- This article is about the first film in the series. For information about the whole series, see Final Destination (series). For the 2009 film, see The Final Destination.
High school student Alex Browning is going on a field trip to Paris with his friends and classmates. He is feeling nervous before the flight, sensing that something bad is going to happen. Nonetheless, he gets on the Boeing 747, but as it takes off, there is a lot of turbulence and the engines fail, rupturing the fuel tanks and causing a catastrophic explosion, resulting in the deaths of everyone on board, including himself. This turns out to be a premonition. However, when the events of the vision begin to repeat themselves, he panics and causes a fight, resulting in him and six others being removed from the plane. As the plane takes off, it explodes just as Alex predicted, leaving the survivors stunned. Afterwards, FBI agents Weine and Schreck interview the people who were removed from the plane and become suspicious of Alex.
A month later, Alex's best friend Tod Waggner is strangled in his bathtub but his death is deemed a suicide. When Alex and fellow survivor Clear Rivers visit his body at a funeral home, they encounter mysterious mortician William Bludworth, who tells them that they have ruined Death's design, and Death is killing the survivors who were meant to have died on that plane. The next day, Alex and Clear discuss what the mortician said at a cafe. Alex believes that if they look out for omens they can cheat Death again, although Clear is skeptical. When they encounter the rest of the survivors Terry Chaney is suddenly hit by a speeding bus. That night, after watching a news report on cause of the explosion Alex deduces that the survivors are dying in the order they would have died on the plane.
He realizes that his teacher Valerie Lewton is next on death's list, and he rushes to save her. Thinking Alex is up to no good, Ms. Lewton calls the FBI agents who take Alex to the police station for questioning. They eventually release him, but he arrives too late to save Ms. Lewton who is killed when a chain reaction causes a kitchen knife to impale her in the chest before her house explodes.
Alex reunites with the rest of the survivors Clear, Carter Horton and Billy Hitchcock to discuss what they are going to do. When Carter learns that he is next in Death's list he stalls his car on train tracks in an attempt to kill himself. He changes his mind at the last second, but his seat-belt gets stuck. Alex is forced to take action, and saves Carter at the last second.
The train smashes the car, and Billy is partially decapitated by flying shrapnel from the wreckage. Alex realizes that since he intervened Death skipped Carter and moved on to Billy. Alex goes into hiding from the police inside an isolated cabin. Alex, thinking he was next after Billy, recalls in his original premonition that he had switch seats with Christa Marsh and Blake Dreyer earlier on the plane, meaning that Clear is actually next before him. He rushes to save her while being chased by agents. Meanwhile after experiencing short-circuits in her house, Clear notices Death's presence and tries to escape in her car but she is trapped by loose live wires that deactivate the car, preventing her from escaping.
Alex arrives in time and tries to lash the wire off but it knocks an acetylene tank which is launched under the car and ignites the leak from the gasoline tank, spreading the fire around the car. With no other choice, Alex sacrifices himself by grabbing the wire, electrocuting him as Clear escapes from her car seconds before it explodes. Weine and Schreck arrive at the scene as they, along with Clear, attempt to resuscitate an incapacitated Alex.
Six months later, Alex, after he has recovered, arrives in Paris along with Clear and Carter to celebrate their survival. While discussing their experience Alex explains that Death never skipped him. Suddenly a freak incident involving a bus causes a giant neon sign to swing off its hinges down towards Alex. Carter manages to push Alex out of the way at the last second. Alex says that Death skipped him, and when Carter asks Alex who is next on Death's list, the neon sign swings back down towards Carter. The screen then fades to black and a loud smashing sound is heard, ending the film by implying that Death's plan is still in action.
|Alex Browning||Devon Sawa|
|Clear Rivers||Ali Larter|
|Carter Horton||Kerr Smith|
|Valerie Lewton||Kristen Cloke|
|Agent Weine||Daniel Roebuck|
|Agent Schreck||Roger Guenveur Smith|
|Tod Waggner||Chad E. Donella|
|Billy Hitchcock||Seann William Scott|
|Mr. Bludworth||Tony Todd|
|Terry Chaney||Amanda Detmer|
|George Waggner||Brendan Fehr|
|Larry Murnau||Forbes Angus|
|Christa Marsh||Lisa Marie Caruk|
|Blake Dreyer||Christine Chatelain|
|Barbara Browning||Barbara Tyson|
|Ken Browning||Robert Wisden|
|Mrs. Waggner||P. Lynn Johnson|
|Mr. Waggner||Larry Gilman|
|Hare Krishna||Guy Fauchon|
|Flight Attendant||Randy Stone|
|TV News Anchor||Marrett Green|
|Howard Siegel||Fred Keating|
|Student Singer||Pete Atherton|
|Ticket Clerk||Nicole Robert|
In the alternate ending, Alex and Clear have sex on the beach, resulting in Clear's pregnancy. Later, when Alex rescues Clear, the wire electrocutes him and burns him to death.
Nine months later, Clear gives birth to a baby boy named Alex, named after his deceased father, saving her and Carter from Death. At the end, Clear carries Alex Jr. and reunites with Carter at the Flight 180 memorial. Clear states that they only won the chance of a "full life". A gust of wind, blows a leaf off a tree and the leaf covers the camera and then the credits roll.
- (at around 1h 25 mins) When Clear was in the car that was being attacked by the electrical wires, Alex said that the car was "grounded by the tires". This is incorrect as the rubber tires are actually an insulator, hence they do not complete the circuit (ie. ground the car). Also, the car should, in theory, act as a partial Faraday cage, which means that all of the charge would be on the outside surface of the object (in this case the car), and that the person inside would be safe.
- (at around 27 mins) During the memorial service at the high school, the speaker says that 39 students and teachers were lost. But there were 40 in the class, with four teachers, and seven people got off the plane so it would be 37 people who were lost on the plane.
- (at around 47 mins) When Alex and Clear are discussing death's design at the coffee house, Alex refers to Valerie Lewton as "Mrs Lewton". She's called "Miss Lewton" elsewhere in the film and there's no sign, nor mention of a husband.
- At the memorial service, the speaker says that four teachers were aboard the plane, but earlier on Ms. Newton explains to the police officer that she has to be let back on the plane because the students will be alone. If there really were four teachers, two teachers still would have been on the plane.
- (at around 11 mins) When Alex got on the plane, it was shown clearly that he had fastened his seat belt in his seat. However, when he woke up from his premonition, he could immediately get up and rush off to sit with Tod without having to unfasten the seat belt first, when Christa and Blake asked to change seats with him.
- Alex's boarding pass (shown in the opening credits) has him assigned to seat 25-J. In fact, he sits in seat 25-I (though most airlines don't use "I").
- Val Lewton uses the electric spark lighter mechanism to initially light the burner under her kettle. She then uses a match to re-ignite it after it blows out. Why does she even have matches for this purpose, let alone use them, to ignite something with an electric ignition system? It is especially noticeable since she already demonstrated her preferred method of igniting the burner, by using the electric system.
- In Alex's premonition, when a hole rips open the left side of the plane, Ms. Lewton reaches out to try to save Christa from being sucked out of the plane, but Christa was seated on the right side at the back, where Alex was originally seated. The girl who sucked out was named Lynn.
- The filmmakers originally had an ending in which Alex grabs the cable that lies on Clear's car, Alex catches fire and dies. Then Clear gets her baby and Carter survives. The test audience didn't like this, so the filmmakers shot another ending in which Alex is decapitated by a crashing police helicopter. But again, the test audience didn't like the fact that Alex dies, so they shot the finish with the billboard, which took 6 days to film and cost nearly $2,000,000.
- At least one or two tragedies or accidents in each of the first three Final Destination films are based on real life events. In this movie, Flight 180 was based on Trans World Flight 800, which also crashed right after takeoff, leaving JFK for Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, and both were carrying a group of students going to Paris on a class trip.
- Whenever someone's about to die (with the exception of Terry and Billy), the song "Rocky Mountain High" by John Denver plays. The song also plays on the bathroom intercom before the plane crash, foreshadowing it.
- When Alex's air ticket is torn at the checking desk before he boards Flight 180, there is a piece of text saying "Your Final Flight" if you look closely.
- In the airport after the plane explodes, it shows Terry with a terrified look on her face. Right behind her is a picture of a bus, which is the way she would die later in the movie. Also, at Ms. Lewton's house, when she is standing in front of her computer, behind her is a stained glass window with a picture of a knife, which is how she would later die.
- Shortly before Terry's death, the song "Into the Void" by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails is heard being played on the radio in Carter Horton's '71 Chevy Nova. Even though the song was not written for the movie, the words final destination appear in the lyrics ("...pictures in my head of the final destination...") and are heard in the section played.
