7.6/10
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118 user 47 critic

The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)

After a plane crash in the Sahara, one of the survivors says he's an airplane designer and they can make a flyable plane from the wreckage.

Director:

Robert Aldrich

Writers:

Lukas Heller (screenplay), Trevor Dudley Smith (novel) (as Elleston Trevor)
Reviews

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Stewart ... Frank Towns
Richard Attenborough ... Lew Moran
Peter Finch ... Captain Harris
Hardy Krüger ... Heinrich Dorfmann (as Hardy Kruger)
Ernest Borgnine ... Trucker Cobb
Ian Bannen ... Crow
Ronald Fraser ... Sergeant Watson
Christian Marquand ... Dr. Renaud
Dan Duryea ... Standish
George Kennedy ... Bellamy
Gabriele Tinti ... Gabriele
Alex Montoya Alex Montoya ... Carlos
Peter Bravos Peter Bravos ... Tasso
William Aldrich William Aldrich ... Bill
Barrie Chase ... Farida
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Storyline

A cargo plane goes down in a sandstorm in the Sahara with less than a dozen men on board. One of the passengers is an airplane designer who comes up with the idea of ripping off the undamaged wing and using it as the basis for an airplane they will build to escape before their food and water run out. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes the sun sets men on fire... See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | Arabic

Release Date:

15 December 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Flug des Phoenix See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,355,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Brief footage of the crash that killed Paul Mantz is shown near the end of the documentary Cinerama Adventure (2002). See more »

Goofs

Incorrectly regarded as a goof: "When Captain Harris is preparing to walk across the desert, he declares that he had better get going because it is almost dark. However, the length of his shadow indicates it is much closer to noon than it is to dusk." From the tone of Captain Harris' voice, and congruent with pilot Frank Towns' prior attempts to dissuade him by challenging his abilities...one being an inability to precisely navigate by the stars...Captain Harris is obviously being sarcastic in stating it's almost dark despite the midday hour. See more »

Quotes

Lew Moran: If you marched a hundred and six miles by the stars and your calculations were just one per cent out, you could pass the Eiffel Tower in daylight and never even see it.
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Crazy Credits

Closing credits epilogue: IT SHOULD BE REMEMBERED...

THAT PAUL MANTZ, A FINE MAN AND A BRILLIANT FLYER GAVE HIS LIFE IN THE MAKING OF THIS FILM... See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ghost Ship (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

The Phoenix Love Theme
Senza Fine"
Sung by Connie Francis
Music & Italian Lyrics by Gino Paoli
English Lyrics by Alec Wilder
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A masterpiece from the good old days
3 January 2001 | by Joe-385See all my reviews

I agree with most of the people here that this movie is an overlooked gem. It always comes to mind when I think of movie classics, but most people I've known have never seen it. If it comes on TV or you get the chance to rent it, definitely give it a look.

While the movie stands alone as a great suspense and survival movie with great dialogue and a greater cast, it also has some aspects that give it deeper significance. A couple of people have commented on the "old school seat-of-the-pants flying" vs. "mathematical engineering" conflict in the movie, and this is certainly a big part of it.

Another conflict, subtler but just as important, has gone completely unmentioned here. That's the issue of the crew's mistrust of Kruger for being German. This movie is pretty important for the way it excellently touches on the tension many people still felt by the sixties on working side by side with the former enemy in the new postwar world. It's not an accident that the three main characters that have to come together to survive are American, English and German. "Flight of the Phoenix" is one movie that is timeless in its direct appeal but should be taken in context of the time in which it was produced in order to be fully appreciated.

Taking these conflicts together, the overall message is clear. In the brave new world, unless we put aside old divisions and value input from everyone, no one gets out alive.


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