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Ladder 49

Ladder 49

4.6 29
Director: Jay Russell

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, John Travolta, Jacinda Barrett


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An everyday hero recalls his life as he's forced to look death in the eye in this adventure drama. Jack Morrison (Joaquin Phoenix) is a young firefighter who is a member of Ladder Company 49, led by Capt. Kennedy (John Travolta), a tough but compassionate man who looks upon his fellow firefighters as a family. While battling a blaze, Morrison finds himself trapped


An everyday hero recalls his life as he's forced to look death in the eye in this adventure drama. Jack Morrison (Joaquin Phoenix) is a young firefighter who is a member of Ladder Company 49, led by Capt. Kennedy (John Travolta), a tough but compassionate man who looks upon his fellow firefighters as a family. While battling a blaze, Morrison finds himself trapped inside a burning building, and as Kennedy and his men try to find a way to rescue him, Morrison looks back on his life and how he came to choose such a dangerous career. Ladder 49 also features Jacinda Barrett and Brooke Hamlin as, respectively, Morrison's wife and daughter.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
This underrated film didn't last very long at the nation's multiplexes, but hopefully it will find a more appreciative audience as a DVD release. Ladder 49 is an exciting, suspenseful movie about heroic firemen and has everything you expect from such films: blazing infernos, daring feats, and last-minute rescues. But it's much more a character study than an action movie, and therein lies its appeal. Joaquin Phoenix plays Jack Morrison, a young fireman assigned to the dangerous search-and-rescue detail. His chief, Mike Kennedy (John Travolta), personally takes charge when Jack is trapped in a burning warehouse -- but there may not be enough time to reach the injured firefighter. In flashbacks we meet Jack's buddies (played by Morris Chestnut, Kevin Daniels, Robert Patrick, and Balthazar Getty, among others) and his wife (former Real World: London housemate Jacinda Barrett), and we learn how and why he volunteered for hazardous duty. We observe the day-to-day firehouse routine and marvel at the dedication and camaraderie these men exhibit. The characters are clearly and elegantly drawn, and we come to care about them. That counts for more than the visceral thrills provided by director Jay Russell (My Dog Skip) in the movie's unusually convincing fire scenes; the humanity of these men and their families lingers in memory long after the spectacular sequences have flamed out.
All Movie Guide
From the blue-collar heroism of its title onward, Ladder 49 honors the quintessential experience of the American firefighter. Never mind that it focuses on a blazing Baltimore factory, rather than the World Trade Center -- the film is a pretty transparent eulogy for the public servants who left behind loving families on September 11, 2001. To make Joaquin Phoenix's Jack Morrison even more of an archetype, Irish flute music provides the soundtrack for some of the defining moments of his life, because firefighters -- at least those created in Hollywood -- are disproportionately Irish. But just because the film has some overtones of Bush White House propaganda doesn't mean it's not truthful, and at times, funny and touching. Phoenix' broken-nose good looks have always made him an effective everyman. He perfectly embodies the universality of screenwriter Lewis Colick's protagonist, a charming good old boy who wins a pretty wife and produces two darling children. That this idyllic life is so vulnerable is probably a belabored point in Jay W. Russell's film, as several beloved firehouse jokesters are forced to pay a dear price in the line of duty. Ladder 49 is also a little lazy in its plotting, amounting to little more than a highlight reel from Jack's life, recalled as he lies in that burning building. Because of this structure, the outcome of the film's primary conflict -- whether Jack should go on saving lives or retire to a desk job to protect his family -- is already known. But maybe that's the inevitable conclusion to be drawn from Ladder 49's agenda: for the brave firefighters who died on 9/11, there never was a choice.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Touchstone / Disney
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Enhanced Home Theater Mix - a dynamic audio-sensory experience designed specifically for your home theater system; Everyday Heroes: real stories from real firefighters; Deleted scenes; The Making of Ladder 49; Robbie Robertson "Shine Your Light" music video; Audio commentary with director Jay Russell and editor Bud Smith

