While on the brink of a military confrontation with China, Air Force One crashes in the desert, killing the President. This brings Vice-President Kermit Madigan to power who, having been left in the dark by the president, must now rely on his predecessor's aides to guide him. But they have markedly different viewpoints and hidden agendas. Will he blunder his way into a nuclear exchange with the Chinese? Written by
Filmed in 1971 but delayed for airing by ABC because that was the year of President Richard Nixon's trip to China and they didn't want to show the Chinese as villains. See more »
The airport that is used to depict Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County, Maryland, is clearly located in Southern California as a row of Washingtonia robusta palm trees (also known as Mexican fan palms) is visible in the distance at the end of the film. See more »
The President appears to be dead....and the timing couldn't be any worse.
This installment of "The ABC Movie of the Week" is based on a novel by Robert J. Serling. When it begins, the President is headed out on Airforce One when the unthinkable happens...the plane disappears and it appears as if it's crashed. The Vice President (Buddy Ebsen) has been told and it's likely he's now the President! The worst part about this is that this Vice President may be called on to deal with a huge Chinese crisis...and it will take a very strong and decisive person to deal with the escalating problem. But, when they are unable to find the President's body in the wreckage, things get really confusing!
As far as the cast goes, this one is a bit more star-studded than usual for a made for a TV movie. Apart from Ebsen, Peter Graves, Arthur Kennedy, Raymond Massey, Mercedes McCambridge and Rip Torn star in this one. Because of this and because it's a really interesting story, this installment of "The ABC Movie of the Week" is a standout...well worth seeing and very well made. And, if you'd like to see it, many of the movies from this series (including this one) are available to watch on YouTube.
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