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Plot:

Chicago air traffic controller Jack Harris is a wreck with guilt nightmares after a major airplane crash that killed all 174 aboard. He gives up the job and designs air traffic control games in Phoenix. Five years later, his ex-colleague T.C. Bryant, also transferred to Phoenix, desperately asks him to help out short-term, given desperate staff shortage on New Year’s Eve with a bad storm predicted. A power outage hits, and the storm has caused their workload to multiply. Colleagues welcome him in very different states of mind but he quickly proves his capabilities, alas then the fatal memories start creeping up again: will his lack of self-confidence cause another drama?

Also Known As: Riesgo de impacto, Lennonjohto, Ground Control, Pánik az irányítótoronyban, Preplah v kontroli poletov, Pânico a Bordo, Turnul de control, Centrul de control, Flug 177 - Panik im Tower, Tour de contrôle, Rischio d'impatto, Kollisionskurs - Panik im Tower, Pânico no Ar, Jet, グランドコントロール 乱気流, Földi irányítás, Контроль земли

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  • anneli-kanerva
    anneli kanerva

    I wish just once film makers would stay consistent with their aircraft (it’s not that hard, and very noticeable) a 747 was crashing at the beginning, but with L1011 wreckage. Then the 747 “Transgolf” turns into a 737 on the outside and a 727 on the inside, lovely. Plus, everything just goes wrong doesn’t it. The “Transgolf” plane incident seems remarkably familiar to the United plane that crash-landed in Cedar Rapids, IA a few years back too.All in all it’s somewhat fun to watch but you have to realize that it’s so obviously stupid and these seemingly minor inconsistencies bring down the quality of the film so much.

  • nikos-markopoulos
    nikos markopoulos

    So bad it was fun! I’ve not watched a movie in a long time that had me shouting at the screen like this one. I’ve been an air traffic control engineer for 29 years, so I may know a little bit about this stuff. Not one piece of equipment or system was accurately portrayed in this movie. They say one thing has failed and then Fonzie goes out and fixes something quite different. If they did hire an ATC consultant I can only guess they got a retired cleaner who had heard some ATC talk and glimpsed the equipment many years ago. Then they ignored what their “expert” told them!!Everything about this movie was wrong, ATC, people, aeroplanes and equipment. Good fun to watch if you have any knowledge of the subject at all so you can play spot the mistake. Spotting the accurate bit would be much more of a challenge. If you don’t know anything about ATC rest assured in real life its not like this at all.

  • naira-shelia
    naira shelia

    After watching the final season of Lost I purchased Ground Control for 1/2 Lb. (this accounts for inflation, I think) from a small, local England shop. I was pleasantly surprised at how entertained I felt–keep in mind that most things do not entertain me anymore; I feel very grim most of the time. But surprisingly, despite myself not being an aviation buff of any kind I was able to follow along with most of the jargon which is normally an impediment with me (for example, if the movie is about a stock market I have a hard time following the lingo, especially if the film is American) But it all seemed very realistic to me and my husband. Who watched it with me. It makes me wonder about all the “close calls” that go by every day underneath our nose. Usually when I fly; which is pretty regularly, now; I don’t pay any mind to all of the magic that goes on behind the scenes of the flight. Now I will pay attention. This is a great movie, especially if you love Keither Sutherland (and both me and my husband DO). I give this movie 8/10 stars–it could have used a more romantic subplot involving a woman and Keither Sutherland, and I saw the ending coming a mile away WITH or WITHOUT the help of ATC (lol!)

  • ondrej-urban
    ondrej urban

    This movie has glaring continuity errors. Like Sutherland tapping on a laptop which vacillates between being on and off.And its clichés – the ex-air traffic controller involved in a previous disaster who’s brought back to save the day. Groan. It really didn’t need worn out clichés which only made me think “Airplane!”. A regular guy in the job would have sufficed. And moments like the instant brewing romance lacked subtlety too.Set those flaws aside though and this is a good movie. Most of the acting is convincing. And even though the plot is simple it kept my interest and had me rooting for them till the end.Despite its flaws it drew me in. A simple story and for the most part, well told. Well worth watching.

