Olympus Has Fallen poster
Olympus Has Fallen theatrical poster
Written by Creighton Rothenberger
Katrin Benedikt
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Produced by Gerard Butler
Alan Siegel
Mark Gill
Starring Gerard Butler
Aaron Eckhart
Morgan Freeman
Angela Bassett
Robert Forster
Cole Hauser
Finley Jacobsen
Ashley Judd
Melissa Leo
Dylan McDermott
Radha Mitchell
Rick Yune
Music by Trevor Morris
Cinematography by Conrad W. Hall
Editing by John Refoua
Studio Millennium Films
Distributed by FilmDistrict
Release Date March 22, 2013
Rated R
Run time 120 min.
Budget $70,000,000 (est.)
Grossed $161,025,640
Followed by London Has Fallen

Olympus Has Fallen is the 2013 action thriller film. It was released on March 22, 2013. It was written by Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt and directed by Antoine Fuqua. The film was also in a competition with another "Die Hard-in-a-White-House" film that same year called White House Down.

In this film, disgraced Secret Service agent and former Presidential guard Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) must battle a well-equipped North Korean terrorist group, led by brutal mastermind Kang Yeonsak (Rick Yune), who have seized the White House and hold US President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and other high-ranking officials hostage. Banning must use his inside knowledge of the White House and all his training to fight through the terrorists and save President Asher, the president's son Connor (Finley Jacobsen) and avert an even bigger threat. Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) and others in The Pentagon try to handle the situation.

Although Olympus Has Fallen received a mixed reception among critics and audience, it was a surprise sleeper box-office success. It spawned two sequels, London Has Fallen and Angel Has Fallen.


Former U.S. Army Ranger Mike Banning is the lead Secret Service agent assigned to head the Presidential Detail. He maintains a personal, friendly relationship with President Benjamin Asher, First Lady Margaret Asher and particularly their son Connor Asher. During a Christmas evening drive from Camp David to a campaign fundraiser, a tree falls in front of the President’s convoy, making the vehicles skid out of control on black ice on a bridge. The lead vehicle in the convoy falls into an icy river while the Presidential limousine teeters on the edge for a minute before falling as well with Margaret still unconscious inside. Banning is able to save President Asher, but Margaret and two other agents die in the crash.

Eighteen months later, Banning works at the Treasury Department, within eyesight of the White House. He has been demoted from the Presidential Detail as the sight of him triggers Asher’s memories of the night Margaret died. During a meeting between Asher and South Korean Prime Minister, Lee Tae-Woo, Korean-led guerrilla forces, aided by treasonous members of Prime Minister Lee’s own detail, which include Dave Forbes, an ex-US Secret Service agent turned private contractor, mount an air and ground assault that results in the capture of the White House. The remaining Secret Service agents within the White House mount an unsuccessful counterattack but inflict casualties on the terrorists. Asher and several top officials are held hostage in the White House bunker where Prime Minister Lee is killed. Before he is killed, Agent Roma alerts the Director of the Secret Service Lynne Jacobs that “Olympus has fallen.”

The attack has been masterminded by Kang Yeonsak, an ex-North Korean terrorist who appears to be motivated by hope for a reunification of Korea. Kang seeks to use Asher’s hostage status as leverage to force the U.S. military to withdraw from the Korean Peninsula, allowing the Korean War to end. He also seeks to destroy all of America’s nuclear weapons in their silos and turn the United States into an irradiated wasteland as revenge for the death of his parents when his mother was killed by an American landmine and his father was executed for crimes against North Korea. To accomplish this, he requires the access codes to a system in the bunker called Cerberus: a fail-safe device that self-detonates any U.S. nuclear missiles during an abort, which are held by three top government officials within the bunker, including the President. Asher orders the other two officials to reveal their codes to save their lives, certain that he will not give up his code.

During the assault by Kang’s forces on the front lawn, Banning joins the side of the White House’s defenders. He falls back into the White House, disables the internal surveillance and gains access to Asher’s satellite phone, which he uses to maintain contact with Allan Trumbull, the Speaker of the House who is now the Acting President. Authorized to proceed, Banning’s first act is to save Connor, who Kang plans to use to force Asher to reveal his Cerberus code since Trumbull notes that Asher would not be able to hold out under those circumstances. Despite resistance, he finds Connor hiding in the walls, thanks to the training Banning had given him, and sneaks him out of the White House before beginning reconnaissance and reducing the terrorists’ numbers one by one. This includes Forbes, but not before convincing the traitor to report to Kang that Banning is dead. Meanwhile, Trumbull orders an aerial SEAL assault on the White House, but Kang’s team deploys an advanced anti-aircraft gun system in his possession owned by the United States, called the Hydra 6. Discovering this, Banning advises Trumbull and Army Chief of Staff General Edward Clegg to abort the mission, but it proceeds and Kang’s henchwoman Lim annihilates the assault force before Banning can stop it. Kang retaliates for the attempted infiltration by killing Vice President, Charlie Rodriguez.

After Banning disables Kang’s communications, the terrorist tries to execute Secretary of Defense Ruth McMillan outside the front door in front of the media, but Banning rescues her and takes out several more of Kang’s men in the process. With Kang’s forces dwindling, he fakes his own death as well as Asher’s death by sacrificing several of his men and the remaining hostages. Kang, Asher, and the few remaining terrorists stay in the bunker, unknown to the outside world. Kang eventually cracks Asher’s code knowing that hacking all three codes would have taken more time than Kang had, but focusing on one gave him the time he needed. With that, Kang activates Cerberus as Banning realizes that his apparent suicide was staged. As Kang attempts to escape, Banning kills the remaining terrorists and Kang shoots Asher in the stomach when Asher tried to fight Kang. Banning and Kang then engage in a violent knife fight which ends in Banning killing Kang by stabbing him in the head. He then ultimately disables Cerberus with the assistance of Trumbull with only seconds to spare. Banning and Asher escape the White House. After the events, Washington begins to heal from the attack and Banning once again becomes head of the Presidential Detail with Banning observing President Asher as he addresses the public.

Cast and charactersEdit

Secret ServiceEdit

U.S. GovernmentEdit




Olympus Has Fallen is 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. 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.

Filming began in Shreveport, Louisiana, in mid-July 2012. 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. For example, computers created 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.

For scenes in which actors were filmed walking in or out of the White House, a first floor façade and entrance were built, and then computers added the second floor and roof, as well as the rest of the D.C. downtown landscape. Action scenes that merely had the White House in the background were actually filmed in open fields, and then the White House and D.C. were added in post-production.


Olympus Has Fallen was released in the United States on March 22, 2013. 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. FilmDistrict distributed the film. The movie was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 13, 2013 in the U.S.


Critical responseEdit

The film received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives a score of 47% based on reviews from 177 critics, with a rating average of 5.4/10 with the site's consensus being "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". Other praise for the film came from how it made Washington, D.C. look like a battleground. However, most criticisms came from the implausibility of the plot, lack of nuclear accuracy and the film's plot holes. Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 41/100 based on 29 reviews indicating "mixed or average reviews." The film ranked just behind White House Down, its competitor, which had a 50% rating. 

Box officeEdit

At the end of the first weekend, the film earned $30.5 million, and exceeded Hollywood experts' predictions by $7 million. The film received an A- CinemaScore grade. As of July 10, 2013 it has made a total of over $161 million at the box-office worldwide, making it FilmDistrict's highest grossing film to date.


Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett and Radha Mitchell will return for a sequel entitled London Has Fallen revolving around a plot to strike London during the funeral of the British Prime Minister.[1] The release date for the sequel is set at October 2, 2015.[2]


  1. Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, and Aaron Eckhart Returning for OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN Sequel LONDON HAS FALLEN
  2. LONDON HAS FALLEN to Open October 2nd, 2015; Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart Return

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