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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 18 October 2016
Eureka! Masters of Cinema 2016 blu ray release:
This is an excellent film which I last saw on TV and had recorded onto VHS (remember those cassettes?). For a film to hold the audience for over 2 hours running time is no mean feat due largely to the superbly transparent direction by Robert Aldrich, the intelligent script and the solid acting ability of the actors, not to mention their interaction with one another within the constraints of their downed aeroplane surrounded by miles of scorching desert, especially the tension created by the unemotional theoretical logic of Hardy Kruger's engineer. Good to see Peter Finch too in another well-honed role playing the stalwart army captain. Richard Attenborough steals the film in the classic scene where his pitch perfect decent into lunatic laughter of desperation says more than a page of dialogue could ever hope to say. I won't elaborate for fear of spoiling the plot for others.
The picture quality is very good - clear, sharp photography, fine colour balance portraying the heat and relentlessness of the sand surrounding the characters - well done Eureka! for such a good restoration. Well done the prop man too as the aeroplane was also well constructed looking authentic. Films like this prove that, with good direction and a fine cast, one can turn the minimum of a situation into an entertaining film - something I hope some of today's directors will take note of.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 October 2013
This is a very good psychological drama mixed with an adventure film. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

Made in 1965 by the great Robert Aldrich, this is a long film (147 minutes) and it is mostly slow paced, mostly filled with dialogs rather than with drama. The first time I tried to watch it, I got tired after about 40 minutes - and had to postpone the watching of the rest a couple of days. When I resumed the watching, it went much much better - therefore my advice would be to NOT try to see this film after a long day of work (that was my mistake) or if your kids and chipmunks gave you hard time during the bed time battle or if you are at home with a flu. Wait until you are rested and ready for a two hours and a half of drama. Then you will be able to appreciate all the treats fully.

The first treasure of this film is of course the cast, of which the principal (not all) members are:

- James Stewart as Frank Towns, a bitter veteran pilot, down on his luck, captain of a battered Fairchild C-82 Packet cargo plane, belonging to a fictitious Arabco Oil Co.
- Richard Attenborough as Lew Moran, alcoholic navigator with a speech impediment,
- Hardy Kruger, as Heinrich Dorfmann, German citizen (it has importance), aeronautical engineer by trade (but having also a REALLY BIG secret!)
- Ernest Borgnine, as Trucker Cobb, a foreman on a desertic oil field, being med-evacuated for nervous breakdown
- Christian Marquand (French actor), as Dr. Renaud, a French doctor
- Peter Finch, as Captain Harris from British Army, definitely not a very bright bloke but absolutely fearless
- Ronald Fraser, as Sergeant Watson from British Army, a natural-born survivor
- Ian Bannen, as "Ratbags" Crow, a blue collar worker; wise-cracking, annoying guy - in fact kind of an @-hole...
- Dan Duryea, as Standish, an accountant, slightly removed from the real world and not fully grasping the seriousness of the whole situation...)))
- Gabriele Tinti (Italian actor), as Gabriel, an Italian blue collar worker

I am not going to tell anything about the plot - but this being a survival drama, you can reasonably expect that some people above will NOT survive. This movie covers all the stages of a cinematographico-catastrophic case of post-traumatic stress disorder - of which I will not say anything more either...

The tension in the film is due of course not only to the extended dramatic situation, but especially to the clash of characters. With the exception of Towns and Moran, those people never met before and here they are all of a sudden forced to share a very perilous adventure with a bunch of other blokes they mostly do not like at all...))) The slow, detailed study of all those psychological or even psychiatrical cases (as every shrink knows, there is no sane people - only poorly diagnosed ones) is what makes this film such a classic.

It is NOT an easy film and NOT an easy watch - but if you persist just a little in the beginning, you will be greatly rewarded! Enjoy!
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This is a terrific film.

James Stewart is slightly less charming than usual, bordering on the downright churlish at times. And that in itself is interesting. Hardy Kruger, so often cast as a jackbooted Nazi (the inevitable fate of many German male actors!), is excellent as an 'aeronautical engineer' with a twist. And Richard Attenborough gives a reliably nuanced performance.

The basic premise is a plane full of oil company folk, plus a few other odds and sods, crash land in the desert, when their elderly plane (and ageing pilot) are caught in a sandstorm. The film follows how they cope as the days pile up and the water runs down. So at heart this is a character study. Ernest Borgnine and the guy who's the clown of the company are the only actors whose performances veer towards the overly hammy.

As a friend pointed out, the film turns some of the usual 'morality tale' cliches on their head, via the subplot of a pair of military characters, the stiff upper lip by the book captain, and his mutinous subordinate, a ne'erdowell private.

