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  • This is an all time classic in the thriller genre and perhaps the best air flight thriller ever made, although films on this matter tend to always be superb. It's difficult not to make an air flight exciting, especially under a bomb threat. The bomb man here isn't just anyone but Edmond O'Brien in one of his most unforgettable characters, a man at the end of his tether, disqualified, calling himself both a chemist and engineer but reduced to a mechanic, and he sets about for a joy ride that will be his last, although staying on the ground, but he sure will have his kicks out of it.

    The second gang leader of the plot here is Van Johnson in also one of his most remarkable characters, although he always makes an impression by highly sustained and sorely tried characters, and here he is in charge of a flight that can't get down. It is doomed to remain hanging in the air forever, reduced to atoms on the way.

    But things are happening that neither the bomb man nor the flight captain have no idea of, no control of and totally beyond their wildest imagination. There are many memorable scenes here, but everything is perfectly credible and genuine, the reactions, the individuals, the veteran from Vietnam and the change he is going through although a nervous wreck, the struggle of the personnel, everything is perfectly realistic.

    My favourtite scene must though be the long drama at the bar, which never ends and constantly goes from one lucid moment to another. In brief, it's a wonderful film, gilded all the way by a splendid dialogue, - and what fun Edmond O'Brien must have had in making this part!
  • 51 years since it was made and very current. And well done. In fact, any film with Lalo Schifrin's music deserves a view. Schifrin is a living legend, has signed a lot of masterpieces such as "Mission: Impossible" (1966-1973), "Mannix" (1967-1975), "Dirty Harry" (1971), "Magnum Force"(1973), "Charley Varrick"(1973), "Joe Kid"(1972), "THX 1138"(1971), "Kelly's Heroes" (1968), "Once a Thief "(1965), "The Cincinnati Kid"(1965), "Cool Hand Luke"(1967), "Coogan's Bluff"(1968), etc. etc., 212 credits in 2018. William A. Graham was a very good and prolific director, an action and suspense films specialist. The cast includes many great actors: Edmond O'Brien, very good in the role of the bomb maker who place it where nobody not even think it can be, Van Johnson, as the captain of the plane, Edward Asner, John Saxon, Jack Lord, Michael Sarrazin, etc.
  • One of the best made for TV films with a an incredible cast! Especially interesting to see Jack Lord as an F.B.I. agent (in essence he is playing a character similar to Steve McGarrett, 2 years before Hawaii Five-0!)& kudos for Edmond O'Brien's chilling performance. This film which was written by Rod Serling (written in between Seven Days in May & Planet of the Apes) was not seen for many years due to a real life incident that copied the plot of the film. This would make a nice double feature with Fate Is the Hunter.
  • Back in 1966, "The Doomsday Flight" wasn't quite as familiar and tired a genre film as it would seem today. The "Airport" films were all made a few years later, though a few air disaster flicks had preceded it as well, such as "The High and the Mighty" and "Zero Hour!" in the 1950s. This take on the air disaster films is a bit different because it was made for television and it was written by Rod Sering. The overall effort is about as good as the better air disaster pics...and a lot better than the really bad ones (like "Airport 75").

    A cross country flight has many of the usual caricatures aboard. A maniac (Edmund O'Brien) calls the airport to tell them that he's put a bomb aboard the plane after it's taken off. He informs them that the bomb will automatically activate itself when the plane drops below 4000 feet! There is then a mad scramble to try to find out where the bomb is and provide the creep his ransom money if they cannot find and disarm it. The agent in charge of all this is played by Jack Lord but Gregg Morris and Ed Asner are also on hand to handle the case.

    The best thing about this film is probably the maniac. Edmund O'Brien is very malevolent and seems to delight on toying with everyone. It also becomes apparent that even if they pay him, he might just let the plane explode anyway!! A very tense and well made film with many aspects which were used in the parody film, "Airplane II". Worth seeing but familiar.
  • Stumbled on this movie having no idea what it was or who made it. I was to say the least very pleasantly surprised. The acting was of excellent quality, the characters believable even if the bomber himself was portrayed as an absolute loon. The whole thing was genuinely tense and kept you guessing.

    I can wholeheartedly recommend watching this I thought it was a really good film.
  • Doomsday Flight, written by the master dramatist Rod Serling, is one of the three best movies ever made involving an airplane flight (Fate is the Hunter and Airport are the others). Very well acted by a non-big name cast including lots of familiar faces.
  • Rod Serling, famous for "Twilight Zone," was one of the most gifted screenwriters in Hollywood. In addition to his two television series (the other the vastly underrated "Night Gallery"), he wrote the screenplays for classics such as "Seven Days in May" and "Planet of the Apes." His talent is undeniable and Serling deservedly is a legend.

    "The Doomsday Flight" has the trademark Serling creepiness. Edmond O'Brien, another tremendously underrated Hollywood talent, carries the film with an eccentric but oddly winning performance of a man living on the edge. The cast is loaded with familiar faces such as Edward Asner, John Saxon, and Jack Lord, but O'Brien provides the tension this kind of film badly needs.

    Serling was something of an authority on airplanes. His older brother, Robert, was an esteemed aviation writer, and Serling himself was a paratrooper during World War II. So, he knew a lot about the aviation industry and the gaps in its security.

    The plot here is simple. A man places a bomb on a passenger plane (a fictional Boeing 797). It is set to activate when the plane ascends to a certain height, then detonate when it descends below that altitude. The plot is thus somewhat similar to that of Sandra Bullock's "Speed."

    The performances are gripping, especially for a television movie. Van Johnson as the pilot and Lord as a troubled FBI agent. The direction by William Graham is outstanding for a film of this type, and overall it is a quality production.

    There's a fatal problem with the script, however. Serling obviously knew all about pressure-sensitive detonators. They were developed during World War II for military applications. Such detonators do, as the script points out, detonate on air pressure changes at specific altitudes. So, when a plane reaches a certain altitude, they do intend blow up. The "arm after reaching the altitude and then detonate on the way down" is a minor complication.

    The problem with the script is that the pressure doesn't change in modern passenger aircraft. The cabins are pressurized. In fact, the cargo holds are pressurized, too. Pressure-activated detonators may work on World War II aircraft that weren't pressurized, but they wouldn't work on a "Boring 797" because the pressure inside the aircraft doesn't reflect the outside air pressure. Even if the cargo hold were not pressurized, there would be no way for the airplane crew to disarm the bomb because access to the cargo hold from the main cabin is impossible - so a ransom threat wouldn't work. Serling undoubtedly knew all that, but figured the audience wouldn't - and, undoubtedly, he was correct.

    Anyway, a well-made production that undoubtedly influenced the later "Airport" which began the entire "disaster film" craze of the 1970s (and there are some nice explosions in this film). Worth a watch, just try not to think too much about it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This was a made for tv film aired on NBC. Even though Serling wrote the script and it is one of his earlier efforts on NBC instead of CBS, the cast is actually an A list one for a tv film. One thing about it besides the clever ending (a Serling touch) is a plot rype that would get reused in Hollywood on several films much later (Airport in the 1970's for example).

    CBS did take note of this film as Jack Lord's character is pretty much a clone of his Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five O later. Greg Morris (Mission Impossible) has a small supporting role. Ed Asner (with black dyed hair before he was totally bald) co-stars with Lord here. Asner would go on to Mary Tyler Moore and Lou Grant on TV along with many other career roles.

    Edmund O'Brien is the mad man whose only obvious motive in planting the bomb is to get $100,000 dollars. In the process of the movie, he gets bombed. Serling puts Lord's wife on the plane, along with a Vietnam Vet (wow in 1966). The bomb planted on the plane will go off when the plane lands unless they can find out where the bomb is hidden. Van Johnson does a good job as the pilot of Flight number 6.

    There is plenty of good drama here and the ending is much more positive than the later disaster films of the 1970's using planes. It is not the first film involving planes in trouble, but it is one that is worth catching if your a Rod Serling fan. It is currently available via You Tube.
  • Rod Serling was not afraid to mix it up with Alfred Hitchcock when it came to creating suspense. Both were masters of the genre. However, in this film, Serling shows that he can rise to the occasion for the big screen with The Doomsday Flight. The story of a man holding an airline ransom for a bomb he has planted is compelling. The quality here is in the writing; the script and storyline are impeccable. Edmond O'Brien gives a performance highly reminiscent of Burgess Meredith (looks and sounds just like him) and does a great job as psycho man. The supporting cast is fine as well. Recommended.
  • The Doomsday Flight was a made for television movie penned by the legendary Rod Sterling starring Edward Asner and John Saxon.

    It tells the story of a lunatic who puts a bomb aboard a commercial plane which will go off if it attempts to land. Those onboard are forced to team with law enforcement and airport personnel on the ground to resolve the issue before the plane runs out of fuel.

    Doesn't sound all too original right? Well that's because it isn't, however it does put a decent enough spin on the premise and the finale is considerably smarter than you'd imagine.

    It's highly generic stuff, even Saxon's performance is immediatly forgettable but there was a lot worse available around this time.

    One thing that struck me was Asner, now for those unfamiliar with him Edward Asner has been a star of stage and screen since the late 50's and simply never stopped. The man is the definition of a work horse, with hundreds of projects on his filmography it's incredible he isn't a household name.

    I'm now writing this in 2018, he's still not stopped and this year at the ripe old age of 88 years old he's done about a dozen things and has about another dozen either completed, in post production or announced. The man is a beast, all the respect in the world to him. What saddens me is in his whole career combined he's probably made what the average Hollywood star does per movie these days and has recieved such little recognition or spotlight for his vast contributions.

    Uninspired but bareable stuff.

