The Real-Life Event
On November 14, 1970, a Southern Airways flight carrying the Marshall University football team, most of its coaches, and numerous fans crashed into a West Virginia hillside. There were no survivors.
Among the outcomes of the tragedy was the decimation of the Marshall University football program. After a struggle to rebuild itself, the football team won an emotional last-minute victory over Xavier during the first post-crash home game. The airplane crash and its aftermath received national media coverage.
The Tragedy Yields a Documentary and a Feature Film
In 2000 Deborah Novak and John Witek produced Ashes to Glory, The Tragedy and Triumph of Marshall Football, a documentary memorializing the crash, its aftermath, and the rebuilding of the Marshall University football program. After unsuccessfully trying to option rights to Ashes to Glory from Novak and Witek, Thunder Road Film Productions in conjunction with Warner Brothers produced and released We Are Marshall a 2006 feature film based on the Marshall University plane crash. The Thunder Road production weaves fictional elements into the fact-based story.