The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Drama  |  15 December 1965 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 14,968 users  
Reviews: 114 user | 38 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.



(screenplay), (novel) (as Elleston Trevor)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Heinrich Dorfmann (as Hardy Kruger)
Christian Marquand ...
Gabriele Tinti ...
Alex Montoya ...
Peter Bravos ...
William Aldrich ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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


Adventure | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

15 December 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Fönix repülése  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Director Robert Aldrich's son (William Aldrich) and son-in-law (Peter Bravos) are the first two casualties in the film, killed by falling cargo during the opening credits as the disabled plane is descending for its crash-landing. See more »


Early in the movie, while Cobb is taking a walk in the dunes around the crash site, the camera looks back at the downed aircraft and shows the Port (left) tail boom broken in half. In every other part of the movie, the Starboard (right) tail boom is broken in half. See more »


Lew Moran: Time was you could take real pride, in just getting there, flying used to be fun Lou, it really was.
Frank Towns: He's crazy Lou, he builds toy airplanes.
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 »


Referenced in The A-Team: The Out-of-Towners (1983) See more »


Senza Fine
Sung by Connie Francis
Music and Italian lyrics by Gino Paoli
English lyrics by Alec Wilder
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Great character studies in a survival context.
28 February 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

These comments are partly inspired by other comments and the message boards. This film presents a hypothetical survival situation and does a great job of showing how innovation and persistence bring the survivors through. Strengths and weaknesses are plausibly portrayed in characters who have depth and a mix of vices and virtues. That Sgt Watson does not suffer for his sin is just the sort of thing that makes this an adult movie. That's what "real life" is like. Often people who do the wrong thing seem to go unpunished, or worse, to actually benefit. You could get a whole other novel out of the Sgt's subsequent life. There was a real survivor story a few years back where a trimaran, the "Rose-Noelle" capsized, and the crew existed on the overturned craft for many weeks. There were tensions between people. Each individual seemed to be weak in some ways and strong in others - eg one guy was very despondent and was often treated with contempt by 2 others, but he was also far more patient at fishing, he caught a lot more than anyone else. The skipper/owner kept up his leadership role and the others resented him being hard on them (I thought no harder than was needed). When the trimaran eventually ran ashore, and they were picked up by emergency services, at least 2 of the crew immediately separated themselves from the skipper and never contacted him afterward, according to his book. When these two wrote their own book, they stated that they had taken food from the common store when they weren't being watched. I was flabbergasted that they would admit such a thing without feeling any guilt. They didn't express any anyway.

In the 70s I read a self-improvement book about so-called "non-eroneous" people who would never worry about what other people thought about them or what they did. I now believe the old saying that "Only very competent men, or very beautiful women, or very rich people of either gender can afford to be totally forthright all the time." Hardy Kruger's character was a wonderful example of the "non-erroneous" person. His view was that he worked harder, he planned everything, he was essential to the project, so it was OK for him to take more water than the others. He openly admitted it when confronted by the pilot (James Stewart). However he changed his behaviour because he saw that he had to get people on-side if the project was to succeed. That a model aircraft engineers skills were as good as a full-size engineers was self-evident to him.

He was not without his faults however. During the engine-starting sequence, he rather lost his nerve. He was not able to trust the best man for the task (the pilot), to do the task, without trying to interfere. Hardy Kruger is one of my favorite actors, very versatile, he always managed to please even when cast in utter tripe like Hatari!

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