9/11 is a documentary film about the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City, in which two planes crashed into the buildings of the World Trade Center. The film was directed by Jules and Gedeon Naudet, and NY firefighter James Hanlon.
The Naudet brothers were originally filming Tony Benetatos, a probationary firefighter, on the New York City Fire Department assigned to Ladder 1 with the intention of making a film about the "probie"'s experience. On the morning of 11 September, Battalion 1 was called out on a gas leak, Jules rides with the Battalion Chief, Chief Joseph Pfeifer, to check it out. When a low flying plane flies by overhead Jules turns the camera to follow the plane and tapes one of only three known recordings of the first plane hitting the North Tower (Tower 1) of the World Trade Center (the others being a video shot by Pavel Hlava and a sequence of still frames taken by Wolfgang Staehle). The members of Battalion 1 that were investigating the gas leak were the first responders on the scene and Jules was allowed to follow the chief during the attempted rescue operation. Jules, Chief Pfeifer and several other FDNY Chiefs are inside the lobby of Tower 1 when Tower 2 is hit by the second aircraft and when Tower 2 eventually collapsed (Gédéon, meanwhile, is back at the firehouse, filming the reactions of probie Tony Benetatos and the rest of the firefighters as they try to deal with the disaster). The film gives various firemen's accounts of the events of the remainder of the day, from the initial crash to the building's collapse to the attempts to rescue survivors from the rubble.
CBS aired the film commercial-free on March 10, 2002 , to mark the six months since the attacks. Hosted by actor Robert De Niro, CBS's broadcast was repeated on the first anniversary as well; the DVD of the documentary was released in proximity (although De Niro's footage was edited out of the DVD release). CBS did another repeat airing of this documentary on September 10, 2006 the night before the 5th anniversary of the attacks, this was again hosted by De Niro. However, this version contained updates from the principal members of the documentary as of 2006.
The film was noted for its use of profanity, which in regular circumstances on USA broadcast media would be subject to censorship by the broadcaster or the Federal Communications Commission. However, a recent ruling by a federal appeals court successfully granted a "temporary halt" to the FCC's enforcement of its indecency rules. This allowed CBS and any affiliates to air the documentary without edits and without fear of facing stiff fines. Nevertheless, some CBS affiliates chose not to broadcast the film.