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I viewed this film as "A Thousand Heroes" on HBO and I appreciated
having the opportunity to watch it without commercial interruptions.
This film, a true story, details the events leading up to the crash of United flight 232 in Iowa and the incredible survival stories in the aftermath. The Sioux City area emergency services teams drilled for just such an event and their efforts resulted in many lives being saved. These stories of survival are what make this film special and quite moving at times. James Coburn plays the gruff fire chief who at one point just can't believe that the bodies of the victims will have to remain on the tarmac overnight. "Shouldn't somebody say a prayer over them or something?" he asks during an emotional scene. A child survives the crash because he had the presence of mind to jump from plane before it broke up into pieces. An injured passenger is brought into the emergency room as the paramedic says "Take good care of him. We had to leave his wife on the runway."
The sense of duty and compassion displayed by the population of Sioux City and the gratitude of the passengers is very refreshing. The rapport that develops between the pilot (Charlton Heston) and the rookie air traffic controller on duty is very satisfying. Survival and stories of heroism are stressed rather than carnage and special effects. Especially chilling is the fact that news footage of the plane hitting the runway is used during the crash sequence.
"A Thousand Heroes" is quite an enjoyable film that depicts some of the best traits of human nature. It's worth a look!
First having aired on TV in 1992, CRASH LANDING is a highly well-made
dramatization of the saga of United Airlines Flight 232 which, while enroute
from Denver to Chicago on July 19, 1989, suffered a catastrophic explosion
in its tail engine which severed all the plane's hydraulic lines. This
meant that the crew, led by Captain Al Haynes, had almost no control over
the aircraft, and that they would have to come in for an extremely difficult
landing at Gateway Airport in Sioux City, Iowa. With no way to stop, the
plane broke up on impact, scattering debris across the runway and into
nearby cornfields. But miraculously, of the 296 people onboard, including
Haynes and his crew, 184 managed to survive the horrific
Utilizing some of the actual TV footage of UAL 232 coming in for landing and breaking apart upon touchdown, CRASH LANDING details how Haynes and his crew managed to keep the plane in the air long enough to attempt the landing in Sioux City, and how the Sioux City ground crew was prepared for the ultimate emergency. Charlton Heston does his usual professional job in his portrayal of Al Haynes, and James Coburn is equally commanding as Jim Hathaway, the chief emergency coordinator at Sioux City. Richard Thomas, though he does not necessarily escape his "John boy" image from "The Waltons", also scores as the green rookie on Coburn's ground crew.
Although it is a TV movie, the story and cast are all ably directed by veteran Lamont Johnson, with a good script by Harve Bennett (STAR TREK III). CRASH LANDING (later retitled A THOUSAND HEROES) is one of the best true-life airline disaster survival stories ever put on TV, and is well worth seeing.
Although I scored this film as a "6" because it suffered some from
lack of character development and pedestrian acting, it is a
powerful viewing experience. A skilled United Airlines crew and
unprecedented community organization saved many. In fact, the
emergency workers in the Sioux City area achieved, on a smaller
scale, what those in New York did in 2001. Charlton Heston was
ideal in the role of Captain Al Haynes.
I worked in the city government at Sioux City and then at St. Luke's Regional Medical Center years before these events. I participated in some of the very early planning that paid off in 1998. What I saw in the film rings true.
I give this a 9 out of 10 for accuracy in portraying the events / crash
of UA232. Having personally met and spoken with survivor Jerry
Schemmel, as well as reading his book and other accounts, this film was
fantastic to say the least. As far as rating it as a 'movie' goes, of
course it was only a 'made for TV' movie, and as such lacking much of
the big-production Hollywood quality - still, this was finely done,
emotionally compelling, and effective at bringing home both the tragedy
and the Victory of the day.
Read the book(s), (Chosen to Live- ISBN: 0965208656), enjoy the movie. For additional viewing, check out 'Fearless' starring Jeff Bridges. This movie was taken loosely from the event, although in no way non-fictional.
I first saw this movie on TV, and then found it online for purchase
several years later. It is a great depiction of how to do things right
from an emergency services standpoint. So much so, that I show it in
EMT refresher classes that I teach to emphasize the points of teamwork
and advanced planning that are required to respond adequately to this
type of emergency.
This is an excellent viewing for those in emergency services that are used to seeing things done from a Hollywood standpoint-it doesn't glamorize the job like so many other attempts at this type of movie do, but still recognizes the contributions made by volunteers and career responders.
I was one of those who responded to this plane crash (as an amateur radio operator for emergency services), it is a very true story. The level of effort put forth by the volunteers, and other personel was amazing. Most other cities would have been in serious trouble to have this sort of thing happen. The movie is highly recommended.
I am an airline employee. After seeing this movie, I studied the things that happened and how they controlled the aircraft. To turn this aircraft only to the right in a "fugoid" and to arrive exactly on course to land on runway 22 was absolutely brilliant!! Especially doing the math in his head to figure out the headings. Capt. Al Haynes was truly a great and incredibly intelligent pilot. If it wasn't for his great flying, a lot more people would have been killed. I applaud him, Denny Finch, and his whole crew on a very well job done. I hope they all will enjoy retirement and remember that a lot of people are alive today because of them.
I happen to have been best friends with a young woman named Sherry
Allen. She worked at the formerly known Marian Hospital in Sioux City,
Iowa. Now it is known as Mercy hospital. She told me of that day that
she had just gotten off of work that morning. She got a phone call to
come back to the hospital to work yet again. From what I recall her
saying, she told me that the line of ambulances was long, and she
jumped into what she termed as chaos. She had just completed her Nurses
Aide training, and to be a part of this catastrophe, she holds it dear
in her heart that she was there to help save any who survived that day.
i know as I write this, it is now 2006, but to any and all health care workers out there who have faced similar disasters, I as an American, applaud your hard work. God Bless you All.
I saw this on satellite earlier and was really impressed with everything,the mixture of stars involved,acting quality, gritty realism etc and it gave me a real insight into what the emergency services actually do in the event of something like this occurring.- Excellent. Charlon Heston was particularly well cast in the role of the captain of the ill fated flight 232,as was James Coburn as the fire chief with years of experience who acted in a very professional manner although at times slightly brusque but his character was indeed definitely a man to get the job done properly,so to speak. In my opinion the film was not only gripping,as near to reality as anyone could possibly portray but it also showed the real emotion behind what must have been a terrible frightening incident for everyone involved.-Great film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Rescue of Flight 232 (aka A Thousand Heroes) is an extremely good
TV movie that manages to entertain and inspire despite its depiction of
a tragic plane crash in Iowa in 1989. The three leads are very good.
Charlton Heston, as Captain Al Haynes, and Richard Thomas and James
Coburn as rescue personnel bring great realism to their roles as the
tragedy unfolds and heroic efforts are made to save the injured. The
supporting cast is great, including standout performances by Tom
O'Brien as an air traffic controller and Philip Baker Hall as a crusty
airport staffer-turned-rescuer. Real footage of the crippled airliner
and great work recreating the accident scene add immensely to the film.
Hope you can find this film--it's a true winner all around.
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