  • dean-graham
    dean graham

    6 December 2010. A year before the more quirky comedy drama PUSHING TIN (1999) came out starring John Cusack and Billy Bob Thorton, the more mainstream disaster thriller GROUND CONTROL was released starring television’s 24 Keifer Sutherland with co-starring roles for 1986’s Kelly McGillis (TOP GUN, 1986) and Kristy Swanson (FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF). GROUND CONTROL is relatively traditional, predictable, interestingly in a way less sensationalized, dramatized than PUSHING TIN and less relational and more focused fascinating active air control dynamics which in some ways makes this more watchable than average dramatic thrillers. **Added January 9, 2012 – With a decent storyline that keeps building, this is good entertainment. What makes this dramatic thriller on solid ground is its use of stereotypes but in a way that never overextends their use, the irritated man’s eventual response to the babies, the way the ending wasn’t as pat as most dramatic endings are with its more realistic and, literally, twists and turns, and even the non-verbal exchanges at the end make for a believable and satisfying landing.**

  • agrvaal-aditii
    agrvaal aditii

    I thought this show was very good. After Jack Harris, had left being an air traffic controller his friend needed him back. He didnt want to go back, because of the memories he had of the plane crash that he was doing the air traffic control for where everyone lost their lives on that plane. He came back and faced his fears, and helped a plane that was in distress land safely with no deaths. Cast was excellent. The right acting crew for this movie.

  • sofia-lahti
    sofia lahti

    Who cares about technical inaccuracies of radio jargon or airplane details. The majority of watchers do not know and dont care. To me the only thing that is a little bit unbelievable is how the airport could have “too many planes coming in.” Dont they have control of that? Anyway, it’s a good show with a good outcome, even if somewhat predictable.

  • dr-seniha-akcay-turk
    dr seniha akcay turk

    Am not gonna lie, i love this film because it shows Kiefer Sutherland developing the talent he would need for 24- in terms of his emotional acting skills. But the film itself is a small gem. There’s just something about that makes me watch it every once in a while & that time was 13/05/2011. Like Jack Harris’s struggle to cope with the situation & its just great to see Kiefer act, his voice, perks of the way he acts, things he does- everything just does it. A hard days work & i was in the mood to watch it. There’s just a determination inside of the film that you appreciate. But yeah, Kiefer Sutherland and the actors around him did a good job. Its clearly a low budget film but the storyline and how it all takes places more than compensates. This isn’t a film about big bangs and special effects: its about showing acting quality and giving great performances. Also there are small touching moments that all add- with a good soundtrack that aids the emotion. This film isn’t about any one scene.

  • genovefa-riekstins
    genovefa riekstins

    An incredibly suspenseful, high-excitement motion picture that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Director Richard Howard has done a stunning job of bringing this marvelous film to the screen, capturing the stress, agony, and triumphs of air traffic controllers with cinematic eloquence. The tension is at times overwhelming as a burned-out traffic controller “plugs in” again after a horrific experience a few years previous. Played by Kiefer Sutherland, the character is one of true depth and touching humanity, a tortured soul who rises to the extreme challenges of one crisis filled night in the tower. It is one of Sutherland’s greatest performances. In fact, an all-star cast give uniformly superb performances with stand-out work done by Henry Winkler and Robert Sean Leonard. Special mention should be made of the actor who plays the pilot of a troubled airliner,Drew Snyder , a familiar character actor who does what amounts to an Oscar worthy turn in his role. As the older flier who remains calm and courageous, the kind of man we all want in the cockpit, he is brilliant. Intense, intelligent, and terrifically produced, prepare yourself for a story of fragile humanity in extraordinary circumstances. That is the film Ground Control.

  • vlado-resnik
    vlado resnik

    Great performance by Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Harris, a haunted air traffic controller, and by Bruce McGill as T.C. Bryant, an air traffic control supervisor, and Henry Winkler as John Quinn, a maintenance man. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie which realistically portrays a day in the life of air traffic controllers.

  • filofteia-marin
    filofteia marin

    One has to wonder why the likes of Kiefer Sutherland, Kelly McGillis, Kristy Swanson and Henry Winkler would lend their talents to a routine drama like this. While not exactly at the peak of their game – Sutherland was still in a lull before “24” reinvigorated his career; McGillis, Swanson and Winkler were well past the heyday years of “Top Gun”, “Buffy” and “Happy Days” respectively – they’re collectively too good to be wasted on such uninspired fare. This drama set in the world of air traffic control is routine in every department. Watching it will not offend your sensibilities in any way, shape or form…. but neither will it have you raving to all your friends what an undiscovered masterpiece you’ve just unearthed.Jack Harris (Kiefer Sutherland) used to be an ace air traffic controller, until one night in Chicago he listened helplessly as a flight in his sector crashed, killing all 174 passengers and crew. Although Harris was blameless, the incident left him deeply scarred. Five years later he makes a living in Phoenix, designing computer software and gradually recovering from the break-up of his relationship and battle with alcoholism. Harris’s old air traffic buddy TC Bryant (Bruce McGill) – who has also moved down to Phoenix – approaches him one New Year, asking Harris to help out at the air traffic control centre during a staff shortage. Harris is reluctant but he eventually agrees. As it happens, Phoenix is excessively busy with aircraft that night as a storm has diverted more than fifty extra flights their way. Other controllers trying to land the planes safely that night include cocksure Cruise (Robert Sean Leonard) and first-night-on-the-job rookie Julie Albrecht (Kristy Swanson). As the pressure builds, Harris finds himself struggling to remain focused and he keeps experiencing flashbacks to that fateful night in Chicago. Then the unthinkable happens – an aircraft puts in a distress call. They’ve lost all power and hydraulics, they can’t even turn the plane, they’re low on fuel and they’re carrying over 130 passengers. Harris thinks he knows a way to bring the plane in safely…. but will his nerves hold?Ground Control is clichéd stuff. Every character is lifted from stock – if you have your tick boxes ready, there’s the flawed hero (Sutherland) – check; the cocky rival (Leonard) – check; the rookie (Swanson) – check; the dryly humorous technical boffin (Winkler) – check; the pig-headed boss (McGillis) – check; and the inspirational father figure who draws everyone together in a crisis (McGill) – check! Much of the dialogue is incomprehensible air traffic lingo (“turn right on a 2-9er-2 heading and reduce air speed by 15 knots”), and some scenes become tedious due to the sheer weight of technical babble. However the film is not all that badly done. The actors at least try quite hard in their cardboard roles, and the final twenty minutes or so, during which they battle to bring in the stricken plane, has an element of excitement. This is an unexceptional, workmanlike drama – easy viewing for those with an hour and a half to spare.

  • aurelia-rose-rust
    aurelia rose rust

    This movie was really good, it had a lot of suspense and action and also a few jokes here and there. This movie didn’t have A class actors but thats one other thing made this movie a top watch. I actually think now having watched it that the events that happened in this movie were not just believable but realistic, being a air traffic controller would not be the easiest job in the world and would also be a very stressful job as well. This movie is only for real people with an imagination, you do not need a big A class cast and a big budget to make a good film. All you need is some B class actors who fit the role and a moderate budget and you have a top movie. Im hoping to see more B class movies just like this one in the near and present future.

  • sissel-wenche-knudsen
    sissel wenche knudsen

    A handful of Air Traffic Controllers in Phoenix manage a crowded sky and nurse an injured airliner back to earth. Kiefer Sutherland is an ace at the job, but he quit after one of his airplanes crashed. Now he’s called back to help on a night full of tension.And there IS a lot of tension after the introductory period that walks us through the character and their equipment. It’s one of those movies in which, if anything can go wrong, it goes wrong. The equipment blows out, a goose flies into the radar fan, conflicts between the ATCs emerge, and so forth. Brief spurts of Morse code add to the mystery behind all that technology, but only two letters are heard in Morse: “s” and “u”. Actually it’s a vast improvement over most airplane-in-jeopardy movies. First of all, we don’t have a single airliner filled with diverse passengers whose back stories must be explored seriatim. Second, and most important, the ATC people are on the ground, where all human beings belong. Man was not meant to fly. I can’t speak for women and children. In fact, all means of mass transport are suspect. I thought the driver on my last Greyhound bus looked a little odd.The narrative comes through neatly and cleanly. It begins in an exploratory mode and ends in crisis and triumph, accompanied by generic music. The performances are all decent, with perhaps the best acting laid on by Robert Sean Leonard as Cruise, the competent and low-keyed controller who becomes rattled by too much stress. Sutherland’s role is the flashier of the two. Also notable in minor roles are Alex Wexo as a pilot and especially Drew Snyder as the avuncular pilot of a stricken airliner. It would be so easy to overact, but Snyder does a fine job. Knowing his airplane and its passengers are doomed, he languidly tells Phoenix, “Keep us away from a city.” But in any case it’s really an ensemble movie.The director does not indulge himself in razzle dazzle techniques. The film was shot on stilts, not by a hand-held camera wobbled around by a spazz. Even during the scenes of second-by-second action, the images remain steady.

