In 1971, a man calling himself Dan Cooper hijacked a 727 airplane, stole $200,000, and parachuted out of the sky. Where he landed, no one knows: he was never seen or heard from again. But he certainly landed in the annals of folkloric history as a man who envisioned an audacious robbery and actually got away with it. He was seen by many as an aspirational figure, and he actually inspired a spate of similar hijackings soon afterward. Cooper is a major figure in American folklore, inspiring songs, books, and television episodes to be written about what may have happened to him.
Cooper’s true identity remains a mystery, but an upcoming HBO documentary called The Mystery of D.B. Cooper might change that…or it might just further contribute to his legendary status. Check out the trailer below.
The Mystery of D.B. Cooper Trailer
I absolutely love stories like this. And I’m also a big fan of true crime documentaries that don’t have anything to do with murder. I like the occasional murder-related documentary too, but amid all of the fascination we all have with death. It’s sometimes nice to see something a bit lighter but which still conjures that incredulous, “I can’t believe what I’m watching” feeling. (HBO Max’s recent documentary Class Action Park is a perfect example of what I mean.)
Emmy-nominated filmmaker John Dower (Thrilla in Manila, My Scientology Movie) wrote and directed The Mystery of D.B. Cooper, which has a runtime of 1 hour and 27 minutes. Here is the official description:
THE MYSTERY OF D.B. COOPER brings to life the stories of four individuals fervently believed by their family and friends to be the mystery man who hijacked a 727 flying out of Portland, OR, traded the passengers’ lives for $200,000 and four parachutes, leapt from 10,000 feet over some of Washington State’s roughest terrain, and was never heard from again. Almost 50 years later, the case continues to confound the FBI and inspire wild speculation as it remains the only unsolved airplane hijacking in United States history.
Drawing from a combination of recreated and archival footage, as well as exclusive interviews with those most connected to the infamous case and its likeliest culprits, this edge-of-your-seat documentary also explores how the heist inspired copycat hijackings and elevated Cooper to “legend” status. THE MYSTERY OF D.B. COOPER paints a dynamic portrait of a fabled fugitive whose unparalleled story became folklore.
The Mystery of D.B. Cooper premieres on HBO on November 25, 2020.