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Heinrich Dorfmann: I told you there would be no difficulty in building this aeroplane. I also told you it would require an outstanding pilot to fly it. The only thing outstanding about you, Mr. Towns, is your stupidity.
The Flight of the Phoenix is a 1965 The Film of the Book about the crew and passengers of a downed plane in the Sahara desert who, once realizing that rescue is not coming, attempt to build a smaller airplane out of the remaining parts of their aircraft.
The 1965 film was quite popular, garnering Academy Award nominations for best supporting actor (Ian Bannen) and film editing. The 2004 R Emake (listed at the bottom of this page) was not as well received.
Tropes in the 1965 film include:
- The Alcoholic: Lew is the co-pilot, and has a drink while they are in the air. Later Capt. Towns accuses him of being drunk the night before the flight and skipping the preliminary checklist - which is why they didn't have a working radio.
- All Germans Are Nazis: Subverted in that Dorfmann says he wasn't involved in the war and no one has a problem with that. He does get called a Nazi once in the film, though.
- And Starring: Includes several levels of this. The opening credits begin as follows: "An Associates and Aldrich Company Production starring / James Stewart / Richard Attenborough / Peter Finch / Hardy Kruger / Ernest Borgnine as Trucker Cobb / in The Flight of the Phoenix". But Borgnine's credit is just the beginning - they continue with "Co-starring Ian Bannen / Ronald Fraser / Christian Marquand / Dan Duryea as Standish". And they're still not done, moving on to "Also starring George Kennedy / Gabriele Tinti / Alex Montoya". And that's still not the end, as they continue with "Featuring Peter Bravos / William Aldrich / and Barrie Chase as Farida". Worth noting, perhaps, that Bravos and Aldrich die in the crash immediately after the opening credits, and Chase only appears in a flashback/hallucination.
- Bedouin Rescue Service: Subverted - the nomads prove to be hostile.
- Belly Dancer: Sgt. Watson Hallucinates about one he saw once.
- But I Read a Book About It: Dorfmann says he has experience building and designing aircraft. He later reveals he works with model aircraft, but it turns out the principles are much the same, just on a smaller scale.
- California Doubling: Filmed in California and Nevada, representing the Sahara.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Trucker Cobb.
- Conflict Ball: As in the page quote, Dorfmann just starts telling Captain Towns that he's stupid for no obvious reason.
- Covers Always Lie: Don't knock it, this really is an awesome movie... just not quite as action-packed as the above poster implies.
- Deadpan Snarker: Ratbags Crow (and how!). He also doubles as a Violent Glaswegian.
- Although Crow is a pretty unsympathetic character (Less so than Watson, maybe), it should be noted that unlike some of them, Crow worked very hard during the ordeal and never could be accused of cowardice. Or bringing any detriment to the group.
- Dirty Coward: Sgt. Watson. He survives, too.
- Fanservice Extra: The above belly dancing trope. The hallucination is the only woman in the entire movie, and was advertised on the poster despite her one-minute scene.
- Floating Head Syndrome: The DVD release cover.
- The Great Repair: The main plot.
- Idiot Ball: Captain Towns and Lew, being pilots and all, shouldn't have been so shocked that the principles of flying model aircraft and full size aircraft are the same - but the tension needed to be there.
- Jerkass: Quite a few have their moments, but Ratbags Crow stands out as the biggest.
- Laughing Mad: Lew has a fit of this when he realizes that Dorfmann has no "real airplane" building experience.
- Misplaced Names Poster: The DVD cover.
- One Bullet Left: In both versions of The Flight of the Phoenix, they have 5 cartridges to start the rebuilt plane's engine - the first three times it stalls, the fourth cartridge is expended to clean out the cylinders, and the last one works perfectly.
- Only Sane Man: Lew in his best moments, negotiates the conflicting egoes of Towns and Dorfmann.
- The Phoenix: The rescue plane is built from the parts of the original.
- Survivor Guilt: Capt. Towns has this when he loses two people and one is gravely injured in the crash.
Tropes in the 2004 remake include:
- Artistic License Physics: When the propeller comes off the engine before the crash, it flies forward as if under its own power, while staying level with the plane.
- A-Team Montage: More so than the original.
- California Doubling: Averted, but filmed in Nigeria rather than the actual setting of Mongolia.
- The Remake
- Riding Into the Sunset: The group flies off into the sunset, and the Where Are They Now? Epilogue begins. You never see them land. (They do land in the 1965 film.)
- Setting Update: To 2004. Note OutKast's Hey Ya! playing on the CD player, and Ian's cellphone. Outside of that, few references to time periods are mentioned.
- Also the location has been moved from the Sahara Desert in Libya to the Gobi desert in China/Mongolia.
- Shirtless Scene: You have a good long look at Dennis Quaid's abs right after they finish pulling the plane.
- Shot for Shot Remake: It's not exact, but it's pretty close. The new version does not add or subtract much.
- The Smurfette Principle: The remake added a girl, but deserves a some credit for averting including a Token Romance.
- Toilet Humor: Ian walking away with a shovel and turning the sign from "vacant" to "occupied"
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue: A photo montage shown at the end.