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Flight 90: Disaster on the Potomac (1984)

On January 13, 1982, Air Florida Flight 90 crashes into the 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., resulting in 78 fatalities.

Writer:

John McGreevey
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Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jeannetta Arnette ... Patricia 'Nikki' Felch
Barry Corbin ... Burt Hamilton
Stephen Macht ... Joe Stiley
Dinah Manoff ... Priscilla Tirado
Richard Masur ... Roger Olian
Donnelly Rhodes ... Arland Williams
Jamie Rose ... Marilyn Nichols
Richard Beauchamp Richard Beauchamp ... Jose Tirado
K Callan ... Barbara Hamilton
Jane Kaczmarek ... Donna Olian
Kerrie Keane ... Carole Biggs
Ken Olin ... David Frank
James Whitmore Jr. James Whitmore Jr. ... Captain Larry Wheaton
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tony Abatemarco ... Dishevelled Man
Richard Backus ... Larry Nichols
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Storyline

On January 13, 1982, Air Florida Flight 90 crashes into the 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., resulting in 78 fatalities.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE TAKEOFF In a blinding snowstorm. THE CRASH On a bridge stalled with traffic. THE RESCUE That came too late. [Video] See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 April 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flight No. 90 See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place on January 13, 1982. See more »

Goofs

The tractor shown "pushing" the aircraft off the gate is a baggage tug, that would not have the weight or the power to move even an empty 737. See more »

Quotes

Marilyn Nichols: [referring to Priscilla's baby] How old is he?
Priscilla Tirado: Nine weeks.
Marilyn Nichols: He's beautiful! Give me a call if you need anything.
Jose Tirado: Okay.
Priscilla Tirado: Thanks.
Jose Tirado: [after Marilyn leaves] Nice person.
Priscilla Tirado: I bet she's pregnant. Or hope she is.
Jose Tirado: And how do you know that?
Priscilla Tirado: Just do. When you've been a mother as long as I have, you just know these things!
See more »

Connections

Edited from Lost Flight (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

Well-Made Docudrama
26 April 2004 | by Eric-62-2See all my reviews

This TV-movie about the January 13, 1982 crash of Air Florida Flight #90 into the Potomac river is for the most part a well-made docudrama surrounding many of the people involved in the story. Legal hurdles prevented some stories from being depicted, in particular that of Lenny Skutnik who dove into the river to rescue Priscilla Tirado from drowning. Skutnik felt that any movie about the event was exploitative and thus refused to let his story be dramatized. His scene is confined to a look-alike actor (billed only as "Man On Shore" in the original credits) jumping in at the appropriate moment. However, compensation is offered by focusing on the more neglected story of mental hospital worker Roger Olian (Richard Masur) who first swam out to give the trapped passengers enocouragement before the helicopters arrived. His story is as remarkable as Skutnik's ultimately and the TV movie allowed those of us who weren't familiar with his efforts to see how there was more than one hero that day who jumped into the Potomac to provide help.

The docudrama approach with no special effects of the plane crash managed to work well because there is a desire to keep things as authentic as possible, which includes a large use of actual news footage of the rescue operations, which is blended in seamlessly with the scenes of actors in the tank. Gil Melle's score is a bit awkward and the most dated aspect of the production, but still has some hauntingly beautiful sections when he gets away from the synths.

A few postscripts to the story of the survivors. Nikki Felch's marriage to David Frank did not last and she sadly died of pancreatic cancer in 2002, just two weeks after Burt Hamilton also passed away. Joe Stiley was forced into early retirement by his injuries and lives in Washington state. Priscilla Tirado has not granted an interview in more than ten years and remains traumatized by the events that saw her lose her husband and baby. By far, the happiest story has been that of Flight Attendant Kelly Duncan (who is given the least attention of any of the survivors in the movie, with greater focus coming on the other two flight attendants who were killed) who today teaches at a Christian pre-school and has three children.


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