Fire and Rain (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Fire and Rain
Fire and Rain poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Genre Drama
Based on Fire and Rain: A Tragedy in American Aviation
by Jerome Greer Chandler
Written by Gary Sherman
Directed by Jerry J. Jameson
Starring Charles Haid
Angie Dickinson
Tom Bosley
Music by Artie Kane
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Richard Luke
Cinematography Frederick Moore
Editor(s) Tom Stevens
Running time 89 minutes
Production company(s) Wilshire Court Productions
Distributor USA Network
Original network USA Network
Original release
  • September 13, 1989 (1989-09-13)

Fire and Rain is a 1989 American made-for-television disaster film directed by Jerry J. Jameson, starring Charles Haid, Angie Dickinson, and Tom Bosley, as well as an all-star ensemble television cast in supporting roles. It is based on the Delta Air Lines Flight 191 plane crash at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on August 2, 1985, as depicted in Fire and Rain: A Tragedy in American Aviation (1986) by Jerome Greer Chandler.

Jerry J. Jameson had become known for his work on "movie-of-the-week phenomenon and group-jeopardy suspense and terror", although he also became a specialist in "one-off" television and film features.[1]The film was an example of the aviation "disaster" film, as well, it also very much fits the additional genre of the complex, heavily character-driven ensemble cast film, exploring the personal dramas and interactions that develop among the passengers and crew as they deal with a deadly onboard emergency. It, however, veers from the traditional format as it is based on a real-life accident.


On August 2, 1985, Delta Airlines Flight 191, flown by Captain Connors (John Beck) and First Officer Rudy Price (Dick Christie) is preparing to land at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on its single stop, flying from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Los Angeles. Air Traffic controllers advise that a thunderstorm is present. The flight crew surmise that the plane might get washed, but have no other worries about the storm being so near. Passengers such as Lucille Jacobson (Patti Labelle), who is terrified of flying, however, are fearful about landing in a storm. Others, like Marilyn (Gloria Hocking) and Mike Steinberg (Joe Berryman) are thinking more about their California vacation. As the rain pelts down on the plane, there is no warning of an impending crisis.

Without warning, the plane is slammed into the ground, a mile short of the runway, slicing into a small car on the road, killing William Mayberry (Rudy Young), before skidding onto the field and exploding. Within a minute, all airport fire and emergency units are alerted. Five minutes into the rescue, first responders Jack Ayers (Dean Jones), Beth Mancini (Angie Dickinson), led by Bob Sonnamaker (Charles Haid) are rapidly deployed to the scene. The severed rear section of the plane is where most survivors are found although flight attendants at the front also survive.



The film's utilized images of Delta's Lockheed L-1011 fleet, which had the same livery throughout the 28-year span of service with the airline.

Filmed at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the film was a docudrama that recreated the events of August 2, 1985, when Delta Airlines Flight 191, a Lockheed L-1011-385-1 TriStar airliner flying from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Los Angeles was coming into Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on its single stop on the route. It unexpectedly flew into an isolated thunderstorm hovering very close to the field. The storm created a dangerous "wind shear", or "microburst", dashing it into the ground just slightly more than a mile north of the outer perimeter.[2]

The film incorporated the true-life stories of many of the 152 passengers and 11 crew members on board. In the end, 137 died and 28 survived; one other person on the ground was also killed. The prologue to the film indicated that the crash was one of the worst aircraft mishaps in U.S. history. Up to that time, the circumstances behind it regarding microbursts and wind shears of the kind that brought it down, as well as the kind of thunderstorm that caused them, were unknown. Subsequently, the investigation and review of procedures led to modifications in all big-body civil aircraft whereby their radar could detect the anomalies of major storm systems. At the time, it could only detect the actual presence of the storm itself. A groundbreaking legal action also resulted.[3]

Many firefighters and emergency personnel were portrayed by real first responders from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Some of them had been on duty during the actual rescue following the crash, and were, in effect, portraying themselves.


The crash of Delta Flight 191 was not only the subject of the film.[4] It was also featured on an episode of When Weather Changed History on The Weather Channel,[5] and the episode "Deadly Weather" of Survival in the Sky.[6] The television series Mayday (aka Air Crash Investigation or Air Emergency) on Discovery Channel Canada and National Geographic dramatized it in the episode "Invisible Killer" (aka "Slammed to the Ground").[7] It was also shown and discussed in a later Mayday episode about the American Airlines Flight 1420 accident, which also occurred during landing in bad weather conditions.



  1. ^ After the sole listing of Charles Haid, the cast list was shown in alphabetical order.


  1. ^ Roberts 2009, p. 279.
  2. ^ "Delta Air Lines Flight 191 Crash." Archived 2014-08-17 at the Wayback Machine. National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved: December 12, 2014.
  3. ^ Magnuson, Ed. "Like a Wall of Napalm." Time, April 18, 2005.
  4. ^ Fire and Rain on IMDb
  5. ^ When Weather Changed History episode Delta 191 Crash on IMDb
  6. ^ Survival in the Sky episode Deadly Weather on IMDb
  7. ^ "Slammed To The Ground." Mayday.


  • Birtles, Phillip. Lockheed L-1011 TriStar (Airliner Color History). St. Paul: Minnesota: Motorbooks International, 1998. ISBN 978-0-7603-0582-9.
  • Chandler, Jerome Greer. Fire and Rain: A Tragedy in American Aviation. Austin, Texas: Texas Monthly Press, 1986. ISBN 978-0-87719-048-6.
  • Roberts, Jerry. Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-81086-138-1.

External links[edit]