The Flight of the Phoenix


Action / Adventure / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 83% · 24 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 81% · 5K ratings
IMDb Rating 7.5/10 10 22530 22.5K


Top cast

James Stewart as Frank Towns
Richard Attenborough as Lew Moran
Ernest Borgnine as Trucker Cobb
George Kennedy as Bellamy
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.1 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 22 min
Seeds 9
2.1 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 22 min
Seeds 24

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by DKosty123 8 / 10

Not To Be Missed

It is not just because of Robert Aldrich Directing that this movie is a must see. James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, George Kennedy, and a fine cast have a lot to do with it. The solid material and script the film is based on has a lot to say for the film.

This plane crash film tells the story of humans surviving and then trying to pick themselves up after a plane crash in the desert. Stewart plays the pilot and the hero but in an Aldrich type of scenario he is the anti-hero. He admits his error causes the plane to crash. As it is obviously an old plane there is some conjecture to it all being his fault but he takes the blame anyhow.

The cast and direction here are excellent. It is great that Turner Classic Movies has started running this as I have to admit this is a film I had not seen. The film is a bit long though when you consider rebuilding a wrecked plane, you have to factor that in. The movie avoids the drag of length with sold performances and a good script.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 / 10

For the love of aviation

I remember seeing The Flight of the Phoenix during the afternoon while I was in college with no late classes that day. As I watched it in the old Duffield Theatre in downtown Brooklyn, I was mesmerized by the terrific cast and the overwhelming sincerity with which they tackled their roles.

Of course in analyzing the film, it's absolute nonsense what these plane crash survivors were able to do to escape their predicament. Build a plane out of the wreckage of the one they crashed in. Sheer unadulterated claptrap. But even viewing it today, it's a grand piece of adventure entertainment.

The cast and direction are superb, there's not one bad performance or wasted line in the entire film. Robert Aldrich's direction is superb and considering he had FOUR Academy Award winners in his cast in the acting category, James Stewart, Ernest Borgnine, George Kennedy, and Peter Finch he's got the talent to work with.

James Stewart even as a kid was fascinated with flight and every movie fan knows about how he enlisted and became a bomber pilot in World War II and served in the Air Force Reserve after, retiring as a Major General. He did previous films about aviation that didn't do so well like Strategic Air Command and the Spirit of St. Louis. Those films didn't do so well, but this one was a winner and Stewart's performance as Frank Towns, veteran pilot and leader of the group survivors, is a favorite of mine. Right at the beginning of the film in a conversation with navigator Richard Attenborough, Stewart reminisces about his early days as a flier and how you took pride in just getting to your destination. As he says those lines you can see in his face his love of his vocation, it's one of the most moving scenes General James Maitland Stewart did on the screen. You know Stewart must have jumped at this film for his love of aviation.

Richard Attenborough, who come to think of it is also an Oscar winner albeit not in the acting category, has a great turn as the alcoholic navigator. Peter Finch who usually played characters with an edge or some complexity to them is very good as the brave British Army captain who Stewart and the oil company he flies for is giving a lift. Along with Finch is Ronald Fraser who's a sergeant and the opposite of Finch, shall we say not a king and country volunteer. They have a mini-conflict of their own in the film.

Every one of these players could have been up for an Oscar, but Ian Bannen as "ratbags" the cynical Scotch oil worker got a nomination for Best Supporting Actor from the Academy. His lines have real bite to them.

The main conflict is with Stewart and Hardy Kruger who plays the anal retentive Heinrich Dorfman who's an aircraft designer who comes up with the scheme to rebuild a new plane, but he needs a pilot of Stewart's experience to fly it. Their conflict, how it resolves, and who lives to take off in the Phoenix and who dies in the desert is the real story here.

And for that, you'll just have to see this mesmerizing piece of cinema.

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 7 / 10

Proper film-making: tough, masculine, unashamedly old-fashioned

THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX is a classic tale of derring-do and adventure, a sort of DIRTY DOZEN style movie in which a group of stranded survivors find themselves trapped in a hostile desert and must use their wits in order to survive. It's a tale of bravery, heroism and cowardice in equal measure, as each man must come to terms with what he can do in order to survive, and it's a perfect lesson of how working as a group can always outdo individual effort.

The film is well-shot by Robert Aldrich, who brings the sandy locales to life, even if the studio-shot bits are fairly obvious in comparison to the genuine location shooting. The cast is full of solid, tough guy talent: Ernest Borgnine, Ian Bannen, Ronald Fraser, Peter Finch, George Kennedy and Richard Attenborough are fine, but it's Jimmy Stewart who headlines and holds things together as the old hand. Hardy Kruger bags the most interesting role as the engineer, and how many films about engineering are this gripping? I can't think of any others if I'm honest.

A word of warning: avoid the horrid remake, which just slavishly copies the plot of this film but does everything wrong. I think the most annoying thing about it was the casting director's choice to put the inferior Dennis Quaid into the Jimmy Stewart role. I mean, what were they thinking?

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