A plane crashes just after takeoff and the only survivor, the pilot walks out of the wreckage. He doesn't remember the explosion or the crash, but 300 passengers & crew are dead. As the investigation goes on people are wanting answers.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Punch McGregor ...
Beth (as Angela Punch-McGregor)
Peter Sumner ...
Lorna Lesley ...
Ralph Cotterill ...
Adrian Wright ...
Tyler Coppin ...
Kirk Alexander ...
Dr. Martindale
Jon Nicholls ...
Roger Cardwell ...
Flight Engineer
Jenufa Scott-Roberts ...
John Edmund ...
Denzil Howson ...


Keller is an experienced pilot whose plane crashes in a field near a town. He ends up being the sole survivor, but he's unable to remember what happened that caused the plane to crash. He also can't explain how come he's the only one who survived without even a scratch while everyone else on board died. A local female psychic, Hobbs, who's been having visions ever since the night of the crash, and Keller's own sense of survivor's guilt convince Keller that he needs to get to the bottom of things. Meanwhile, some of the children killed in the crash begin appearing to some of the locals and an eerie series of strange deaths occurs. Keller and Hobbs approach the local priest, who seem to be the only one in town who believes in Keller's innocence and Hobbs disturbing visions.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Based on the terrifying best-selling novel by James Herbert. See more »


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Release Date:

9 July 1981 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Aterrorizante Confronto Final  »

Box Office


AUD 1,300,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original release)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Joseph Cotten's last film See more »


The pilot is seen switching off the "No Smoking" and "Fasten Seat Belt" signs almost immediately the plane is airborne, yet just a few seconds later it can be seen that the wheels have not been retracted. The signs would have been kept lit until the plane was well into the air, which would be some time after the wheels had been retracted. See more »

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User Reviews

True sleeper that's highly enthralling!
18 January 2006 | by (the Mad Hatter's tea party.) – See all my reviews

Just after taking off, a Jetliner goes into a emergency landing, but the pilots can't control the situation and the plane crashes and presumably everybody is dead because of the state of the disaster. That's until out of the wreckage and flames, out comes walking the only survivor the pilot. When asked what happened, the pilot has temporary memory loss and because of that he's tortured by the guilt of being the only survivor. A woman who believes to be part of this accident joins the pilot on trying to figure out this baffling mystery, which somehow involves the restless spirits of the plane crash pushing the two to seek out the truth.

I remember when I came across the trailer for this flick on some rental video, and boy did it freak me out when I was kid, but that's going back and I just saw it for the first time now. And from what I saw, I got nothing but high praise for this Australian paranormal thriller. It isn't flawless, but there's something enthralling about the mystery of it all and it's a technically impressive production. 'The Survivor' which was adapted from James Herbert's novel was shot in Adelaide, Australia with some of the same crew of the previous film 'Harlequin' involved, but they managed to pull some international actors other then Robert Powell, but Jenny Agutter and Joseph Cotton too. And also some local faces Angela Punch-McGregor and Peter Summer who have small roles pop up.

David Hemming takes the pivotal role of director here and paints a very moody picture that has a vastly quiet stillness and baffling nature to all of it. The supernatural factor of the plot exploits the fear of this startling subject by having short pockets of intense shocks and taut suspense along way to its breathtaking climax. The supernatural element is one that haunts the mind and evokes such terror in the face. To get this feel it's depressingly downbeat. The advantage of that is that it doesn't cross away from that central idea and it's hard to know what's coming around each corner. Hemming also stages some unsettling moments with such vision. First off would be when the jetliner is going down and we see it from a street bystander's viewpoint and that of the crash site and wreckage is so damn eerie. The climax also packs a massive punch, but if you've seen some recent films in the last couple of years it might not come as a bigger surprise, but I for one didn't see it coming. The plot works rather well with it ambiguous and slowly paced structure, where we are still left with some more questions at the end, but saying that 'mostly' everything starts to fit into the puzzle with precision, where you learn there's a whole lot more to it then what we began with. Just after watching a couple of the X-files seasons over the last week or two, this is something that wouldn't feel out of placed in an x-files episode. The mystery thrives here in the plot and only for those who enjoy a good and highly creepy mystery with supernatural overtones.

Make sure you watch the film in wide screen to get John Seale's wide scope cinematography that was shot with such elegance and subtleness with a lot distinctive elements. It had a nice polished touch to it by working in every little detail with flashes of creativity and unsteadiness to proceedings. The choice of setting added even more to the unsettling nature with such beautiful backdrops that go hand-to-hand to mood of the characters and story. The score by Brian May succeeded too by really touching a nerve with its echoing emphasis on a air of creepiness, but to a soothing and innocent spell of suggestiveness. Also the highly effective sound effects creaked alertness. Exemplary performances are given from a top cast of talented internationals. Robert Powell is impressive as the stone-cold pilot Keller, Jenny Agutter is beautifully engaging as Hobbs who can get in touch with other-side and then there's Joseph Cotton putting in solid performance as The Priest. These believable characters you actually care for, especially because you join the two in their journey of discovery and torment to what really happened. Where you learn its fate between the connection of Keller and Hobbs. What keeps you gripped other than that of the great imagery, focused tension and fantastic performances is that of the heavy laced dialog, which drives the film into weird but compelling territory.

After two decades the film still holds up rather well and left me with a cold shudder after being thrown right into it. Startlingly good entertainment!

9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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