Aviation Film Almanac - Current Films to Classics

by statman1 | created - 17 May 2011 | updated - 10 months ago | Public

Complete List of Aviation Films - old, new; domestic & foreign. Films with significant aviation themes, not merely a scene or two aboard a plane.

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1. Flightplan (2005)

PG-13 | 98 min | Mystery, Thriller

53 Metascore

A bereaved woman and her daughter are flying home from Berlin to America. At 30,000 feet, the child vanishes, and nobody will admit she was ever on the plane.

Director: Robert Schwentke | Stars: Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean, Kate Beahan

Votes: 138,094 | Gross: $89.71M

2. Flyboys (2006)

PG-13 | 140 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

47 Metascore

The adventures of the Lafayette Escadrille, young Americans who volunteered for the French military before the U.S. entered World War I, and became the country's first fighter pilots.

Director: Tony Bill | Stars: James Franco, Jean Reno, Jennifer Decker, Scott Hazell

Votes: 38,240 | Gross: $13.08M

3. Flight (I) (2012)

R | 138 min | Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

An airline pilot saves almost all his passengers on his malfunctioning airliner which eventually crashed, but an investigation into the accident reveals something troubling.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Denzel Washington, Nadine Velazquez, Don Cheadle, John Goodman

Votes: 289,446 | Gross: $93.77M

4. Battle of Britain (1969)

G | 132 min | Action, Drama, History

In 1940, the British Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle to prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining air superiority over the English Channel as a prelude to a possible Axis invasion of the UK.

Director: Guy Hamilton | Stars: Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Harry Andrews, Curd Jürgens

Votes: 18,054

5. The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)

Approved | 135 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

Charles 'Slim' Lindbergh struggles to finance and design an airplane that will make his New York to Paris flight the first solo transatlantic crossing.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: James Stewart, Murray Hamilton, Patricia Smith, Bartlett Robinson

Votes: 6,357

6. Hell's Angels (1930)

Passed | 127 min | Drama, War

Brothers Monte and Ray leave Oxford to join the Royal Flying Corps. Ray loves Helen; Helen enjoys an affair with Monte; before they leave on their mission over Germany they find her in still another man's arms.

Directors: Howard Hughes, Edmund Goulding, James Whale | Stars: Ben Lyon, James Hall, Jean Harlow, John Darrow

Votes: 4,247

7. Zero Hour! (1957)

Approved | 81 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller

In 1950s Canada, during a commercial flight, the pilots and some passengers suffer food poisoning, thus forcing an ex-WW2 fighter pilot to try to land the airliner in heavy fog.

Director: Hall Bartlett | Stars: Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell, Sterling Hayden, Elroy 'Crazylegs' Hirsch

Votes: 1,111

8. Airplane! (1980)

PG | 88 min | Comedy

78 Metascore

A man afraid to fly must ensure that a plane lands safely after the pilots become sick.

Directors: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker | Stars: Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Votes: 181,141 | Gross: $83.40M

Airplane is based on the movie Zero Hour ('57). Not only same basic plot, but script as well in many places. Amazing as this is considered one of the best comedies of all time.

9. Red Tails (2012)

PG-13 | 125 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

46 Metascore

A crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, are called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard.

Director: Anthony Hemingway | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Gerald McRaney, David Oyelowo, Andre Royo

Votes: 30,883 | Gross: $49.88M

10. Band of Brothers (2001)

TV-MA | 594 min | Action, Drama, History

The story of Easy Company of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division, and their mission in World War II Europe, from Operation Overlord, through V-J Day.

Stars: Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, Shane Taylor

Votes: 289,339

11. Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Not Rated | 121 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

86 Metascore

At a remote South American trading port, the manager of an air freight company is forced to risk his pilots' lives in order to win an important contract.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth, Richard Barthelmess

Votes: 10,264

12. Krylya (1966)

85 min | Drama

A fascinating and human portrayal of a once-famous fighter pilot and loyal Stalinist named Nadezhda Petrovna. Now a 41-year-old provincial schoolmistress, she has so internalized the ... See full summary »

Director: Larisa Shepitko | Stars: Mayya Bulgakova, Sergey Nikonenko, Zhanna Bolotova, Panteleymon Krymov

Votes: 1,278

13. The Great Waldo Pepper (1975)

PG | 107 min | Adventure, Drama

A biplane pilot who had missed flying in WWI takes up barnstorming and later a movie career in his quest for the glory he had missed, eventually getting a chance to prove himself in a film ... See full summary »

Director: George Roy Hill | Stars: Robert Redford, Bo Svenson, Bo Brundin, Susan Sarandon

Votes: 4,712 | Gross: $20.64M

14. Amelia (2009)

PG | 111 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

37 Metascore

A look at the life of legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart, who disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 in an attempt to make a flight around the world.

