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Thursday, 12 September, 2002, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
9/11: Your views
Ground Zero
The film is a harrowing recollection of events
The BBC has screened a documentary which captures scenes from inside the twin towers, to mark the first anniversary of the suicide hijackings on the US.

The film has already been shown on the US CBS network, drawing an average audience of nearly 39 million viewers - one third of all people watching TV at that time.

But there were strong protests from many of the victims' families, who complained that the footage brought back horrific memories.

However, in the UK several reviewers have recommended the film as the one programme to watch on the anniversary.

But what do you think?

Is there ever a right time to screen something like this? Was it the best programme over the commemorative period, or did you prefer something else?

BBC News Online users had their say. Here is a selection of the comments sent in.

This was the most moving, shocking and disturbing documentary I have ever seen. I truly got a deeper insight into what occurred on that fateful day and exactly what those brave fire fighters had to endure. I do think it was warrented that this was shown, as people really do need to see exactly what happened and the level of destruction caused, in order for us to never let this happen again.
Danny, UK

It is too easy to let the lessons learnt on 9/11 fade as people move on with their everyday lives. The documentary was shocking and distressing but it made me grateful for simply being able to tell those close to me I care for them. This can never be a bad thing.
Simon Down, UK

The 9/11 documentary is a truly remarkable piece of filmaking that really brought home those tragic events and the inspiring attitude of those present that day. I must agree with Joe Franklin's comments. I am astonished that anyone could be critical of the fire chiefs after seeing this footage. I was amazed at their professionalism and focus in such chaotic circumstances. What common sense could you have applied that day? Hindsight is a wonderful thing ...
Stephen McKnight, UK

Outstanding, moving, bewildering

Martin, England

I think one of the things that made the 11th of September have such an impact on the world was that there was in depth detailed media coverage. I imagine that such coverage of the bombong of Afghan civilians would also have made just as much impact and horrified as many people. But there wasn't any. There never is of the horrors that people suffer all over the world. I think it's important to see this programme in the context of the fact that people suffer this horror worldwide, burning alive in shelled buildings, having to jump from them trying vainly to save their lives. See it, and think of people everywhere.
Paul Whiting, UK

I cried watching the programme - my boyfriend thought I was mad and silly, but hearing the people falling, the voices of the firemen - never concerned for themselves - and seeing the chaplain Mychal Judge made all your worst nightmares come true. This was not a glamorous film, this was reality and it happened. We have all lived through history and will be asked about it by generations to come. The BBC did well to show it - but it should have been shown in one piece, not split by the news.
Sam, England

Outstanding, moving, bewildering. A fantastic documentary, telling a very tragic story.
Martin, England

I cannot understand people taking issue with this documentary. It showed the human side of the tragedy, how it affected real people. It showed the bravery and the humanity of the firemen. It did not fall into nationalistic jingoism or sabre rattling that we have seen so many times before. It was horrifying, it was sad, it made me cry. But it made me understand more how the USA has been so traumatised by the situation. It showed once again that the only losers in conflict are the innocent. Why complain? Just switch over, forget about it, pretend it never happened. Like many countries try to.
Geraint, Wales

Until seeing the film, although thoroughly terrible, the events of 9/11 seemed very distant. However, after seeing it I felt almost sick - the sound of those bodies will stay with me a while. In my mind the film is a fitting tribute both to the heroes and those that lost their lives that day. God Bless them all.
Seymour Harding, UK

I think I have just watched a piece of TV history

Dave, UK
Totally overrated film. There was nothing really new in this documentary. The camera work was shockingly bad, and always out of focus. The only real credit to be given to the brothers is the shot of the first plane hitting the tower. Which noone else got.

Again, this is the UK NOT the USA. There is NO commemorative" period" as far as I, and a lot of others are concerned. BBC, for once, will you please concider the victims of the US and UK's foreign policies? The Daily Mirror is doing this admirably. Thank God for it. But you? You disgust me.
Muzikin, UK

In a way it is unfortunate that the Sept 11th attacks were so spectacular and "cinematic" in scale. Obviously such a tragedy must attract media attention but the Hollywood-worthy characteristics have caused too much morbid fascination with the events. Instead of dwelling on the suffering in New York we should concentrate on humanitarian disasters that are ongoing in the third world. We are all citizens of the world - the deaths of Americans should not be seen as any more tragic than children in Africa dying every day of AIDS.
Tim, Scotland

I think I have just watched a piece of TV history.
Dave, UK

I didn't watch any TV on the 11th of September. I didn't need to see it all happening again. Much better to spend time with those you love, I think.
Vicster, UK

I felt privileged to be able to see what was really going on

Dawn, UK
Why does anyone want to see footage of peole scared, many of whom later died? Last year many broadcasters avoided showing footage of the people jumping in case relatives saw it and were upset. A year on they are showing everything. We should be remembering the good times with those who died, not their last few moments when they realised they may die.
Caron, England

They screened the documentary here in Hong Kong last night and it was one of the most gripping bits of television I've ever watched, it was like re-living the experience all over again, but through the eyes of someone experiencing the terror first hand. It really gives you a new found respect for those that survived, those that tried to help and of course the victims and their families.
Oli Pettigrew, Hong Kong

The film was amazing to watch and it is a remarkable tribute to the people who rushed to the WTC to save others. I hope the income generated from the film has been used to assist the families of the police, firefighters and EMTs rebuild their lives.
Mike, UK

