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The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Drama  |  15 December 1965 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 14,600 users  
Reviews: 111 user | 37 critic

After a plane crash in the Sahara, one of the survivors says he's an airplane designer and they can make a flyable plane from the wreckage.

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(screenplay), (novel) (as Elleston Trevor)
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Title: The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)

The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Heinrich Dorfmann (as Hardy Kruger)
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Christian Marquand ...
Dan Duryea ...
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Gabriele Tinti ...
Alex Montoya ...
Peter Bravos ...
William Aldrich ...
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Storyline

A cargo plane goes down in a sandstorm in the Sahara with less than a dozen men on board. One of the passengers is an airplane designer who comes up with the idea of ripping off the undamaged wing and using it as the basis for an airplane they will build to escape before their food and water run out. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One of the most startling twists of fate you have ever experienced in a motion picture! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

15 December 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Fönix repülése  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Aldrich wanted Barrie Chase to do her exotic dance topless, but she refused. See more »

Goofs

When the left engine of the Box car is stopping at the beginning of the film the propeller is turning in the opposite direction. The propellers in this aircraft both turn to the right as seen from behind. See more »

Quotes

Frank Towns: I've lost five men, Lew. Gabriel in there, he's on the way, that'll be six. Are you asking me to try to kill the rest of them trying to get a deathtrap off the ground. I don't know... I don't know, Lew. It won't work... it just can't work.
Lew Moran: All right, then, it can't. Maybe it can't and we'll all be killed. But if there's just one chance in a thousand that he's got something, boy, I'd rather take it than just sit around here waiting to die.
See more »

Crazy Credits

It should be remembered... that Paul Mantz, a fine man and a brilliant flyer gave his life in the making of this film... See more »

Connections

Referenced in Stars of the Silver Screen: James Stewart (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Senza Fine
Sung by Connie Francis
Music and Italian lyrics by Gino Paoli
English lyrics by Alec Wilder
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Superb All-Guy Drama
23 November 2004 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

"The Flight of the Phoenix", based on the Elleston Trevor novel, has little more than one set and no costume changes; and the action is confined to the few yards around an airplane crashed in the desert. Yet its story is more gripping than most "action" movies.

An old airplane owned by an oil company crashes at the hands of a crusty old pilot (James Stewart) whose bitterness and fatalism are brought out when he's forced to admit the crash was due to pilot error. His half-alcoholic navigator has insured that the plane was off course, and cannot be discovered by rescue craft (if any); he's a nice guy and becomes the mediator between the rancorous passengers and crew, but he lacks self-confidence (Richard Attenborough in a finely understated performance). The passengers include a company accountant (Dan Duryea); a shell-shocked employee (Ernest Borgnine, by turns touching and silly) sent home in the company of his doctor (Christian Marquand); a straight-laced British officer (Peter Finch) and his mutinous sergeant (Ronald Fraser); several oil company employees, including one who is always making vicious jokes at the expense of the others (Ian Bannen); and a German "designer" (Hardy Kruger) who went to the oil fields to visit his brother.

Stranded in the desert with no hope of rescue, they debate various schemes for salvation, all of which fail, until Kruger tells the others he is an airplane designer and he has discovered a way to build a new plane from the spare parts of the old one. All it needs for a handful of unskilled men, living on a little water and no food but pressed dates, coping with unbearable heat during the day and unbearable cold at night, to transform themselves into aircraft manufacturers before they all succumb.

All performances are good. Some of the actors (George Kennedy, the always interesting Dan Duryea) are woefully underused -- perhaps large segments of their roles wound up on the cutting-room floor. The major tension is the confrontation between Stewart's old-school pilot and Kruger's technologically self-righteous engineer (at one point, Stewart's character makes the incredibly prescient remark that one day the little men with their slide-rules and computers will inherit the earth).

Even when they all decide they'd rather attempt building the new plane with hope than sit around watching each other die, new surprises spring up that compromise the whole thing.

The script and the acting are solid, especially James Stewart in a different and challenging role. The music is sometimes overwhelming, and stings give unnecessary emphasis to some lines. Also of interest is the listing in the credits of "The Love Theme" which seems like a silly thing to call it.

A superlative story of men living on the ragged edge of survival, working together but not necessarily getting along or surrendering their own values.


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