Airplane! (1980) Poster

(1980)

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10/10
Arguably one of the funniest films ever made
MovieAddict20166 June 2004
"Airplane!" is, was and always shall be the master of spoof movies. It is single-handedly responsible for literally inventing a sub-genre of comedy. It is the ultimate Silly Movie. A satire of the disaster movies of the 1970s, particularly the "Airport" series, nothing makes sense and it doesn't need to. There's no real plot. Just laughs - and plenty of 'em.

It was helmed by the ZAZ trio (Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker), whose dedication to making the audience laugh is surprisingly adamant. Recent spoofs may have left a bad aftertaste in your mouth, but it seems to be a universal agreement: "Airplane" is the funniest film of its genre ever made. (Closely followed by "The Naked Gun" - also penned by the ZAZ trio - perhaps.)

The plot: Ted Striker (Robert Hays) is a war veteran-turned-cab-driver who decides to chase after his girlfriend, an airline stewardess named Elaine (Julie Hagerty), who has dumped him in order to pursue a new life. Right before her plane takes off, Ted climbs aboard, hitching a ride in order to woo her back into a relationship again.

When the aircraft is in midflight, both pilots become very ill after eating their meals. Eventually many passengers begin to show symptoms of a rare disease, apparently transmitted by the food. Onboard, Dr. Rumack (Leslie Nielsen) takes care of the sick passengers as Ted - an ex-fighter pilot from the war - decides to try and land the plane. If he messes up they will all die, and in a particularly funny scene, the pressure becomes so unbearable that he begins to literally sweat gallons in the cockpit.

That is essentially all the film is about, but most of its duration is spent cracking jokes. Spoof films are entirely different from other movies because normally we would criticize a film if it considered its plot to be the least important element. Not so here. This is a truly brainless piece of celluloid - a movie that doesn't try to be anything that it isn't. From the opening credits - that cleverly spoof "JAWS" - to the closing we realize that this is an altogether unique film going experience.

The movie's biggest laughs come through unexpected flashbacks, such as when Ted remembers where he first met Elaine in a crummy bar ("...it was worse than Detroit..."), and begins to disco-dance a la John Travolta from "Saturday Night Fever" (complete with Bee Gees soundtrack blaring in the background and the famous Travolta pose). Then, later, we are taken back to when Ted was hospitalized after the war, and finds out that he was responsible for the death of six men. "Seven, actually," he is informed, which adds to the pain of the moment for him.

Though this movie is very funny, many jokes misfire. If you're not pop culture savvy and you don't remember Mrs. Cleaver from TV's "Leave it to Beaver", the humor is going to go over your head. But unlike many comedies, "Airplane!" offers something unique for each person. I know that as a film lover, I picked up on many movie in-jokes that some people might not recognize. And then there were the gags that I first missed but picked up after a second viewing, or when someone explained them to me, or both. And I'm sure there are many yet that I'm not aware of. It seems that every time I watch it, there's something else to laugh at that I missed previously.

"Airplane!" not only was a huge success in 1980 (the year of its release), spinning off a horde of imitators and one sequel - it was also responsible for crowning Leslie Nielsen "The King of Spoof." Prior to "Airplane!" Nielsen had been a veteran of more serious productions, stemming back to playing cowboys on "The Mickey Mouse Club" and other embarrassing attempts at acting. However, Nielsen later claimed that he had always wanted to do a comedy, even when he first started acting seriously with projects such as the classic "Forbidden Planet" (one of the best science-fiction films ever made). He later reunited with the ZAZ trio for "The Naked Gun" trilogy, appeared in similar spoof films over the years such as "Wrongfully Accused" and "Scary Movie 3," and had his iconic comedy shtick ripped off by many screen veterans - most noticeably by George Gaynes in the unbearable "Police Academy" (1984).

When it comes down to a single evaluation, "Airplane" is simply the best spoof film ever made. It's like a MAD Magazine parody come to life. There are the occasional misfires, but unlike many other spoof film imitators, this one contains far more hits. The deadpan acting is genius and everything else fits into place, resulting in what may arguably be one of the absolute funniest films ever conceived and put on the big screen. And if you decide to watch the movie, don't blink - you might miss a gag or two. The "Police Academies" will come and go but "Airplane!" will never be forgotten.
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10/10
We have clearance, Clarence....
Mister-615 August 1999
It is my understanding that there are still a few people in the world that haven't seen "Airplane!" yet.