I saw this film last night and thought it was amazing. None of us watching events on the television last year could possibly understand what was really going on inside those buildings, but this film gave us a unique perspective that we very rarely get. I felt privileged to be able to see what was really going on.
Dawn, UK

I thought it was very weak. The brothers were there for all the events and we didn't get to see much at all. I'm not saying we should see falling bodies etc. but there was very little actual content. And the second programme was even more devoid of content, mainly being a rehash of the first one.
Kevin Symonds, UK

To be able to witness the events unfold was gripping for someone like me who lives many thousands of miles away

Jonathan, UK
For most adults this film is essential viewing. It is a firsthand portrayal of an event that changed the course of history. It was extremely well edited. There was no need to show graphic footage because the firemen's faces and reactions said enough. Well done the brothers.
John, UK

History captured to show the world what inhuman people can cause. We saw it last night here in the UK and sat rigid watching the programme. Our thoughts and prayers went to all those who are no longer around to see their part in this worlds history. We have to learn from this. Offended no, ashamed yes.
Richard Sealy, United Kingdom

A harrowing yet compelling piece of viewing. Superbly edited and presented, showing the triumph of the good in the human spirit, with no "cheap" calls for revenge etc. A credit to all concerned.
Ted Treen, UK

The opportunity to see history in the making is something most of us below the age of 35 haven't seen, and to be able to witness the events unfold was gripping for someone like me who lives many thousands of miles away. Although it is a hard thing for families and friends to watch, for the rest of us this gave me so much more understanding of those events than what I had seen in the media until now.
Jonathan, UK

To a certain extent you felt that the French brothers had provided all of the base material but then the CBS network decided how to present it. One wonders how much of their influence was present at this stage. Why is it always necessary for American presenters to open with cliched phrases in their big introduction like "But this was to be a day like no other" before pausing and saying "Hi, I'm Robert de Niro."?

Ironically, it was the Americanisation of this documentary that annoyed me - the script and the presentation - but hats off to the film-makers and the people they were filming.
Tim, UK

I think the BBC should put the shoe on the other foot, with similar detail, what has been happening in Afghanistan

Shuja Hussain
This was an excellent piece. I was totally churning as I watched it, like you do in the movies when you know something bad is about to happen. But this was real, and the horror was portrayed very powerfully. For me, the most telling moment was the expressions on the fire chiefs' faces in the lobby, contemplating on the nightmare above them.
Alastair Stevens, UK

From an objective point of view, I was quite taken aback by what seemed to be a completely chaotic command process. As one of the firemen who came down successfully out of Tower 1 said: "When I got to the reception area, there was no command center! And I though, uh-oh, this has to be bad." Bad is an understatement...
Chris, Germany

I was impressed by the film and the personal story of the two French film-makers as well as the firemen. The shot of the dust cloud from street level as the fire chief tried to protect the filmmaker from the collapse of the second tower was particularly poignant. The only thing that detracted for me was the annoying "amazing car chase" style narration. It was much truer when left to the firemen and the two French brothers.
Simon Williams, UK

I think the BBC should put the shoe on the other foot, with similar detail, what has been happening in Afghanistan. And please don't show it at 23.00 when everyone is in bed.
Shuja Hussain, UK

Absolutely gripping. It was an emotional watch, bringing tears to the eyes of many, but compelling and touching, and presented in a tasteful way. Well done to the BBC for airing it.
Robert Simmonds, UK

This documentary should stand as the memorial of those who died on that fateful day

Ian J, UK
An excellent, up close view of the New York Fire Department in their most difficult hours. The "accidental" nature of the reportage which was following a rookie firefighter through his probation allowed us all to see the events from a individual human perspective and not the orchestrated falseness, filled with cliches, blandishments and misguided nationalism of the main media.
James Scobbie, Scotland

A harrowing account of the terrible events on 11th September 2001. The film makers handled what could have been a voyueristic documentary with compassion and humanity. They captured the spirit of what happened on the day better than anything else. From the fire departments point of view they could have done no more, their main concern seemed to have been to save as many lives as possible and any one criticising them for their actions obviously have never had to make such difficault decisions. This documentary should stand as the memorial of those who died on that fateful day.
Ian J, UK

I believe the film was edited with great sensitivity. It is important for those of us who were not directly affected by the attacks to realise the horrific nature of that day. It is often too easy to forget the abomination that took place and so a film such as this gives us a feeling of what it was truly like and somehow reminds us of why justice must be done.
Darvus Hall, England

I want to thank the BBC for showing this incredible piece of historical film. This event will forever live in our minds and hearts but many of us cannot hope to understand the grief, loss and fear that 9/11 instilled in a world. Last night, we gained some understanding.
Laura Barnes, UK

It came across as a window on the reality of human nature rather than a media packaged "sample" of events

Dom Egre, Jersey
The only thing that made me angry about this programme was 9/11 being split into two parts. Is the BBC turning into ITV who does this all the time with the Ten'O'Clock news, or the BBC didn't think the programme was important enough to show it in one go. Apart from that I considered the programme to be astonishing and remarkable.
Alan, UK

I felt that the documentary, albeit heavily edited, was more powerful than all of the previous media coverage combined. It portrayed the event in a factual manner and left the viewers to reflect and develop their own emotions without the usual subjective media view.
Gary, UK