  • angelo-de-vieira
    angelo de vieira

    I’m a retired air traffic controller and simply put, I was amazed that this garbage was released. Another IMDB commenter said that, “[t]he performers did their homework when it came to radio protocol and terminology.” Well, they may well have done their homework, but none of the well-studied proper phraseology came out of their mouths. (“…maintain flight level six zero zero zero?” Oh please…) What’s more, the instructions given to the aircraft either made no sense or were so vague as to be dangerous. And other parts (telling the pilot to spin twice: “gimme $4,000 worth”–a VERY old ATC joke) were nothing more than apocryphal.In the past 20 minutes I’ve written and deleted a dozen examples illustrating why this is such a bad movie, and THAT exercise appears to have been cathartic enough that I now feel that I can just go to bed. But allow me this one indulgence: having spent 25 years in this field (no, not as a “sim” controller… the airplanes I worked had real mass), this movie actually angered me. What in the world is the point of replacing believable control instructions with the trash that appeared in this film? This is a movie built around air traffic control, for heaven’s sake. Why give such short shrift to the lifeblood–the very structure of that undertaking? Millions of folks who would be interested in this subject matter will LISTEN to what’s being said and reject it as absurd. Somebody hired an ATC consultant for this film. Why would they disregard his advice? Bottom line: there is no excuse for the intellectually lazy approach this film took to ATC. It wouldn’t have cost any more to do it right, and the dialog would have been at least as poignant. What’s more, they wouldn’t have alienated those of us who love this stuff. From my standpoint, NONE of this movie was “right on.”P.S. I had a hard time sitting still for this film, so I’m sure I must have missed it, but could somebody explain why it is called “Ground Control?” Ground Control is the position in a tower that works airplanes on the surface of the airport. There is nothing in a Center that has anything to do with Ground Control. While I did see tower scenes in this movie, I don’t recall Ground Control having a big part to play. Somebody PLEASE tell me that this wasn’t called “Ground Control” because the writers thought that that was the proper name for air traffic control in general. Because if THAT was why they did it, then NOBODY did their homework…

  • kayleigh-tirie
    kayleigh tirie

    Having just become a fan of “24” I bought this as a cheap DVD because of Kiefer Sutherland. Although the movie isn’t an all time great it is certainly worth a watch. It won’t tax you mentally but it isn’t bad for a quiet night in with a beer and a pizza. Rating 7/10.

  • lidija-rudzitis
    lidija rudzitis

    As a real life instrument pilot and simulated air traffic controller, I can say this film presents the most realistic view of the trials and tribulations of a Center Controller I’ve ever seen. Sure they jazz up the sets a little, but the jargon, problems and other ATC details are right on.

  • irina-gholt-aghch-yan
    irina gholt aghch yan

    ‘Ground Control’ is probably the biggest surprise I’ve ever encountered since I became a movie fan years ago. It’s incredibly well done, with great performances all around, and is seriously the best independent action film I’ve ever seen, if that could be imagined. The climax is truly riveting, aided by tight editing and strong direction. The real surprise with this movie is that almost all of it takes place in a single set, a fact that the director/editor managed to cover up. It seems that real care was poured into ‘Ground Control’, a rare feat these days with the countless B action flicks being pumped out each month, and it shows. It’s sad that the movie didn’t enjoy even a short theatrical run, as it more than deserves it, especially after the similar, and far inferior, ‘Pushing Tin’ making it into theaters a year later.It’s as if the producers managed to find the only actors that actually have talent and haven’t yet made it big time, and casted them in this movie. Kiefer Sutherland (The Lost Boys) is great in the main role, and is given strong support from Kelly McGillis (Top Gun, Witness- and the only real high profile actor in the film), Kristy Swanson (The Chase) and Robert Sean Leonard (Dead Poets Society)The production values are unexpectantly high, especially for a movie on a budget like this one. Very good direction, commendable editing, and a superb script. The dialog is crisp and realistic, with a few really good one-liners, something I’ve never seen in a low budget action movie. The musical score is original and also very good, comparable to that of many large studio productions.Despite a few flaws already pointed out in previous postings, I absolutely loved this movie, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in seeing a refreshing break from the norm.9/10

  • anna-adamyan
    anna adamyan

    If any airport in the US were this badly maintained, it would be shut down before you could say ‘Thrust Reverser’. The number of thing that go wrong here and the jury-rigged way this tower is put together is almost comical.Having said that, Keifer’s acting is rock solid as always. Kelly McGillis is not so bad, and Buffy takes an unusual turn as a nerd. Not anything I would go out of my way to see, but not bad if you come across it on TV either…Note: The steering by way of using the thrust on the engines was a real life incident. Unfortunately, the results were not quite so good.BTW, why didn’t Fonzie just bang his fist on the computers to fix them? Ayyyy!!!

  • christina-bengtsson
    christina bengtsson

    I loved this movie. The story was exciting. The characters were wonderful. The acting was great. I have seen it more than once and keeps me interested and excited every time. I can really empathize with air traffic controllers after watching “Ground Control”. I wish they would do a sequel.

  • balogh-sandorne
    balogh sandorne

    As an aviation buff I was really excited to see this movie. Although there were a few inaccuracies (such as planes changing models and such), it really wasnt a bad film. I could really identify with the characters and you could really care or hate them. Overall I’d give this movie an 8/10.PS: To all the people who posted about the “real” crash footage….it was from Delta Flight 191 and it was an L1011 that crashed at Dallas in 85. United 232 was a DC-10 and it crashed in Sioux City Iowa in 1989.

  • zimina-agafia-antonovna
    zimina agafia antonovna

    “Ground Control” tells the story of Jack Harris, a former air-traffic controller who quit after a “situation” with a flight he was handling. Jack is pressed into service as an ATC again during a staffing crisis at the control center. Needless to say, Jack has brief “flashbacks” at work. Also needless to say, he steps in to “save the day” during an extraordinary problem at the control center. Predictable? Heavens, yes. Oddly enjoyable? Yeah, sure…keep your expectations low, though…

  • ninfa-damico
    ninfa damico

    I’m currently in process to become an air traffic controller, so I’m at the point where I devour anything relating to ATC. I don’t need to write anything else about the inaccuracies in the movie, as a couple of former ATC’s have done that. The phraseology, the scopes, the sets – they’re pretty far from the real thing.What I’d like to do, however, is talk about what I found *right* about the movie. There are three pretty big things that I felt get across the overall theme of ATC: 1) When Kristy Swanson’s character starts screwing up after first plugging in, Kiefer’s character plugs in with her. After saving her butt, he goes into a discussion of how to look at the scope. In your mind, you need to turn this 2D display into a 3D representation. Then, you use the information you have about each aircraft – its speed, altitude, and direction – to see and resolve conflicts ahead of time.I felt that was a pretty accurate description of what’s going through a controller’s mind when he’s looking at the scope.2) The bit by the young “hotshot” controller, where he talks about how controllers view airplanes, is pretty spot on. You can’t view them as individual airplanes full of hundreds of people – you need to detach yourself from that completely, or otherwise you’ll go crazy with the pressure. I’ve talked with many controllers, and they each use different methods. Some picture empty airplanes in their mind, some just see “targets”, some view them as math problems to solved, as is the case in the movie.3) The constant battle of safety vs. budget. If you look at today’s FAA, they have slashed controller pay, forced out the more experienced higher-paid controllers, blown billions on failed technology upgrade projects, and generally made a mess of things. The facility where I’m being assigned to has constant equipment failures, mainly because the equipment in question is over 30 years old. Miami Center’s Oceanic sector – which covers the entire strip of ocean from Miami to the Dominican Republic – has frequent radar outages which take days to fix.And as traffic increases more and more every year, there are fewer controllers to guide them. Everyone will tell you that ATC is a stressful job, and that you need to unplug every time knowing you had 100% accuracy. Now imagine forcing someone to work 10 hours a day, 6 days a week under that pressure. That’s the reality at the world’s busiest facilities – like Atlanta Center – which are understaffed. Take a look at what happened with that fatal ComAir crash in Kentucky. The tower was short staffed, so they only had 1 controller on duty instead of the required two. 50 people died as a result.And through every error, the FAA always says: “Safety was never compromised”. For that reason, I found the conflicts between the working controllers and the management to be pretty realistic. The controllers want things to run safely, whereas the management wants to cut corners and boost their own careers.Think about that the next time you fly.

