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Airplane the Movie Celebrates 30 Years

Updated on April 15, 2012

Airplane! the Movie

Airplane the movie
Airplane the movie

“You Ever Been in a Cockpit Before?”

Released in 1980, Airplane! the movie, otherwise known as ‘Flying High!’, has now celebrated 30 years of being rated as one of the funniest movies of all time. Released by Paramount Pictures, Airplane! was written directed by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker (ZAZ). Airplane's ensemble cast contained both comedic and dramatic actors. Leslie Nielsen and Lloyd Bridges have been known as comedic actors ever since, but before hand they had worked almost exclusively as dramatic actors. Others in the Airplane! movie cast included Lorna Patterson, Robert Stack, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Peter Graves.

Airplane! the Movie Trailer

Airplane! Movie

Airplane! the movie inspired a genre of spoof, gag-a-minute films and a list of memorable one liners. The most resilient of these lines would arguably be where Nielsen’s character is asked "Surely you can't be serious?" and he responds "I am serious... and don't call me Shirley!". One of the more controversial lines in the film was when a little was asked if she took cream in her coffee and she responded with “No, thank you, I take it black, like my men”. Another would be where Mission Impossible’s Peter Graves asks a little boy if he had ever seen a grown man naked.


Airplane the movie revolves around one simple, but absurd premise “The life of everyone on board depends upon just one thing: finding someone back there who can not only fly this plane, but who didn't have fish for dinner”. However, it held the record for highest grossing comedy until Ghostbusters in 1984. It left behind a legacy of spoof movies that fired off gags and one liners at a quick rate. Early successors included the Naked Gun films with Leslie Nielsen. Recent imitators include the recent spate of movies by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, such as Date Movie and Epic Movie.

Airplane!’s accolades include being selected in 2008 as one of ‘The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time’ by Empire Magazine; it is 10th on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs list of funniest American comedies; Channel 4 in the United Kingdom had a major survey where Airplane the movie was voted the second greatest comedy film of all time and it is 6th on Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies

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Airplane! the movie on DVD (Don't Call Me Shirley! Edition) (1980)

Airplane! (Don't Call Me Shirley! Edition) Special Features:

  • Long-haul version: includes deleted scenes, interviews, and more!
  • Trivia track
  • Theatrical trailer

Airplane! Rating

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Airplane! the movie at Amazon

Leslie Nielsen, star of Airplane! the movie and The Naked Gun

Leslie Nielsen, star of Airplane the movie
Leslie Nielsen, star of Airplane the movie | Source

Airplane ! movie star: Leslie Nielsen

Airplane! the movie created a comedy legend when they cast Leslie Nielsen, against type, in a comedic role. At one point during Airplane! the movie, his character, Dr. Barry Rumack was asked, "Surely you can't be serious?", he responds with "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley." The American Film Institute listed the exchange at #79 of their of Top 100 movie quotes.

Perhaps his most memorable role has been as Lt Frank Drebin in the television show The Police Squad and the Naked Gun series of movies. The character of Frank Drebin was a parody of stereotypical police officer characters in police television shows and movies.

Empire Magazine selected Frank Drebin as one of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time in 2008 and he was named one of The 100 Best Heroes of All Time by UGO.com.

Leslie Nielsen (star of Airplane!) movies

Leslie William Nielsen. 11 February 1926 – 28 November 2010

Leslie Nielsen, star of Airplane! and The Naked Gun, died of complications from pneumonia, around 5:30 pm EST on 28 November 2010 at Fort Lauderdale, Florida hospital for pneumonia.

He had appeared in over 1,500 television programs one hundred films, portraying over 220 characters along the way. Canadian-born, Nielsen was inducted into both the Canada and Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Leslie Nielsen married four times and from his second marriage he had two daughters, Maura and Thea Nielsen.

Leslie Nielsen (Airplane! star) Video

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