Despite how deeply shocked I was on 9/11, I have spent 12 months seeing the same images and hearing the same words coming from the same reporters and I had started to become apathetic to what had happened. The thought of another evening of media exposure on the anniversary made me plan an evening with the TV off. However I did end up watching the documentary with my partner and I was captivated. It came across as a window on the reality of human nature rather than a media packaged "sample" of events. It means more to me than a liftime of clips of the impacts and political condemnation.
Dom Egre, Jersey

I think this was probably the most historical and impartial view of the disaster I have seen, Hopefully it will become required viewing for students trying to understand religious conflict.
Tim, UK

This was not exploitative television. It was very moving, almost unbearably sad, and at the same time, the first thing I've seen which actually humanised the attacks. Rather than a spectacular, grisly media event, we saw the confusion and horror of those caught up in the day. Admiration and sorrow for those on the ground are what come out of this, more than any other feeling.
Ken, UK

The most moving part was seeing the worried face of Father Mychal Judge knowing that he had just a few minutes left to live

Emma Taylor, UK
At risk of being lambasted, I think if anything the documentary didn't show enough of the real horror of what the rescuers went through to hammer home the enormity of what they had to face. The programme had an air of unreality about it, like watching a film whose plot you already know. My first reaction was what are all those people doing standing there looking - get the hell out of there, and my second thought was that at least in the first few minutes the firefighters seemed to do a lot of milling around not quite sure what to do. Perhaps they knew that the task was hopeless?

The most moving part was seeing the worried face of Father Mychal Judge knowing that he had just a few minutes left to live. I found that very upsetting.
Emma Taylor, UK

At first I felt I didn't want to watch this film but I actually felt I owed it to the victims and to the people who risked their lives trying to save them to make the effort and try to understand a bit of what it was really like.

I am so glad I did. It's one of the few television programmes I've ever seen that I will never forget.
Steve , UK

I thought 9/11 was a breathtaking view of the events we all know so well, the only parts I didn't enjoy were Robert De Niro and the occasionally cheesy music. I think the events were enough to stand alone, by themselves, without added sentimentality.
Nicola, UK

Why were we...again...treated like children who are incapable of seeing the reality of the atrocities? Over-editing ruined an otherwise excellent documentary of those terrible events.
Steve Lowe, Great Britain

My stomach was in knots all the way through and the tears did not stop

Michelle Dorrell, UK
I disagree with Phil's comments below about trying to make the programme more emotional. They were merely trying to show the confusion . Yes, we could have known from the start that he was alive, but that would not have reflected on what actually happened.

I only saw part of the programme, but what I did see was incredible. How those firemen, and indeed everyone, involved kept going only they know. I don't think I could!
David Patrick, Southampton, UK

I think that the programme was absolutely brilliant. It was the most terrifying documentary that I have seen. My stomach was in knots all the way through and the tears did not stop.
Michelle Dorrell, UK

I thought the documentary was very interesting but it showed some some of the attitudes of American service personnel to be a bit "cliche." Even though it was carefully edited maybe showing a bit more of the scenes described, i.e. shots (from a distance) of the jumpers landing might enforce the horror of the situation more. As at times it did appear to be a bit "The American Hero" movie in appearance.
Alex, UK

The manipulation of the coverage was too "Hollywood" for my liking. The powerful images did not need to be dramatised in this way and gave a very real "close-up" record of the events. The bravery and dedication shown by the two "civilian" cameramen was quite remarkable.
Gordon, Scotland

I sat transfixed during the showing of 9/11. It showed that no matter how deep into depravity and cruelty a few people can sink, there are more who can rise to the heights of compassion and bravery. If there are angels and saints on this earth then the NYPD and NYFD have recruited most of them.
Mark Savage, England

The programme was aired in South Africa on 9/11 and I feel it has allowed the world community to share in the powerful statement of devotion and care for our fellow man, expressed through the selfless acts of so many strangers towards each other, unified by the common goal of compassion.
Steven Penfold, South Africa

I was screaming at the TV for the firefighters to get out the building

Sara, UK
This was the only programme that I chose to watch about 9/11. It gave a real insight into what really went on at the scene. It was heart rending to watch, listening to the sound of bodies hitting the floor. This really brought home the devastation that occurred in New York that day. This was a deeply moving documentary which shows the reality of a an awful tragedy.
Nikki, UK

I have never felt so sad in all my life as I have done for the people involved in the events of September 11th and watching the unfolding of the day through the eyes of the fire team only brought it more to home for me. I cried throughout. It was so upsetting to see just how hopeless a situation it all was and how valient these people are to have done so much despite this. My heart goes out to everyone that has been touched by the events of September 11th.
Katy Walton, UK

I was screaming at the TV for the firefighters to get out the building. Tears were flooding down my face when they were reunited at the station. 9/11 was an incredibly moving documentry...
Sara, UK

It was a good documentary. However, can I now make a request to all news organisations? Please stop showing the moment thousands of people died. No one will ever forget that day and we don't need the imagery to keep reminding us.
Aaron, England

The 9/11 film showed the power of good reporting and why cameras and eyewitnesses need to be at major events. While the press is criticised so heavily for intruding on grief and suffering at the time, with hindsight we can see the value of having an independent presence on the scene to record events for those that were not there. This helps aid understanding, shapes opinion and ultimately is regarded by all those who see it as invaluable. A brilliant documentary shot by brave men. A strong argument to keep the media free to report unfettered by censorship.
Bob, UK

