3.9 17
Director: Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, David Zucker

Cast: Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, David Zucker, Robert Hays


View All Available Formats & Editions

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…  See more details below


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.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Matthew Grimm
Three years after their initial blip on the cultural radar as co-writers of The Kentucky Fried Movie, boyhood friends Jim Abrahams and Jerry and David Zucker landed with a riotous bang -- writing, producing, and directing the zaniest comedy of the '70s, Airplane! Mixing absurd sketch-comedy, puns, wordplays, and cartoonish slapstick with relentless glee, the trio lampooned Hollywood’s penchant for formulaic schlock, using the airline-disaster movie as their framework. The story here is of a burned-out fighter pilot (Robert Hayes) who boards an airplane in hopes of reconciling with his lost love (Julie Haggerty), a flight attendant, and winds up having to overcome his anxiety and crash-land the suddenly stricken jet. The story, though, is secondary to the whirligig of goofball characters on the plane and on the ground. The unending barrage of quips, sight gags, and one-liners transcends the often self-aware dopiness of the humor, making Airplane! as much a brilliant exercise in post-structuralism as it is a gut-buster. Employing seasoned TV straight men such as Lloyd Bridges, Leslie Nielsen, Peter Graves, and Robert Stack to brilliant, self-parodying effect, the movie served up a buffet of deadpan catchphrases. When Hayes says to Nielsen, who portrays a doctor who happens to be aboard, "Surely you can’t be serious," Nielsen dryly responds: "Yes, I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley." And so was born a new Leslie Nielsen, vaulting from ‘70s TV guest star to Hollywood’s go-to buffoon in a single line reading. For the lion's share of films out there, a single viewing will more than suffice -- for Airplane! the notion is simply unthinkable.
All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Any fool can tell a long succession of dumb jokes, but it requires a special gift to toss 'em off with the fleet-footed élan and rapid-fire precision that the writing/directing team of Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker achieve in Airplane! No pun is too silly, no gag is too obvious, and no stunt is too tasteless for these men, as long as someone will laugh at it. Unlike the many filmmakers who followed this film's path, the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team understood the notion of context, and if Airplane!'s narrative isn't especially fresh or original (since it's a parody, that's probably the point), it's sturdy enough to hold the pieces together and collect the myriad clichés of disaster films in a confined space so they can be efficiently picked off, one by one. And they had the foresight to cast a host of familiar faces in key supporting roles; after years of seeing the likes of Leslie Nielsen, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, and Peter Graves in second-rate TV disaster epics, watching a stone-faced Graves ask a young boy if he likes gladiator movies or hard-as-nails air traffic controller Bridges announce that he picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue gave gags that were already funny a surreal dimension that doubled the kick. Anyone who thinks making a film this funny is simple ought to take a look at the unfortunate Airplane II: The Sequel for a quick reality check on how Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker made high art out of low comedy.

Read More

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Paramount Catalog
[Dolby Digital Mono]
Sales rank:

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robert Hays Ted Striker
Julie Hagerty Elaine Dickinson
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Murdock
Lloyd Bridges McCroskey
Peter Graves Capt. Oveur
Leslie Nielsen Dr. Rumack
Robert Stack Kramer
Lorna Patterson Randy
Stephen Stucker Johnny
Jim Abrahams Religious Zealot #6
Frank Ashmore Victor Basta
Jonathan Banks Gunderson
Craig Berenson Paul Carey
Barbara Billingsley Jive Lady
Lee Bryant Mrs. Hammen
Joyce Bulifant Mrs. Davis
Mae E. Campbell Security Lady
Ted Chapman Airport Steward
Norman Alexander Gibbs First Jive Dude
Marcy Goldman Mrs. Geline
Rossie Harris Joey
David Hollander Young Boy with Coffee
James Hong Japanese General
Howard Honig Jack
Gregory Itzin Religious Zealot #1
Howard Jarvis Man in Taxi
Michael Laurence Newscaster
David Leisure First Krishna
Barbara Mallory Religious Zealot #2
Maureen McGovern Nun
Nora Meerbaum Cocaine Lady
Mary Mercier Shirley
Ethel Merman Lt. Hurwitz
Ann Nelson Handing Lady
John O'Leary Reporter #2
Cyril O'Reilly Soldier
Nicholas Pryor Mr. Hammen
Conrad Palmisano Religious Zealot #4
Michelle Stacy Young Girl with Coffee
Robert Starr Religious Zealot #5
Barbara Stuart Mrs. Kramer
Kenneth Tobey Air Controller Neubauer
William Tregoe Jack Kirkpatrick
Jill Whelan Lisa Davis
White Second Jive Dude
Jason Wingreen Dr. Brody
Louise Yaffe Mrs. Jaffe
Charlotte Zucker Make-Up Lady
David Zucker Ground Crewman #1
Jerry Zucker Ground Crewman #2
Allison Caine Voice Only
Herb Voland Air Controller Macias
Maurice Hill Reporter 3