Those people probably are still waiting for electricity, indoor plumbing and all the other great advances in humanity, too.

To see "Airplane!" is to take part in the great move to subvert all self-importance in movies, which this film does with great relish (and plenty of corn).

You get a chance to see such "serious" actors as Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack and Leslie Nielsen subvert themselves and their own personnae into near oblivion thanks to the writing/directing team of Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker. Not to mention visual and verbal send-ups of darn near every movie that ever took place in the air, and a few that didn't, but should have.

Kudos to Leslie Nielsen, who with this movie gave himself the greatest reinvention of any actor this century. At one time, he was the very model of stoic sensibility.

I swear. Seriously.

A looooong time ago.

Ten stars. A laugh riot.

And I STILL think this would make a great in-flight movie.
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Still hilarious and fresh decades later
bob the moo28 November 2001
Warning: Spoilers
War pilot Ted Striker boards a flight for the first time since the war in order to stop his relationship with stewardess Elaine breaking up. Unfortunately the fish meal on the flight is bad and causes the crew to go sick leaving the plane on automatic pilot. With Striker the only man on board who can land the plane can he overcome his fears of failure stemming from the war? This without a doubt one of the best comedies of cinema, it is far and away the best spoof ever made - and it was made when this type of humour was still fresh. From the opening moments right down to the closing credits this is hilarious. The plot is a straight spoof of 1970's Airport disaster movies, and is only an excuse for a range of jokes. However the plot is bang on - it's detailed enough that it could be a serious disaster movie and allows the film to poke fun directly at the disasters movies themselves. The cast are perfect. For Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty this represents the best things they've ever done. Both play the straight men for the majority and are relied upon to take it all seriously and drive the plot while jokes occur all round them, that said they deliver many themselves but always straight faced. Nielsen and Bridges are also spot on as stereotypical doctor and traffic control guy who "chose the wrong day to give up drinking"! They are both so straight faced that they make the whole thing seem even more silly. Robert Stack is excellent as the man brought in to talk the plane down, playing the butch masculine figure ignoring all the madness around him. Also on the ground, Stephen Stucker is great as the camp controller who delivers many brilliant one liners as he walks through scenes. Peter Graves and Kareen Abdul Jabbar are great as two of the pilots that almost are in a different movie the things they say! The film is a spot on spoof of disaster movies, making fun of the many clichés of the genre - the nuns on board, the sick child, the "only man who can land the plane", the poisoned food etc. But it does more than just poke fun at these - it is hilarious in it's own right. All the cast deliver their lines brilliantly and the script! The script is excellent - I'm not going to start listing lines but they come so thick and fast that you usually miss something because you're laughing at the last joke.

This is the mould for all spoofs - this is the one to beat. While many spoofs are hit and miss this is almost a total hit. Decades on and many viewings later this is still as fresh and as funny as it ever was. A brilliant, brilliant comedy!
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10/10
the greatest comedy of all time
the-jerk30 March 2005
Airplane is simply the funniest movie of all time. It handles the broad range of parody, satire, and plain silliness expertly, and has some of the greatest one-liners and sight gags ever put in a movie. Sure some of the jokes are dated, but great comedies (especially parodies) exist in the moment, and you have to expect that. The fact is, enough jokes hit the bullseye that it really is one of those rare movies where you are laughing constantly. I am, at least. This movie launched Leslie Nielsen's career as a comedy actor, although he still hasn't made anything this good (Naked Gun comes closest, but it's still light years away from this). Do any movies come close to hitting the zenith that this one does? "Young Frankenstein" comes close, but even the best Mel Brooks film doesn't top this. There has simply never been a funnier movie than "Airplane!" and for that, it deserves to be considered one of the greatest MOVIES of all time (I know for many people that's a stretch, but I stand by it; I've been watching it my whole life and there's still nothing I flat-out enjoy watching more).
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9/10
An Undoubted Classic
mjw230515 January 2005
Still one of funniest spoof movies ever made, Airplane is one of the first and one of the best around.

Hot Shots, Loaded Weapon even Naked Gun have tried to follow in its footsteps, but they have failed to hit the mark. That's not to say that they are bad movies, just that its difficult to follow a movie of this calibre.