The most haunting memory of it for me was the sound of the jumpers hitting the sidewalks below

Jonathan Lanz, Denmark
To me the film was harrowing, but also uplifting. It showed the worst and best of humanity. I asked myself if I would have charged into the WTC to rescue others unaware of the wider picture of the days events, unaware that the towers were to collapse so totally. Luckily for me I didn't have to face that decision in reality, and my respect to those that did. The documentary was brilliant, more so because it caught the moment and was totally unplanned. The most haunting memory of it for me was the sound of the "jumpers" hitting the sidewalks below. It's just so terribly sad.
Jonathan Lanz, Denmark

An absolutely singular piece of film - presented in a very suitable manner. The biggest distaste that is left in my mouth is that of armchair critics. When will they realise that everyone involved in this was, to some extent, working blind. Civil engineers were surprised that the towers collapsed - they were a symbol of the strength of capitalism and the western world. Why were the Fire Chiefs supposed to think any different? They were doing what they were trained to do, as were their men.

The blame for everything that happened is to be laid at the feet of those who chose to fly airplaces into the WTC, which (whatever their beliefs) was fundamentally wrong.
Jon Eland, UK

A moving and compelling programme. It really captured the scale of the event. Very sad and difficult to watch but at the same time a fine tribute to those that died, especially the emergency services.
Simon, UK

This programme was shown last night in Australia. It was a powerful but importantly, a tastefully shot and editted documentary. There was no rhetoric, no added dramatisation, it simply showed history in the making from the perspective of an NY fire crew.
Bill Hipkiss, Australia

When you see death from that perspective I think it makes you realise that death on any scale for any human being is just not worth it

J. Stetson, England
There isn't a real need to show the documentary...the images of September 11th will always be embedded in people minds without having to remind them over again. The thought of watching the planes and the tower grieves me beyond belief...I can't take the pain...I will never forgot and therefore don't need reminding.
Maria, UK

Without doubt the most powerful piece of television I've ever seen. As a testimony to the bravery of the firefighters of NY and the horrors of the attack and its immediate aftermath, it was insurpassable.
Mark, UK

Very moving, never has such a tragedy been so comprehensively documented. I hope the film helps the world to learn from this horror.
Nick T. Singleton, UK

It is amazing to see the courage and valour of those brave men in New York's Fire Dept. When you see death from that perspective I think it makes you realise that death on any scale for any human being is just not worth it. A life is something beautiful and sacred. I think it is important to find out why people are driven to such insane acts and tackle this problem from its grassroots. What are the grievances that force someone into a position where the taking of life becomes an inevitability?
J.Stetson, England

This programme put the rest of the programmes we have been bombarded with in the last week or so into the shade. It showed the real heros in the emergency services, not the politicians, not the public but those individuals who risk all to save lives regardless of individual safety.
Paul, UK

I think it was right to show it on the anniversary, but that it should not be shown again now for several years

Mary, England
Just watched the first 90 minutes. I was close to tears on several occasions watching it. People should watch this, so they know what those poor people had to endure that day. No-one should ever forget, and this film will help make sure the world does not.
Chris Kelly, UK

I think we have attained 11th September overload. There are other victims of terrible events throughout the World that aren't being mentioned or commemorated that equally deserve attention.
Jeremy, UK

Hollywood take note, there is no need to do another 9/11 film, this documentary has told more than they could ever put across.
Ian S, UK

It helped me to understand why it was such a hugely devastating event for so many people. I had not fully grasped that before. I think it was right to show it on the anniversary, but that it should not be shown again now for several years.
Mary, England

I have just watched the first part of 9/11 and I thought we needed to know a little more of the American people's feelings on this sad day as it happened. In Britain we didn't get to see the real aftermath close up, just what the press want to show us. It shows us what kind of evil people there are in this world and we need to know the truth. My thoughts are with America today.
Robert Nelson, Northern Ireland

It captures what happened as it happened. While graphic in a way for what it shows, it is also very respectful and there are no pictures of the dead or other gruesome scenes. There may never be a perfect day to broadcast this, so it might as well be today. As a New Yorker, I highly recommend it.
Chet Cutick, Staten Island, NY, USA

I think we could have done without it

David, UK
Harrowing viewing that was immensely shocking, but made you feel proud of humanity. The courage of the emergency sevices in the most awful circumstances should never be forgotten. Too many people these days are called heroes. These are people who the word was made for.
Rob, UK

The fly on the wall documentary covering the actions of the FYPD was the most gripping piece of footage I have ever seen. The events of September 11th have really hit me hard. Whilst watching 9/11, I suddenly felt myself actually being there and felt the sheer fear and anxiety that the innocent New Yorkers must have endured. I am glad that this footage has been aired because it brings back to home the whole justification of George Bush's war on terrorism - I think many people had already started to forget this tragic day and the reasons behind Washington's military response. My thoughts are with the American people right now. God bless them all.
Craig Coulson, England

I felt the programme provoked sober reflection on the work of the firefighters - but it was overly long and repetitive. It must certainly have been very difficult for those involved or affected to watch it. I think we could have done without it.
David, UK

