989.
Aviation film historian Simon Beck in The Aircraft Spotter's Film and Television Companion (2016) described,Sky Pirates as "... influenced by every Spielberg production made up to the mid-'80s."
Eleanor Mannikka in her review for AllMovie.com noted: "A limp storyline refuses to go taut throughout this sci-fi adventure that patches together bits and pieces from its famous, multi-genre predecessors (the Indiana Jones series, 'The Deer Hunter', 'The Philadelphia Experiment', and others).
Filmink magazine wrote "There’s enough genuinely good stuff in here (Hargreaves, Max Phipps, Brian May’s music score, Easter Island filming) to make you wish John Lamond had just stuck to producing and gotten in a writer to give it some shape."
- The second Douglas C-47DL (c/n 6051, s/n 41-38668), registered VH-DAS, that appeared in the film was actually submerged.
- Interview with John Lamond." Mondo Stumpo, 2002. Retrieved: 14 October 2012.
- "Australian Films at the Australian Box Office." Film Victoria. Retrieved: 24 October 2012.
- "Review: 'Sky Pirates'." BFI, 2019. Retrieved: August 13, 2019.
- Stratton 1990, p. 80.
- Beck 2016, p. 176.
- Santoir, Christian. "Review: 'Sky Pirates'." Aeromovies, May 28, 2011. Retrieved: August 13, 2019.
- Mannikka, Eleanor. "Review: 'Sky Pirates'." AllMovie.com, 2019. Retrieved: August 13, 2019.
- Maltin 2012, p. 1272.
- Vagg, Stephen (29 February 2020). "Top Ten 10BA Knock Offs". Filmink.
- Beck, Simon D. The Aircraft Spotter's Film and Television Companion. Jefferson, North Carolina, 2016. ISBN 978-1-476-66349-4.
- Maltin, Leonard. Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide 2013. New York: New American Library, 2012 (originally published as TV Movies, then Leonard Maltin’s Movie & Video Guide), First edition 1969, published annually since 1988. ISBN 978-0-451-23774-3.
- Stratton, David. The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry. London: Pan MacMillan, 1990. ISBN 978-0-7329-0250-6.