Airplane! (1980)

DVD Cover (Paramount)
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Overall Rating 79%
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Ranked #656
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Connections: Airplane!

Alcoholic pilot, Ted Striker has developed a fear of flying due to wartime trauma, but nevertheless boards a passenger jet in an attempt to woo back his stewardess girlfriend. 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 and Striker's vengeful former Air Force captain, who must both talk him down. --TMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: September 06, 2007
Somewhere, in a remote desert -- in a cave that has rarely been touched by the outside world -- there lives a band of nomads who hunt and gather, live and die by the land. Their days are spent fighting over their women, searching for berries and taming the beasts of the land. They live a harsh life. However, as difficult a life as they lead and as harrowing as their days can be, they do share one thing in common with modern civilization -- one common thread that bonds them with the rest of the world -- they think "Airplane!" is the funniest film ever made.

This is the comedy that re-defined what comedies could and should be. This is the comedy that introduced the world to the slapstick antics of one Mr. Leslie Nielsen. This is the comedy that still manages to make me double over with laughter every time I hear Barbara Billingsley talk Jive or every time I watch the stewardess pick up that guitar and sing to the sick little girl. "Airplane!" is the funniest film ever made for a reason. Without it, "The Naked Gun" and "Hot Shots!" wouldn't exist, and neither would the "Scary Movie" franchise. Its impact on the world of film, most notably the world of comedy, is unmatched and no film has equaled its impact.

On the whole, this film is really a parody of the film "Zero Hour", which dealt with a flight in peril after the two captains are taken out by a bout of food poisoning. But, much of this script is word-for-word with "Zero Hour", because the dialog between the characters in the original was so unintentionally humorous. So, what you're hearing in the parody is the way most of it was written in the original. The film stars Robert Hays as Ted Striker, a former Army pilot who was responsible for the deaths of many men in his unit. He has since been afraid to even step foot inside a plane, but does to win back the love of Elaine (Julie Hagerty). When a case of food poisoning takes out the Pilot (Peter Graves) and the Co-Pilot (Kareem Abdul-Jabaar), it's up to Striker to navigate and then safely land the plane, with help from some friends on the ground (Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, Stephen Stucker).

What makes this film work is that it features classic comedy -- the same kind of stuff Laurel & Hardy and the Three Stooges were using back when film was exciting and new. The Zucker Brothers know that the funniest things in films are the things that are so obvious -- something as simple as a boy and a nun sitting next to one another, with the nun reading "Boy's Life" and the boy reading "Nun's Life", with a picture of a nun surfing on the front. Or the scene where the entire airplane lines up to smack some sense into a woman -- the same woman who has been questioning her husband's coffee intake the entire flight. One of the funniest set of sequences come as a little boy is visiting the Captain in the cockpit and is hit with a strange line of questions, ranging from "Do you like gladiator movies?" to "You ever seen a grown man naked?" Obvious comedy is always the funniest.

I could continue to name about 100 reasons why this film works so well and continues to prove its classic status, but the review doesn't need to be that long. "Airplane!" was also named by AFI as one of the funniest films ever made, as well as numerous other reputable magazines and organizations. Now, that doesn't mean we're all right and everyone else is wrong. But, watch "Airplane!" again and see if you don't agree. Back then, humor could be raunchy and it didn't matter. A woman could run in front of the camera, shake her boobs for a few moments, and then just run off screen. The MPAA ratings system was a baby and didn't care. "Airplane!" packs all kinds of humor into one hell of a funny film. it's a classic. It's funny as hell.

Ginose #1: Ginose - added 09/06/2007, 11:24 PM
Damn you! I was just about to do this one! Ah... you jerk...
Ah well, I still agree with every word. 10/10, probablly my favorite comedy of all time (definately top 10)
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 09/07/2007, 12:13 PM
This movie, without a doubt, is one of the funniest movies ever. Aside from Hot Shots, and Mafia! I don't think I've ever seen a spoof comedy. 10/10, easily.
Edd #3: Edd - added 09/15/2007, 01:02 PM
Picked the wrong day to stop (insert alcohol or drug related activity here). Excellent film. If I'm not mistaken, Leslie Neilson's first comedic movie.
Lucid Dreams #4: Lucid Dreams - added 07/22/2010, 03:50 AM
Brings back memories of my dad and me watching this. 10/10
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