Clint Eastwood has claimed too many people are labelled heroes because of political correctness.
The Oscar-winning star has directed Sully: Miracle On The Hudson, a film about the pilot who landed a stricken passenger plane on New York's Hudson River in 2009.
Clint said pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who saved the lives of all 155 people on board, has been rightly hailed a hero but the term was often "overdone".
"It's certainly different to when I grew up," he said.
"It's all in this sort of politically correct thing where everyone has to win a prize. All the little boys in the class have to go home with a first place trophy.
"The use of the word 'hero' is a little bit overdone but I don't think so in Sully's case. He went extra and beyond what was expected."
The film's star Tom Hanks said he believed Sully's work as a pilot was heroic but he agreed with Eastwood that the term is "ridiculously overused".
The Oscar-winning actor said: "The textbook definition of a hero is someone who voluntarily puts themselves in harm's way for the betterment of others.
"That happens on occasion and it is a ridiculously overused word because it's a shorthand for accomplishment.
"Not all accomplishments are heroic accomplishments. Some times it's just people doing the right thing and you don't necessarily deserve kudos for doing the right thing.
"Heroism is rare as lightning storms."
Tom said he could not draw on any real life near-death experiences when filming the landing scene because he tried to avoid danger.
"I'm a pussy, man," he said. "I'm an actor. I haven't done anything that's near death.
"Once I had to swim in the open ocean in Cast Away, oh jeepers. Terrible. Crazy. I've never experienced anything remotely like this.
"There's four roles for us in real life. You can be a hero, villain, coward or bystander. I'm the bystander."
Sully: Miracle On The Hudson is released in UK cinemas on December 2.