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Ladder 49 (2004)

PG-13 | | Action, Drama, Thriller | 1 October 2004 (USA)
A firefighter, injured and trapped in a burning building, has flashbacks of his life as he drifts in and out of consciousness. Meanwhile, fellow firefighters led by the Chief attempt to rescue him.

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1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Steve Maye ...
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Ed Reilly (as Robert Logan Lewis)
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Spencer Berglund ...
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Storyline

Under the watchful eye of his mentor Captain Mike Kennedy, probationary firefighter Jack Morrison matures into a seasoned veteran at a Baltimore fire station. Jack has reached a crossroads, however, as the sacrifices he's made have put him in harm's way innumerable times and significantly impacted his relationship with his wife and kids. Responding to the worst blaze in his career, he becomes trapped inside a 20-story building. And as he reflects on his life, now Deputy Chief Kennedy frantically coordinates the effort to save him.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Their greatest challenge lies in rescuing one of their own See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense fire and rescue situations, and for language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

1 October 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brigada 49  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$22,088,204 (USA) (3 October 2004)

Gross:

$74,541,707 (USA) (25 February 2005)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the first day of training for the film Joaquin Phoenix was the only one to show up in firemen gear this is dvd footage See more »

Goofs

When the trucks are responding to the fire during the snowstorm there is an overhead shot of the trucks going down the street. In that shot, you can see that Ladder 49 is a more modern Pierce tiller ladder but then it switches back to an older Seagrave tiller ladder. See more »

Quotes

Chief Kennedy: It's never an easy thing, saying goodbye to a brother firefighter, it's not. And this time, particularly is difficult for me because I watched Jack grow into a, well, into one of the finest firefighters I've ever known. He joined this department because he wanted to help people, who knows how many homes are still standing because Jack was there or how many lives were spared. He gave his life for that cause. We'll never forget you Jack. And we're better for having known you. But I make you this ...
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Connections

References Backdraft (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

How to Dream
Written and Performed by Sam Phillips
Courtesy of Nonesuch Records
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing
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User Reviews

 
The life of a fireman - the sheer bravery is in the simple straightforward delivery of the movie, almost a documentary without talking heads - a family movie alright
10 October 2004 | by (sf, usa) – See all my reviews

For analogy, this is your basic regular American hamburger - not a whopper with added cheese. No spice. Not peppered up. The movie "Ladder 49" is brave in itself that the straightforward script included no foul language, no cliff-hanger action sequence, sappy melodrama or moral preaching. It's telling the life of a fireman as it is through simple everyday vignettes, the rookie fireman, the camaraderie at the firehouse, the family anguish - the profession of a fireman that many of us might have taken for granted. This can very well be a simple telling of the life of a policeman or a soldier in active duty overseas. Unless something disastrous really happens and drastically affects us close to home, we can be unaware of how lucky we are, being able to go about our everyday life, 'safely and peacefully' living in America, with local law enforcement, firefighting emergency services and homeland security efforts available to us.

There are visual effects of fires a-blazing and fire fighting scenes inside and outside of buildings, but there's no dramatic build up to 'glamour' dazzle you like other Hollywood (blockbuster) movies. The initial sequence of the movie suggests a 'hanging' question: will Joaquin Phoenix's character (Jack) survive? But the diverted flashbacks keep our interest: how this rookie fireman came to be a firefighter in action, building a family, the family strife around his dream of a 'riskier' role on Engine 33 team, the loss of lives, the saving of lives. The pace may be leisurely at times and the plot may seem mild to some. We get to see Joaquin Phoenix in a 'lighter' less demanding role (vs. "Gladiator" 2000, "Buffalo Soldiers" 2001 or "Clay Pigeons" 1998). John Travolta is in a supporting role (Captain Mike), giving lightness (smiles) and dignity to the fire chief he portrays.

This is not like "Backdraft" 1991. The apparent danger and risks of the life of a fireman and family is the crux of the storyline. This is a family fare for all - a tribute to the firefighters whose bravery we are grateful of. I appreciate the fact that death is treated as part of life and that we do not go about laying blame on others or beat ourselves up (we learn, stick together and go on). Ah, the firm gentleness in his direction, Jay Russell (who directed "Tuck Everlasting" 2002, "My Dog Skip" 2000) doesn't thrust anything in our face, yet subtly provides short gem moments, and the noteworthy words coming from Travolta, we would remember, won't we?


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