It's so easy for the impact of what happened to diminish with time. 9/11 serves as a reminder that strikes a deep emotional chord and keeps the memory of that day in our minds. It's humbling to see what people have been through and seen, what memories will follow them through life.
Paul Brown, London, England

It was an interesting documentary, but what a shame the BBC so clumsily split it into two such unbalanced parts. Understandable, of course, given the urgent requirement to air a repeat of the Vicar of Dibley.
PJF, England

The programme needed to be aired to show people that the attacks really did happen one year ago. Looking back over the newspapers of that day makes the events seem surreal. People need to be reminded of the full horror of september 11th 2001 in order to have belief in the war against terror. The politicians and uniformed unions who talk about not taking on Iraq, or even stopping any more progress in the war against terrorism should see 9/11 to show them why the fight must continue.
Oliver, UK

No hype, just the human reactions of ordinary men placed in an extraordinary situation

Alan, UK
I thought there was some incredible footage, which showed the grim reality of it all very plainly, but also the incredible resiliance of the people directly involved. The only thing I didn't like was the use of a Hollywood start in the opening. It detracted from the reality, and in a way undermined the character of the documentary.
Marcos Scriven, UK

I thought this was an excellent programme. No hype, just the human reactions of ordinary men placed in an extraordinary situation.

While I can understand that watching a programme like this must bring back terrible memories for anyone who lost friends or family, I thought this was as fitting a tribute to all the firefighters who lost their lives a year ago as you could possibly ask for. The quiet professionalism and dignity of these men was an example to us all.
Alan, UK

What more can you say than "shocking"? It will never change no matter how many times I see it...I will always be shocked and disbelieving. To hear those towers collapsing and see the faces when the bodies were falling on the lobby is just beyond words. How can anything change this? One year later and there is no significant progress in anything...
Joe, UK

Why shouldn't the media grab use footage of this tragedy to grab ratings, they've been doing it all year!

Bernard Pack, Wales
I watched the 9/11 film last night and have to say it took my breath away. It not only showed the tragedy of 9/11, but the pure courage of the firefighters. It showed just how that day took everyone by surprise. To see just what was going on in those towers on that day, while I was sitting comfortably in my home, was purely amazing. I can remember thinking at the time "how on earth do the firefighters begin any sort of rescue operation?". The two brothers filming the documentary were truly professional. They showed considerable restraint, yet managed to capture, not only the horrific events, but the soul of the fire service. I thank the BBC for giving us the chance to view this film.
Steve Heard, London, UK

I thought the film was compelling - it will be an important part of history. Well done to the BBC for showing the film on the anniversary.
Ellen, UK

Hey! Why not? It fits the sick rubber necking mentality of western society. Why shouldn't the media grab use footage of this tragedy to grab ratings, they've been doing it all year!
Bernard Pack, Wales

Seing those people alive, made me and others, realise how REAL this event was. When you see a person and know they died a little later on, it does put life in perspective. Thank you for showing to us how much life is precious.
Chris, Belgium

It was moving, painful, sad, inspiring and shocking all in one. The makers have made a poignant, and worthy documentary of that terrible day.
Ian, UK

Everybody should watch it. This isn't sensationalist or entertaining. It is truth

Ruh Rahman, UK
I'm sure there are some who are concerned that documentaries such as this one encourage voyeurism, however, thanks to the way the programme was edited, it was clear that it was solely about the firefighters of Ladder 1 and Engine 7, the first teams on the scene. I found it quite hard to watch in places, but I think the reactions of the firefighters were well worth documenting - seeing people so selflessly devoted to saving as many lives as possible is a refreshing change from much of what we see these days.
Chris Jones, UK

It was a very personal (and I imagine personal insight) into the plight of the film makers. I had not seen anything like that before in relation to 9/11. But please, more views from others in different countries! Let's not forget thousands of others who die in "terrorist" attacks around the world either!!
Hana Esselink, Holland

It was a brilliant documentary and brought the reality of what it was like home. Well done BBC for showing it.
MBH, England

A deeply moving and frightening documentary. Very often hard to watch because it captures the raw, naked emotions of people who simply cannot comprehend what is going on. The scenes of utter carnage and devastation after the collapse of the Towers are some of the most shocking I have seen - part of you wants to believe that it isn't real, that it's just a Hollywood movie but it isn't. It really happened. The documentary also pays tribute to the bravery of all those who went to help at the cost of their own lives. Everybody should watch it. This isn't sensationalist or entertaining. It is truth.
Ru Rahman, UK

People who where easily offended could just switch channels. I found the programme insightful and I believe it will help people learn lessons about managing such large incidents. Ignorance is not bliss.
Alex Bennee, UK

An excellent programme, but why did BBC have to put the news on halfway through?