Spoof movies definitely have there place in everyone's collection, but this is probably the best you'll ever see in the genre, if you have never seen it and you fancy a laugh, I can't recommend a better film, even though it has dated; it's still hilarious 9/10
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10/10
The original spoof classic!
Michael DeZubiria7 May 2003
Unfortunately, Airplane! has been, for me, one of those comedies that I have seen so many times in the video store that its appeal has gradually worn down to almost nothing, resulting in a total absence of interest in renting it. I eventually watched it one day because I worked at the video store and could rent movies for free, and was continuing on my desperate attempt to watch every movie in the store (a goal which continues to this day, although by now I've come to realize that it's never going to happen). During my quest, by the way, I also saw the old 1970 film Airport, probably ten years after having seen parts of Airplane!, and realized that this is one of the many movies that inspired Airplane!

In general, I'm a little cautious about movies that have exclamation points in the titles, but Airplane! is without a doubt one of the funniest movies ever made. Consider, for example, those little montages that studios sometimes put together and put at the beginning of movies when they come out on videotape, honoring the great movies that the studio has made in the past. They show lots of memorable clips from their old movies (and I always write all of these titles down, determined to watch them all, and then promptly lose the list that I made) to remind you how great they are. I had a good time watching Airplane! and picking out how many scenes are in the movie that can and do go into those memorable montages.

Airplane! is made up of a series of hilarious scenes that string together a thin shoestring plot, which ironically speaks in the movie's defense. In general, movies with weak stories that are driven along by comedic stunts and pranks and whatnot tend to be pretty weak, but Airplane! is not driven by stunts to cover a weak story as much as the quality of the stunts and the slapstick comedy is so good that they overshadow everything else. It's interesting to watch someone like Robert Stack so many years ago and see that he looked and talked exactly like he did in Unsolved Mysteries so many years later, a show the seriousness of which boggles the mind, given that it's hosted by someone who did so well in a movie like this one.

My favorite thing about this movie is, obviously, the huge amount of sound bytes that comes from it, just the cleverness of the way it was written and put together. You have the main character's `drinking problem,' the airport announcers (`Listen, Betty, don't start up with your white zone sh*t again…'), the stress of the people investigating the situation on the plane (`Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking/drinking/amphetamines.'), the plays on words (`There's a problem at the control tower!' `What is it?' `It's the big tower where the air traffic controllers talk to the planes.'), that one airport employee who was suspiciously bubbly and excited throughout the entire movie (while providing some of its best comedy), and then of course were the situational gags, such as Robert Stack pulling off his sunglasses to reveal another pair underneath (arguably the most famous scene in the entire film).

This is a movie where a list like this could go on and on, and I'm sure if you go to the memorable quotes page on the IMDb you'll find a gigantic list of hilarious quotes from the movie there. It is no secret that this is something of a childish and immature comedy, but it is smartly written and has so many great scenes and bits of dialogue that it's one of those rare movies that makes you want to take notes so you won't forget a lot of the lines. It is one of the earlier versions of Leslie Nielsen's spoofs, a genre in itself which went on to tremendous success with lots of great (and some not so great) spoofs to follow.
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10/10
One of the best all-time, roll with laughter movies!
jif9131 January 2005
If you really need a good laugh out loud movie, to make you feel good, this is one of them! The 1st time we saw this movie, on cable, not long after it came out, we were rolling with laughter! This movie was one of the all-time best, with Lloyd Bridges, and that crazy air traffic controllers' scenes were the funniest. With every line of the movie having a comeback, and another meaning--this movie ranks up there with the pool scene in Caddyshack as one of the best--you're rolling with laughter! With Lloyd Bridges slowly going insane throughout the movie, with an all-star cast including Robert Hayes,very funny, they even had Ethel Merman doing a cameo, (not long before her death), it was hilarious. Even the sequel came out to be as good as the original.
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10/10
The funniest movie ever? Yes
Chris Allan6 October 2005
Very rarely does a film come out that is as truly brilliant as Airplane. It has everything that a comedy should have. The cast is fantastic, the jokes hilarious and almost constant.

One of the best things about Airplane that I have found is that the jokes are not all obvious, and because of this it has far more re-watchability than most comedies, as every time you watch it you pick up on more of the subtler jokes and background sight gags.

