A Regatta of Heroes (Documentary Review: “Boatlift: An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience”)

Boatlift PosterThis may be the shortest film I’ll ever review but certainly one of the most important.  Boatlift, An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience, clocking in at just under 12 minutes, is one of the most emotionally uplifting short documentaries I’ve ever seen.

SnapShot Plot

Produced and directed by Eddie Rosenstein and narrated by Tom Hanks, it tells the story of heroism in the waters surrounding the island of Manhattan as the Twin Towers were burning and falling.  As the chaos was unfolding, literally hordes of people were rushing en masse to the ferries, desperately trying to get off the island.  As the realization set in that we had been attacked by terrorists, fear spread across the city (especially in lower Manhattan) that we were about to be bombed as well.  The ferries were overwhelmed and the scene was becoming frantic as people were actually jumping into the river to swim to shore.  The Coast Guard realized help was needed and made a single radio call asking any neighboring boats and vessels to lend a hand.  The response was, in a word, astonishing.   In a matter of minutes, dozens upon dozens of tugboats, fishing boats, party boats, ferries, speedboats, motorboats….anything with a rudder and an engine…came to the rescue as only Americans can, and do, when the chips are down.  The on-camera interviews with several of these captains shows the still palpable emotion they feel in the retelling of the events of that fateful day.



It was the greatest thing I ever did with my life. . . Rick Thornton, Captain, NY Waterway

Parting Shot

This is, quite simply, an epic story of heroes, in the REAL sense of the word, not overpaid, glorified sports figures or entertainment moguls but everyday people putting themselves on the line to do what they can for total strangers, 500,000 of them, in fact. This past week I was watching the over-the-top breathless news coverage of the America’s Cup, and wondered why I wasn’t more excited that Team USA won.  Maybe it was the cheating scandal, or the fact that only one member on the team was actually an American, or maybe it was all that money poured into these wildly hi-tech vessels that hydroplane more than sail on the waters off San Francisco Bay.  Or maybe it just couldn’t compete with the race to rescue the world’s capital, amounting to the largest sea evacuation in history…..and not for a gold cup but rather the satisfaction in simply doing the right thing.


Poster Image Courtesy of: http://lite987.com/boatlift-is-an-untold-tale-of-911-resilience-video/

Featured Image Courtesy of:    http://elitedaily.com/news/world/boatlift-untold-story-heroes-911-video/

Youtube Trailer Courtesy of:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDOrzF7B2Kg


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