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World Trade Center

"World Trade Center" Promotional Poster
Directed by Oliver Stone
Produced by Moritz Borman
Debra Hill
Michael Shamberg
Stacey Sher
Written by Andrea Berloff
Starring Nicolas Cage
Maria Bello
Michael Peña
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Stephen Dorff
Jon Bernthal
Jay Hernandez
Michael Shannon
Donna Murphy
Frank Whaley
Jude Ciccolella
Danny Nucci
Music by Craig Armstrong
Tim Robbins
Cinematography Seamus McGarvey
Editing by David Brenner
Julie Monroe
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) August 9, 2006 (in U.S.)
September 29, 2006 (in UK)
Running time 129 minutes
Language English
Budget $65,000,000
Gross revenue $162,970,240 (worldwide)

World Trade Center is a 2006 disaster drama film, directed by Oliver Stone and based on the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center towers of New York City. The film stars Nicolas Cage, Maria Bello, Michael Peña, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Michael Shannon. The movie was shot from October 19, 2005 - February 10, 2006.[1]



The film is a version of the true story of two Port Authority police officers John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, who, while patrolling the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, see a plane fly dangerously low overhead.

As all of the police officers return to the station, they take a glimpse at the TV, and find that the North Tower of the World Trade Center has been hit by a plane. Sergeant McLoughlin assigns many of the officers to assist in an evacuation attempt of the (still undamaged) South Tower, and they board a commandeered Metropolitan Transit Authority bus. On the bus they hear reports that the South Tower has also been hit.

When they arrive at the site of the World Trade Center, they realize the extent of the disaster and see one of the first victims to jump out of the towers to certain death. As Jimeno drops off their police equipment in 5 World Trade Center, officers proceed to get safety equipment and enter the concourse between the towers. The group consists of McLoughlin, Jimeno, Dominick Pezzulo, and Antonio Rodrigues.

An officer named Chris Amoroso appears to inform them of other events, such as the attack on the Pentagon and the second plane's hit on the South Tower, though the group does not accept this. (Along with these stories, he also tells them incorrectly that Israel is gone.) As the men prepare to enter the North Tower, the buildings begin to rumble. McLoughlin realizes that the South Tower is collapsing onto them and that their only chance of survival is to run into the service elevator shaft. Chris trips and doesn't have time to get up. Rodrigues isn't able to get to the shaft in time. McLoughlin, Jimeno and Pezzulo manage to escape the huge amounts of dust and rubble flying down from the South Tower. But as the rubble continues to crush the elevator shaft, the three are trapped.

As the cascade of debris subsides, Pezzulo realizes he can free himself and manages to move nearer to Jimeno who, along with McLoughlin, is fully trapped and cannot move. Pezzulo tries but fails to shift the debris covering Jimeno's legs and is told by McLoughlin not to leave. As Pezzulo becomes optimistic that they will live, the rumbling begins again, as the North Tower is now collapsing as well. Although Jimeno and McLoughlin are not further harmed, Pezzulo is fatally wounded. After he fires gun through a gap in the rubble to try to alert rescuers to their position, he dies.

Jimeno and McLoughlin spend hours under the rubble, in pain but exchanging personal information. McLoughlin is particularly anxious to keep Jimeno from falling asleep, and Jimeno also realizes that by straining to grab a metal bar above his body, he can make a noise that rescuers might hear. Two United States Marines, Dave Karnes and Jason Thomas, who are searching for survivors, do hear it and find the men, calling for help to dig them out.

In the meantime, their frightened wives and other relatives have been waiting to learn of their fate. Once the two men are found, the families are mistakenly told that they have walked out of the rubble in perfect health, but, in fact, they are both in danger of dying. Following some confusion, the wives eventually see their husbands as they are brought into the hospital.

Two years later, the now-retired officers, still suffering from the physical effects of their injuries, attend a celebration ceremony in order to receive an award for courage.


Box office and critical reception

On opening weekend it gained approximately $18,730,762 in the U.S. and Canada. As of October 25, 2006 the film has made $70,278,893 at the North American Box-Office. Worldwide the film has taken in over $162,000,000.[2]

The film garnered moderate critical acclaim, with a 70% "Fresh" approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes[3] and a 66% metascore at Metacritic.[4]


  • Best Picture - Online Film Fans Awards, October 23, 2006
  • Best Director, Oliver Stone - Online Film Fans Awards