It is a film that manages to cater for almost all tastes in humour, from dry wit to slapstick via spoofery and dark humour. If you haven't seen this film you MUST watch it. This is one of those few films that everybody can enjoy. It's fairly rare to find a comedy the whole family can enjoy, most are either unsuitable for children or too childish for adults, but Airplane manages to find that balance where all ages can enjoy it.

In conclusion, if you have yet to see this film, watch it. If you have seen it, watch it again.
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8/10
"I am serious... and don't call me Shirley."
Ryan13 February 2005
In a tense moment where Ted Striker (Robert Hays) needs to land an airplane where the pilots (Peter Graves and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) have fallen sick, and several passengers need to get off the airplane for various reasons, all Striker can think to himself (with an echo in his mind, of course) is "I've got to concentrate... concentrate... concentrate... I've got to concentrate... concentrate... concentrate... Hello?... hello... hello... Echo... echo... echo... Pinch hitting for Pedro Borbon... Manny Mota... Mota... Mota..." That pretty much sums up the seriousness of Airplane!, the lampoon of the 1970s Airport movies, and pretty much every other disaster movie pumped out by Hollywood. The same guys who pieced together the Naked Gun movies write and direct this silly movie. Most of the jokes need to be seen to be properly experienced, the first rate actors are what brings the laughs. Robert Stack plays it straight, over-the-top straight, as a problem solver for the airline who happens to wear 2 pairs of sunglasses at all times. Stack's comedic timing and deadpan delivery bring out some of the biggest laughs of the film. Lloyd Bridges is the over-worked, over-stressed traffic controller who has picked the wrong week to stop drinking, smoking, and sniffing glue. And Leslie Neilson plays a doctor who has an acute sense for the obvious, surely one who could save the passengers and airline crew if they land safely, just don't call him Shirley. A few cheap laughs, a few misses, but over all, a pretty funny movie. If you like The Naked Gun, you'll like Airplane!
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9/10
A hilarious gem!
mattymatt4ever13 March 2003
This is voted as one of the funniest comedies of all time, and it deserves that honor! The film is filled with hilarious gags! Sure, in every one of these campy farces, there's usually a few gags that are way too silly. In this case, it was the "drinking problem" gag and that annoying gay man who works on Lloyd Bridges' staff. But when I can actually count on my hand how many gags didn't work, that's a good sign. The majority of the film sent me into a frenzy of laughter! One of my favorites is when the blow-up auto-pilot runs out of air and Julie Hagerty blows it back up again. You'll have to see the movie to find out why it was so hilarious! I also got a great kick out of the running gag in which every passenger who listens to Robert Hays ends up killing themselves. This is definitely the Zuckers and Abrahams in top form! Unfortunately, I haven't seen a great spoof in years. The "Scary Movie" films were pretty good, but incredibly lewd and crude. And obviously the Zuckers and Abrahams have much better eyes for satire than the Wayans brothers. I caught "Scary Movie" on cable and watched it a second time, and I didn't laugh nearly as many times as I did the first time. I can watch "Airplane" 200 times and still laugh like there's no tomorrow! The film was made back when comedies didn't go strictly for sex and toilet gags to make an audience laugh. This was back when writers used to employ this quality called "wit." "Kentucky Fried Movie" had some racy gags, but even those were witty for the most part. There is a certain rhythm in every gag that helps make the film work. For example, Lloyd Bridges starts out by saying "I think I picked the wrong day to quit smoking." Then he says he picked the wrong day to quit drinking. And when he finally says "I picked the wrong day to quit amphetamines," I was laughing my head off! So basically, you watch a film like this and feel the urge to mail a copy of the video to the Wayans Brothers and whatever crackheads wrote "Not Another Teen Movie," along with a note saying "THIS is how to make a spoof!"

There are so many other gags worth mentioning, including the "Saturday Night Fever" sendup, which is definitely one of the best comic moments caught on film! That scene also contains my favorite line: "I told the guy next to me to pinch me to make sure I wasn't dreaming." After that voice-over, we see the guy next to Robert Hays repulsed and walking away from him. Another great example of perfect comic timing and delivery!

If you want to get some authentic belly laughs--I'm not talking chuckles, but actual LAUGHS!--you must check out "Airplane." Trust me, movies don't get much more original or funny than this!

