He was portrayed by the legendary actor, Malcolm McDowell, who also portrayed Alex De Large in the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange, Caligula in the 1979 film Caligula, Tolian Soran in the 1994 film Star Trek: Generations, Kesslee in the 1995 film Tank Girl, Marcus Kane in the 2008 film Doomsday, Sinclair in the 2012 film Home Alone: The Holiday Heist. He provided his voice as Geoffrey Tolwyn in the third and forth Wing Commander video games.
F. E. Cochrane is an English immigrant from Luton, England. He was born on June 13, 1939. He came to the United States sometime in the 1950s or 1960s and graduated from USC in 1961. He served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War from 1968-1969. He was a helicopter pilot during the war. Cochrane was also corrupt and a murderer. While holding a VC captive, during a flight in the chopper, Cochrane had the prisoner thrown out of the helicopter and ordered his subordinate Frank Murphy, who was flying the chopper to go back to base, it was because of this incident that Cochrane and Murphy were at odds with one another. Cochrane tried to have Murphy court-martialed for disobeying his orders, but couldn't since Murphy caught shrapnel during a battle.
Events of Blue Thunder
In 1983, Cochrane is still in the military and now has the rank of colonel working with Army Intelligence. He is working with some corrupt government officials like Ray Icelan and David Fletcher and now involved with a special project involving a new prototype helicopter which is named "Blue Thunder" which they planned to use to eliminate political undesirables which the project is called THOR(Tactical Helicopter Offensive Response). Some of the corrupt members of the Justice Department, State Department, and LAPD were responsible for the murder of city councilwoman Diana McNeely, who discovered the conspiracy, she was apart of the mayor's task force on urban violence. She discovered they planned to stir up trouble in the barrio to prove what the chopper can do. Cochrane began flyng Blue Thunder for the government. Later on that year, in Los Angeles, which will be the test site of Blue Thunder in cooperation with the LAPD selected a pilot from the department to do the testing over the city, which would be Frank Murphy, who now is a cop on Los Angeles. Murphy and his partner, Richard Lymangood.
During a demonstration at a military test site called "Pinkville", Cochrane flew Blue Thunder and after the test, he would run into Frank Murphy, with his boss, Captain Jack Braddock. Cochrane is too displeased that Murphy was selected to fly Blue Thunder. Cochrane and Murphy talk some and Cochrane say to Murphy that they could have used a helicopter like Blue Thunder during the Vietnam War. Cochrane started to be overconfident and arrogant with Murphy and when Cochrane leaves, tells him "Catch you later!".
A couple of days later at the precinct, Cochrane would take a test flight in Blue Thunder with Frank Murphy and Richard Lymangood in another helicopter. Before the flight, Cochrane had a conversation about the impossibility of looping a chopper what Frank Murphy told Lymangood he did once. Cochrane sabotages Murphy's chopper's turbine and before the flight, he tells Murphy to follow my leader and says to Murphy "Catch you later!". During the flight, Murphy's chopper ended up losing control and he and Lymangood nearly crashed but managed to save themselves by landing on a construction site on the forman's trailer. Later on that night, Cochrane runs into Frank Murphy as Murphy is getting ready to leave, he gives Murphy a hard time about the flight and tells Cochrane to "back off" and Cochrane thinks Murphy is threatening him, but just tells him to "back off" and before Cochrane leaves, he says "Catch you later!".Later on that week, Murphy and Lymangood take Blue Thunder for a test flight that night and after they were called to return to base, Murphy sees Cochrane driving off in a hurry with Fletcher and decided to follow them and they go to the Federal Building. Murphy and Lymangood overhear the conversation with Blue Thunder's technology and hear that they are responsible for city councilwoman Diana McNeely's death and hear Cochrane planning on taking out Murphy himself. Cochrane walks over to window and pulls the curtains and sees Blue Thunder and they speed away from the building. Later on that night, Lymangood hides the tape of the conversation and is murdered by one of the government men named Grundelius and Murphy is framed for the murder.
The next day at the precinct, Cochrane, a long with Icelan are trying to find away to erase the tape, but can't since Lymangood changed to code. Frank Murphy manages to sneak into the precinct and steal Blue Thunder. Cochrane sees Murphy taking off in Blue Thunder and tries to shoot Murphy, but is too far away. While at the tower, Cochrane and Icelan over hearing the conversation of Murphy contacting his former girlfriend Kate talk about the tape hidden at the Drive-In in a dumpster behind the concession stand and plans to have her take it to KLAB TV, one of the big TV stations in L.A. and send Fletcher to intercept her, but Fletcher fails and Kate and reporter Alf Hewitt go to the studio upstairs and watch the tape and learn the truth about Blue Thunder. After the failed attemps to bring Murphy down by the LAPD and the Air Force, the mayor calls off the hunt. Cochrane decides to go after Murphy, though he was ordered to stand down. Cochrane took off in a helicopter with heavy artilery.
A battle of the skies went on with Cochrane and Murphy, Cochrane managed to wound Murphy some and cause a malfunction with Blue Thunder's weapons, but later on Murphy manages to get the upper hand and makes Cochrane play "Follow the leader" and Murphy, manages to do a loop in Blue Thunder and Cochrane could not believe that Murphy is doing it and decides to try the loop to follow Murphy, but with the turbo mode, Murphy makes the full loop and shoots Cochrane's chopper, killing him. After Cochrane dies, Murphy says to the dead Cochrane "Catch you later!". Frank Murphy lands Blue Thunder in front of a freight train, destroying Blue Thunder.