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  • Why the Towers Fell - An Exclusive Investigation into the Collapse of the World Trade Center
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Why the Towers Fell - An Exclusive Investigation into the Collapse of the World Trade Center

22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

For most people the image of the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001, was not only a scene of unforgettable horror, it was a moment of unimaginable consequence. Within days, NOVA began following a blue ribbon team of forensic engineers as they began searching for clues that would tell them why the towers fell. This moving and informative documentary features interviews with survivors and rescue personnel who recount the buildings' last moments and their harrowing journeys to safety, interweaving these stories with the insights of some of the leading structural engineers in the world to explain exactly what happened on that fateful day. Why the Towers Fell takes viewers through the process by which the investigative team came to understand the how's and why's of one of America's greatest tragedies. From a detailed examination of the building's original design to the relentless process of combing scrap steel yards and Ground Zero itself for evidence, this was one of the most extensive and difficult disaster investigations ever undertaken. The team tested building materials, calculated the role of the jet fuel in the fire, estimated the speed of the aircraft and the damage to the building's core, and they analyzed the effectiveness of the escape and fire protection systems. The conclusions they reached will certainly influence the building of future skyscrapers for years to come.

Special Features

  • Letter from the producer
  • Read the FEMA report
  • Access to special web features: Above the Impact: A Survivor's Story, Towers of Innovation, The Collapse: An Engineer's Perspective, Outfitting Firefighters, The Structure of Metal, and additional resources

Product Details

  • Actors: Jonathan Barnett, Brian Clark, W. Gene Corley, Sal D'Agostino, Jan Demczur
  • Directors: Garfield Kennedy, Larry Klein
  • Writers: Garfield Kennedy, Larry Klein
  • Producers: Garfield Kennedy, Larry Klein, Lisa D'Angelo, Matt Barrett
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Wgbh / Pbs
  • DVD Release Date: June 18, 2002
  • Run Time: 56 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006ADG4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,519 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Why the Towers Fell - An Exclusive Investigation into the Collapse of the World Trade Center" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jean E. Pouliot on September 22, 2014
Format: DVD
I stumbled upon this film while looking for ammo against those who see 9/11 as an inside job, perpetrated by the US government to get the public riled up for a war in Iraq. Using plenty of archival footage of the building of the WTC and the attacks, the film shows how the building was constructed, the decisions that went into its design and the vulnerability that these gave it to attack from fuel-laden jets.

The most affecting interview was with the architect who moved so such of the building's structural support from the building's interior to its outside framework. His admirable desire to save weight led to his choice of two materials -- easily blown-off fireproofing and sheet rock rather than concrete walls -- that contributed to the weakening of the structure's steel trusses and effectively blocked access to emergency stairwells.

As an introduction to the structural issues that caused the collapse of North and South towers, "Why the Towers Fell " is incomparable. Use it as your guide to understanding what really happened on 9/11, from the men who designed and built the towers.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By slow glass on September 4, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an excellent presentation of just what was going on structurally inside these two great buildings when exposed to incredible stresses. While each tower was designed and constructed to physically withstand a direct impact by contemporary large aircraft (based on previous experience with the Empire State Building), the architects weren't visionary enough to plan for even larger planes in the future, Fully Fueled, crashing and Burning with all of that fuel inside these structures. Simple thermodynamics in 20/20 hindsight. But the world wasn't so f---ed up when these were designed. This program puts forth the investigative facts (FEMA Report), as officially gathered, and presents them to the viewer without bias (or emotion, which is a little eerie). I recommend this for the sober-minded. If you want Conspiracy, look elsewhere. Highly recommended, even today. -MH
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sgt. Bilko on August 22, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was so glad to see this out on DVD. I purchased the VHS after the attack and the treatment of what happened is handled very well. The emotion of the chief engineer is real and puts a personal perspective on the events that permanently changed his life as well as the lives of countless Americans. This is a good supplement to the excellent American Experience episode regarding the Towers history. This was needed for the nation as well as the world to see why the impossible was possible. This is factual and includes candid, but not cruel criticisms of the flaws from the beginning of the project.
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38 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Nick on February 19, 2006
Format: DVD
As a software engineer with a strong interest in science (especially physics), I've always enjoyed Nova and respected their objectivity no matter what field of science they focused on. After reading both FEMA's report and the 9-11 Commission report (which includes additional information, not included in FEMA's report, that actually contradicts the theory put forth in this documentary), I began getting very interested. Mainly because their explanations are not only improbable, but in some case, physically impossible. When I found the NOVA DVD, I immediately ordered it hoping to finally have a sound, believable scientific explanation as to why the Twin Towers and WTC Building 7 collapsed that day. Now, having watched it, I feel an uneasiness I can't really describe.

Not only did NOVA parrot the FEMA explanation, but because of the omission of verifiable evidence that contradicts the official theory (example below), the misleading presentation of simple evidence (example below), incorrect facts (example below) and the introduction of uncorroborated, unsourced information (example below), I can safely say that at best, this is an illogical and very unscientific look at the 3 tower collapses that took place on 9/11 and at worst, purposely deceptive misinformation aimed at hiding something that the government doesn't think we Americans can handle. There are points in this DVD where Eagar says things that would actually be roll on the floor laughable if he wasn't a M.I.T. professor trying to scientifically explain how the towers collapsed.

Even more disturbing is the fact that most people who view this "documentary" will get the impression that the theory described is the same theory the 9/11 Commission provided to explain the collapses of the 3 WTC buildings.
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By Danny on November 17, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Mildly entertaining at best! No explanation at all. Come on!! How do you vaporize over 1,000 people into ash and dust in 10 seconds? Even the contents of all the offices: furniture, doors, windows, copy machines, fling cabinets? Google WTC Fresh Kills and view the videos and slide shows of the debris field. These buildings did not just collapse; they were turned into dust; and the people too. It takes an hour min. to cremate a human body, and then the bones are crushed by machine, and even then there can still be fragments left over. This takes place under extreme controlled conditions, like a blast furnace. If these building had just collapsed, then there should be something left to identify who these people were. They had a 3 stage sifting program set up at the Fresh Kills debris field. It was very thorough, even the mud from the WTC site was sifted. Sometimes all they found was a credit card or some other form of ID to confirm the identity of the "missing" person. Listen to the rescue workers talk about how everything was turned into ash. And then they tell us this is from a building collapse. No wonder there is a 9-11 truth movement.
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