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Ground Control (1998)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  26 August 1998 (Italy)
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 1,770 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 9 critic

A disgraced former air traffic controller is called back into service when the airport's traffic control system malfunctions.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
T.C. Bryant
...
Julie Albrecht
...
Cruise
...
Susan Stratton
...
Amanda
...
Sam
...
Randy
...
Farrah Forke ...
Laura Franklin
...
Murray
...
Weather Analyst
...
Curtis
...
Pudgy
...
Shamaal
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Storyline

Chicago air controller Jack Harris is a wreck with guilt nightmares after a major Transair crash, killing all 174 aboard, gives up the job and designs air control software instead. Five years later, his ex-colleague T.C. Bryant, meanwhile also transferred to Phoenix, desperately asks him to help out short-term, given desperate staff shortage on New Year's Eve with a bad storm predicted, after a power cut hits, which is actually the sabotage work of technical whiz John Quinn, who has meanwhile messed up the systems on several airports, so they see their workload multiplied. Colleagues welcome him in very different states of mind but he quickly proves his capabilities, alas then the fatal memories start creeping up again: will his lack of self-confidence cause another drama? Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No Radar. No Contact. No Control.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 August 1998 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Flug 177 - Panik im Tower  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Showtime)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When the incoming jet loses power to its radios the pilots then use their cell phones to contact the tower. However, cell phones do NOT work in airliners cruising at altitude. Even if they are very low the speed of the jet means that the cell phone can not connect because it will be passing through the individual cell towers so quickly that they will not even have time for the electronic "handshake" that is required to pass the cellphone signal from one tower to the next. Also the aluminum aircraft acts as a Faraday shield so any cell phone signal would be greatly attenuated. The only way cell phones can work is in some of the newer airliners when the airplane itself essentially has a "cell tower" which can then relay the signals to a satellite and then to the ground. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: On an average day above the United States, over 200,000 aircraft carry more than 2,000,000 people guided by less than 3,000 air traffic controllers.
Title Card: "My biggest fear? When you've done all you can do and you still have to listen as the image disappears from your screen." - Air Traffic Controller, Los Angeles En Route Center
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User Reviews

 
Has some good scenes, but falls short of being a great movie
10 May 1999 | by (San Diego, CA) – See all my reviews

As an aviation enthusiast, I was interested in this movie, but technical errors and some flaws in the plot made the movie fall short of being great.

One scene starts off with a 747 flying through clouds. As this flight evolves into a state of emergency, we later find out that the plane was really a 737. Anyone who's been at an airport knows the difference between the two.

From the opening scene Kiefer Sutherland's character alludes to the home expansion project he's working on, presumably because of a new kid on the way. We never see the wife or this new kid, or what effect the stress an air traffic controller goes through has on a family. Including scenes with the wife and kid could have added something to the movie.

Ever since the end of Happy Days, we do not see much of Henry Winkler on TV or on the screen, but he effectively plays the role of a mechanic, frustrated by budget constraints and using the "I told you so" attitude when a problem arises. Kelly McGillis is also a performer seen less often these days, but does well as the savvy and assertive airport administrator.

The performers did their homework when it came to radio protocol and terminology. So often in the past, this is done so poorly. Hollywood may have finally caught on to this.

Another problem I had is that the movie appeared to have taken some of its content from the United Airlines DC-10 crash landing in Sioux City in 1989. They then took this incident and tweaked it a little to fit the story better. If the electrical components are fried and hydraulics are disabled, why was the distressed plane able to extend its landing gear? If only UAL flight 289 could have been so lucky ten years ago!

I think that it's a good movie, but not a great one... 6/10


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

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