DC 9/11: Time of Crisis

DC 9/11: Time of Crisis is a 2003 television movie which re-enacts the events of the September 11, 2001 attacks as seen from the point of view of the President of the United States and his staff. It was directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith and starred Timothy Bottoms as President George W. Bush.

DC 9/11: Time of Crisis
DC 9/11: Time of Crisis title screen
Created byLionel Chetwynd
Written byLionel Chetwynd
Directed byBrian Trenchard-Smith
Theme music composerLawrence Shragge
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)Lionel Chetwynd
Running time127 minutes (approx.)
Original networkShowtime
Original releaseSeptember 7, 2003


DC 9/11: Time of Crisis is a film concerning the events of 9/11 as they unfolded from the perspective of President George W. Bush and his Cabinet. The film follows the nine days following the attacks, up to September 20, 2001. DC 9/11: Time of Crisis was succeeded by The Path to 9/11, in which Penny Johnson Jerald reprised her role as Condoleezza Rice.


The film opens on the morning of September 11, 2001. United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is hosting a breakfast for a number of members of the United States Congress. The purpose of the breakfast was to procure an increase to the defense budget, with Rumsfeld claiming they will soon need the money as something big is likely to occur soon given the rise of Islamic extremism against the United States.

While the aircraft have been crashed into the World Trade Center, President Bush is at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Florida. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card informs Bush that "a second plane has hit the second tower, America is under attack!". After 8 - 11 Minutes President Bush prepares to leave the school, he interrupts a reporters question so as to not alarm to school children as to the events unfolding in New York City.

President Bush orders Rumsfeld to take the nation to DEFCON 3 and puts the U.S. Armed Forces in high alert. He discusses the situation with Vice President Dick Cheney and order the grounding of all civil aviation. He leaves Florida on Air Force One headed for Washington DC. While in the air, Naval Intelligence uncovers a credible threat against "Angel" (the days codeword for Air Force One). The President escort Fighter wing is notified to be on the highest possible alert status.

The United States Secret Service is evacuating all non-essential personnel, While Cabinet members are escorted to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center. Vice-President Cheney and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice are informed that there is an unresponsive aircraft headed for Camp David. Cheney orders the fighters to attempt contact, however if the plane doesn't respond or turn around it is to be shot down. The plane disappears off radar with Cheney assuming he has ordered the deaths if 200 or more US Citizens. President Bush is apprised of the situation and is told reports from the FAA are suggesting that the Air Force didn't shoot down the plane but a group of passengers learned of the event in New York and took matters into their own hands. President Bush wants to be back in Washington DC, and after conferencing with the George Tenet, Director of Central Intelligence, and other members of his cabinet, he orders the Secret Service to fly him home immediately.

President Bush arrives at the White House that evening and addresses the nation, informing them that they are now in a "War on Terror." Over the next hours and days, Bush meets countless times with his cabinet to determine an appropriate response, which ultimately lead to his declaration of "if you're not with us, you're against us" and the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Background information


The writer wanted a sense of authenticity to underpin the film. To achieve this a vast amounts of research were conducted which included an interview with President Bush, which led to true scenes appearing in the film, such as: Rumsfeld's early breakfast meeting on the morning of September 11, Cheney ordering the plane being shot down, and President Bush receiving PAPD Officer George Howard's badge from his grieving mother Arlene. The writer wanted to answer a number of questions many people had that day, most notably where was President Bush and why was he out of contact for so long.


Timothy Bottoms previously played George W. Bush (in a comedic fashion) in the short-lived sitcom That's My Bush! as well as in The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course.

Fellow cast members Gregory Itzin (John Ashcroft) and Penny Johnson Jerald (Condoleezza Rice) have also portrayed major (fictional) political figures on the series 24. Itzin played President Charles Logan during seasons 4 and 5 while Jerald played Sherry Palmer, the manipulative ex-wife of President David Palmer, during the first three seasons. Jerald also reprised playing Condoleezza Rice in 2006's The Path to 9/11.


Actor Character Description
Timothy Bottoms President George W. Bush President of The United States.
Mary Gordon Murray Laura Bush First Lady of the United States
Lawrence Pressman Vice-President Dick Cheney Vice-President of The United States
Penny Johnson Jerald Condoleezza Rice National Security Advisor
David Fonteno Colin Powell United States Secretary of State
Myron Natwick Paul O'Neill United States Secretary of the Treasury
John Cunningham Donald Rumsfeld United States Secretary of Defense
Gregory Itzin John Ashcroft United States Attorney General
George Takei Norman Mineta United States Secretary of Transportation
Stephen Macht Paul Wolfowitz United States Deputy Secretary of Defense
Gerry Mendicino George Tenet Director of Central Intelligence
James Carroll Robert Mueller Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
David McIlwraith Andrew Card White House Chief of Staff
Allan Royal Karl Rove Senior Adviser to the President
Carolyn Scott Karen Hughes Special Counsellor to the President
James McGowan Michael Gerson Senior Speechwriter
Debra McGrath Mary Matalin Senior Counsellor to the Vice President.
Doug Lennox General Tommy Franks Leading General in War


The film was met with mild controversy during production and upon broadcast on the Showtime network in the United States. The film was also praised by the political right for portraying Bush's strong leadership in a time of crisis, while Michael Moore and others on the political left have branded the film as propaganda attempting to portray Bush as a strong leader in complete command of the situation, and also attempting a rebuttal to the suggestion that behind the scenes Cheney was running the show.

DVD Release

DVD Cover ArtDVD ReleaseRunning TimeOriginally airedRelease date
Region 1Region 2Region 4
DC 9/11: Time of Crisis 127 Mins 2003 September 7, 2004 TBA TBA


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