This spoof of the Airport series of disaster movies relies on ridiculous sight gags, groan-inducing dialogue, and deadpan acting -- a comedy style that would be imitated for the next 20 years. Airplane! pulls out all the clichés as alcoholic pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays), who's developed a fear of flying due to wartime trauma, boards a jumbo jet ...
This spoof of the Airport series of disaster movies relies on ridiculous sight gags, groan-inducing dialogue, and deadpan acting -- a comedy style that would be imitated for the next 20 years. Airplane! pulls out all the clichés as alcoholic pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays), who's developed a fear of flying due to wartime trauma, boards a jumbo jet in an attempt to woo back his stewardess girlfriend (Julie Hagerty). Food poisoning decimates the passengers and crew, leaving it up to Striker to land the plane, with the help of a glue-sniffing air traffic controller (Lloyd Bridges) and Striker's vengeful former captain (Robert Stack), who must both talk him down. Along the way, we meet a clutch of stock disaster movie passengers like the guitar-strumming nun, a sick little girl, a frightened old lady, and two African-American travelers whose "jive" has to be subtitled. Leslie Nielsen portrays the plane's doctor, launching a new phase of the actor's career that carried him through the next two decades in several similarly comedic roles. The trio of directors Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, and David Zucker responsible for the film would eventually go on to solo careers, but not before making Top Secret! and Ruthless People. Perry Seibert, Rovi
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GENRE: Comedy, Disaster spoof
CAST: Julie Hagerty, Ribert Hayes, Leslie Nielsen, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, Peter Graves, Barbara Billingsley, Ethel Merman, Lorna Patterson, David Leisure, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Otto Pilot and the plane itself in four separate incarnations (and one stunt plane, uncredited)
PLOT: Remain Calm
RETURN ON INVESTMENT: 8.5 of 10;The idea of taking aging 'B' movie stars and letting them express their human, funny side was a stroke of genius, Who knew that Leslie Neilsen was a maestro flatulator? At two minutes betwen jokes or sight gags and lasting 90 minutes, you got 45 chuckles here. If you paid $9 for the DVD, that's twenty cents per laugh, a good investment indeed!
DVD BONUS: An overdubbed commentary, an interscene and deleted scene commentary, a trivia track and a theatrical trailer all add up to over four hours of extra watching bits and pieces.
ADDED NOTES: The plane gets no screen credits. It does a marvelous job as a tri-engine model at takeoff and landing, It uses a prop plane vocal imitation throughout the movie, it imitates a jumbo jet during the window crashing scene excellent stunt plane-ing), It appears as a hassidic airline version of itself and does it's take on a Jaws imitation in the opening scene. Hilarious and uncredited!