- The sign that falls down at the end is "180", which was the number for their flight.
- Tod foreshadows his own death - in Alex's vision he mimes strangling himself (when he's trying to stop Alex changing seats), putting an imaginary rope around his own neck and pulling it tight...
- This is more of something to notice, but when the students are walking onto the airplane Alex looks at the scrapes on the door of the plane, then he looks down through the gap and a baggage car passes underneath, with numbers on the top that read 666.
- The German dub of Final Destination doesn't change Tod's name. "Tod" means "Death" in German.
- When Carter is driving to "take control" the train Alex sees out his window is the number 747, which is the type of plane that blew up.
- In the very beginning of the movie you see many different shots of Alex's room, in one shot you see the shadow of a little figure hanging by the neck, foreshadowing Tod's death.
- James Wong, the director for this movie, was also a writer/producer/director for the X-Files TV show. The script for this movie was based on an episode he wrote that was never used for the X-Files show.
- In terms of run time, this is the longest movie in the series so far.
- The movie shares the name with a fighting stage from the 1999 Nintendo game Super Smash Brothers.
- The Band "Within Temptation" wrote a song based on the premise of the series that shares the name with the movie.
- Flight 180 is referenced in the opening credits of Final Destination 5, having a plane explode during the opening credits, which is strange due to the fact that Flight 180 actually appears in FD5 (because it is a prequel).
- All of the main characters (with an exception of Clear) appear in unused archival footage used for the Flight 180 scene at the end of Final Destination 5.
- Chronologically, this would actually be the second film in the series.
- Final Destination is the only movie in the series where none of the survivors are African American.
- The working title for the film (and the series as well) was originally Flight 180, but was changed by the studio for being too similar to other airplane movies like Con Air or Air Force One.
- On an earlier script George Waggner, Blake Dreyer and Christa Marsh survived Flight 180 but the scriptwriters changed it. Instead, they die on Flight 180.
- Despite this and the following two films having their original soundtracks composed by the late Shirley Walker, this is the only film in the series to have a completely orchestral score.
Both posters feature five characters. The first poster features the characters (from left to right) Terry Chaney, Carter Horton, Alex Browning, Clear Rivers, and Billy Hitchcock. The cast has half of their face as a skull. The background of the poster is lightning.
The second poster features the same cast without the half skull faces. The lightning looks like a skull which represents Death. The tagline is not on the poster.
A third poster that was not a theatrical release poster is the same as the second poster, but Billy is replaced by Tod.
The film received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports 33% of critics gave the film positive write-ups based on 93 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6/10, and a generally negative 32% approval rating from "top" critics based on 22 reviews.
The site's consensus of opinion is that "Despite a panel of X-Files' alums at the helm and a promising premise, flighty performances and poor execution keep Final Destination from ever taking off." At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film holds a mixed/average score of 36 based on 28 reviews, while IGN gives the film 2.5 stars out of 5.
The film premiered in 2,587 theaters across the United States and Canada on March 17, 2000, earning $10,015,822 on its opening weekend with an average of $3,871 per theater. Final Destination placed at #3 in the US box office on its opening weekend, behind biography film Erin Brockovich and the science fiction film Mission to Mars. The film remained at #3 on the next weekend before dropping to #7 on its third weekend.
The film continuously dropped on the next weekends until it was removed from the top-ten list on its eight weekend. The film lasted in theaters for 22 weekends, its last screening airing in 105 theaters and grossing $52,675, placing in #56. Final Destination grossed $53,331,147 in the United States and Canada on its total screening and earned $59,549,147 in other territories, having an overall gross of $112,880,294 internationally.
|Final Destination movies|
|Final Destination | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5|
|Final Destination novels|
|Dead Reckoning | Destination Zero | End of the Line | Dead Man's Hand | Looks Could Kill | Death of the Senses | Wipeout (unpublished) | Final Destination | Final Destination 2 | Final Destination 3|
|Final Destination comics|
|Sacrifice | Spring Break|
|Jeffrey Reddick | James Wong | Glen Morgan | Warren Zide | Craig Perry | Toby Emmerich | Shirley Walker | David R. Ellis | J. Mackye Gruber | Eric Bress | Brian Tyler | Steven Quale | Eric Heisserer|
|New Line Cinema | Warner Brothers|