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The Red Cross: On Film

Sully - How We Played a Role

Lights. Camera. Action.

On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River. On that day, the American Red Cross was on the scene bringing much needed relief to the passengers and crew.

In October, 2015, the Red Cross recreated their rescue actions for the upcoming major motion picture Sully directed by Oscar-winning director, Clint Eastwood.

The Real-Life Red Cross Story

After U.S. Airways Flight 1549, the “Miracle on the Hudson”, made a dramatic landing on the icy Hudson River, the American Red Cross immediately mobilized volunteers, staff and relief to address the emergency needs of more than 150 individuals who evacuated the plane in sub-zero temperatures. Red Cross teams arrived at the NY Piers in time to greet the cold and frightened passengers and crew with hundreds of blankets and dry clothes as they disembarked from the rescue boats on the West Side of Manhattan.
red cross helps passanger from plane

Among the Red Cross relief workers on scene were mental-health professionals trained to provide emotional support following traumatic emergencies. Volunteers stayed with the passengers and crew as they were transported to local hospitals and to the U.S. Airways Family Assistance Center (FAC). The Red Cross also staged relief services at the FAC—providing food, health support and crisis counseling for the passengers and crew. Additionally, the Red Cross worked around the clock to support first responders.

See the Red Cross on the Big Screen

Having played such an important role on that day, the Red Cross was asked to participate in recreating this dramatic yet very real scene for the Warner Bros. Pictures’ feature film Sully, directed by Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood (“American Sniper,” “Million Dollar Baby”) This drama stars Oscar winner Tom Hanks (“Bridge of Spies,” “Forrest Gump”) as Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.

The movie revisits that day as the world witnessed the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain Sullenberger glided his disabled plane onto the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard.  However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career.

Within the film, Red Cross volunteers and employees from the original disaster response served as extras, portraying their dedicated service by wrapping passengers in blankets for warmth and providing critical comfort and hope following such a traumatic event.

The American Red Cross is proud to be a partner with this film which, in part, honors the bravery and dedication of our volunteers in New York City and those around the world who provide these services every day.

More About the Film

Alongside Hanks, Sully also stars Aaron Eckhart (“Olympus Has Fallen,” “The Dark Knight”) as Sully’s co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, and Oscar nominee Laura Linney (“The Savages,” “Kinsey,” Showtime’s “The Big C”) as Sully’s wife, Lorrie Sullenberger. Eastwood directed the film from a screenplay by Todd Komarnicki, based on the book Highest Duty by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow. The project is produced by Eastwood, Frank Marshall, Allyn Stewart and Tim Moore, with Kipp Nelson and Bruce Berman serving as executive producers.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a Flashlight Films production, a Kennedy/Marshall Company production, a Malpaso production, Sully. The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures. This film has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some peril and brief strong language.

© 2016 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved.