CBS held a press screening Monday night. According to the Associated Press, very little graphic carnage will be shown, but some strong language may be heard from the firefighters and individuals witnessing the horror.
Taken from footage shot by French filmmakers, brothers Gedeon and Jules Naudet, the show documents every horrifying moment, from the only known shot of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center (used by the media in the following aftermath) to the collapse of both WTC towers.
The Naudets, who were at Ground Zero by chance, filming a documentary about a rookie firefighter, deliberately kept their cameras away from the gore and concentrated on one firehouse and its men trying to do their jobs. The documentary follows them from a few weeks before Sept. 11 to the inevitable rescue operation on that terrifying day.
The special, however, does contain graphic expletives, maybe more than any other network television show has ever allowed. Most of the language comes from those firefighters witnessing the terrorist attacks and frantically working to get as many people to safety as they could.
"The language was rough, but the circumstances were rough," executive producer Susan Zirinsky told AP. "These men had never been tested before."
Narrator De Niro does state a warning at the start of the documentary about the strong language content, and CBS executives admitted that it was a "much-discussed issue."