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Flight of the Phoenix (2004)

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Survivors of a plane crash in the Mongolian desert work together to build a new plane.


John Moore


Lukas Heller, Scott Frank (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Quaid ... Frank Towns
Tyrese Gibson ... A.J.
Giovanni Ribisi ... Elliott
Miranda Otto ... Kelly Johnson
Tony Curran ... Alex Rodney
Sticky Fingaz ... Jeremy (as Kirk Jones)
Jacob Vargas ... Sammi
Hugh Laurie ... Ian
Scott Michael Campbell ... James Liddle
Kevork Malikyan ... Rady
Jared Padalecki ... John Davis
Paul Ditchfield Paul Ditchfield ... Dr. Gerber
Martin Hindy Martin Hindy ... Newman (as Martin 'Mako' Hindy)
Bob Brown ... Kyle
Anthony Brandon Wong ... Lead Smuggler (as Anthony Wong)


A group of air crash survivors are stranded in the Mongolian desert with no chance of rescue. Facing a brutal environment, dwindling resources, and an attack by desert smugglers, they realize their only hope is doing the impossible... building a new plane from the wreckage of the old one. Written by austin4577@aol.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


If they stand together, they stand a chance See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some language, action and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

17 December 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El vuelo del Fénix See more »

Filming Locations:

Namib Desert, Namibia See more »


Box Office


$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,019,430, 19 December 2004, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$21,009,180, 13 March 2005

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$34,586,268, 31 December 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film premiered in U.S. theaters on December 17, 2004, which marked cast member Giovanni Ribisi's 30th birthday. See more »


When speaking to Elliot, Captain Towns refers to the engine as having "more than 2,000 pounds of thrust". The C-119 has reciprocating radial engines, which are not rated in pounds of thrust as jet engines are. The C-119 had either the Pratt & Whitney R-4360-20 engine producing 3,500 Horsepower, or the Wright Cyclone 3350-85 engine producing 2,500 horsepower. No professional pilot would confuse the two. See more »


[preparing for takeoff]
A.J.: [as Bill Cosby] OK, all set, Mr. President. I think it's about that time that we do the checklist as the two Bills. What do you say, buddy?
Frank Towns: [as Bill Clinton] Why change a good thing? Go ahead, good buddy.
A.J.: Allow me to grab my bulletin. Seatbelts.
Frank Towns: I always like to have a little something strapped to my lap. Check.
A.J.: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Windows, doors and hatches.
Frank Towns: Closed and secure, so no-one can disturb us.
A.J.: Water injection.
Frank Towns: That's what she said.
[A.J. laughs]
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Hey Ya
Written by André Benjamin
Performed by Outkast
Courtesy of La Face Records/Zomba Label Group
Under license from BMG Film & TV Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Flight of the Phoenix: 6/10
18 December 2004 | by movieguy1021See all my reviews

Remake season is usually from May-August, yet for some reason Flight of the Phoenix is coming out in December, right before Oscar season. From what I saw tonight, there were maybe 15 people in the theater for a 7:50 Friday evening showing (opening night). What could Fox have been thinking? A big budget blockbuster while we're waiting for The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou or The Aviator to come out? Does that make any sense? Well, anyway, Phoenix certainly doesn't deserve a December release (April, maybe?), but it's still pure, simple escapist entertainment. Thankfully, it didn't try to be anything more (in fact, Dennis Quaid's character made fun of the inspirational talks in the movie), allowing it to be something to see on a boring Friday night.

When an unsuccessful oil drill is abandoned in a remote place in Asia, Frank Towns (Quaid) and others are sent to fly them back to civilization. However, there's one extra person on board, Elliott (Giovanni Ribisi), causing the plane to be overweight and crashing in the midst of a gigantic random storm. Things get hairier when they realize that help probably won't come. However, Elliot mentions that he designs airplanes (of course), and now they're hell-bent on rebuilding their plane (dubbed "The Phoenix"), while going through tough weather, low supplies, bandits, and interpersonal relationship hardships.

One almost expects Jerry Bruckheimer's name on this-it's mindless fun, with any plot being stupid, any special effect being fake, and any characters being underdeveloped. The fate of this movie, in my opinion, was in the hands of director John Moore, who last made Behind Enemy Lines a hit for Fox. During the so-called "action" scenes, Moore switches over to hand-held camera (as if he tries to get the audience to get into the movie-makes us think that a situation like this could happen in real life?) and really makes the movie disjointed at those few points. However, some of the shots are pretty fantastic looking, but at other times, it's completely false CGI. I mean, it's terribly fake-and some critics have been saying that the special effects are great? It's most obviously some backlot with fake sanddunes everywhere. And yet, somehow, Moore manages to keep interest for the two hours, and, more importantly, makes it fun to watch. When you have characters just randomly be introduced (like that person of unknown Middle Eastern descent and the black guy with an eyepatch), you realize that the plot is not important, and you focus on having fun.

I've seen a few ads that talk about the "HUGE" plot twist, and although the twist at the end was pretty good, it's not really noteworthy. However, there was something about Ribisi's character-and the way he played it-that made me really like him. He's like the bad guy in movies where you want the bad guy to win (although he's not really a bad guy here). Quaid does a pretty good job here, about what's required. His character, and all the others, fulfill the stock characters. We have the All-American pilot, the hot, smart woman (who's also sassy-add an extra point), the black guy, a black guy with an eyepatch (a disability AND an extra minority-five extra points), a person from a place that we currently hate (Middle East (actually two-Britain-wow, Flight of the Phoenix is raking up the point)), the computer nerd. And that's just the character clichés. There's boatloads more, but you'll be able to guess them as they come along.

Flight of the Phoenix will probably bomb at the box office. I suppose I can see why-you don't have enough advertising, you bomb. But Flight of the Phoenix is a true popcorn movie if there ever was one. Once you've gotten everything in the Netflix catalogue, try this one on for size.

My rating: 6/10

Rated PG-13 for some language, action and violence.

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