  • michaele-thanel-barer
    michaele thanel barer

    As an aviation enthusiast, I was interested in this movie, but technical errors and some flaws in the plot made the movie fall short of being great.One scene starts off with a 747 flying through clouds. As this flight evolves into a state of emergency, we later find out that the plane was really a 737. Anyone who’s been at an airport knows the difference between the two.From the opening scene Kiefer Sutherland’s character alludes to the home expansion project he’s working on, presumably because of a new kid on the way. We never see the wife or this new kid, or what effect the stress an air traffic controller goes through has on a family. Including scenes with the wife and kid could have added something to the movie.Ever since the end of Happy Days, we do not see much of Henry Winkler on TV or on the screen, but he effectively plays the role of a mechanic, frustrated by budget constraints and using the “I told you so” attitude when a problem arises. Kelly McGillis is also a performer seen less often these days, but does well as the savvy and assertive airport administrator.The performers did their homework when it came to radio protocol and terminology. So often in the past, this is done so poorly. Hollywood may have finally caught on to this.Another problem I had is that the movie appeared to have taken some of its content from the United Airlines DC-10 crash landing in Sioux City in 1989. They then took this incident and tweaked it a little to fit the story better. If the electrical components are fried and hydraulics are disabled, why was the distressed plane able to extend its landing gear? If only UAL flight 289 could have been so lucky ten years ago!I think that it’s a good movie, but not a great one… 6/10

  • rebecca-wells
    rebecca wells

    i was bought this film as a gift and was not expecting much from it. After 10 minutes of the film i was hooked. The story line is a little predictable however, its done very well. Keifer Sutherland is at his best and delivers a great performance. It just goes to show that just because a film is not packed with special FX and CGI doesn’t mean its not a top notch film.

  • jon-mora
    jon mora

    General Synopsis of the movie is that after a crash, a top rated Air traffic controller leaves the business. Then 5 years later is brought back for one night due to the facility being understaffed and too many planes coming in….This movie actually should have been pegged as a drama instead of action/adventure…but be that as it may, it was rather good. One could go on and on about how it isn’t realistic, but in truth…how many movies really are? The title role of Jack Harris is played by Kiefer Sutherland. This is a key factor to the movies success. His uncanny ability to visibly portray emotions is essential to the role. As usual, he brings the “I’ll do anything to make me a human on film” trademark with him. (Anyone for getting sick in the bathroom sink?) This trademark is what has endeared him over the years to so many fans and critics alike.Also Staring were Robert Sean Leonard as the cocky hotshot air traffic controller; Bruce McGill as the overworked supervisor who pleads with Jack to come back, even if just for one night; Kelly McGillis as the politically minded administrator (she ends up being a good guy in the end); Kristy Swanson as the “newbie” air traffic controller fresh out of the academy; and our beloved Henry Winkler as the facility mechanic who keeps everything running, even though the equipment is old and some without replacement.Although the movie is meant to “entertain”, the whole crux of the movie is to tell a story about being an Air Traffic Controller and the absolute stress behind that job. This is something they did quite well. All in all, it was a rather good film. It will hold interest up until the end and has a very climatic, edge of your seat, finish.Who will like this movie? 1. Probably air traffic controllers (even though it might not be completely factual) 2. People who like a good human interest story 3. The over 40 crowd. 4. Kiefer fansWho will not like this movie? Those whose mentalities require constant barrages of special effects, action, cussing, sex, violence and/or blood…pass on this one, it won’t fill your needs.Ending notes: If you fall into the “who will like this movie” group…definitely give it a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.