My score: 9 (out of 10)
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10/10
"It's an Entirely Different Kind of Flying."
nycritic3 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Only the writing/directing team of Jerry and David Zucker and Jim Abrahams could conceive of spoofing a film like ZERO HOUR! while sticking pretty close to its source and garner a smash hit. It's a shame they didn't do more spoofs, or that their output has been rather infrequent, resulting in each of this team making their own movies with varying degrees of success, since there is so much material out there to rip apart from.

Here, it's the fear of flying. That any flight could encounter problems either from the weather or from machinery is nothing new -- it happens, plain and simple. That a shot of the flight depicted here as it flies dangerously close to the Chicago skyline probably won't give anyone a 9/11 jolt nowadays, but the undertone is there. There is a fear of planes, and this movie takes that specific fear and turns it inside out with hysterical results from the opening shot to the closing credits.

Using the premise of ZERO HOUR and the AIRPORT franchise, AIRPLANE brings Ted Stryker, a man who has a neurotic fear of failure and is a war veteran, gets on a plane to get back with his estranged girlfriend Elaine, a stewardess on the flight. That he tells his "tragic" tale to not one, but three people (all who commit suicide) is one of the many laugh-out-loud sequences, but some danger actually ensues when the meals are served and those who have eaten fish fall ill, and this includes the pilots. With no one left to fly this plane, Ted is called into duty and guided by Captain Kramer (whom he hates) he has to fly the plane to safety.

This is, essentially, the bare-bones of the plot. The real stars of the movie are the incessant, mile a minute visual, referential, and verbal jokes that assault the viewer faster than he or she can register. References to classic movies, soap operas, commercials from the 70s ("Jim never drinks a second cup of coffee at home..."), pedophilia, basketball, voice recordings that guide people through airports, outrageous takes on characters from the very movies they are spoofing; in short, nothing is spared here, and it makes for a relentlessly funny movie.

That the actors play it straight makes AIRPLANE even funnier. It's as if they weren't sure as to what exactly were they doing and were trying these waters out on a lark; luckily for them that it paid because not only it made David Zucker's, Jerry Zucker's, and Jim Abrahams' career, it also brought back Leslie Nielsen into the limelight as a deadpan funny man who could deliver ridiculous lines as if it were the real thing. Its success was so evident that it spawned an inferior remake, a slew of similar-toned movies, many of them directed by the Zucker-Zucker-Abrahams team, together or separately. This, however, remains as the spoof movie to watch, the one all spoof movie should measure itself to, and one of the funniest comedies of all time.
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10/10
A Modern American Classsic for the Ages!!!
Tim Rollins22 August 2005
The first time I saw this was at a sneak peek with my fiancée in 1980. I laughed so hard that it drove Deseret News film critic Christopher Hicks nuts; I believe he had to come back a second night – as did most of us – in order to catch most of the gags, they were flying at us so fast and furious.

The genius in this film existed in multiple places and at multiple levels: The Zucker Brothers were able to sell Paramount Pictures on the script of spoofing disaster movies – that was their first big sell – and then, they were able to stand up to studio pressure and not place comedic actors in the roles, but rather, long known dramatic actors who had never before done comedy, thus launching a few new careers, most notably Leslie Nielsen – who before then had best been for his role in the television series of the 1960's The Bold Ones.

What we got is the stuff of which legends were made: Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack, Peter Graves, and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar of the Los Angeles Lakers. Even Jill Whelan of The Love Boat was able to get in on the act by playing a pediatric patient in need of surgery across the country. This movie took non-stop slapstick to a new level never before traveled to. It made fun of so many films – both disaster and non-disaster flicks – which you needed a scorecard in order to keep track of how many.

Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty were simply brilliant in their roles as the star-crossed (or should I say star cross-eyed) lovers who just weren't quite the right fit for one another. Look for cameo appearances by Barbara Billingsley in a role that will surprise you, Jimmie Walker (CBS'Good Times in the 1970's); and for Ethel Merman. I won't tell you where he appears in the film. They will simply crack you up! This is a film that you will want to check out for a week on DVD rental for at least a week in order to catch all the gags and full subtleties and not-so-subtleties of the humor involved. After rental, you will want to BUY a copy of the DVD to keep.

