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Mercy Mission: The Rescue of Flight 771 (1993)

Jay is ordered to fly Cessna flight 30771 from the States to Sydney, with stopovers at Honolulu, Pago Pago and Norfolk Island. He's joined by Frank, who flies another Cessna. Frank crashes ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gordon Vette
Jay Parkins
Alan Fletcher ...
Mike Bishop ...
First Officer Mann (as Michael Bishop)
Kit Taylor ...
Capt. Warren Banks
Suzie MacKenzie ...
Vanessa Cross (as Suzie Mackenzie)
Steven Tandy ...
Operations Officer Hudson
Robert Benedetti ...
Harry Hanson
Sarah Kemp ...
Hillary Vette
Ingrid McKillop ...
Peter Kent ...
Enthusiastic Man
Sean Sturgess ...
Nervous Man
Eddy Sentosa ...
Lafe Charlton ...


Jay is ordered to fly Cessna flight 30771 from the States to Sydney, with stopovers at Honolulu, Pago Pago and Norfolk Island. He's joined by Frank, who flies another Cessna. Frank crashes while taking off at Pago Pago, so Jay has to find Norfolk Island on his own. He gets lost and almost runs out of fuel. He contacts Gordon Vette by accident, the pilot of the ANZ 308, a plane with 88 passengers on board. He and his crew are the only ones who can save Jay. But to save him, they first have to find him... Written by Tony Kessen <rhkessen@cs.vu.nl>

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Release Date:

13 December 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Küldetés: A 771-es járat megmentése  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The movie was inspired by a real-life event which occurred on December 21 1978, and which involved Air New Zealand flight 103 (and not 308) on a DC-10 (and not a 767). The airliner captain's name (Gordon Vette) was preserved, but Jay's last name was changed from Prochnow to Parkins. Most other names were changed for the movie. See more »


Gordon Vette was not an American, he was a New Zealander. See more »


Gordon Vette: 771, this is 308. What are your vital statistics?
Jay Parkins: I've gotten down to take a look at the ocean. Fuel gauge is low. Airspeed 110 knots. All I can see is... water and sky. I've been up there for 14 hours. Everything is starting to look the same.
Gordon Vette: Hang in there, 771. We're going to find you. Just call us on 121.5 every two minutes so we can determine whether we're within 200 miles of each other.
Jay Parkins: Will do, thanks. Listen, 308? You're not really out there for search and rescue, aren't you? I mean... ...
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User Reviews

A tense rescue drama made for aviation buffs.
11 June 1999 | by (Dover, Delaware USA) – See all my reviews

Mercy Mission: The Rescue of Flight 771 is a tense rescue drama, made-to-order for aviation buffs! The movie starts off by introducing the main character, Jay Parkins, (played by Scott Bakula), as a kind of a rogue, itinerant pilot, unwilling to settle down to the daily grind of an airline cockpit, and preferring to take on risky flying jobs where and when he can find them. Jay and his friend Frank (Alan Fletcher), take on the task of ferrying two Piper Ag Cats, which are crop dusting aircraft, on a long-haul over the Pacific Ocean all the way from San Francisco to Australia. Obviously, the premise is ridiculous, but the movie is supposed to be based on a true story, so somewhere, there had to be two pilots crazy enough to actually try this stunt!

Predictably, problems plague the mission. First, Frank cracks up on take off from Pago Pago, leaving Jay to continue the rest of the trip alone. Then, through a combination of mechanical failures and poor judgment, Jay gets over the Pacific Ocean on the last leg of the trip. Fortunately, both his HF and VHF radios still work, and he calls for help from an Air Traffic Control center in New Zealand. This is where Captain Gordon Vette, played by bad-guy Robert Loggia in a refreshingly non-type cast role, comes to the rescue. Utilizing a very plausible air-to-air search procedure, Capt. Vette and his Air New Zealand flight crew locate Jay, and ultimately help navigate him to safety. I won't give away any more of the plot details, but suffice it to say that as a highly critical aviation movie buff, this movie did very little to annoy me, or insult my intelligence as someone with more than a passing knowledge of aviation. Technical assistance was very good.

The "goofs" note the transformation of the ANZ commercial aircraft from a B-737 to a B-767, but that sort of continuity problem is common and pretty much must be overlooked, since stock footage is cheaper than setting up a location shot just to depict a jet airliner take-off.

The thing I enjoyed most about this film is the likeability of the characters, which were developed just enough to let us get to know them enough to care about them. The real Capt. Vette, an American Ex-Air Force pilot stationed in New Zealand after marrying a local girl, seems to be the ideal of the individualistic, capable, yet compassionate airline Captain -- someone into whose hands you would gladly trust your life. This is what film does best -- portray the human condition in a manner which makes the viewer identify with the characters and the situation. The rest of the plot elements -- Jay's long-suffering wife, who would prefer the financial security of her husband's boredom in an airline cockpit, Jay's side-kick Frank, who wasn't thrilled about the "mission" in the first place, and the people on the ground and aboard the Air New Zealand flight who work together to make the rescue mission work -- are all done just right, and greatly help the viewer enjoy the film!

I give this movie 3 1/2 propeller blades out of four! It is a very interesting movie which I recommend to all aviation enthusiasts!

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

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