Ladder 49 is a film about firefighters starring the very talented Joaquin Phoenix and John Travolta. It starts with Jack Morrison (played by Phoenix) lying on the floor in a pile of rubble, after his crew have attended a fire in a burning warehouse. He has hurt his leg but is trapped and his life is in danger. There are many flashbacks to his life throughout the film, such as:
- His first day, 10 years ago, working for the Baltimore Fire Station and the tricks that are played on him – such as one firefighter posing as a priest and listening to his confession regarding sleeping with women, and not being a virgin.
- The first time that he attended a fire and him being in charge of the hose of Ladder 49.
- Going shopping in the local supermarket with his best friend and chatting up a couple of girls – one of whom was to become his wife.
- The birth of his first child and his wife’s concerns over the daily danger faced in his job
- Rescuing a man from a burning building by climbing the ladder on the outside and warning him to calm down or Jack will drop him.
- Receiving a prestigious medal of honour.
After a period of unconsciousness, Jack is able to radio his colleagues for help but they are unable to get to him because of the burning inferno. His Captain, Mike Kennedy accepts the fact that he can not be rescued.
Ladder 49 is a touching story of everyday life for firefighters and shows the lengths that they put themselves to in order to extinguish fires and save lives. There are impressive effects and it is apparent that the cast and crew had plenty of training to ensure that the fire and rescue scenes were realistic.