Gary Maydell, UK
The documentary showed very clearly that the firefighters made regular trips to the Towers, but did any of them stop to think about the senario of "what if"? When it came to the big test, they seemed as lost as everyone else. No one had thought of the worst case senario. Lifts out, phones out, now what do you do? Sending the firefighters up the stairs seems stupid in retrospect, but did anyone before Sept 11 really think buildings of this size could actually fall away to dust? They did the best they could in the circumstances.
DE Cutsforth, England

The film was excellent and really made me think about both those people who died and the loved ones who are left to cope. What I thought was terrible was the fact that the BBC did not start the programme earlier or delay the news! For a programme so important as this it was the least the BBC could have done and in my opinion have really let themselves down in which otherwise, was an excellent programme and very moving.
Anthony Purves, England

The documentary 9/11 was moving, gripping, sickening, horrific, enlightening, uplifting and very sad. Well done to the film makers who risked their lives and sanity filming it, did an intelligent edit of the material, and told an amazing story. And praise to the fire crew it focused on. The programme could, however, have done without the gratuitous inserts featuring Robert de Niro, which nearly wrecked the dramatic narrative.
C Devlin, UK

An excellent programme, but why did BBC have to put the news on halfway through?
Garry Maydell, England

It took my breath away

Victoria, UK
I totally think it was the right thing for the BBC to air this documentary. It was an outstanding piece of television and incredibly moving. It was a fitting tribute to those who worked to save lives on that day, and also to those who sadly did not make it.
Barney Hooper, UK

The Naudet brothers film was shown last night on Swedish TV. But I hope the film is shown in the MiddleEeast to help bridge the gap of hate that fanaticism breeds. While it would presumably bring joy to the terrorists to watch the effects of their attacks, it must surely bring to the majority of people there a sense of realism of what their fellow countrymen did and to help encourage them to stop such fanatics.
DL, Sweden

The film was utterly moving and offered a new insight into the trauma endured by so many on that day. Having said that, part of me wishes I had not watched it. It has taken a whole year for the images and the memories to get to the level in my head where they are bearable and now the feelings I felt on that day are as strong as ever. Of course, we should never forget these events as a tribute to those who lost their lives, but surely there is only so much viewing of such tragedy that one can take. Maybe that's the point.
Ian, UK

I thought the 9/11 documentary was an amazing insight into a shocking event in history. It was moving and compelling, well filmed and tastefully edited. It took my breath away.
Victoria, UK

I would firstly like to let all the family's who lost loved ones that the whole of the UK's thoughts are with them. The documentry last night was edited and shown in the gratest possible taste. For me the documentary made me realise how brave the fire fighters of NY were that day in the face of such danger, they thought of others first.
Mike Price, UK

Did it not show why our firefighters are asking for a decent wage right now?

Gavin, UK
I was working near the towers on 9/11. I relieved many emotions yesterday; mainly feelings of sadness. The TV screenings of what happened and of memorial services would have been too painful to watch, so I didn't.

The documentary is a moving and interesting slice of history. It has clearly been edited to remove some of the events and sights which are reflected on the faces of those watching the horror unfold.

Seeing people doing their best in an unimaginable situation is sometimes hard to watch but it is a privilege to behold.
Aisling Glynn, Irish (travelling in Australia)

It was an inspired piece of filming, quite simply the most amazing and touching documentary I have ever seen.
Brian Clarke, UK

Did it not show why our firefighters are asking for a decent wage right now?
Gavin, UK

As the cameraman entered the lobby he saw two people on fire, but he did not film them because it did not seem right to do so. I wish there were more journalists like him.
Clive, UK

I believe it was the right time to show the film. It took everybody into what happened and did not stop at the sidelines. I appreciate the BBC showed the film without any interruptions and offered helplines, etc. after. Here in the Netherlands 45 minutes of commmercials were sold with the film; THAT I think is shocking and tasteless.
Stephan Jackmuth, The Netherlands

The most offensive thing about the programme was the crass narration

Gavin E Parker, UK
In a few words I thought it was first class and brought a tremendous sense of reality to 9/11. Massive problems like this need sharing and never forgetting, don't brush life under the carpet.
Frank, UK

What struck me the most was that the firecrew had no clue how to proceed. Rationally speaking, they should have pulled out (a feeling helped by hindsight). But the human urge to go up there and "do something" prevailed. It became very clear that the scale of such buildings prevents success of any rescue attempt, and that by erecting them you accept mass casualties in case of an accident.
Hendrik Jan, Netherlands

Although feeling somewhat guilty by watching these horrific events, I felt compelled to do so, out of respect for those who died, doing the job they lived for. Highly commendable production, the French brothers deserve great plaudits if only for their grit and compassion.
Andy, UK

The most offensive thing about the programme was the crass narration and insistance that everyone involved was "a hero". Also, as "witnesses to history", can the Naudet brother really justify their auto censorship?
Gavin E Parker, UK

An enlightening, disturbing, heart-rending film. Congratulations to the BBC for its involvement in the making of a world-class programme that was almost too painful to watch but too powerful to miss.

The programme brought back the human side to an event that had faded in memory to a low-level horror.
Russ J Graham, UK

It would have gone against all instinct and training for the firefighters to just wait in the lobby doing nothing

Michael Powell, UK
This programme was also shown in France last night, and as the two brothers were French they were also present in the studio afterwards for a debate. I really don't understand why this programme should receive any criticism at all. It was a remarkable piece of work, a study of heroism, fear and total incomprehension and all done with admirable restraint.

The In Memorium documentary I found to be far more distasteful and morally dubious, whereas 9/11 didn't pretend to be anymore than a study of a group of terrified firefighters going about their work. In doing just this, it managed to convey to a far greater extent than any other images I've seen just what an incredible event this was.
Adam, France

I thought the film 9/11 was a remarkable film and showed the true bravery of the FDNY and all the emergency services on that day. The actual impact of what happened on 9/11 only truly and deeply sunk in whilst watching that film.
Simon Wilson, UK

I saw this film in a bar in New York wuth members of the FDNY when it was first broadcast, it showed that after all the political rhetoric and point scoring this was a human tragedy involving real people.
Gareth, UK

This documentary was an excellent piece of restrained filmmaking and will long be remembered as a record of those terrible events.

