Today I saw new film The 15:17 To Paris directed by Clint Eastwood.  On August 21, 2015, Ayoub El-Khazzani, armed with over 300 rounds of ammunition, began firing on the passengers traveling via train from Amsterdam to Paris.  Three Americans and long-time friends, Airman Spencer Stone, Army National Guard Alek Skarlatos, and their friend Anthony Sadler, thwarted the attack.  This movie chronicles the events of the attack as well as the backstory of their friendship since grade school.

What makes this movie unique is Eastwood cast Stone, Skarlatos, and Sadler to play themselves.  These individuals are incredible patriots but not professional actors, nor should they be expected to be.  This story is one everyone needs know but the production values, from casting to cinema photography, are often B-level at best.  This is disappointing because the bravery of the three Americans should be celebrated on the highest level.

Because of their bravery, I hope everyone sees this movie.  We can all learn a lot about our capacity for good by seeing their example.

The following are 17 Leadership Quotes And Lessons From The 15:17 To Paris:

  1. Last Impressions Last – This movie moves at a very deliberate pace.  So much so you get to a point where you waiting for the train attack to happen.  Then it comes.  The last 15 minutes of this film are absolutely riveting!!!  You leave the theater completely energized.  Leaders should make sure everything they are involved in (relationships, meetings, speeches, etc.) always ends well.
  2. Put Your Best Resources On Your Best Opportunities – Once again, this story is amazing.  I kept thinking about how much better it would be if Mark Wahlberg or Chris Hemsworth were playing the lead.  This A-level narrative deserved A-level talent.
  3. It Takes A Great Leader To Raise Up Other Great Leaders – When told her son may have ADD, Alek’s mother replied,  “I need to drug my child to make your job easier?”  For the record, AMEN!!!
  4. Spencer’s mother told a school principal, “My God is bigger than your statistics.”
  5. Leaders Are Prepared For Crisis And Know How To Act During One – A teacher asked the students during class, “If something happened right now, do you know what to do and how to act?”
  6. Great Leaders Must Have Great Commitment – Sadler told Stone on his joining the military, “No one thinks you can’t do it.  We just don’t think you will.”
  7. Great Leaders Pay Their Dues Privately Before Receiving Public Recognition – “Pay your dues.  You’ve been chosen for this great work.”
  8. Successful Leaders Want The Best For Others – Airman Stone said, “I just wanted to go to war and save lives.”
  9. Great Parents Have Grief Belief In Their Children Which Gives Them Great Confidence And Courage – Alek’s mother told him prior to taken the trip to Europe, “I prayed.  God told me something very exciting is going to happen to you.”
  10. Leaders Want To Make A Lasting Difference And Be Remembered Well – Airman Stone said during a potential attack on his military base, “I didn’t want my family to learn I died hiding under a desk.”
  11. Great Leaders Value Others And Help Them Tell Their Stories – “Everyone has a story and it’s our duty to tell it.”
  12. Everyone Is Created By God With A Great Purpose In Mind – Airman Stone acknowledged, “Do you ever feel like life is catapulting you to a greater purpose?”
  13. It Takes Everyone To Defeat Evil – A tour guide told Airman Stone and Sadler, “You Americans can’t take credit everytime evil is defeated.”
  14. Great Leaders Bring Great Peace – Airman Stone prayed since he was a small child, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”
  15. Even Great Leaders Need A Little Luck – El-Khazzani’s gun did not go off as he was being charged by Airman Stone.
  16. Trust Your Training – Airman Stone choked El-Khazzani out using his military training.
  17. In honoring the Americans, a representative from the Italian government said, “In an event of crisis, people need to do something.”

Once again, I love movies that celebrate the bravery of our armed forces.  You should make time to see The 15:17 To Paris this weekend and be reminded of the incredible capacity for good in everyone.


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