Is 97 Minutes Based on a True Story?

’97 Minutes’ is a thriller film that revolves around the hijacking of a 767 airplane by terrorists. Unknown to the terrorists, however, is the fact that one of them is a double agent for Interpol, Alex, who was embedded in the terrorist cell for a deep cover mission. Despite knowing this fact, NSA Director Hawkins decides to shoot down the plane with fighter jets, as no demands have been made by the terrorists, and he fears that their plans are far more insidious than they could ever anticipate. With time running out, it is up to Alex to save everybody on board and land the plane before the jets can take action.

Directed by Timo Vuorensola, the film features brilliant performances by Alec Baldwin, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, MyAnna Buring, and Jo Martin. The film’s premise, though seemingly exaggerated, isn’t all that far removed from many of the real-life incidents involving terrorists. In fact, the story might have many of our readers wondering about the truth behind such a story themselves. If you’re one of them, worry not, for we have got the answers for you.

Is 97 Minutes a True Story?

No, ’97 Minutes’ is not a true story. Written by Pavan Grover, the film does throwback to the action movies of the 90s, which involved a lone hero taking on a group of bad guys in a small space — a trope that picked traction after the release of ‘Die Hard,’ starring Bruce Willis, in 1988. In fact, both ‘Air Force One‘ and ‘Con Air‘ have the majority of the story play out in an airplane in transit, echoes of which can be seen in ’97 Minutes.’ But while fictional, a lot of real-life incidents also correspond to the film’s story as well.

The US itself has seen several airplane hijackings (including attempted hijacks) thus far, and the last of these hijackings occurred in the year 2001, which resulted in the tragic deaths of many on September 11. One of the planes that were taken over by terrorists on September 11 was Flight 93, whose intended target could have been any major city in the US. However, due to a brave revolt by the passengers on board that day, the plans never came to fruition. Flight 93 ended up crashing in a field in Pennsylvania; while everybody on the plane passed away that day, a much bigger crisis was avoided at the same time. Many of the aspects in ’97 Minutes’ reflect the events that transpired on Flight 93 that day.

The presence of four terrorists, their not making any clear demands with a specific goal in mind, and the involvement of the passengers in trying to thwart the terrorists all speak to the memory of Flight 93. In fact, two F-16 fighter planes were also scrambled to intercept Flight 93, much like the planes that Director Hawkins (Alec Baldwin) sends out in the film. So, even though ‘Flight 97’ isn’t based on a true story, many of its elements can be directly related to true events.

Read More: Best Movies About Plane Hijackings