Flight of the Phoenix

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Flight of the Phoenix Movie Poster Image
Exciting (but intense) adventure for older kids.
  • PG-13
  • 2004
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.


Intense peril and violence, including plane crash and gunfire, characters killed.


Some strong language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has intense peril and violence, including a very vivid plane crash, gunfire, and explosions. There are graphic images of wounded and dead characters. The movie includes some strong language (many uses of the "s--t") and smoking. A strength of the movie is the portrayal diverse characters who are strong, brave, loyal, and committed and who work well together.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTarkea April 9, 2008

Not too bad

This not the same as the original and not as good but Dennis Quaid plays his part well. There were no women in the original but Amanda Otto did not detract from... Continue reading
Adult Written byn8chiro April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written bySomeoneYouDon'tKnow May 11, 2012

Quaid at his best!

This was a fantastic film. I am very surprised that critics hated it so much. The action is great, the tone is suspensful, and the music is also nicely selected... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bysocalledsyd April 9, 2008

What's the story?

In FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX, Frank Towns (Dennis Quaid) and A.J. (Tyrese Gibson) are pilots sent to pick up the staff and equipment from an oil rig that is being shut down. Passengers include deal-maker Ian (Hugh Laurie), boss Kelly (Miranda Otto), and her crew. And there is Elliott (Giovanni Ribisi), a mysterious man who predicts that the plane will crash because it is carrying too much weight. Elliott's calm diagnosis is in sharp contrast to the crash, with swirling sand and wind so strong that it rips the propeller off and slices into the body of the plane like a buzz saw. Burial of the fatalities is dispatched quickly in the Mongolian desert, as are any chance of finding help and the prospect of the company trying to find them. All that's left is Elliott's idea to use the parts of the plane to build a new aircraft. Towns thinks it is impossible. The odds are slim that they will be found, but he wants to maximize them by conserving food and water for as long as they can. But one of the crew persuades him that even with faster consumption, they should try to build the plane. Can they work together? Can Elliott's design fly? Will they get out before the nomads come after them?

Is it any good?

This trim little adventure saga about the survivors of a plane crash holds our attention with appealing and sincere performances. Quaid is especially magnetic and he is well supported by Gibson, Jacob Vargas as Sammi the cook, Tony Curran as Rodney and Kirk Jones (rapper Sticky Fingaz) as Jeremy. The pacing is brisk and energetic and it has enough spirit to follow the unavoidable pep talk about hopes and dreams with Towns saying, "I'd do anything to avoid another hopes and dreams speech."

Phoenix doesn't waste any time assigning heartwarming characteristics or backstories to each member of the group; we barely learn most of their names. This is not a movie about redemption or a tender love story. This is a movie that gets your heart pounding the old-fashioned way -- it is just plain exciting. The plane crash scene is an extraordinary bit of film-making.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what you can learn from the different ways that people respond to stress. How many different ways do you see in this movie? Who blames other people? Who works to solve the problem? Why does Elliott want people to say "please?" What was the right thing to do with the injured nomad? Do you agree with the statement about the difference between religion and belief?

Movie details

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