Jet Storm

Jet Storm (also known as Jetstream and Killing Urge) is a 1959 British thriller film directed and co-written by Cy Endfield. Richard Attenborough stars with Stanley Baker, Hermione Baddeley and Diane Cilento. The film has many of the characteristics of the later aviation disaster film genre such as Airport (1970).[1]

Jet Storm
"Jet Storm" (1959).jpg
Lobby card
Directed byCy Endfield
Produced bySteven Pallos
Written byCy Endfield
Sigmund Miller
StarringRichard Attenborough
Stanley Baker
Hermione Baddeley
Bernard Braden
Music byThomas Rajna
CinematographyJack Hildyard
Edited byOswald Hafenrichter
Pendennis Pictures
Distributed byUnited Producers Releasing Organization
Release date
  • 16 September 1959 (1959-09-16) (UK)
Running time
88 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom


Ernest Tilley (Richard Attenborough), a former scientist who lost his daughter two years earlier in a hit-and-run accident, tracks down James Brock (George Rose), the man he believes is responsible for the accident and boards the same airliner on a transatlantic flight, flying from London to New York.

Tilley threatens to blow himself up and everyone on board as an act of vengeance. When Captain Bardow (Stanley Baker) and the passengers realise that he is serious, and they cannot find the bomb (which Tilley had attached to the underside of the airliner's left wing), they begin to panic. Some want to pressure him into revealing the location of the bomb, while others such as Doctor Bergstein (David Kossoff) try to reason with the now silent Tilley. Mulliner (Patrick Allen), a terrified passenger, attempts to kill Brock to get Tilley to not set off the bomb.

Acting out of fear, Brock is killed when he smashes a window and is sucked out of the airliner. Tilley, coming to his senses when a young boy passenger soothes him, disconnects the remote control for the bomb, then commits suicide by poison. As the airliner approaches New York, the passengers realise that they will survive.



The type of aircraft depicted is a Soviet-built Tupolev Tu-104. Although the airline and its crew are clearly British, having departed from London and a BEA Vickers Viscount is also seen, the aircraft shown at the beginning is sporting the Soviet Union's flag on the tail. This twin-jet airliner was never flown by any airline outside the Soviet bloc. A medium-range airliner, the Tu-104 also could not have been used on transatlantic routes.[Note 1][2]


In the Time Out review, John Pym saw Jet Storm as, "A British prototype for the Airport disaster movies of the '60s and '70s." He went on to note, "... like its later supersonic counterparts, Endfield's film is naive and contrived, but not without interest as the alarmed passengers soon divide into groups: reactionary (advocating torture) and liberal (patience and persuasion)." [3]

The TV Guide critic wrote, "... thanks to an outstanding cast, this air-disaster film manages to limp to a landing with its 'thriller' status intact."[4] The Radio Times applauded "... a star turn for Attenborough, who brings a convincing complexity to the role of bomber and bereft father."[5]



  1. ^ The Tupolev Tu-104 is a single hull airliner; it did not have a lower deck as depicted in the film.


  1. ^ "'Jet Storm | BFI | BFI." Retrieved: 6 June 2014.
  2. ^ Santoir, Christian. "Jet Storm". Aeromovies. Retrieved: 15 March 2015.
  3. ^ Pym 2004, p. 601.
  4. ^ "Jet Storm Review." Retrieved: 6 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Jet Storm | Film review and movie reviews." The Radio Times, 4 February 2014. Retrieved: 6 Nay 2014.


  • Pym, John, ed. "Jet Storm." Time Out Film Guide. London: Time Out Guides Limited, 2004. ISBN 978-0-14101-354-1.

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