7.6/10
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115 user 47 critic

The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama | 15 December 1965 (USA)
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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel) (as Elleston Trevor)
Reviews
Popularity
4,839 ( 245)

On Disc

at Amazon

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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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:

Its excitement is headed straight for you! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

15 December 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Flug des Phoenix  »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,355,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

Incorrectly regarded as a goof: "When Captain Harris is preparing to walk across the desert, he declares that he had better get going because it is almost dark. However, the length of his shadow indicates it is much closer to noon than it is to dusk." From the tone of Captain Harris' voice, and congruent with pilot Frank Towns' prior attempts to dissuade him by challenging his abilities...one being an inability to precisely navigate by the stars...Captain Harris is obviously being sarcastic in stating it's almost dark despite the midday hour. See more »

Quotes

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.
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Crazy Credits

Closing credits epilogue: 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

Features The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

The Phoenix Love Theme
Senza Fine"
Sung by Connie Francis
Music & Italian Lyrics by Gino Paoli
English Lyrics by Alec Wilder
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An enjoyable performance driven spin on the disaster movie genre
3 August 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Returning from an oil field with a plane full of crew etc going on leave, Frank Towns' plane enters a sandstorm over the Sahara desert and crashes. As various attempts at rescue or escape fail one passenger, Dorfmann suggests his plan to rebuild the plane as a smaller version and attempt to fly out, leaving the bulk of the damage craft behind. However tensions mount as personalities conflict as all the men face death.

I had only ever heard of this film before I finally got round to watching it last night on television. I was aware of the basic plot and had assumed it was more recent that it actually was. I watched it assuming that it was made in the early seventies when the disaster movie genre was just starting to take off (sorry – accidental pun). However this was made prior to this and is probably a much better film for it – in the seventies the film would have required more spectacle, so the crash would have been much more dramatic and horrifying. As it is now, the film is more about the men under stress than it is about anything else.

This is brought out well and the majority of the drama and tension within the film is as much from these conflicts as it is from the pressure to escape the desert. The film is longer than I expected it to be but it pretty much sustains itself for that length. The main reason for the film working so well is the cast, which has it's fair share of famous faces but also has more than it's fair share of good performances.

Stewart is really strong in the lead (although, in fairness, there is no one main character) and becomes increasingly grizzled as the film goes on. His character is not without flaws even if he does come out of this well. Attenborough is also good but is less evident in the film than some of the others. Krüger has the least pleasant of the roles given that he plays a tough German. He manages to make the character likeable while still going about his task with a strict organised German air to him. Finch is good and is well supported by Fraser. The support cast includes strong performances from Borgnine, Bannen, Kennedy, Marquand and the director's own son is thrown in for colour!

Overall this is much better than the disaster-type movie I had expected as it is a film where the plane crash isn't a blaze of spectacle and the death scenes aren't played out for full effect. Instead it is a tension adventure story that is driven by some great performances by a cast full of well known actors.


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