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Ladder 49 [Blu-ray] (2004)

Joaquin Phoenix , John Travolta , Jay Russell  |  PG-13 |  Blu-ray
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)

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Ladder 49 [Blu-ray] + Backdraft (Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] + On Duty Firefighters - The Complete Series
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Product Details

  • Actors: Joaquin Phoenix, John Travolta, Jacinda Barrett, Robert Patrick, Morris Chestnut
  • Directors: Jay Russell
  • Writers: Lewis Colick
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Touchstone Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000L212GS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,296 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ladder 49 [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

Audio Commentary With Director Jay Russell And Editor Bud Smith

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Joaquin Phoenix and John Travolta ignite intense action in LADDER 49 on Blu-ray Disc. Packed with adventure and suspense, this star-powered saga goes above and beyond the call of duty in this explosive new format. Firefighter Jack Morrison (Phoenix) grows from inexperienced rookie to seasoned veteran in a job that makes him a hero to strangers yet often shortchanges his family -- until he becomes trapped in the worst blaze of his career and must decide who and what are important to him. Feel the heat from searing special effects in 1080p, and hear the scream of sirens with 5.1 48 kHz, 24-bit uncompressed audio. Fully experience this tale of uncommon courage with Blu-ray High Definition!

Amazon.com

In paying simple tribute to firefighters, Ladder 49 gets to the heart of those who risk their lives for a living. Director Jay Russell brought similar sincerity to his memorable family favorite My Dog Skip, and despite the banalities of an ultra-conventional screenplay by Lewis Colick, Ladder 49 generates so much goodwill toward its Baltimore firemen that you may find yourself unexpectedly overcome with emotional appreciation for guys like Jack (Joaquin Phoenix), a firefighter whose career, courtship, marriage, and fatherhood are viewed in flashback as he struggles to survive in the present-day framing scenes, cut off from his fellow firemen in the fiery guts of a collapsing 20-floor building. There are no surprises in the familiar scenes of male bonding, dangerous rescues, injury and death, and the supportive concern of Jack's wife (Jacinda Barrett), but by focusing on the simple integrity of Jack's personal and professional commitment, the movie gives Phoenix a showcase for unselfish virtue, while John Travolta provides dignified support as Jack's mentor and devoted firehouse captain. Ladder 49 is routine in most respects, but it's a much-deserved valentine to working-class heroes. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE... March 20, 2005
Format:DVD
First and foremost, this is a drama, not an action film, about firefighters, with the focus on one firefighter in particular. The film tells the story about the life this one firefighter, whose life is revealed in flashback, when he finds himself in a bit of difficulty while fighting a fire and engaging in a rescue. That singular moment in time is grounded in the context of his life as a firefighter. While the film may be said to be somewhat formulaic and predictable, it does not take away from the fine acting, the great fire fighting sequences, and the poignant and funny moments that occur throughout the film. In many ways it is reflective of life itself, with some highs and lows, as well as a ready, steady core of reality in which all is grounded.

The firefighter who finds himself in a quandary is Jack Morrison (Joaquin Phoenix), a firefighter at a Baltimore firehouse. The viewer sees Jack in his rookie days as he is initiated into the brotherhood of firefighters and begins the bonding process with his fellow firefighters, whereby they become "family". Some of those bonding scenes are quite funny, especially the one involving his initial meeting with the then Captain of the firehouse, Mike Kennedy (John Travolta). Others are quite serious and poignant, as the dangers of the job are brought home to the viewer, especially when Jack loses a member of the brotherhood that is near and dear to him. The film shows, as the years go by, Jack's progression through the ranks from rookie to respected firefighter. It is clear that it is a job that he loves, despite the ever present danger to life.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sentimental, but Authentic March 8, 2005
Format:DVD
I grew up in a neighborhood of rowhouses on the edges of Baltimore City. My father spent some 30 years with the Baltimore City Fire Department, and the single word I can use to describe this film is "authentic." I remember watching my father come home in that same blue work shirt with its black and gold patch proclaiming "Pride Protecting People." I remember going into the Engine House with him as a kid, tossing a football or a softball around with the guys and dreading the fact that any moment that bell could ring, that the dinners on the plates in the kitchen could go uneaten, that the baseball gloves could be dropped and the turnout boots thrust on.

This film places the emphasis on why these men party as hard as they do - because every beer might be the last one, and it might as well be the best one.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great tribute to the fire service March 8, 2005
Format:DVD
When I was 18 I joined our local volunteer fire service, and I have been doing it ever since. Every day people stop and ask why we do it. I never had an answer, but now I just tell them to go watch Ladder 49. This film is in my humble opinion, one of the best, if not the best, movie out there paying tribute to us lucky enough to be a part of the fire service in this great nation.

Granted, I am no Baltimore city fireman, nor am I a paid full-time fireman. But even in our all volunteer district of around twenty thousand or so, I can still say that this movie is as authentic as they come. I often laughed the first time I saw this movie, as I found it funny how similar we run things here in Western New York.

With it's authenticity and stunning cast (especially Travolta, one of the best actors out there), this film easily plays as one of the most powerful movies I have on my shelf. For those of you who loved Backdraft, even though it was not very realistic or authentic at all, you will love Ladder 49. For those of you who cried at the end of Backdraft, you'll ball at the end of this movie. Definately a must have for ANYBODY!
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
This is a simple story. It's about the brave firefighters in the Baltimore Fire Department. John Travolta is cast as the chief. Joaquin Phoenix is cast as the young fireman. Jacinda Barrett is cast as the young fireman's wife. The film spans a period of 10 years. During this time we see the young couple meet, marry and have some very cute children. We watch the time-worn cliché about how the wife worries about the husband and wants him to stop his dangerous life. Naturally, he doesn't change though and he just gets braver and braver. There's a lot of camaraderie and good-natured horseplay among the men. But they all respect each other and it's a tight-knit group. Eventually, our hero is trapped in a burning building with no way out. The plot is predictable. And the acting is adequate.

But this film is more than just about the plot. It is about the fires. And I must say I sat in that theater absolutely transfixed as I was thrust into what looked like the reality of it all. I've seen other films and also have read about fires. But this film brought me right there. I was inside all the burning buildings depicted in the film. I might not have felt the actual heat of the fires, but I did feel their unpredictability and the randomness in which tragedy can occur. I also have nothing but admiration for the work that firefighters do, especially when they have to actually go into the buildings when everyone else is rushing out. I don't know how the special effects were done and I don't really care. But I admire the filmmakers for bringing to the screen this story what the job of a firefighter is all about.
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