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Sully (2016)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 9 September 2016 (USA)
2:52 | Trailer
The story of Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks), an American pilot who became a hero after landing his damaged plane on the Hudson River in order to save the flight's passengers and crew.


Clint Eastwood


Todd Komarnicki, Chesley Sullenberger (based on the book "Highest Duty" by) (as Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger) | 1 more credit »
2,004 ( 236)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Hanks ... Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger
Aaron Eckhart ... Jeff Skiles
Valerie Mahaffey ... Diane Higgins
Delphi Harrington ... Lucille Palmer
Mike O'Malley ... Charles Porter
Jamey Sheridan ... Ben Edwards
Anna Gunn ... Elizabeth Davis
Holt McCallany ... Mike Cleary
Ahmed Lucan ... Egyptian Driver
Laura Linney ... Lorrie Sullenberger
Laura Lundy ... Reporter #1 (as Laura Lundy Wheale)
Onira Tares Onira Tares ... Reporter #2 (as Onira Tarés)
Gary Weeks ... Reporter #3
Katie Couric ... Katie Couric
Jeff Kober ... LT Cook
Learn more

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On Thursday, January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the "Miracle on the Hudson" when pilot Chesley"Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all one hundred fifty-five aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career. Written by Warner Bros.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The untold story behind the miracle on the Hudson


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some peril and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Tom Hanks spent half a day with Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger at his Bay Area house during pre-production. Sullenberger said he was impressed by how well Hanks caught him. See more »


In the frontal and climbing shots of Sully's F-4 Phantom there is a missile on the starboard hardpoint. In the side, trailing and landing shots the rail is empty. See more »


Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger: [hotel manager hugs Sully] What just happened?
Carl Clark: You just got hugged by a total stranger.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Photos of the real plane and rescue are shown during the credits. They are followed by a brief video with real people from that day including the passengers and Captain Sullenburger. See more »

Alternate Versions

The film's IMAX release presented the film open-matte, at an aspect ratio of 1.90:1, meaning there was more picture information visible in the top and bottom of the frame than in normal theaters and on home video. See more »


Referenced in Tosh.0: Rhoda on the Scene (2018) See more »


Flying Home (Theme from 'Sully')
Written by Clint Eastwood, Tierney Sutton, and J.B. Eckl
Performed by Tierney Sutton Band (as The Tierney Sutton Band)
See more »

User Reviews

Likable film about an admirable man, but the material was better suited for a documentary...
24 June 2018 | by ElMaruecan82See all my reviews

"On January 15, 2009. More than 1.200 first responders and 7 ferry boats carrying 130 commuters rescued the passengers and crew of flight 1349.

The best of New York came together. It took them 24 minutes"

Surely an inspiring conclusion, but I admit my immediate reaction was "who are you kidding?". I'm not cynically negating the fact that the 155 passengers of the fateful flight were rescued by competent and dedicated New Yorkers, but it's Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger aka Sully who definitely saved them. And that's why he's got the lion-share of praises, that's why he got the film.

I worked in an airline company for more than three years, this film is about January 15, 2009 but I mostly remember June 1 of the same year. It was the day I started working and when -in a tragic irony- the Airbus flight from Rio to Paris crashed. My immersion into the flight world coincided with that event and for some metaphysical reason, I read every single article about that crash, which -according to the investigation- was tragic because avoidable. Basically, if it wasn't for the pilot letting the co-pilot in command, for the co-pilot taking the wrong indications, for several "if" factors, two hundreds of people wouldn't have perished in one of Airbus' deadliest accidents.

But "Sully" made me relativize all these computer-generated inquiries that end up pointing a posthumous accusation against the pilots. Indeed, it doesn't take a NTSB expert to know that accidents are the result of equations featuring many parameters among them human factor, there's never one sole cause of accident. This is why planes are still statistically the safest travelling ways, and this is why it doesn't say much about how stressful a flight plane is. This is why, on a personal note, I think my last hour is coming whenever turbulences start. This is why I take my chances with buses, boats and cars. Hell, this is why people still applaud the pilot when he lands.

Why should they? Isn't it part of their job? In the short documentary-feature about Sully, he reminds us that pilots have to fly well every time, it's a job that doesn't allow one hazardous move or uncertainty. I worked in the freight business where everything was processed and pre-planned from A to Z, freight isn't living people, but lives are always at stakes during a flight. That's why pilot is an ace job, when you have hundreds of lives depending on you every day, you can't afford a mistake... but as Sully also says this time in the film "everything is unprecedented until it happens for the first time".

Clint Eastwood shows us a man confronted to such situation with only 208 seconds to react. In what should have been a routine flight, birds are sucked into the two engines making both unusable, and the only solution is an emergency landing on the closest runway. The altitude is low, he can't reach an airport without flying over New York City and he's got less than a minute to make up his mind. Of course, there's not much suspense since we know he made the right choice by landing on the Hudson river. But suspense isn't Eastwood's concern, he doesn't care about the 208 seconds but the 24 minutes.

Indeed, after his "Invictus" and "American Sniper" and before the "15:17 to Paris" Eastwood seemed to have grown a cinematic fondness on real-life heroes. I guess it's a generational appreciation of men who were capable of taking the right decision at the right time and inspire the best out of the people. Mandela in "Invictus" took unpopular decisions that eventually united South-Africans. Chris Kyle might have been blinded by his patriotism but became an inspiration to his companions. Sully is made in the same Eastwoodian vein, he wouldn't call himself a hero, but don't ever tell him he made the wrong decision.

The problem with "Sully" though is that the film takes a situation of a few minutes and needlessly stretches it for the sake of cinematic viability. In a non-linear narrative, it switches back and forth between moments where he's hailed as a hero and where he's criticized by the NTSBC investigation. Moments where he seems to go through a PTSD phase and moments where he reminisces about his past. The investigation is perhaps the best part of the film and it makes everything else feel as "fillers", Laura Linney is not being given the most grateful role of her career as the long-suffering wife and the film could have done without Katie Couric calling Sully a fraud in an imagination sequence. Why would he be a fraud if he never pretended to be a hero?

The not-so subtle point of Eastwood is betrayed by that "best of New York" disclaimer. The film opens with a nightmarish vision of "what could have been" had Sully followed the instructions by the book instead of his precious instinct and it ends with a needlessly graphic recreation of September 11. Maybe the opening and ending elevate Sully as a heroic figure because he could inspire the best of New York like the terrorist attacks did, but by saving lives instead. An Egyptian taxi driver praises him for having restored his faith in humanity in a year that started with the crisis, Madoff and Middle-East wars. It wasn't just the perfect timing but the perfect time.

Now, I enjoy a good inspirational film like anyone but I can't say the film captivated me as "Invictus" did or elicited a reaction as strong as "American Sniper" (even though it was a negative one). The film struck me as a poor man's "Apollo 13" or a film Steven Spielberg could have made between two blockbusters. I liked it for its informative value but I enjoyed the real smiling Sully more than Hanks' grim all-serious performance... so maybe the story was better suited for a documentary?

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Release Date:

9 September 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Miracle on the Hudson See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »


Box Office


$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$35,028,301, 11 September 2016

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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