A bleak yet exhilarating film, with human characters at its heart, and a great plot whose gist is embodied in the title. Well acted and directed, and exploring an unusual scenario with unusual aplomb. I'll say no more than that it's an excellent film, well worth watching.
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on 13 September 2016
Maverick Director Robert Aldrich's Scorching Movie The Flight Of The Phoenix Finally Gets The Blu ray Treatment. Released in 1965 with Hollywood Legend James Stewart Heading an all star cast as a group of oilmen and military men crash land Their cargo plane in The Sahara Desert. The group manage To built an entirely flying aircraft from The Tangled wreckage of Their Doomed plane Though The survivors endure many Hardships before The final escape. Director Aldrich builds His movie on character Tension like it's never been played before. James Stewart The star of many classic Hollywood western is Totally Different in This movie To anything he as ever played before. As Frank Towns The pilot of The plane Stewart plays a bitter character Throughout The entire movie only redeeming Himself at The end of The movie. Our very own Richard Attenborough is The co pilot with The secret past of a local Drunk whom Stewart blames for The crash. in one of His early film roles Hardy Kruger is The Aircraft designer who hinges on The idea of building an entirely working aircraft constantly in conflict Throughout The movie with The James Stewart character who proclaims it can't be Done. The penny drops later in The movie when we learn That Kruger's character is actually a model plane designer But The Designs The same proclaims Kruger. The movie just bursts at The seams with off beat characters Then we have Oscar winner Peter Finch as The Military man who just simply want's To walk out of The Desert. if you can go The Distance of The movies 142 mins running Time Flight Of The Phoenix will keep you on The edge of your seat from beginning To end. when it was released in 1964 The movie was a Huge critical success for 20th Century Fox Though it was not without problems. The movie Had encountered Tragedy with The Death of Then Top Hollywood stuntman in flying Paul Mantz and we are asked To remember This at The end of The movie. Flight Of The Phoenix comes in a stunning High Definition Transfer as sharp as The many sand Dunes we see in The movie. extras include The films Trailer a short essay on The movie by Historian Sheldon Hall an isolated music Track The whole package is rounded out with a booklet Detailing The movie and its cast with many rare photos from The film. And can I just add with The exception of a Dream sequence in The Desert you could say a mirage This is an all Male plane Thriller.
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on 23 May 2016
Better than the remake. Although if the very best bits of the remake, and the gems in the original film were weaved together, that would make an Oscar flic.
My father wrote the book after another book he had been under contract to write, didn't please, him. So he wrote a 'quickie', which was Flight of the Phoenix.
I miss Dickie. (Sir Richard Attenborough)

JP Trevor
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on 12 January 2016
Wonderful film. The remake isn't as good but not bad either. All the cast of the original are superb and, as usual James Stewart just signs. What a wonder actor. By the end you are exhausted and terribly thirsty! Can't say anymore....just watch it
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on 6 December 2015
With this cast, you wouldn’t even need a story, let lone one as enjoyable as this. True, in many ways, this is a classic “lifeboat” story of a group adrift from civilisation trying to find their way back. However, mostly what matters here are the characters. Here we have a group of cinema’s absolute A listers, including James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch, Hardy Kruger, Ernest Borgnine, and George Kennedy. Even the (perhaps) lesser stars- Ian Bannen, Ronald Frazer and so on are much more than bit players.

The interplay between the core three characters played by Stewart, Attenborough and Kruger is the key. The unbreakable friendship of Stewart and Attenborough as the pilot and co-pilot, with the calculating coldness of Kruger’s aeroplane designer, including the softening of Kruger’s character as we see Kruger do later in “The Wild Geese”, and the animosity between Towns and Dorfmann is terrific. There is enough action and interest that we don’t get time for everybody’s back story, and I remain impatient enough not to miss that part.

The building of the new plane, with the can they/ can’t they theme to it has entertained me for the last forty years; I don’t know if the idea was completely original then, but it’s been used in various forms-including aeroplanes-in many a sci-fi novel, including one of Bob Shaw’s “Orbitsville” series.

Then you have that piece of cinema legend-the engine starting sequence, so brilliantly staged that, like “Apollo 13”, even though you know what’s going to happen, your heart is still in your mouth- surely one certain cue to greatness. Even if in this case (and I’d love to be corrected here!) the Coffman starter sequence is terribly inaccurate; there’s no loud bang followed by a slow build up of the engine spin. It’s fairly quiet and very quick. The cartridges gas doesn’t pass through the cylinders (though it does in some starters), so in this case, I doubt it would clean them. But it’s better cinema this way, so more than forgivable.

Oh yes, the remake is a massively enjoyable, and very different movie, but this is the master.

Great stuff
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on 31 October 2004
Any film with Jimmy Stewart in a leading role is sure to be a hit and Flight of the Phoenix doesn't disappoint.
A plane crash in the desert follows into a gripping two hour film of survival and hope. Led by Jimmy Stewart, the crew which include great acting talents like Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch and Ernest Borgnine courageously try to survive the desert heat, lack of water, and high tempers between crew members. When all hope of a rescue is gone, an idea by a German model plane maker, to rebuild the crashed craft, initially not taken seriously by Jimmy Stewart, is eventually seen as the only option of survival and the movie climaxes into a gripping story of team effort and a race against time to get the plane flying. This is a highly recommended film that will have you on the edge of your seat right to the end. The film got 4stars because the UK DVD lacked even the simplest extra, like a trailer. I also recommend watching 'Sands of the Kalahari,' a simialr survival story.
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on 27 February 2016
This review is regarding the 1965 version starring many great actors. I would have preferred to have given a star rating of 4.8. So why deduct 0.2? The film gets off to a really exciting and anxious start with the impending likelihood of a mid-flight air crash over dessert. At about 9 minutes into the film with all this excitement happening; when the plane is soon to crash and all the passengers are aware of it, then what FOOL decided this was the 'right' moment to start superimposing the film credits, together with freeze framing each actor as their name is credited on screen? It was both jarring and totally destroyed the whole idea of 'belief' together with the excitement in what was happening on screen. Apart from that nonsense, all other aspects of the film have been reviewed positively and I agree, wholeheartedly. A truly fine body of male actors doing a job that most of us would not have a clue how to: making incredible circumstances seem totally believable and seemingly real. Superb.
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on 31 March 2016
This is far better than the remake! I have the remake, but this original one is better! The actors are well known and I recommend this seller to anyone who wants a quick result and quality items! Try it!
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