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Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  25 November 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 84,401 users  
Reviews: 358 user | 100 critic

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)
George Petrie ...
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


Pack in the Laughter! 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


$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?


John Hughes, in an interview on the 'Those Aren't Pillows' DVD edition, said he was inspired to write the film's story after an actual flight from New York to Chicago he was on was diverted to Wichita Kansas, thus taking him 5 days to get home. See more »


On the bus the child running up and down the aisle accidentally conks the woman sitting in the front seat hard on top of her head with the handle of the toy he is playing with. Watch her eyes to see both how startled she was and also, to her credit, how determined she was not to let it show. 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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits after the title, which scrolls across the screen like a plane, train, and automobile. See more »


Referenced in American Dad!: Brains, Brains and Automobiles (2009) See more »


Written by Chris Hillman & Gram Parsons (as Graham Parsons)
Performed by Stars of Heaven
Produced by Paul Barrett
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

John Hughes best adult comedy
29 December 1999 | by (Toronto, Ontario) – See all my reviews

John Candy was a comic genius. He really was. Never was his talent on display better than it was in this film. John Hughes and John Candy went on to develop what I can only surmise was quite the friendship because Candy appeared in many Hughes films either as the star ( this one, Uncle Buck, Great Outdoors ) or with a cameo ( Home Alone, Vacation and a few others that I can't think of right now, but check the IMDb and you'll see that he did ). But of all the films that Candy did, including Stripes, I don't think he has ever been as good and as funny as he was in here. If there was any justice in the Academy ( and we all know that is an oxymoron, Academy and justice ) then Candy would have at least been nominated for best actor in 1987. I think Douglas won that year for Wall Street and he deserved to but Candy was brilliant in this film. It was a shame to see his career cut short because even in his bad films he was good. This is his best and most complete role. He will be missed but at least we have great roles like this to remember him by.

Planes.... is a film about one man trying to get home for the American Thanksgiving. He is Neil Page and he is played with perfect smugness by Steve Martin. He is a work-a-holic and his lifestyle is that of many John Hughes family men that live in suburbia Chicago. He lives in a huge house, much like the one in Home Alone and Weird Science, and his family is a beautiful one that consists of a lovely wife and three kids. But he is never home and for all of his success professionally, it is the kind of family that although is together now, it may not survive the fast approaching 90's if Neil Page continues his ways.

John Candy plays Dell Griffith. He is a jolly man, much like Santa Clause but without the beard and the old age. This is a man that carries a giant trunk around with him and is a constant chatter box. He is the kind of man that you know is good at sales, but on a lower level. He is too much of a slob to really be a corporate sales guy. Of course this Laurel and Hardy pair cross paths and from here on out Neil's simple task of getting home to his family for Thanksgiving is going to be a journey from hell.

First of all he loses his cab in New York rush hour to Candy who unwittingly steals it from him, then he is bumped from first class and ends up sitting next to Candy on the plane. Then they are delayed because of weather problems and what do you know, they end up spending the night together in not only the same hotel, not only the same room but the same bed. This presents all sorts of comic possibilities and Hughes doesn't miss one of them. His comic timing and development of the two characters is brilliant. Some of the best scenes are when the two are bantering and Candy is verbally assaulted by Martin. Martin goes off and says that he is annoying to listen to and then he says this: " You know I could sit through an insurance seminar and still look happy and the others would say how do you do it? And I would say, because I can take anything, I've been with Dell Griffith, and they'd say, " I know what you mean. Whooooo, shower curtain guy! " And as funny as that scene is, Hughes goes for more than the quick payoff of laughter. He then reminds you that this isn't just a comedy but a film with many layers and substance to it. Because the next scene has Candy delivering a monologue that almost makes you embarrassed for laughing at what Martin said.

But truth be told, first and foremost, this is a funny, funny film. And if anyone has scene it, they will tell you about the airport scene where Page has lost his rental car and he comes back and does what we have all dreamed of doing ourselves, he goes ballistic on the person behind the desk, who subsequently is Grace, from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. She must have been fired by Ed Rooney and now rents cars at airports for a living. She plays a desk clerk that has decided to take the Thanksgiving holiday a little sooner that she is supposed to. Martin comes in and she starts by saying, "Can I help you?" Martin replies, "You can start by wiping that f***ing dumbass smile off your rosy f@**ing cheeks. " From there he goes into an F-Word filled tirade about how her company left him in the middle of f***ing nowhere with f****ing keys to a f***ing car that isn't f***ing there. It is one of the funniest moments that I have seen in any film because you don't expect it from a Hughes film.

Planes... is a heart warming film about family, friendship and good will towards men. It is also a wickedly funny movie and it will stand the test of time and I think in 30 or 40 years from now, it may be looked upon as Hughes best film. Candy and Martin are wonderful in here and it is really a treat to watch them work together.

10 out of 10

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One thing I didn't like in the hotel fight motter25420-153-699254
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I just read the whole full unedited script and I gotta say.... shellyturtle1981
plot hole marc-feldstein1
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Neal's missing rental car themoviemaverick-1
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