How Hollywood Filmed the Sept. 11 Attacks

Photo: Press / Hulu / Modern Popcorn

The impact of September 11, 2001 attacks rocked the world, and the US culture industry was thrown into its rubble almost immediately with the series ’24 Hours’, released two months after the fall of the Twin Towers with strong narrative influence from “war on terror”. Still, the tragedy itself took longer to gain images, first appearing as a distant echo in Rescue Me’, a 2004 series about New York firefighters.

The trauma was so great that Hollywood even digitally erased the Twin Towers in the first films that opened after September 11, 2001 – productions like ‘Spider-Man’, whose original trailer featured the World Trade Center, and ‘Men in Black II ‘, which even needed to change its ending.

It took a respectful five-year distance for the attacks to become movies. But the first productions went straight to the wound, causing the audience to feel sick with the staging of the hijacking of one of the planes used by the terrorists in ‘Flight United 93’, directed by Paul Greengrass, and to revolt again with ‘The Twin Towers ‘, which Oliver Stone turned into a patriotic disaster with phrases exhorting the war against Afghanistan, the longest and most useless in US history.

The mix of patriotism and revenge has yielded several war movies, the most relevant of which is ’12 Heroes’, in which the Australian Chris Hemsworth became the first “American” to fight in Afghanistan, but mainly war on terror movies. Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Direction when she filmed one of the conflicts created by the warlike reaction of President George W. Bush, named in Brazil, precisely, the ‘War on Terror’. But it was his second feature on the subject, ‘The Darkest Hour’, which threw open the different elements of military action and gave way to the catharsis of revenge with the death of the terrorist Osama bin Laden.

Hollywood also focused on the personal losses of loved ones in ‘Ride Over Me’ and ‘So Strong and So Close’, but the reverberations of the attacks have yielded new victims, a result of American xenophobia and violence, which the Indian ‘My Name Is Khan’ denounced forcefully. Other humanist approaches have devoted themselves to weighing the full value of lives lost (‘How much is it worth?’) and even the impact of Islamic radicalism on the life of one of the terrorists’ widows (‘The Day that Changed the World’).

The fact is that, as the years passed, history took on new contours, with the revelation of arbitrariness (‘The Mauritanian’), explicit lies (‘The Report’) and absolute incompetence (‘The Looming Tower’) of the government of the USA in relation to the tragic events.

Fiction undertook to tell this story from several angles. Remember below (with trailers) a dozen works inspired by the September 11 attacks. There are 11 films and a miniseries, all available in subscription services and/or digital rental in Brazil, to make a home cinema show.

‘United Flight 93’ | USA | 2006

(Apple TV, Google Play, NOW, Telecine, Vivo Play, YouTube Movies)

The Twin Towers | USA | 2006

(Apple TV, Google Play, NOW, Telecine, Vivo Play, YouTube Movies)

Reign Over Me | USA | 2007

(Apple TV, Google Play, Looke, NOW, Hi Play, YouTube Movies)

My Name Is Khan | India, USA | 2010

(Google Play)

So Strong and So Close | USA | 2011

(Apple TV, Claro Video, HBO Max, Google Play, NOW, YouTube Movies)

The Darkest Hour | USA | 2012

(Apple TV, Globoplay, Google Play, Netflix)

12 Heroes | USA | 2018

(Apple TV, Google Play, NOW, YouTube Movies)

The Looming Tower | USA | 2018

(Amazon Prime Video)

The Report | USA | 2019

(Amazon Prime Video)

The Mauritanian | USA, United Kingdom | 2021

(Apple TV, Google Play, NOW, Telecine, Vivo Play, YouTube Movies)

The Day That Changed the World | Germany, France, Lebanon | 2021

(Apple TV, Google Play, NOW, Vivo Play, YouTube Movies)

How much? | USA | 2021