Historical Accuracy


Gif of the scene following the collapse of the second Twin Tower.

The movie World Trade Center came out in 2006 and was the second major motion to cover the September 11, 2001 tragedy.1  As previously mentioned this film focuses on the rescue and survival of Sergeant John McLoughlin and Officer Will Jimeno who become trapped on the concourse level of the World Trade Center in a freight elevator when Tower Two collapses. These men were trapped for more than 14 hours until Dave Karnes, ex-Staff Sergeant in the United States Marines, and Marine Sergeant Thomas found them. 

Gif of scene of Officers Pezzulo, Jimeno, and Rodrigues getting ready for work.

In terms of historical accuracy, the film World Trade Center is pretty accurate and true to events that occurred on September 11, 2001. In fact, the director, Oliver Stone consulted both the McLoughlin and Jimeno families while making this film. At the beginning of the process, Jimeno recalls that both he McLoughlin “really laid down the rules the story had to be done right and truly tell the story. They brought in an excellent story, and then Oliver Stone got involved; he promised to make a movie that was true to the event.” 

Director Oliver Stone discusses a scene with Nicolas Cage, who plays John McLoughlin.

When production for the film started in 2005, Stone held up the end of his promise by consulting both McLoughlin and Jimeno. In fact, Jimeno was brought to Los Angeles to be on set. From being on set Jimeno said that “Filmmaking has a life of its own because something may need to be changed to flow with the film. But if I saw something and said, ‘Hey, that’s not the way it would happen – cops will know,’ he [Stone] would listen.”

Still image of Nicolas Cage, as John McLoughlin, being recused.

Additionally, Stone had 10 Port Authority Officers, 5 Police Officers from Truck One from NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit, and 8 members from Truck 5 of the New York Fire Department on set. It was important that these officers and firefighters were on set because they were the ones that rescued Jimeno and McLoughlin. Not only did these officers and firefighters serve as advisors to Stone but in some cases, Jimeno recalls that “Oliver put them in the film and bumped out real actors,” so that they could play some of the rescuers.2

My Video Analysis

A Video Analysis on the Historical Accuracy.
  1.  Thomas Riegler, “9/11 on the Screen,” Radical History Review 111 (2011): 155-165, accessed November 8, 2020, DOI: 10.1215/01636545-1268767.
  2.  Dale Stockton, “Buried Alive: 10 Years Later,” Law Officer, December 23, 2016, https://www.lawofficer.com/buried-alive-10-years-later/.