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Executive Decision (1996)

R  |   |  Action, Adventure, Thriller  |  15 March 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 39,020 users  
Reviews: 139 user | 59 critic

When terrorists seize control of an airliner, an intelligence analyst accompanies a commando unit for a midair boarding operation.


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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean, Flight Attendant
Sergeant Louie (as B. D. Wong)
Secretary of Defense Charles White
El Sayed Jaffa
Allison, Flight Attendant
Nancy, Flight Attendant (as Marla Maples Trump)
William James Jones ...


Terrorists take over a 747 bound from Athens to Washington D.C., supposedly to effect the release of their leader. Intelligence expert David Grant suspects another reason and convinces the military that the 'plane should not be allowed to enter U.S. airspace. An assault mission is devised, using a specially equipped 'plane designed for mid-air crew transfers, and Grant finds himself aboard the 747 with a team of military anti-terrorists who have to defuse a bomb and overpower the terrorists. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Fasten your seat belts See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 March 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Critical Decision  »

Box Office


$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,204,433 (UK) (17 May 1996)


JPY 153,472,300 (Japan) (29 November 1996)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Kurt Russell and John Rixey Moore are in the straight tail Beechcraft Bonanza, the plane's tail number is N2TS. This is John Rixey Moore's personal airplane. Both actors are shown in the actual plane's interior. See more »


During the scene when the team is inspecting the bomb and have to choose someone to diffuse it, the Captain tells them to hurry up because 'the morphine is kicking in'. The morphine was administered at least ten minutes beforehand, and morphine generally kicks in almost immediately since it is administered intravenously. See more »


[as Jean shows a seat number to the hidden camera]
Dr. David GrantSergeant Baker: 2, 1, K... 21K!
See more »


Referenced in JCVD (2008) See more »


Written by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen
Performed by Frank Sinatra
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under Licence from CEMA Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Even Seagal is good!
4 January 2003 | by (Spokane, WA) – See all my reviews

A fun, tense, and exciting action/thriller with an excellent ensemble cast, headed by Kurt Russell and including Halle Berry, David Suchet, and John Leguizamo.

Even Steven Seagal does a creditable job, mainly because this isn't a "Steven Seagal movie." His supporting role permits him to do what he does best (which isn't acting). He doesn't have to pretend to be witty, there's none of that awful smirking he does in a vain attempt to show emotion, the camera doesn't caress his body, and there's not one speech about how gol-dang *good* his character is. He even manages to enunciate his lines clearly!

The plot might have seemed a little far-fetched when the movie was released, but not anymore.

I'm not even much of an action film fan, but this one is really a lot of fun.

42 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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