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Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

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A man must struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving with an obnoxious slob of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Waitress (as Susan Kellerman)
Martin (as George O. Petrie)


All that Neal Page wants to do is to get home for Thanksgiving. His flight has been cancelled due to bad weather, so he decides on other means of transport. As well as bad luck, Neal is blessed with the presence of Del Griffith, shower curtain ring salesman and all-around blabbermouth who is never short of advice, conversation, bad jokes, or company. And when he decides that he is going the same direction as Neal.... Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Steve Martin had no reason to panic...until John Candy came along. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 November 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Planes, Trains and Automobiles  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)


$49,230,280 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Marathon Car Rental scene is exactly one minute long from the time Steve Martin starts his tirade, to the time the attendant ends the scene. In that 60 seconds, the word "fucking" is used 18 times, that word is only said in that scene. See more »


Del and Neil travel in a hire care from St Louis to Chicago but it seems like they are traveling for a very long time indeed. Long enough for it to get dark. Granted it is meant to be in the autumn/fall but even then. St Louis to Chicago is only 4.5 hours away in the car and it is a single interstate road to get there. Considering after the car goes on fire and they have to spend the night in a motel, they travel for a bit more but then in the truck they still have 3 hours to go! Highly improbable that all those incidents happened within the space of the first 1.5 hours from setting off from St Louis. See more »


Del: You wanna hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I'm an easy target. Yeah, you're right, I talk too much. I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you... but I don't like to hurt people's feelings. Well, you think what you want about me; I'm not changing. I like... I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. 'Cause I'm the real article. What you see is what you get.
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Crazy Credits

After all the end credits, we get to see advertising exec William Windom in the office as in the scene in the beginning of the movie, still examining the pictures Neal Page were waiting for him to get through with at that point. See more »


Power to Believe
Written by Nick Laird-Clowes and Gilbert Gabriel
Performed by The Dream Academy
Produced by Hugh Padgham and Nick Laird-Clowes
Courtesy of Reprise Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Arguably the best comedy of the 1980s
2 June 2004 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

The greatness and pure genius of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" is that, while it is uproariously hilarious, it also reveals great hurt and truth - unlike any comedy I have ever seen before or since.

Scenes such as those in the Bravewood Inn are classics. The argument between Neal and Del is the turning point in the film, and it is the first time that the audience realizes that they are in for more than they thought they were. There are certain elements of tenderness, heart, agony, conflict, and heartfelt emotion in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" that make it transcend the genre.

Steve Martin and John Candy don't just act; they embody themselves so deeply in their characters that it almost sets a standard for how comedic pairings should be. Line them up next to Chris Farley and David Spade and the differences are astronomical. Watching Steve Martin is like acting a comedian at the top of his game. Just watch his reactions. The facial reaction from Steve in response to Del's comeback in the Bravewood Inn is perfect; we understand what Neal is going through, and Steve Martin lets us know this by placing himself in a recognizable area. We also understand Del, and that is really the key to this movie: Being able to identify with both characters almost equally. How often can you say that about buddy pictures? I don't ever feel much sympathy for Chris Farley, if that means anything.

John Candy remains one of the most underrated and underwritten film comedians of all time. Offered constant mediocre scripts during the eighties and early nineties, all the way up until his death in 1994, he could make the material something more, something watchable. I recently viewed "Funny Farm," a painfully unfunny film to sit through. I imagined what John Candy could have done with Chevy Chase's role, and I found myself laughing. Why? Because John Candy can make anything watchable. Just how many times would you watch "Summer Rental" or "The Great Outdoors" if the lead actor was Jim Carrey?

There's some important content in this film, but it is never overpowered by laughs, nor vice versa. They go hand-in-hand. I come back to the Bravewood Inn argument scene. After the hilarious, ongoing insults Neal throws at Del, Del responds and says, "You wanna hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I'm an easy target. Yeah, you're right, I talk too much. But I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynical like you, but I don't like to hurt people's feelings. So you go right on and think what you like about me. But I'm not changing. I - I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. 'Cause I'm the real deal. Whatcha see is whatcha get." It's creepy how much dramatic, emotional and truthful subtext sneaks into this film, and yet it only makes it all the better for it. "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" is my favorite Comedy, yes I know that I have said it before. But, it is a serious comedy that has both heart and is hilarious at the same time. Entertainment at it's best. And isn't that what movies are all about?

5/5 stars.

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Would you have brought Del home? peterpulanski
a professional shower curtain ring seller? ichabodcrane370
Final Scene: Heartwarming or Sad? federeragassi
I just read the whole full unedited script and I gotta say.... shellyturtle1981
Do you think Neil got Del a job? ducas123
Neal's missing rental car themoviemaverick-1
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