Technical Credits
Jim Abrahams Director,Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Jerry Zucker Director,Executive Producer,Screenwriter
David Zucker Director,Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Elmer Bernstein Score Composer
Joseph Biroc Cinematographer
Jon Davison Producer
Fred Smith Camera Operator
Patrick Kennedy Editor
Bruce Logan Special Effects
Hunt Lowry Associate Producer
Tom Mahoney Choreography
Anne McCulley Set Decoration/Design
Rosanna Norton Costumes/Costume Designer
Tom Overton Sound/Sound Designer
Ward Preston Production Designer
Arne Schmidt Asst. Director
Joel Thurm Casting
Jesse Wayne Stunts

Read More


Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Airplane! 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Featuring an all-star cast and a writing/directing staff second to none, Airplane!, a spoof on the Airport series of the 1970s (as well as several other 70’s disaster flicks), is without doubt the funniest movie ever made. Ted Striker (Robert Hays) still suffers from war flashbacks and is scared to fly as a result. However, he is willing to fly to make sure that his girlfriend, Elaine (Julie Hagarty), a stewardess, does not leave him. All (well not quite all) is well until, mid-flight, the captain and crew suffer from food poisoning, leaving only Striker (and the auto-pilot) to fly the plane. The flight continues with one hilarious disaster after another, but the movie also takes time to introduce us to the passengers. From the singing nun to the “Jive Dudes,” every person on the plane has a new, interesting, and side-splitting story. And of course, no comedy is complete without a little deadpan humor from Lloyd Bridges (“I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue”) and Leslie Nielson (“It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now”) – and Airplane! is chock full of it. This movie probably has the best collection of deadpan humor of any ever made; almost every character gets in on it. Also starring are Peter Graves as the perverse Captain Oveur, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the captain’s right-hand man Murdock, and Robert Stack as control tower operator Kramer, as well as a small role (the Jive Lady) by Barbara Billingsley (Leave it to Beaver). As far as the production staff goes, well, there’s just none better. Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker, the three-man team consisting of Jerry and David Zucker and Jim Abrahams, had begun their careers only a few years prior to the making of Airplane! with Kentucky Fried Movie. It was Airplane!, however, that caused their careers to soar. Afterwards, the team brought us the Naked Gun series, Top Secret!, and Ruthless People before going their separate ways. All three went on to successful post-ZAZ careers… David Zucker most recently directed Scary Movie 3, Abrahams found success with the Hot Shots duo, and Jerry Zucker recently competed the remake of It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World titled Rat Race. Needless to say, there was enormous creative talent on the staff, as well as the cast, which led to the success of Airplane!. Is there one funnier? Will there ever be one funnier? See the movie and learn for yourself that the answer is most definitely “no!”
Guest More than 1 year ago
With America still licking its wounds from the Vietnam war, runaway inflation, aatronomical unemployment, and a seemingly interminable hostage crisis, 1980 was definitely a year in which America needed some comic relief, and the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker directorial trio DELIVERED! Starting with the Jaws parody and ending with the disgruntled taxi passenger still waiting for his cab ride ('I'll give him another twenty minutes, but that's it!'), Airplane! delivers an unending succession of hysterical one- liners, memorable sight gags, and slapstick comedy unmatched in any comedy film before or since. Robert Hays stars as the war-tempered Ted Striker, who pursues his lost love Elaine Dickinson (played by Julie Hagerty) but ends up conquering his fear of flying by flying a plane headed for certain doom and making 'one of the lousiest landings in the history of this airport.' Particularly memorable are 1950s icon Barbara Billingsley playing the role of 'Jive translator' and air traffic controller Steve McCroskey's (Lloyd Bridges' ) running 'I picked the wrong week to quit (drinking, smoking, etc.)' gag. This movie is to comedy what Shakespeare's Hamlet is to drama!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
So many litte time... a lot of laughs . This movie will make you laugh and laugh after the end with many gags like the air israel , the eggs , 'Grown man naked' question and Kareem Abdul Jabar . He is the only basketball player that knows how to act . If you want to laugh your butt off , go see airplane!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Airplane is the Funniest Movie ever made, the dialouge, the sight gags, eveything is funny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very funny movie
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was chessy but the nudity was unnessecary. All the rest was funny like at the beginning with the spoof of jaws was hilarious.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Airplane! is one of the best movies i have ever watched of all time. At parts i laughed so hard that i almost choked. I thought the Air-Israel joke was classic, but i DO NOT RECOMEND AIRPLANE! 2. Peace.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This film has not stood the test of time. It still has some amusing moments but for the most part it is silly, dumb, or ho-hum. I wondered what I saw in it to begin with.