Director: Mira Nair | Stars: Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor, Christopher Eccleston

Votes: 10,941 | Gross: $14.24M

15. Red Eye (2005)

PG-13 | 85 min | Mystery, Thriller

71 Metascore

A woman is kidnapped by a stranger on a routine flight. Threatened by the potential murder of her father, she is pulled into a plot to assist her captor in offing a politician.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox, Laura Johnson

Votes: 101,828 | Gross: $57.89M

16. One Six Right (2005)

G | 73 min | Documentary

A documentary film that celebrates the unsung hero of aviation - the local airport - by tracing the life, history, and struggles of an airport icon: Southern California's Van Nuys Airport. ... See full summary »

Director: Brian J. Terwilliger | Stars: Hal Fishman, Lily Gagnier, Lucas Gragnier, Desiree Horton

Votes: 384

17. Into the White (I) (2012)

R | 104 min | Action, Biography, Drama

Norway, WWII: A group of British and German soldiers find themselves stranded in the wilderness after an aircraft battle. Finding shelter in the same cabin, they realize the only way to survive the winter is to place the rules of war aside.

Director: Petter Næss | Stars: Florian Lukas, David Kross, Lachlan Nieboer, Stig Henrik Hoff

Votes: 17,207 | Gross: $0.00M

18. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

PG | 95 min | Comedy

96 Metascore

An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a War Room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn

Votes: 394,484 | Gross: $0.28M

19. Top Gun (1986)

PG | 110 min | Action, Drama, Romance

50 Metascore

As students at the United States Navy's elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young pilot learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Tom Cruise, Tim Robbins, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer

Votes: 246,643 | Gross: $179.80M

20. The Aviator (2004)

PG-13 | 170 min | Biography, Drama, History

77 Metascore

A biopic depicting the early years of legendary Director and aviator Howard Hughes' career from the late 1920s to the mid 1940s.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly

Votes: 294,146 | Gross: $102.61M

21. Sky Kids (2008)

PG-13 | 118 min | Action, Adventure

Two boys from a small town find their courage tested when they accidentally stow away aboard an airplane owned by the mob.

Director: Rocco DeVilliers | Stars: Jesse James, Reiley McClendon, Stephen Baldwin, Tom Sizemore

Votes: 2,880

22. United 93 (2006)

R | 111 min | Drama, History, Thriller

90 Metascore

A real-time account of the events on United Flight 93, one of the planes hijacked on September 11th, 2001 that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when passengers foiled the terrorist plot.

Director: Paul Greengrass | Stars: David Alan Basche, Olivia Thirlby, Liza Colón-Zayas, J.J. Johnson

Votes: 89,683 | Gross: $31.57M

23. Piece of Cake (1988– )

312 min | Drama, War

Stories of the men of the RAF Hornet Squadron during the early days of World War II.

Stars: Neil Dudgeon, George Anton, Boyd Gaines, Jeremy Northam

Votes: 641

24. Dark Blue World (2001)

R | 112 min | War, Drama, Action

56 Metascore

The friendship of two men becomes tested when they both fall for the same woman.

Director: Jan Sverák | Stars: Ondrej Vetchý, Krystof Hádek, Tara Fitzgerald, Charles Dance

Votes: 5,071 | Gross: $0.26M

25. Independence Day (1996)

PG-13 | 145 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

59 Metascore

The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind's best weapon is the will to survive.

Director: Roland Emmerich | Stars: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell

Votes: 475,298 | Gross: $306.17M

26. Operation Crossbow (1965)

PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Drama, War

Allied agents attempt to infiltrate the Nazis' rocket research site.

Director: Michael Anderson | Stars: Sophia Loren, George Peppard, Trevor Howard, John Mills

Votes: 3,597

27. Midway (1976)

PG | 132 min | Action, Drama, History

A dramatization of the battle that was widely heralded as a turning point of the Pacific Theatre of World War II.

Director: Jack Smight | Stars: Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Glenn Ford

Votes: 15,116

28. Flight 93 (2006 TV Movie)

PG-13 | 89 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Flight 93 is the story of the heroic passengers that took back their plane in an effort to stop a 9-11 terrorist attack.