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Joaquin Phoenix Jack Morrison
John Travolta Captain Mike Kennedy
Jacinda Barrett Linda Morrison
Robert Patrick Richter, Lenny
Morris Chestnut Tommy Drake
Billy Burke Dennis Gauquin
Balthazar Getty Ray Guquin
Tim Guinee Tony Corrigan
Jay Hernandez Keith Perez
Kevin Chapman Frank McKinney
Kevin Daniels Don Miller
Brooke Hamlin Katie Morrison
Robert Logan Lewis Robert Reilly
Spencer Berglund Nicky Morrison
Peggy Cafferty Julia

Technical Credits
Jay Russell Director
Seth Arnett Stunts
Armyan Bernstein Executive Producer
John Bissell Musical Direction/Supervision
Gregory W.M. Bolton Art Director
Tony Burrough Production Designer
James L. Carter Cinematographer
Manny Chavez Associate Producer
Lewis Colick Screenwriter
Kevin Constant Art Director
Anson Downes Associate Producer
Marty P. Ewing Executive Producer
Linda Rae Favila Associate Producer
Larry Fioritto Special Effects
Nancy Foy Casting
Kirk A. Francis Sound/Sound Designer
Renee Ehrlich Kalfus Costumes/Costume Designer
Vincent Lascoumes Asst. Director
William Ross Score Composer
Chris Salvaterra Co-producer
Casey Silver Producer
Bud Smith Editor
Scott Smith Editor

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Blaze on the 12th Floor [10:37]
2. Engine 33 [5:28]
3. Your First Fire [:41]
4. Going In [:04]
5. Brotherhood and the Girl [4:54]
6. The Life of Ladder 49 [8:24]
7. Lowering the Flag [5:48]
8. The Family [9:58]
9. It Hurts [16:13]
10. Working It Out [13:24]
11. Honors and Defeat [4:28]
12. Saying Goodbye [13:09]

Customer Reviews

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Ladder 49 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this movie. It was sooo sad. It actually made me cry. It makes you think about a lot of stuff. like who do you care about, what you would you do if your life was almost over and so on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was a great movie of love for family and friends and how munch firefighters help people not just putting out fires but finding the people in the fire to help them survive. if i could give this movie more than 5 stars i would this was an extremly moving movie it made me cry at the end. watch it is a great movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was exceptionally good! I can't believe some people didn't like it. joaquin phoenix is awesome and the movie was soo sad but still a really good movie full of action and laughs!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not a pollyanna flick. It is one that can be dismissed in the soul with some of the most incorruptible and toughest members of our society-firefighters. Firefighters deserve more attention than they get.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is the one of the best. It gives you a different perspective and a new appreciation for firefighters. I found it to be exciting. This is one I would like to see again.This is not a ho humdrum movie, it was excellent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ladder 49 is a touching movie, and shows a little bit of how a fire fighters life might be. I would encourage everyone to buy this movie because its just a great movie. Great actors like John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix, the rest of the actors did a tremendous job.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have a new respect for firefighters after seeing this movie. Outstanding performance by all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is amazing and makes you appreciate not only what the firefighters go through, but their families as well. It is definitely worth seeing. All though it is sad at times, there are also some very funny parts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was very well done. Great acting and storyline. I am in the military and when I left that theater you could have heard a pin drop. It hit home for me and the other service members.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Despite all these five-star reviews, there was a reason this movie bombed at the box office. It really is insultingly bad and theatergoers were extremely disappointed. This movie is boringly predictable, many of the lines are laughable, and the fires are all just the usual ho-hum big Hollywood explosions. Our brave firefighters deserve much better!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie touches the heart. It effectively portrays the dangers our firefighters take on every time they take a call. It portrays family life of the firefighters and also lifts the heart with the 'brotherly love' these men have for each other. Superb acting done by all! Don't miss watching the 'extra's' that come on this DVD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was one of the best movies of 2004. It is an excellent and heartfelt movie. I absolutely love this movie and I would watch it over and over again on DVD. It was a great movie with great acting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ladder 49 tells a story of a firefighter Jack Morrison played by Joaquin Phoenix. It's one story that shows flashbacks to when Jack was a firefighter for the first time. On the hand for him he has a bunch of friends and family with him his wife Linda played by Jacinda Barrett is actually scared for him. 'She recalls telling him' 'I cant sleep I keep having this dream about a red car pulling up in front of the house when you dont come home.' John Travolta plays Captain Mike Kennedy who introduces him on the first day of his job. the cast also includes Morris Chestnut, Robert Patrick, Balthazar Getty and Jay Hernandez.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It really made me see things differently. Watch it. It is funny, sad, and has action. Although I don't know if I want to be a fireman anymore!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I grew up watching Emergency on TV in the 70s and have since always looked forward to fireman themes. Ladder 49 is the best I've ever seen.
Shelbers91 More than 1 year ago
The movie Ladder 49 is an inspirational, action filled film. It shows the life of Jack Morrison, who is played by Joaquin Phoenix. Jack is a firefighter at engine 49, in New York City. This movie relates to real life scenarios, which I believe is the reason it touched my heart so much. It is not one of those movies where you think this would never happen in real life. The actors and actresses are phenomenal; they show the emotions and characteristics of people who may encounter this scenario in real life perfectly. This film seizes the audience's attention because of the amount of action within the movie. I particularly like the scene where Jack has to save a man in a fire, as he is dangling from a building. The action that takes place within each scene is amazing; it keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. When watching this movie, every time one of those loud fire bells went off I literally jumped out of my seat. It can also be considered a suspenseful movie. You anticipate what will happen throughout the whole movie, and they do not reveal it until the very end. This movie is also very funny. There are many comical parts, such as a duck jumping out of a locker and scaring everyone. The firemen also play a joke on every new rookie, which I found to be hilarious. The film has been nominated for five different awards, and won the BMI Film Music award in 2005. The director, Jay Rusell could not have put this piece of work together any better. This movie settles for nothing less than a heroic story. All the actors and actresses are heroes in the audience's eyes, along with being heroes to one another. The things they do and characteristics they possess are truly those of a hero. I learned from this movie that sometimes when people do not realize they are being a hero they are indeed one. One of the characters, Dennis, was a hero to all the firefighters at the station, because of his honor and integrity! Heroes teach each and every one of us lessons that will stay with us forever. Everyone should see this film; it depicts just how much we need one another in life. Even though I do not know a firefighter personally, this film has made a big impact on me. It made me much more appreciative of my life. For kids under the age of 14 years I would recommend having a parent or guardian accompany you because of the violence, drugs, sex and language. This film can relate to everyone; it is romantic, comical, and action filled. It is a great family movie, and really shows how important family is one's life. Some of the other actors and actresses that star in this movie include John Travolta, Jacinda Barrett, Robert Patrick, and Billy Burke. Although I have recommended everyone to see this movie it may be hard for those who are sensitive or those who personally know someone that is a firefighter. If you do not feel comfortable crying in a film I would not recommend seeing this film. I do not cry often during movies, but this one really touches the heart, I could not help myself. Although you may shed a few tears you will encounter an amazing story. One of my favorite lines in the movie is "Firefighters run into burning buildings when everyone else is running out." This line really makes you think how much fire fighters do within their profession to make sure we are safe. I would absolutely recommend buying this movie, you will not regret it. It is a definite must see, I love this movie, and give it 5 stars!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a firefighter and i feel this move is semi-realistic. First of all, when they are speaking with their S.C.B.A's on (gas mask for those who don't know) they are easily able to be heard. In real life it is very hard to understand people when they have theirs on. Thats just an example. Overall this was a great movie and totally worth buying
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a must see movie. I was left teary eyed an speechless at the end of the movie. It makes you appreciate what kind of a service that these brave men and women do for us so fearlessly on a daily basis. They run into a burning building, while we are running out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this movie with a group of friends. We laughed at a few parts and one friend cried incessantly. It's a cute family movie, but I wouldn't advise spending your money on it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one movie that you have to see. Will touch the heart of anyone who watches it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The movie was good, but is was predictable and not as high caliber as I was expecting. It was exciting and emotional, though, and it is worth seeing. The actors were terrific.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was incredibly well made. My father has been a volunteer firefighter for a little over 35 years and said that it was mostly accurate and really well made. I loved the movie it showed not only what being a firefighter is like but being a wife or child of a firefighter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
great story line everyone should go and see what firefighters do to save people's lives A must see
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