Flight of the Phoenix Movie Poster Image

Flight of the Phoenix

Exciting (but intense) adventure for older kids.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

What parents need to know


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

Not applicable

Some strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking


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.

Parents say

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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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:December 17, 2004
DVD/Streaming release date:March 1, 2005
Cast:Dennis Quaid, Giovanni Ribisi, Hugh Laurie
Director:John Moore
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some language, action and violence

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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 it at all. In fact that was part of the reason we went to see it. There is not much violence in it and hardly any swearing which is music to my ears. So, all in all it is a very entertaining movie.
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

Please, in the name that is good, please don't watch it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This movie is terrible. Everything is bad. If you are desparate to watch it, please consult a doctor or be a adult. Just don't watch it!
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. But parents need to know that there is violence, language (one use of "f*ck") and some smoking (one character smokes right in front of a "no smoking" sign at an oil rig). But these little "appropriateness" flaws don't change the fact that it's just a purely good movie, with great acting from Dennis Quaid and a so-unlikeable-it's-likeable performance from Giovanni Ribisi. Five stars!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking