Sully (2016)

PG-13   |    |  Biography, Drama

Sully (2016) Poster

The story of Chesley Sullenberger, an American pilot who became a hero after landing his damaged plane on the Hudson River in order to save the flight's passengers and crew.

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  • Ann Cusack at an event for Sully (2016)
  • Chris Bauer in Sully (2016)
  • Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks in Sully (2016)
  • Shane P. Allen in Sully (2016)
  • Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks in Sully (2016)
  • Clint Eastwood and Taylor Lee in Sully (2016)

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User Reviews

12 September 2016 | ctowyi
| an absorbing showcase of a man's extraordinary professionalism in the face of danger
Running at a lean and spry 96min, Clint Eastwood's Sully isn't so much a clinical bio-pic in the traditional sense, but an absorbing showcase of a man's extraordinary professionalism in the face of danger.

On Thursday, January 15th, 2009, the world witnessed the "Miracle on the Hudson" when Captain Chesley Sullenburger (Tom Hanks) glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career.

Tom Hanks underplays Sullenburger but in so doing he brings out the multi-layered human qualities in the man. This is about a man who has 42 years of flying experience and he knows the aircraft like it is the back of his hand. Here is a man who does his job to the best of his abilities and he does it well. He will tell you he is not a hero but simply a man who is just doing his job. From a man with no time he becomes the man of all time. However, he is shaken to his very core when the doubts start to set in as the NTSB rips apart his heroic maneuver. Is Sullenburger a hero or a fraud?

The story rests on Tom Hank's abled shoulders who has built a reputation playing understated and reluctant heroes in Bridge of Spies and Captain Phillips. On first look Hank didn't seem to put on his acting hat, but after a night of rumination his character continues to stay with me. His sullenly insular and taciturn manner displays a fully functioning problem-solver's mind, calculating the probability of survival in that instance when the birds hit the plane engines. Thank goodness he trusts his instincts rather than the computer.

Hank isn't the only star in the story. At 86, Eastwood has meticulously crafted an honest story we thought we already knew into a tense drama with little bell and whistle. His unfazed skill in storytelling is assured and Sully definitely belongs to the top tier of his pantheon of good movies that include Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby. In Eastwood's hands, the film flies above the usual biopic tropes and it feels like a homage to a modest man who rose to an extraordinary occasion and a salute to professionalism. It is a wonder the story doesn't carry an ounce of jingoism and it is a superb amalgam of the loud and the silence and the human elements of a near air disaster.

The final star is definitely the plane crash. For a home-theatre enthusiast, the visuals and sonics are a feast for the senses. We get to see the crash and its aftermath from every physical and emotional angle. I can't remember the last time I see a reenactment of a plane crash so visceral and real. This is the closest you will get to experience one without actually being in one.

I didn't care much for Eastwood's last directorial effort American Sniper because it carried too many skull-numbing and blatant embellishments, but with Sully he has redeemed himself. This may feel like a straight-forward story but the use of Rashomon-resque plot manipulation transcends the film above the usual biopics that you would forget after a night's sleep. I didn't forget this one today.

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Did You Know?


In an IMAX featurette, editor Blu Murray revealed that two weeks were spent on trying to get the IMAX 1.90:1 framing for the film and to protect for the widescreen 2.39:1 ratio. But by the second day of filming, Clint Eastwood said that he was shooting an IMAX movie and decided to frame the movie for IMAX. 1.90:1. Ironically, the Blu-ray does not preserve the IMAX ratio for the film and presents it in a cropped 2.39:1 aspect ratio.


Sheila Dail: Just once I'd like to get out of LaGuardia on time.
Donna Dent: Well, you know the only way to get out of LaGuardia on time.
Sheila Dail: Yeah, what's that?
Donna Dent: Fly out of JFK.


The NYPD helicopter in the movie is a Bell model 205, a civilian version of the UH-1D/H Huey flown in Vietnam. This version has one gas turbine engine and two main rotor blades. In actuality, as seen during the end credits, the NYPD helicopter used in the rescue was a Bell model 214. This aircraft is equipped with twin gas turbine engines and four main rotor blades.

Crazy Credits

As the credits roll, there is a reuniting scene with the passengers and crew. Another scene follows shortly with Sully's wife talking briefly about what has been going on at their home since the miraculous landing on the Hudson River.

Alternate Versions

The film's IMAX release presented the film open-matte, at an aspect ratio of 1.90:1, meaning there was more picture information visible in the top and bottom of the frame than in normal theaters and on home video.


Flying Home (Theme from 'Sully')
Written by
Clint Eastwood, Tierney Sutton, and J.B. Eckl
Performed by Tierney Sutton Band (as The Tierney Sutton Band)


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


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