I just rewatched Top Gun featuring young buck Tom Cruise as a feisty US fighterpilot. In the beginning he gives the finger to a mysterious bogey in a MIG. He is not allowed to pull the trigger so this is how he scares the attacker off:
How old and widespread is the classical digitus impudicus?
The event becomes part of the plot and the tension between girl Charlie and boy Maverick (scene transcript from IMDb):
Charlie: Eh lieutenant, what were you doing there?
Maverick: Communicating. Keeping up foreign relations. You know, giving him the bird!
Goose: [Charlie looks puzzled, so Goose clarifies] You know, the finger
Charlie: Yes, I know the finger, Goose.
Goose: I-I’m sorry, I hate it when it does that, I’m sorry. Excuse me.