Director: Peter Markle | Stars: Jeffrey Nordling, Brennan Elliott, Kendall Cross, Ty Olsson

Votes: 8,215

29. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Approved | 170 min | Drama, Romance, War

92 Metascore

Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Fredric March, Teresa Wright

Votes: 50,431 | Gross: $23.65M

30. The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club (2009 Video)

Not Rated | 65 min | Documentary

A documentary profile of Pasadena society girl turned adventurer and aviator, Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes. In the 1920's and 30's, Barnes was Hollywood's top woman stunt pilot. In the ... See full summary »

Director: Amanda Pope | Stars: Tom Skerritt, Kathy Bates, Buzz Aldrin, Jordan Black

Votes: 53

31. Porco Rosso (1992)

PG | 94 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

83 Metascore

In 1930s Italy, a veteran World War I pilot is cursed to look like an anthropomorphic pig.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Shûichirô Moriyama, Tokiko Katô, Bunshi Katsura Vi, Tsunehiko Kamijô

Votes: 57,084

32. I'm So Excited! (2013)

R | 90 min | Comedy

55 Metascore

When it appears as though the end is in sight, the pilots, flight crew, and passengers of a plane heading to Mexico City look to forget the anguish of the moment and face the greatest danger, which we carry within ourselves.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar | Stars: Javier Cámara, Pepa Charro, Cecilia Roth, Lola Dueñas

Votes: 19,433 | Gross: $1.37M

33. Volar (2012)

94 min | Documentary

Add a Plot

Director: Carla Subirana

Votes: 8

34. Pearl Harbor (2001)

PG-13 | 183 min | Action, Drama, History

44 Metascore

A tale of war and romance mixed in with history. The story follows two lifelong friends and a beautiful nurse who are caught up in the horror of an infamous Sunday morning in 1941.

Director: Michael Bay | Stars: Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale, Josh Hartnett, William Lee Scott

Votes: 281,773 | Gross: $198.54M

35. Collision Course (2012)

90 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Kate Parks has spent the past year on tour promoting her book, an in-depth look at the attempted cover up of her husband's death in a plane crash. Now all she wants is to return home to her... See full summary »

Director: Fred Olen Ray | Stars: David Chokachi, Tia Carrere, Meghan McLeod, Tim Abell

Votes: 386

36. End of the Spear (2005)

PG-13 | 108 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

45 Metascore

Two people come to the end of a spear in order to realize that the divisions between them are not real.

Director: Jim Hanon | Stars: Louie Leonardo, Chad Allen, Jack Guzman, Christina Souza

Votes: 4,611 | Gross: $11.97M

37. The Right Stuff (1983)

PG | 193 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

91 Metascore

The story of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and their macho, seat-of-the-pants approach to the space program.

Director: Philip Kaufman | Stars: Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid

Votes: 49,876 | Gross: $21.50M

38. Catch-22 (1970)

R | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, War

A man is trying desperately to be certified insane during World War II, so he can stop flying missions.

Director: Mike Nichols | Stars: Alan Arkin, Martin Balsam, Richard Benjamin, Art Garfunkel

Votes: 18,870 | Gross: $24.91M

39. Flying Tigers (1942)

Approved | 102 min | Action, Drama, Romance

Capt. Jim Gordon's command of the famed American mercenary fighter group in China is complicated by the recruitment of an old friend who is a reckless hotshot.

Director: David Miller | Stars: John Wayne, John Carroll, Anna Lee, Paul Kelly

Votes: 3,007

40. Island in the Sky (1953)

Approved | 109 min | Adventure, Drama

A C-47 transport plane, named the Corsair, makes a forced landing in the frozen wastes of Labrador, and the plane's pilot, Captain Dooley, must keep his men alive in deadly conditions while waiting for rescue.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: John Wayne, Lloyd Nolan, Walter Abel, James Arness

Votes: 2,725

41. Up in the Air (I) (2009)

R | 109 min | Drama, Romance

83 Metascore

Ryan Bingham enjoys living out of a suitcase for his job, travelling around the country firing people, but finds that lifestyle threatened by the presence of a potential love interest, and a new hire.

Director: Jason Reitman | Stars: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman

Votes: 290,868 | Gross: $83.82M

42. Fly Away Home (1996)

PG | 107 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

A father and daughter decide to attempt to lead a flock of orphaned Canada Geese south by air.

Director: Carroll Ballard | Stars: Jeff Daniels, Anna Paquin, Dana Delany, Terry Kinney

Votes: 21,341 | Gross: $24.51M

43. The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)

Not Rated | 142 min | Adventure, Drama

After a plane crash in the Sahara, one of the survivors says he's an airplane designer and they can make a flyable plane from the wreckage.

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch, Hardy Krüger

Votes: 17,038

44. Fail-Safe (1964)

Not Rated | 112 min | Drama, Thriller

American planes are sent to deliver a nuclear attack on Moscow, but it's a mistake due to an electrical malfunction. Can all-out war be averted?

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau, Fritz Weaver, Dan O'Herlihy

Votes: 16,702

45. Pioneers in Aviation (2001 Video)

85 min | Documentary

Profiles two of America's legendary aerospace pioneers: William Boeing and Donald Douglas. Interweaving the stories of the two men and the companies they founded, "PIONEERS" features rare ... See full summary »

Director: William Winship | Star: Brad Curtis

Votes: 9

46. The Hunters (1958)

Approved | 108 min | Action, Drama, Romance