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Airplane! Film Review

Updated on August 29, 2017
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Louise is a film enthusiast and enjoys films particularly from the 40's and 50's era & enjoys writing about films she has seen.


Film Information

Released: 1980

Directors: Jim Abraham, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker

Producers: Jon Davison

Genre: Comedy

Running time: 1 hr 28 mins

Budget: $3,500,000 (approx)

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Robert Hays
Ted Striker
Julie Hagerty
Elaine Dickinson
Leslie Nielson
Dr Rumack
Peter Graves
Captain Clarence Oveur
Robert Stack
Captain Rex Kramer
Lloyd Bridges
Steve McCroskey

How crazy do you have to be to fly a plane?

Airplane! is one of them films that is so daft and silly that you just can't help watching it. I have the collectors edition of this and Airplane II: The Sequel in my collection, so whenever I need to watch something light hearted, I normally put this on for a good laugh.

At the beginning of the film we see Elaine Dickinson, an air stewardess, walking through the airport heading to her flight. She is about to board Trans American Flight 209 from Los Angeles to Chicago. But she is stopped by Ted, her ex-boyfriend. He wants to get back with her and is still in love with her. But Elaine wants none of it . She says she can't stay with a man she can't respect. She then heads off to board the plane. Ted is an ex-pilot who was traumatized during the war. This left him with a fear of flying. He met Elaine whilst he was a pilot in the war. Ted is now a taxi driver and with the rush to catch up with Elaine before she boards the plane, he leaves his stranded passenger in the back of the cab at the airport with the metre still running.

Ted gets a ticket for Flight 209 and boards the plane. Elaine is surprised to see him, and reminds him she wants nothing to do with him. During the flight, some of the passengers become very sick due to food poisoning from the fish, including the 2 pilots. So it is up to Elaine, Ted and Doctor Rumack to help the people and get the plane landed safely. With Ted being afraid of flying a plane, he has to overcome this fear to get the plane down, as he is the only person on the plane they can rely on.

Right from the start of the film there are comedy moments in it, with the religious people trying to sell flowers to everyone. All throughout the film, it is jam packed with silliness. Leslie Neilson is excellent as he plays the Doctor. Although he looks and acts very serious in the film, this in itself is funny. He says the most craziest things, but says them all with a very serious look on his face. He's an excellent actor, and I've always liked him. Ted Striker is the main character in the film, and along with Elaine Dickinson, I feel these two work well together on screen, and you can the connection between them.


My Thoughts

This is a highly amusing and comical film to watch. Right from the beginning of the film it is just silly and daft. Leslie Nielson plays an excellent part of the Doctor. I like the connection that the characters of Ted and Elaine have in the film. At nearly 1 and a half hours long, this film is a light-hearted film that is suitable for all the family. I can't believe this film is over 30 years old. It's still comical to watch today, and had me laughing from start to finish.

I like the different storylines in the movie, with the main storyline being Ted trying to win Elaine's love back. But there's also the other stories of the sick girl and also with a lot of the passengers getting sick from food poisoning. This is definitely one to watch if you want a good laugh.


Awards & Nominations

Golden Globes
Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Best Screenplay
National Film Preservation Trust
National Film Registry
Satellite Awards
Outstanding DVD Extra's - Outstanding Classic DVD
The Stinkers Bad Movies Award
Worst performance by a child in a featured role. (Jil Whelan)
Writers Guild of America
Best comedy adapted from another medium
Young Artists Award
Best Young Comedienne (Jill Whelan) Best Young Comedian (Rossie Harris)

Airplane! Movie Trailer

DVD Extra's

I bought the Collector's Edition of Airplane! and Airplane II: The Sequel. There isn't much DVD extra's on the Airplane! DVD. There is commentary, German and English language option, subtitles and commentary subtitles in German and English.

Airplane! DVD

© 2017 Louise Powles


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    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      Yes, this is a funny farce. It was a new style of humor at the time. It was also a farce of the "Airport" movies that were getting more and more ridiculous. The Robert Stack scene of going through the airport terminal was very timely for anyone who had been in an airport circa '80. Factual note: the pilot and copilot are given separate meals to prevent an "Airplane" incident from happening.

      One thing I found prophetic in Airplane II, set in the 21st century, was the poster for another Rocky sequel with a picture of a geriatric Rocky. That was a much more accurate call than most futurists have made.

      Thank you for posting.

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 

      14 months ago from Minnesota

      ...what happened?? Well, first the earth cooled, then the dinosaurs came, but they got too big and fat and died, and turned into big pools of oil. Then, the Arabs came, but you don't want to know about all of that, it's not important right now... Yes. Love these movies... What is it? Well, it's a broach, it's a pin. It's a teradactyl......

    • profile image

      Tamara Moore 

      16 months ago

      Ha hahaha...I saw this movie! Excellent review!

      I just followed you, and tried to leave Fan Mail, but it would not go through.

      I wanted to tell you: GREAT HUBS!!!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      16 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I've seen parts of this movie but not the whole thing. This is another film that I'll look out for after reading your review. It sounds very entertaining.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      16 months ago from Oklahoma

      I enjoy this zany classic:-)

      Great review!

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      16 months ago from The Garden State

      I have seen Airplane so many times that I can quote it chapter and verse...yet I still laugh every time.

    • Readmikenow profile image


      16 months ago

      One of the funniest movies I've ever seen. It was so crazy.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      16 months ago from USA

      It's been a long time since I've watched this. Thanks for the recap. That movie poster takes on a whole new meaning these days with the tall buildings bit.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      16 months ago from The Beautiful South

      I have never seen this! I will certainly put it on my list now. Thank you!


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