Flight 93: The Movie

  • Review Date: May 29, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006

Common Sense Media says

Tense made-for-TV movie about Sept.11 skyjacking.
  • Review Date: May 29, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006

Age(i)

2
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4
5
6
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8
9
10
11
12
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Passengers cope with the grim situation of being hijacked on a suicide terrorist mission, and ultimately they decide to foil the marauders even at the cost of their own lives.

Violence

Some quick slashings with box-cutter knives (some blood shown), and a man is splashed with boiling water. The worst is left to the imagination.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Hardly any rough language.

Consumerism

Even the aircraft insignia are left out, though soft-drink labels show on a beverage cart being used as battering-ram.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is not the theatrical United 93 motion picture but a less-hyped cable-TV movie telling the same story of the ill-fated but heroic passengers of a September 11 plane commandeered by terrorists. Unlike the other film, this does not drop F-bombs of mass destruction, but there is still considerable intensity and tragedy, especially in the passengers and their families realizing that death is inevitable. There is some violence, as the terrorists take over the aircraft with knives and threats of a bomb.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

FLIGHT 93: THE MOVIE follows events in the air and on the ground during 9/11 with an emphasis (initially) on the mundane chores of passengers and flight crew getting ready for the transcontinental flight, while their families begin the day at home. Also on board Flight 93 are the Islamic suicide terrorists, more or less led by Ziad Jarrah (Amin Nazemzadeh). By the time the terrorists take control of the plane and cockpit by force and sharply altered its course, the passengers have already gotten word via their own cellular phones of three other airliners made to go kamikaze. Some of them tearfully say goodbye to their families, some pray. The soon-to-be famous Todd Beamer (Brennan Elliott) stays on his hookup with a shocked Verizon Wireless operator (Monnae Michaell), giving her updates right up until the end -- when several of the hostages vote to rush the terrorist-occupied cabin. The plane crashes (offscreen, but a farmer watches it wheeling overhead) in a Pennsylvania field rather than hitting an intended target, almost certainly one in Washington D.C.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

No, this is NOT the United 93 theatrical movie about the hijacked Sept. 11 passenger airline that gave the USA Todd Beamer's alleged words "Let's roll" as an anti-terrorist rallying cry. It's actually a made-for-TV drama on exactly the same subject, released to home video at the same time United 93 was in wide release. The two features are mirror-images of each other, both laudable and honorably non-sensationalized attempts to dramatize the incomprehensible horror of the day. Flight 93 (produced for the A&E cable network) is, arguably, a little more family-friendly because it eschews profanity. Viewers who didn't think Hollywood had much business making money retelling this raw-wound story probably won't be convinced by either film.

Viewers with the benefit of the DVD commentary track can hear the filmmakers discuss how much of what you are seeing is speculation based on the cellular phone calls and control-tower transmissions, and how much is true -- like the order going out to US military fighter-interceptors to blow the hostage flight out of the air if it gets near victims on the ground. Tweens and younger kids could be inclined to concoct fanciful solutions in which the flight might have been brought down safely. You can use that as a springboard for many serious concepts, about heroism, hopelessness, and sacrifice.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the way that the passengers, even in the dawning realization that there was no escape, rallied and thwarted the terrorists' goal of dropping Flight 93 on Washington D.C. This is a complex and loaded topic, dealing with self-sacrifice and mortality; expect kids to have a lot of questions. Ask teens with memories of September 11 and the wall-to-wall news coverage whether they thought this story needed to be told, and whether it satisfied anything they did not know or feel before. With older and more movie-savvy kids, you can talk about how the movie compared with other, vintage movies about real-life military attacks on the innocent, from flag-waving propaganda movies after Pearl Harbor to a spate of celebratory TV movies in the '70s after Israeli troops successfully freed terrorist hostages at Entebbe Airport. On another level, this movie and its theatrical twin are not like those at all. Does that make them more successful as tributes, or just another form of propaganda?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 30, 2006
DVD release date:May 3, 2006
Cast:Brennan Elliott, Jeffrey Nordling, Ty Olsson
Director:Peter Markle
Studio:Sterling Entertainment
Genre:Drama
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violence and emotional intensity

This review of Flight 93: The Movie was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byprisonbreaker April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Startling

I thought this was surprisingly good. Tense, Sad, and very, very scary. Not in a horror movie way; you have to think about what's going on and the fact that this really happened. Although the DVD version was rated PG13, {this movie was made for A&E}when they played it on tv as TVPGV (violence). strange that a MADE-FOR-TV-MOVIE would have a different rating then that on tv. Overall:Great,not excellent, but great. worth the short time it takes up.

Teen, 13 years old Written bydklink April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviemogul 2.0;... April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Some great parts, and others where you can tell it's made for tv

But despite its faults that it suffers from being made directly for tv, it still manages to impact you and make you just sit in quiet at the end of the film. Acting was alright, but the black-haired girl did the best job, and her conversations with her mom were the most moving of the calls to family. While I certainly can't suggest this over WTC or United 93, I still must say that for those who want a less intense memory of 9/11, this is the one to go with.

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