A bomber on board an airplane, an airport almost closed by snow, and various personal problems of the people involved.


George Seaton, Henry Hathaway (uncredited)


Arthur Hailey (from the novel by), George Seaton (written for the screen by)
4,152 ( 498)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Lancaster ... Mel Bakersfeld
Dean Martin ... Vernon Demerest
Jean Seberg ... Tanya Livingston
Jacqueline Bisset ... Gwen Meighen
George Kennedy ... Patroni
Helen Hayes ... Ada Quonsett
Van Heflin ... D.O. Guerrero
Maureen Stapleton ... Inez Guerrero
Barry Nelson ... Anson Harris
Dana Wynter ... Cindy
Lloyd Nolan ... Harry Standish
Barbara Hale ... Sarah Demerest
Gary Collins ... Cy Jordan
John Findlater ... Peter Coakley
Jessie Royce Landis ... Mrs. Harriet DuBarry Mossman


This precursor to later "epic" 70's disaster films illustrates 12 hours in the lives of the personnel and passengers at the "Lincoln Airport." Endless problems, professional and personal, are thrown at the various personnel responsible for the safe and proper administration of air traffic, airline management and aviation at a major US airport. Take one severe snowstorm, add multiple schedules gone awry, one elderly Trans Global Airlines stowaway, shortages, an aging, meretricious pilot, unreasonable, peevish spouses, manpower issues, fuel problems, frozen runways and equipment malfunctions and you get just a sample of the obstacles faced by weary, disgruntled personnel and passengers at the Lincoln Airport. Toss in one long-suffering pilot's wife, several stubborn men, office politics and romance and one passenger with a bomb and you have the film "Airport" from 1970. Written by LA-Lawyer

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The #1 novel of the year - now a motion picture!


Action | Drama | Thriller


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


At the request of Dean Martin, Petula Clark was originally offered the role of Gwen Meighen. See more »


Capt. Benson, the pilot of the Boeing 707 that gets stuck just off the runway, says "You might tell your mechanic that I've got three million miles in the air". Pilots do not their state experience level as "...miles in the air". Rather, they state it as "...hours in the air". All pilots are required by the FAA to keep a record of their total flight hours in a personal Pilot Logbook. See more »


Joe Patroni: You chickened out on me! I told you I wanted all the power you got!
Capt. Benson: Full throttle and this plane would be standing on its nose.
Joe Patroni: You might fly these things but I take them apart and put them back together again. If you had any guts we'd be on the runway by now.
Capt. Benson: You felt it vibrating? Another 10 seconds and we'd have had structural damage.
Joe Patroni: Who do ya think you're talking to, some kid that fixes bicycles? I know every inch of the 707! Take the wings off this and you could use it as a TANK! This plane ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Cosmetics by Universal Pictures Professional Cosmetics" See more »

Alternate Versions

TV prints and early videotape pan and scan versions have alterations beyond simple pan and scan. On some of the multi image scenes, instead of panning to the image best serving the scene, they substitute a full screen version of that segment that was originally part of the multi image shot. Like the scene where Burt Lancaster is talking to his wife and 2 daughters all at once. The theatrical version(and present wide screen DVD) maintained images of his wife, him and both daughters separately(recent pan and scan editions temporarily letterbox or otherwise modify the theatrical composition). On the early TV and video versions, only the person talking is seen in a full screen shot used for that multi image shot(showing more image information then when it was composed as part of the theatrical multi image shot). Also, on the split screen shot of Dean Martin in a cab and Jackie Bisset getting out of the shower, the split screen is recomposed for 4:3, cropping each image to better fit. See more »


Spoofed in Queen Kong (1976) See more »

User Reviews

First-class entertainment.
17 September 2009 | by vip_ebriegaSee all my reviews

My Take: A bit cheesy and stodgy at times, but so old-fashioned, it's very entertaining.

Although it's been acknowledged that it began the disaster movie craze in the 1970's, AIRPORT was more melodrama than a real disaster movie. In fact, the main disaster, about a mad bomber on a plane, takes backstage to everyday "disasters"; the drama of different people set on a busy, snowy night at the airport. Although its rather trite by today's standards, AIRPORT is an excellent relic of pure 70's cinema. Hate to bring up a cliché but they don't make 'em like this anymore!

It's a busy winter night at Lincoln International Airport. A 707 takes a shortcut across the runway and gets stuck in the snow. Airport manager Mel Bakersfield (Burt Lancaster) sorts out the problem (with a little help from , while at the same time having a few problems with his angry wife (Dana Wynter). Meanwhile, pilot Vernon Demerest (Dean Martin), married to Bakersfield's sister (Barbara Hale), is having an affair with stewardess Gwen Meighen (Jacqueline Bisset). Back on the ground, Bakersfield's assistant Tanya (Jean Seaberg) is having a few problems with a stubborn elderly stowaway Ada Quonsett (Helen Hayes, in an Oscar-winning role), whose not the nice old lady you think she is. Meanwhile, desperate loose cannon Guerrero (Van Heflin) boards a plane (not to coincidentally, the plane piloted by Martin) with a suspicious suitcase. Add to that, the airport struggles to stay open despite a devastating winter storm and the bickering of angry homeowners and engineer Joe Patroni (George Kennedy) struggles to move the trapped airliner to clear the path of the runway. Whew! Now that's more plot than you'll ever find in one soap opera!

Based on the novel by Arthur Hailey, and written for the screen by George Seaton (who also directed), AIRPORT tries its best to balance these several stories (as advertised, that's seven stories!) together. Although the movie's several subplots tend to be too crowded and therefore a bit confusing, the movie still plays along just fine, moving along from one subplot to another without harming the film's overall narrative, and all is resolved in the end. But AIRPORT is nothing without its legendary cast (which the advertisements proclaim: "The biggest cast ever assembled for a Universal Picture"). They surely won't be able to do this kind of casting today without risking half a film's budget. That, along with the tuneful score by Alfred Newman and a witty old-school screenplay, give AIRPORT that irresistible old-fashioned charm that makes it still worth seeing.

Rating: **** out of 5.

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English | Italian

Release Date:

5 March 1970 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

Airport See more »


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)| Mono (35 mm optical prints)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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