Airplane! (1980)

Rating PG
Length 1h 28
Release 29.8.1980
Director Jim Abrahams, David & Jerry Zucker
About Ted Striker, a former pilot who has a fear of flying, finds himself burdened with the responsibility of landing a plane safely when most of the crew and passengers fall sick due to food poisoning.


The Good

  • Unlike the spoofs of film genres in the post- Scary Movie era, this relies on good faith prods at other films. By the time Scary Movie had long past its sell by date, it became tasteless and almost painfull. This, on the other hand, has aged well and runs like a fully formed plot with nods to disaster movies like Towering Inferno and Poseidon Adventure. The point being, you do not have to watch all the disaster movies to enjoy this film.
  • Leslie Nielson is the perfect for the role of Dr Rumack. I must admit, I know him from the Naked Gun movies so I assumed this was his wheelhouse. I’d known of his “playing it straight” in 1956’s Forbidden Planet, however I thought that was the exception and not this comedy role. I was surprised how late into the proceedings he actually arrived (I I had totally misremembered him being the stare) and it was only upon reading up on the casting and production that I discovered there had been reservations about casting him. Well, that just made it all the more impressive for me.
  • I loved Otto; the Auto Pilot. It was a little nonsensicle but it made for one most excellent sight gag. Oh, and he even got his own credit on IMDB. Genius.

The Bad

  • Much like with many films of the age, there are some jokes that do not sit as well as they once did. Nothing that would make me disuade people from watching it, but it certainly made me cringe.
  • I did not like the charcter of Ted Hays. I cannot put my finger on what it is, but he irked me. I did, however, find comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone in my feelings.

The Ugly

  • As much as I chuckled and I found it likable. I am rather disappointed that I didn’t laugh more than I did. However, in the film’s defence, I do struggle with a comedy when watching alone.

Final Thoughts

I’m not rushing to watch this again, but I’d certain see it at somewhere like the Prince Charles on a Friday Night; I think it is a film you need to see under the right conditions. Seriously.

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