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1980 Theatrical Poster
|Directed by||Cliff Robertson|
|Written by||Robert P. Davis|
|Music by||John Addison|
|Distributed by||Summit Films|
Mike Hagan is an airline pilot of nineteen years experience. He started off in the open cockpit as a crop duster. A cool, capable aviator, he is being considered by his airline for its pilot of the year award. However, this façade conceals a troubled man with a failing marriage who is an alcoholic. The film opens as he awakens hungover and begins the day with a stiff drink and an argument with his shrewish wife. The only bright spots in his life are his loving relationship with his daughter Cricket and his girlfriend Pat.
Hagan's skill at the controls is shown when he guides his plane through turbulence that almost causes another airliner to crash. However, a stewardess and Hagan's co-pilot begin to suspect trouble when they notice him continually going to the lavatory with a cup. Hagan keeps a bottle hidden there and begins to drink while he is flying. In denial, he keeps saying that he has it under control. After a harrowing flight in which Hagan makes an emergency landing, almost running out fuel, his co-pilot refuses to fly with him again.
Hagan consults a psychiatrist who teaches him how to cut down on his drinking and gives him medication, but Hagan refuses to stop drinking altogether. The film ends as Hagan narrowly averts disaster as the plane's engines catch fire during takeoff. He is acclaimed as a hero, but the investigators find the bottle he carried on board. He resigns his job with the airline and goes back to cropdusting. However, he finally comes to terms with his addiction and plans a happy future with Pat. His doctor tells him the motto of Alcoholics Anonymous "take it one day at a time".
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