    The Good:

    Clever ending

    The Bad:

    Painfully generic

    Things I Learnt From This Movie:

    Denver is exactly 1 mile above sea level

    Bad guys don't always need motivation, sometimes they're just nuts
  • Think Rod Serling wasn't a Thunderbirds fan? Then check out this 1966 telemovie about an airplane with an altitude-sensitive bomb on board, programmed to explode upon descent - the plot is a direct inspiration from Thunderbirds' pilot episode "Trapped In The Sky."
  • Warning: Spoilers

    This is a pretty decent thriller from the mind of Rod Serling. However, the ending looked as though it were thrown together at the last second. The idea of a bomb going off at a certain altitude was fine, but the fact that at the climax of the film a light went finally came on when he finally realized that he could land safely in Denver, which is well above the point where the bomb was set to explode. A three year old could figure the ending out. But despite this, this is still a great thriller. Rod Serling was one of the greatest writers in television and film history and this film only confirms this.
  • I remember watching NBC's tailored-for-television movie The Doomsday Flight about four years after it first aired in 1966, and it was fun to see all those performers who were big in 1970, from Jack Lord to Ed Asner to Michael Sarrazin.

    The movie is one gigantic airliner of clichés, sweaty upper lips, and the great Edmond O'Brien as a mad-as-a-Trump-supporter disgruntled bomber chewing the scenery behind glasses with lenses so thick his eyes look segmented (think Muddy the Mudskipper from Ren and Stimpy). As a 12 year old, O'Brien scared the airline peanuts out of me, and I still loved watching him a few hours ago as he snarled and whined and goobered and then vapor-locked right in front of another great character actor, Malachi Throne.

    Yup, old-home night on YouTube.

    And one last thing. There was Greg Morris (Mission Impossible) as a FBI agent. Did they shoot this before he became a regular on MI? Now, looking for an answer to that would be a great use of the internet!

    Along with watching ancient TV-movies, huh?
  • This must be one of the movies the makers of Airplane used as "inspiration" (but without the poisoned fish). Isn't that the same little old lady - without her cocaine this time?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    But typical for Universal. The jet shown in the beginning is a TWA Convair 880 with the fuselage swoop painted or altered on film to blue. Easily identifiable with the ridge at the top of the fuselage and the tail number registration ends in TW. The landing gear sequences are from a B-52; four bogies with 2 in-line pairs. The WORST though is the evacuation at the end. "Use all doors and emergency exits" followed by everybody jumping out on a manually deployed slide at the back end of a Douglas prop job. At first I thought they might have use the DC-6 mashup from "Fate is the Hunter" but that wasn't it. But it was definitely a Douglas DC-Something with that rounded door top and tail. Other mistakes: the radio frequencies in the 200 Mhz range and the plane would have been under either Salt Lake Center or Denver Center control when the decision was made to go to Denver. Nit-picky stuff but Rod should have had his brother Robert read the script to cover the technical aspects. "Airport" which was filmed in 1969 at least got the technical details down much better.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Minor Spoilers in last paragraph.

    I thought there was going to be some smart screenwriting when I saw that Rod Serling wrote this TV movie. Similar to the titular "airplane in peril" movie "Airport" made 4 years after this, a disturbed person has placed a bomb on a commercial jet. The movie includes a couple familiar faces, Jack Lord and Ed Asner, plus some other TV actors you recognize from other TV shows. The main problem is that this is an idea for perhaps a 30 minute TV drama, not a full blown movie. Like the airplane stuck in the sky, everyone is stuck waiting to find out what the bomber, who planted the bomb and is hiding somewhere else, wants. As time slogs by, the bomber gives delivery instructions, but the delivery truck gets in an accident. Even that accident plays out very slowly. There are scenes where someone is waiting and waiting for that delivery driver to call. At this point the bomber, who is portrayed as a disturbed and lonely old man, becomes obtuse. He is convinced he is being setup. Instead of any real action, there are some clunky scenes where some investigation occurs. But it's mostly Jack & Ed getting upset while looking at a telephone. Lots of dumb lines are said by many of the cast. The story only has three parts, the announcement of the threat, sitting around waiting for the bomber to call, and the resolution.

    The second half of the movie spends most of the time with the bomber getting drunk at a bar. Which is just about as interesting as trying to understand a slobbering drunk at a bar. The pilot, played by Van Johnson, has some of the most ridiculous dialogue, seemingly cracking jokes whether appropriate or not. The dull pacing makes plenty of room for ridicule, making a good candidate for MST 3K-style lampooning.

    Minor Spoilers ahead

    The third act only gets going after the drunk bomber checks out. Finally a bit of tension is drummed up when a last chance to save the airplane is attempted.

    End Minor Spoilers

    Between the thin story and the cheap TV movie budget, this is not Rod Serling at his best. I would recommend watching an early Rod Serling production "Forbidden Area", a much more intelligent screenplay with great performances and better pacing.