Participation of those involved

Jeanette Pezzulo, the widow of Port Authority police officer Dominick Pezzulo (who died on 9/11 and is played by Jay Hernandez in this film), has expressed anger with the film, criticizing McLoughlin and Jimeno's participation in its production. She's quoted as saying, "My thing is: this man died for you. How do you do this to his family?"[5] Staten Island resident Jamie Amoroso, whose husband also died during the rescue operation, has also expressed her anger over the film and said she did "not need a movie" to tell her "what a hero" her husband was.[5] Baltimore detective Ken Nacke, whose brother Louis died on Flight 93, the fourth plane to be hijacked on 9/11, said he would not be going to see the film. He criticized its producers for not involving enough of the survivors' families in its production, something he said did happen with United 93 director Paul Greengrass, who collected the blessings of all the victims' families before shooting his controversial film (although it has been reported that the widow of United 93 victim Christian Adams refused to cooperate in the making of that film. See United 93 Controversy). He added: "I met a couple of people who lost relatives and had approached the producers and weren't allowed to be involved, and I think it would be disrespectful to them if I went to see it."[5] Despite the fact that some of the film's profits were to be donated, Stone has been accused of profiteering by some. Other criticism was aimed against the music,in particular the use of The Spice Girls "Wannabe" played over the Twin Towers collapse.

The Port Authority police officers who are played by Cage and Peña, John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, and their wives, played by Bello and Gyllenhaal, were involved with the production and continue to support the film. McLoughlin's wife Donna has said: "We got involved because we felt it needed to be done accurately. We wanted to do the right thing and I think the filmmakers wanted to do the right thing too."[5] Both John McLoughlin and William Jimeno appear at the end of the film during the barbecue scene.

9/11 conspiracy theories

There were initial concerns this film would examine 9/11 conspiracy theories because director Oliver Stone is known for examining similar theories in his films (JFK in particular), and some 9/11 conspiracy websites are promoting the idea that the film does contain hints of the conspiracy. Stone and the producers, however, have said the film is a simple dedication to the heroism and sadness of the day with little-to-no political themes.[5][6][7]

Factual inaccuracies

This screenshot from the film is a view (due north, looking south) of the smoking twin towers of the World Trade Center as seen from a bus full of police officers heading to the burning buildings. The RCN van represents the company's image in 2004, not in 2001. Also, the sunlight shines on the twin towers' west side, not on their east and (less directly) north sides, as it actually did on the morning of September 11, 2001. This inaccuracy suggests that it is afternoon.

Commentators have pointed out a number of factual inaccuracies in the film, particularly concerning the rescue effort. The film has been accused of not providing a fair portrayal of the character and motives of rescuer Dave Karnes, a pivotal character in the film who did not cooperate in the making of the film. The film also inaccurately portrayed Jason Thomas, who joined Dave Karnes in the rescue, as white when he was actually African-American. The film's producers realized the mistake only after production began, and apologized to Thomas, whose identity had not been widely known for years after September 11. Also, on the DVD commentary, Oliver Stone refers to Jason Thomas as Mike Thomas.[8]

Critics of WTC say that the film inaccurately identified the rescuers who worked to free Jimeno and McLouglin, failed to accurately convey the time required to dig the men out, and understated the dangers posed to the rescuers. Among other things, the film failed to properly acknowledge the role of paramedic Chuck Sereika. Contrary to that which is depicted in the film, Sereika began treating and extricating Jimeno a full 20 minutes before officers from the New York City Police Department's Emergency Services Unit arrived.[9]

Media releases

DVD format

The Region 1 DVD was released on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 with the Region 2 release following on January 29, 2007. A special 2-disc set was also released, which includes the following bonus features:

  • Disc one
    • Commentary by Oliver Stone
    • Commentary by Will Jimeno and rescuers Scott Strauss, John Busching and Paddy McGee
    • Nine deleted/extended scenes with optional audio commentary
  • Disc two
    • The Making of World Trade Center
    • Common Sacrifices
    • Building Ground Zero
    • Visual and Special Effects
    • Oliver Stone's New York
    • Q+A with Oliver Stone
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • 5 TV Spots
    • Photo Gallery

A 3-Disc Deluxe Edition was produced exclusively for Target stores. The third disc came with "In Their Own Words," a 75 minute series of interviews, including survivors John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, their spouses, and other survivors and rescuers.

Blu-ray and HD DVD versions

  • Disc one
    • Commentary by Oliver Stone
    • Commentary by Will Jimeno and rescuers Scott Strauss, John Busching and Paddy McGee
    • Nine deleted/extended scenes with optional audio commentary.
  • Disc Two
    • The Making of World Trade Center HD
    • Common Sacrifices HD
    • Building Ground Zero HD
    • Visual and Special Effects HD
    • Oliver Stone's New York HD
    • Q+A with Oliver Stone
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • 5 TV Spots
    • Photo Gallery

Although Paramount initially dropped its support of the Blu-ray format, it is now supporting Blu-ray again with HD DVD's demise. This movie will re-appear on Blu-ray in May 2008.

The 2-disc HD DVD and 2-disc Blu-ray sets have the same bonuses as the 2-disc DVD set. The Target 3-disc Deluxe Edition has more extras than any other release, including the HD DVD and Blu-ray versions.

See also



External links

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