Giants in the sky

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German title Giants in the sky
Original title Airport 1975
Airport 75 de.svg
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1974
length 107 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Jack Smight
script Don Ingalls
production William Frye
music John Cacavas
camera Philip H. Lathrop
cut J. Terry Williams

←  Predecessor

Successor  →
Lost in the Bermuda Triangle

Giants in the sky (alternative title: Airport '75 - Giants in the sky, TV title: Airport 2 - Giants in the sky) is an American disaster film from 1974 by Jack Smight . The film, which has a large cast of stars, is a successor to the box office hit Airport from 1970. Two further sequels followed in 1977 ( Airport '77 - Lost in the Bermuda Triangle ) and 1979 ( Airport '80 - The Concorde ). The film premiered on October 18, 1974 and first appeared in Germany on March 27, 1975.


Flight 409 (Red-Eye Special), a Boeing 747 of the fictional Columbia Airlines , is en route from Washington to Los Angeles . The machine is led by Captain Stacy. At the same time, businessman Scott Freeman from New Mexico is taking his private plane to a business meeting in Idaho. Due to a bad weather front on the west coast, Boeing cannot fly to Los Angeles. Flight 409 is diverted to Salt Lake City . Freeman's machine is also ordered there.

Both machines are approaching Salt Lake City, with the 747 landing in front of the private plane. Freeman fears the loss of his business because of the delay and suffers a serious heart attack. His machine climbs uncontrollably and gets into the flight path of the passenger plane. Freeman's machine crashes into the 747, tearing a large hole in the cockpit. The first officer Urias is sucked through the hole by the pressure drop. Flight engineer Julio is fatally injured. Captain Stacy suffers serious eye injuries from debris that causes him to go blind. Fortunately, he can still turn on the autopilot to keep the machine in a stable flight position.

Of course, panic broke out among the passengers. The chief stewardess Nancy Pryor rushes into the cockpit and realizes the extent of the disaster. She informs the tower of the accident and the condition of the crew by radio. The engineer's display panel was destroyed in the impact and a large hole formed over the copilot's seat.

Columbia briefs its Vice President Joe Patroni of the situation. The former mechanic contacts Columbia’s chief flight instructor, Al Murdoch. The two rush to Salt Lake City in a jet. During the flight they contact Nancy, who stayed in the cockpit of the 747. Although the autopilot keeps the aircraft in a stable flight position, no changes in direction or altitude can be made. But these changes are now imperative as the plane will soon reach the Wasatch Mountains . Murdoch wirelessly instructs Nancy how to turn a corner. But now the radio fails, neither Murdoch nor the tower can communicate with the machine.

Nancy is unable to change the course of the machine. The Boeing is also losing fuel and approaching the mountains. The attempt by the US Air Force to bring a pilot aboard the 747 by helicopter fails. The machine is threatened with impact on a mountain slope. Without radio support, Nancy has to take the machine over the mountains. Despite his condition, Captain Stacy can give her clues about the relationship between ascent and speed. Nancy manages to get the plane over the mountains. The pilot from the helicopter makes a second attempt to board the 747. The helicopter flying ahead lets him down to the hole in the cockpit with a rope. When Nancy tries to help him into the cockpit, the release device for the tether, on which the pilot is hanging, gets caught in a bent edge of the hole. The tether is released and the pilot is torn out.

An attempt is now being made to bring Murdoch on board. In fact, with the help of Nancy, Murdoch is brought from the helicopter into the machine using a rope. Murdoch injured both hands during the action, but Nancy could take care of them. With some difficulty, he can land the Boeing safely at Salt Lake City Airport, where the cabin crew successfully evacuate using the evacuation slides. Nancy and Murdoch are the last to leave the machine together.


The lexicon of the international film about the film: "Behind the suspenseful exceptional situation and the questionable ideal image of the saving hero, the private fates of the passengers fade into clichés."

Vincent Canby of the New York Times describes the film as a "silly sequel." Canby particularly criticizes the filmmakers for the narrow-mindedness of the film and the failed attempt to appear serious.

In contrast, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times praises the fact that the script and direction focus on the action and the subplots don't hold up the film.

The TimeOut film guide, on the other hand, sees the film as a “ridiculous sequel. Bad enough to be entertaining. "


Helen Reddy was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Young Actress in 1975 .


The male leading actors George Kennedy and Charlton Heston shot together the disaster film Earthquake , which was previously released in Germany. In the United States, on the other hand, the airport sequel came out first and then Earthquake . George Kennedy embodies the character of Joe Patroni in all four Airport films.

The film's line-up also included: Alan Fudge as Danton; Christopher Norris as Bette; John Furlong as Mr. Taylor; Robert Ito as a passenger; Gloria Swanson , a star from the silent film era, who plays herself in her last film role and with this film heralded her planned autobiography, on which she is working with her assistant in some scenes; Christiane Schmidtmer as Angie Bell, a small extra role without text, which does not appear in the credits. Nevertheless, Schmidtmer stated in a last major interview in 1995 that she had earned more fees for this role than with her much larger appearances in Das Narrenschiff and Boeing-Boeing .

With an estimated budget of $ 3 million, the Universal Pictures production grossed approximately $ 47 million in the United States alone.

The machine used in the film was a Boeing 747 , which was rented by American Airlines for around $ 30,000 a day . The aircraft with the registration number N9675 was decommissioned in 2006 after 35 years in service for American Airlines, UPS and other companies and scrapped in 2011. To prepare for his role, Charlton Heston was able to use the company's flight simulator in Fort Worth, Texas. The private plane also used for the film, which crashed into the Boeing 747, is a Beechcraft Baron with the registration number N9750Y. Tragically, this aircraft was actually destroyed in a mid-air collision when it crashed into a Cessna 180 over California on August 24, 1989.

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Dana Andrews shot the drama SOS for Flug T 17 in 1960 (original title: The Crowded Sky ). This was about a jet fighter colliding with a passenger plane. Zimbalist and Andrews swapped roles for this film, so to speak. Andrews played the pilot of the passenger plane in the 1960 production, Zimbalist the pilot of the jet.

In reality, it actually happened that a large airline aircraft collided with a small aircraft in US airspace: in 1986 Aeroméxico Flight 498 over Los Angeles and in 1978 Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 182 near San Diego.

Some elements from the film (including the nun and a child on the way to an organ transplant) were picked up and parodied in the 1980 comedy The Incredible Journey in a Crazy Plane . In this film also played Leslie Nielsen , who was seen from 1988 together with George Kennedy in the comedy series The Naked Cannon .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for 47085DVD . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry (PDF). Template: FSK / maintenance / type not set and Par. 1 longer than 4 characters
  2. a b Giants in the Sky in the Lexicon of International FilmsTemplate: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used , accessed on April 14, 2012
  5.  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /