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9/11: Phone Calls from the Towers (2009)

Trapped in The Twin Towers on September 11th, thousands of ordinary people struggled to make contact with the outside world. Many knew that time was ticking away. These recorded messages ... See full summary »


James Kent
3 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Steven Mackintosh ... Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
The Biegeleisen Family The Biegeleisen Family ... Themselves
Miriam Biegeleisen Miriam Biegeleisen ... Herself
Shimmy Biegeleisen Shimmy Biegeleisen ... Himself (archive sound)
Kevin Cosgrove Kevin Cosgrove ... Himself (archive sound)
Wendy Cosgrove Wendy Cosgrove ... Herself
Jim Dwyer Jim Dwyer ... Himself - 9-11 Correspondent, New York Times
Jack Edelstein Jack Edelstein ... Himself
Brad Fetchet Brad Fetchet ... Himself (archive sound)
Frank Fetchet Frank Fetchet ... Himself
Mary Fetchet Mary Fetchet ... Herself
Jill Gartenberg Jill Gartenberg ... Herself
Jim Gartenberg Jim Gartenberg ... Himself (archive footage)
Adam Goldman Adam Goldman ... Himself
Neal Green Neal Green ... Himself


Trapped in The Twin Towers on September 11th, thousands of ordinary people struggled to make contact with the outside world. Many knew that time was ticking away. These recorded messages and private calls are the most powerful legacy to the families left behind. Often full of love and dignity they depict humanity at its best and most resourceful in the face of evil. Written by Darlow Smithson Productions

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Release Date:

6 September 2009 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

9/11 Puhelut torneista See more »

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Did You Know?


When the documentary reaches the South Tower part, the narrator (Steven Mackintosh), says "At 9:03,17 minutes after the North Tower was struck, United Airlines flight 173 flew into the South Tower". The plane which hit the South Tower was United Airlines flight 175 and not flight 173. See more »

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User Reviews

A Humanising Experience that Evokes Empathy & Gratitude.
9 January 2020 | by rajveerdhanakSee all my reviews

"9/11 Phone Calls from the Tower" explores a few archived calls and messages made by the people - stuck in the World Trade Centre towers during the September 11 attacks - to their loved ones, with emotions varying from panic, hope, assurance, to unfortunate acceptance and final goodbyes. The documentary includes interviews with the loved ones (family and friends) of the victims - recalling the day they received messages and talked with the latter before their tragic deaths, and their reactions to the collapse of the towers.

I've always been personally interested in stories about the experiences of different people during the devastating 9/11 attacks, especially the stories that delve into what happened inside the towers and planes. The world has only witnessed the catastrophe exterior to the towers (through news footage), and the only archival material available to show the emotional and physical hardships of the people trapped inside are the archived calls and messages of the people associated - which this documentary sheds light on.

The documentary shows different points of view and reactions of individuals in both the towers, separate floors (some above and some below the floors of impact) through these audio archives, and how they perceived what was sadly their last moments.

Seeing that the world immediately recognizes the attacks with the image of the attacked towers in mind, archived media such as calls and messages, combined with the interviews of survivors and acquaintances of the victims - is what humanizes the events and reminds us that there were several, thousands of people inside the building whose sufferings and demise has led to countless families and friends grieving. It's especially heartbreaking to see how many of the victims and/or their loved ones were hoping and praying that those trapped would somehow make it out of the towers safely, but ultimately have had to accept that their lives were going to end.

The film also conveys the poignant feeling of the people watching the events from news coverage of the towers and being unable to admit that the situation was much worse than what the trapped people thought of it. Some of the interviewees also express their regrets of not having picked up the calls of the victims during the distressing situation, until they listened to the messages left by them when it was too late to say goodbye. We also see the pain of the people inside and/or outside the towers to admit to their loved ones that they weren't going to make it out alive.

I appreciate the sole focus of this documentary into the individual stories and reactions of the tragedy, and how the victim's relatives had been coping with it ever since.

My only issue with the documentary is the lack of adequate visuals to accompany the archived audio and interviews. Most of the shots in this film are of empty living rooms and bedrooms with a television set playing the footage of the towers and their collapse. Though I understand that the point of these shots is to replicate the dread and horror of witnessing the attacks through the news, these overly repetitive shots end up feeling bland and ineffective.

Overall, this film gives an insight into how we humans understandably react differently to what could be our or our loved one's final moments - and it attempts to make the audiences more empathetic, mindful & grateful for the ones we are fortunate to have in our lives.

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