Also, I think Frances Hefner (below) is being "wise after the event". It is clearly shown that the fire chiefs have immense difficulty with communications and establishing exactly what the situation is. It would have gone against all instinct and training for the firefighters to just wait in the lobby doing nothing. If this ever happens again in the future no doubt many lessons will have been learnt.
Michael Powell, UK

There is a huge void between watching an event develop on TV and being in the middle of it and having to take immediate action

James Smith, UK
An excellent piece of work. Well done to the two French brothers who filmed it. As a documentary it also showed the firemen working to do their best in an extremely unusual situation that they had never and hopefully will never have to face again. God bless the firemen.
Sue, UK

It was an extremely moving piece of film and brought home the realities of that day. Was a shame it was interrupted for the news though!!!
Emma, UK

The footage really brought home the confusion and hopelessness of the situation in the towers.

My problem was the attempt to make the story even more emotional by manipulating the coverage of the new fireman... we were lead to believe he had died, when he was infact alive... unnessesary since the overall footage is so powerful. The voice over was too Hollywood, it made it less real, it needed to be a little more Panorama like! After watching it, I think I now have a better understanding of what my grandparents must have gone through during the Blitz.
Phil, London

The documentary brought the events to a new level of reality to those that were not there. The humanity and suffering was clear and made all that watched it re-assess their view of the events.
Stephen Tierney, United Kingdom

Perhaps this programme will succeed in silencing those armchair critics who feel things should have been done differently. There is a huge void between watching an event develop on TV and being in the middle of it and having to take immediate action. "... we thought the second tower was still there - nobody told us." A true display of heroism and selflessness by the NYFD, NYPD and all the support services. This was the perfect time to remind people of those values.
James Smith, United Kingdom

Having lost a family member in the WTC, and although painful to watch, I found the programme compulsive viewing

Sue Maddison, UK
I watched it last night without blinking once. Spellbinding. I do believe it was edited very heavily but very well. An excellent piece of film - I can only imagine Gideon's feeling when he turned around back at the fire house and Jules was there.
Eimear, Italy

There's never a right time to see that sort of thing. But in adversity you see the good side of human nature coming through, like the selfless guts and dedication of the firefighters. I felt sick at the thought and sound of people jumping from high up, crashing to the ground. It does you good to be shocked once in a while, because generally we live such cushy lives. God bless all who fell that day. Innocent office workers and rescue staff alike.
Phil Goddard, UK

I commend the filmmakers on their restraint in not filming the most disturbing aspects. They kept it factual and narrative without it being voyeuristic. If anyone is offended by this, the bravest footage of 9/11, then turn over.
Wendy, UK

Having lost a family member in the WTC, and although painful to watch, I found the programme compulsive viewing. It was gritty and real, I didn't find it gratuitous in the least. It was a fine testimonial to a terrible day.
Sue Maddison, UK

I thought 9/11 was an excellent piece of reportage. I needed to see something about that day that was balanced and wasn't trying to tug at my heart strings. It was an amazing vignette of the lives and risks taken by firemen on a truely remarkable day. My thoughts remain with my friends in the USA.
Sam Brown, UK

I was thoroughly moved by what I saw in this documentary. Having not watched any of the other programmes on the anniversary, I felt it important to watch this one, as it was the only one that was there, as it happened. I would like to tell any of our American friends, that we will always think of you as our friend and ally, no matter what may occur. The programme, and that day, certainly made me focus on what my life is about, and what is important.
Simon, England

I thought that it was a respectfully filmed piece which brought home the reality of that day without showing anything gratuitous in any way

Rebecca, UK
The Naudets' film was excellent, as fine a piece of reportage as has ever been seen. Surely they must be in the running for every news journalism award going. I particularly admired the way they stuck to the original human story as a counterpoint to the incredible events going on around them.

I didn't see the point of the continuation after the news, though - this added nothing to the main body of the film.
Guy Chapman, UK

A unique film showing what brave souls these men were, but I found the footage revealing as to how disorganised the services were and ultimately how hopelessly ineffective and isolated they were. It was moving how frightening everyone found the events.
David, UK

9/11 was possibly the best documentary I've ever seen on the BBC. It's changed the way I think about September 11 by seeing real footage of real people putting their lives on the line. An excellent piece, and excellent scheduling by the BBC.
Stephen McCready, UK

I thought that it was a respectfully filmed piece which brought home the reality of that day without showing anything gratuitous in any way. These are the things which we should never be allowed to forget, so it is important that films like this are available to the public at large. And, as so many others have pointed out, if you have objections or find it traumatic, turn the channel over. I saw nothing last night which presented any of the victims to me in any kind of bad light, it merely increased my respect for them and the way so many handled hell on earth so admirably.
Rebecca, UK

The heroism and selflessness of so many of the fire fighters and rescue workers involved helped to counteract the evil that was in evidence behind this attack

Kate C, UK
What harrowing coverage by the Naudet brothers, but at no time was it gratuitous. It was, instead, both sensitive and inspiring. It was possibly slightly edited but not so much so as to detract from the harsh reality of this awful event. Part of me didn't want to watch the footage and I can certainly understand the feelings of some of the victims' families regarding the screening of it. I am so glad that I did watch it, though.

The heroism and selflessness of so many of the fire fighters and rescue workers involved helped to counteract the evil that was in evidence behind this attack. We can never forget - not even this side of the pond. But to have a greater understanding of what actually went on is to make a more informed judgement.

At the end of it all, I am left with the chilling sound of the bodies of the jumpers landing at the base of the towers. I am also left with the cold awareness that whilst the evil supporters of the attackers rejoice on the anniversary of their "most triumphant day", the rest of us feel the chill of the slow, but conitinual, deterioration of humanity.
Kate C, UK

Although last year's pictures were horrific, this film enabled those of us who were not in America at the time to understand what it was really like for the ordinary firefighter at the time. It was an excellent documentary telling the event as it really was.
Paul Fuller, Britain

What I found remarkable is that the reaction of the firefighters who had just returned from this physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting trauma was a powerful impatience to go back to the site and resume rescue work, when most of us would have been grateful just to have done what we could and survived. This is not propaganda; I recommend it to everyone regardless of political, strategic or religious opinions.
David Kolsky, Providence, Rhode Island, USA

I thought the documentary was tasteful and inspiring while it told a grim story

Bob, USA
Well done. Again the BBC shows why its reportage of world issues is the best...keep up the good work.
Donald Koepfgen, USA

I really appreciated CBS taking the time to air this programme - I don't believe many stations were willing to air it. I hope that the documentary wins all the awards possible. There was nothing offensive about the programme. If people are offended by viewing real life situations, then they have the choice of either watching something else, or not watching TV at all. Personally, I felt honoured to watch the events unfold, because the WTC attacks are contemporary history. Few people had the privilege of being in New York on 9-11-2001 and actually capturing the drama of the attacks and the subsequent rescue efforts.
James Stevenson, USA

It was very hard for me to watch it. However, I chose to watch it because I wanted to know more details of exactly what happened. I thought it was well done.
Larry Congrove, USA

It was a very moving film. It was graphic, however it seemed quite well edited so it was not gratuitous. It was a painful film to watch and yet I felt it was important to see in order to remain clearly focused on the horrors that people experienced. When Eisenhower went to Germany near the end of World War II he deliberately went to every corner of one of the death camps so that he could bring his full experience of the camp with him to relate to others. Somewhat the same point seems to work here in that it is easy to forget and push away the memories. Let us not forget the full horror of that day and the days that followed.
Ken Johnson, USA

I thought the documentary was tasteful and inspiring while it told a grim story. The film deserves all the awards it has received.
Bob, USA

I saw the show and saw nothing wrong with it. It's not a display of public execution, it's a display of a very important part of history. When the anniversary of the attacks comes around, it's a time for remembering what happened, it should never be forgotten.

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As a senior citizen I base my opinion on a lifetime of observations that the media control the mind-set of the public a great deal. I was gratified to see the film, especially the segments filmed on location by the French photographers. To me and many of my contemporaries it clearly showed the totally absurd decision of the chiefs in charge to send the firemen up the crowded stairs, preventing others from coming down quickly and ultimately resulting in the unnecessary deaths of the firemen. Instead of being labelled heroes they should be labelled martyrs to the short-sighted plans of the NYFD chiefs who seemed to completely overlook common sense in a blind obedience to "game plans". Watching the entire film by the French photographers could lead to no other conclusion. Those who object to your film object to reality.
Frances Hefner, USA

The film 9/11 was entirely filmed by Jules and Gideon Naudet who are brothers. It is a classic piece of outstanding film reporting filmed as it happened. It was clearly very heavily edited afterwards so there are no gory closeups at all - indeed I recall but one fleeting distant glimpse of a body landing outside the lobby of one of the Towers as the firefighters stood inside. The Naudet brothers had been filming a particular group of firefighters daily for months for a documentary when the attack happened, and so it is the only account, seen as it happened, from the fightfighters's point of view.
Tony Wight, USA

If one is offended by a particular programme then one simply has to flip the channel! What's the big deal?
Maria, USA

In reply to Fances Hefner USA: How can you say that these men who died trying to save lives were short sighted? Could they know for sure that there wasn't a fire stopping people coming down from higher floors? Say the towers hadn't collapsed, say they got up there after letting everyone down and found they could have saved hundreds of people who had died from smoke inhalation and burns? You know people are trapped...what would you do? They did what they did on instinct and did it selflessly. One can only praise their actions. I suggest it is someone else who is short sighted!
Joe Franklin, UK

The documentary was very moving. However let us NEVER forget the innocent Afghans bombed by the US and Britain, nor the innocent Palestinians massacared in Sabra and Shatila (Israel/US have got to be held accountable) who did not have the benefit of Western technology to put together a moving documentary of their lives and death.
Conor, Ireland

Can I say that playing "Danny Boy" at the end, over the credits, only reminded me how throughout the 25 long years during which we in the UK lived (and a great many died) with IRA terrorism. Does only terrorism in the US count as terrorism?

Things like this documentary remind us that such things should happen never again.
Marko, Croatia

New York despatches





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22 Jul 02 | Entertainment
22 Jul 02 | Entertainment
28 Feb 02 | Entertainment
12 May 02 | Entertainment
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