Some claim to see "clear parallels" between the plot of "Predator" and the plot of the ancient Anglo Saxon poem "Beowulf".
In both stories a group of elite foreign warriors arrive in an area suffering the depradations of a mysterious, almost-invisible monster that has defeated other warriors on their own ground — in "Beowulf" a great hall; in "Predator" the crashed (or downed?) helicopter.
The newly arrived warriors sleep in or near this place, and the monster comes in the night to attack them. They fight, but the warriors' weapons and tactics are ineffective against the monster, who is protected by near-invisibility, and magic that deflects weaponry. Picking off the warriors one by one, the monster takes, or returns and steals, the corpses of its victims, to keep as trophies.
At one crucial point the monster flees the warriors after being wounded in the arm. A sign that the monster has been wounded, an indication of its mortality, is seen in the finding of its blood, a substance of unnatural colour. (In "Beowulf", two related monsters are dealt with in succession, but in "Predator" they are conflated into one.)
In both stories, the hero discards some of the potent weapons with which he has been equipped (a firearm in "Predator"; the legendary sword Hunting in "Beowulf") when he realises they are useless against the monster, and in the end he is protected by his own special armour (simple mud, in the "Predator" version).
Ultimately, he uses ingenuity and cunning to protect himself and outwit the monster. He turns its own weapons against it and fells it by his own singular might, removing its head (or, in "Predator", prising off its helmet) in final victory.
Both stories contain the element of gradually coming to know the nature of the mysterious alien(s), and learning how to counter it.
This is made more apparent by Jim and John Thomas' admission that their parents read Beowulf as a bed time story when they were kids.
There is also a parallel with Ridley Scott's Alien which was released only eight years earlier, providing the scenario of a small group of 'professionals' in an isolated environment being picked-off one by one by an incredibly aggressive and seemingly indestructible alien being.
The original alien was going to be a more insect-like creature, and was going to be played by Jean Claude Van Damme, but it was decided that it wasn't scary enough and was redesigned. Van Damme quit after two days, unhappy with being cast as an uncredited special effect; though it has also been said that he could not bear the uncomfortable heat inside the costume during filming.
The revamped "Predator", played by the late Kevin Peter Hall, is equipped with an impressive line of weapons, including a shoulder-mounted plasma cannon (plasmacaster), metal armor, wrist computer system, medical-survival kit, wrist-mounted double-edged blade, cutting tools, and a cloaking device that bends light rays, rendering the creature almost invisible. It also has access to a personal plasma bomb (not nuclear) accessed by the wrist computer system which serves as a 'self-destruct system,' intended to allow the hunter to retain some honor and also prevent his weaponry from being recovered by the victorious prey.
One of the most effective aspects of this movie was the merging of the villain's design and the driving force of the suspense in the script. In all Horror and SciFi-Horror movies, one of the leading methods of generating suspense is to slowly reveal the villain throughout the movie. This is usually done using fleeting glances and extreme closeups.
However, in Predator, the inclusion of the mask, heat-based vision, stealthy behaviour and the cloaking field allowed the creature to be slowly revealed without using these gimmicks. This "hiding in plain sight" method increased the suspense of the film, as well as creating neat easter eggs for interested fans. For example, a diligent fan will notice the predator's distinctive chatter in the scene where the skinned corpses of several GI's are found.
There is also a series of novels, comics, computer games, and a movie that connects Predator with the Alien series, called Alien vs. Predator. An arcade game in the series features a fighter based on Schwarzenegger's character. SciFi cyberpunk writer John Shirley has written a Predator novel, "Forever Midnight", for Dark Horse books. It is a fusion of the futuristic interplanetary story and the Predator mythos, in which Shirley creates some of the Predator's language, culture and biology, telling some of the story from the Predator's point of view; some of this creativity, which has satirical elements (for instance Predator offspring play videogames like human children only they remote-control human beings, rather than digital characters, forcing them to kill one another in real life), may be at odds with other Predator tie-in material, but Shirley arguably makes up for it with sheer inventive glee and fecundity of idea.
Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally cast as the alien hunter. When he later found out that his face, and name would not appear on film, he dropped out of the role. This can all be heard on the Special Edition 2 Disc DVD set's commentary and behind the scenes images.
The line "Run! Go! GET TO THE CHOPPER!" (also spelled as "GET TO DA CHOPPAH!") has become popular on the Internet, and has been used by SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt and Neil Everett in hockey highlights. The line, "If it bleeds, we can kill it," is also used by Van Pelt when the Nashville Predators lose. Another famous line from the film, "I ain't got time to bleed." spoken by Ventura's character, Blaine, subsequently became the title of Ventura's 2000 autobiography.
The helicopter pilot at the end is the man who plays the predator, late actor and mime artist Kevin Peter Hall.
Kevin Peter Hall passed away April of 1991. He died of AIDS which he contracted through a blood transfusion after a major car accident in Los Angeles.
Predator was director John McTiernan's first studio movie. The studio wanted writer Shane Black to watch over McTiernan because it was his first studio film, so Black was hired for the part of Hawkins in the film.
Both director John McTiernan and Arnold Schwarzenegger lost 25 pounds because of this movie. Schwarzenegger lost the weight before the movie shot because his role called for it, but McTiernan lost the weight because he did not eat the food in Mexico, fearing it would make him sick.
The mandibles of the Predator were the idea of James Cameron .
The General Electric Minigun used by Blain in the film has become a running gag in the books of Robert Rankin; after the words: "Fires up to 6000 rounds per minute. 7.62 x 51 mm shells. 1.36 kg recoil adapters. Six muzzle velocity of 869 m/s." were uttered by Elvis in They Came And Ate Us. (In reality, the blowback from such a gun is so powerful that no one would be able to stay upright and shoot it -- it has to be vehicle mounted) Not to mention that if you could carry such a weapon you would run out of ammo in seconds.
Some speculate the Elite from the game Halo took their design from the Predator in that they both have plasma weapons, armor cloaking, a warrior tradition, four mandibles and melee weapons. In addition, they both have a war cry and both are stronger faster and tougher than most humans, and both are bipedal
Interestingly, three of the movie's stars went on to become gubernatorial candidates, two of whom -- Arnold Schwarzenegger (California) and Jesse Ventura (Minnesota) -- won election (Landham ran for governor of Kentucky in 2003). A Saturday Night Live sketch parodied this fact by having Carl Weathers appear asking any state to vote him as their governor, with the caption "Vote for Carl Weathers: He was the black guy in Predator!"
Fan site Predator: The Hunted contains all Predator info
IMDB - Predator page