Already honored by the American Film Institute as one of the Top 100 films of all time, this truly is a modern American classic! On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this film an 11/10. ***
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6/10
Don't call me Shirley!
paul2001sw-130 April 2017
'Airplane!' is, above all else, a very silly comedy, a spoof on 1970s-style disaster movies that was later followed by the brilliant 'Police Squad' and the massively successful 'Naked Gun' movies. Not every joke works, but they come thick and fast, and more often than not, the stupider the better. In some ways, the movie harks back to an age when air travel was less routine than today: on the other, it's notable there's a joke about "no-frills" passengers arriving as baggage from as long ago as 1980. And after those 37 years, the film as a whole is still a kind of juvenile fun.
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9/10
A courageous effort in its time
calvinnme5 March 2010
This film could have derailed the careers of everyone involved. For example, people under 40 may not even know that until this movie, Leslie Nielsen was strictly a serious actor in dramas both on TV and in film. Many may watch 1973's"Poseidon Adventure" for the first time today and keep waiting for Nielson - as the captain of the doomed ship - to get up from the dining room table wearing just his heart-covered underwear below the waist, or for him to make that first clueless remark. He never does. But from this film onward, he was strictly a comic actor and a good one. Quite a sharp turn for age 55.

Just think how tight a line you have to walk with such silliness in order to be brilliant versus inane. What could have easily been the first winner of the Razzie Worst Picture award instead was the first major film of its genre and over the last 30 years has inspired some creative as well as mundane imitators. To understand the film's success you have to look at the time in which it was made - late 70's early 80's. The sarcasm of the post-Watergate era in which everything is fair game for ridicule started on TV with Saturday Night Live, and first appeared on the big screen with "Kentucky Fried Movie", but this was the first and best big-budget attempt at such material.

In addition to being the beginning of an era, it is sadly the end of one - one in which we all didn't take ourselves quite so seriously. There is no way today that you could make a movie where people are "speaking jive" as though it were a foreign language or where an Air Israel plane is shown complete with kosher beard. There would be an outcry followed by Congressional hearings. In 1980, there was still a perspective that making fun of certain perceptions and admitting that they are there is a better approach to bringing us all together than just ignoring them and sweeping them under the rug. There's yet another good approach to bringing people together - laughs, of which this film is full.

Just a word of caution - if you've never seen any of the serious airplane disaster movies that preceded this one such as the Airport movies of the 1970's or the 1950's film "High and the Mighty", this film will ruin them for you. They all become comedies. Thus you might want to see them before you see Airplane - or if you want to laugh some more, see Airplane first.
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9/10
The best pure comedy ever made
takalevy10 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The plot of this movie is brilliant. Crew of the airplane get sick and stewardess has to land the plane. But that's not the thing, it's the marvelous jokes! The quantity makes it, not the quality!

I have never laughed so much when watching film as I laughed with this picture. And movies always make you laugh more in the theaters than in home.

Especially funny is the auto-pilot Otto who starts to live his own life when the auto-pilot was switched off. Leslie Nielsen used to be one of the funniest guys in movie business until he made Spy Hard and 2001: Space Travesty.

And all you uncivilized who haven't seen this comedy classic: Watch it!
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9/10
Preposterous and smart, very funny and entertaining
DVR_Brale14 September 2016
I was around ten probably when I first saw this movie. It cracks me up every time I see it; even the trailer. There so much laughing material for grown ups as well as kids. Airplane! and Naked Gun series are my favorite comedy movies. Of course I'm an Leslie Nielsen fan (R.I.P.). These movies are just so much better than nowadays Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and James Franco movies with childish and immature humor.

Now, someone could remark that Airplane! doesn't have sophisticated humor as well. I disagree. I don't think that humor has to be serious in order to be smart. Airplane! (and Naked Gun series) create a world filled with absurdities which protagonists seem to take for granted. Those absurdities are sometimes presented very subtly (nun reading magazine for nuns) but by themselves are not little absurdities. There's much, much more to this humor than to smoking pot, getting laid, cussin' and playing immature and stupid. You don't have to be very bright to enjoy that type of humor. On the other hand, you have to be smart and careful if you want to fully enjoy Airplane!. This movies is *filled* with jokes, lines, facial expressions etc. - that's why Airplane! is so highly re-watchable. It's unlikely you'll notice everything in first watch.

So Jim Abrahams is a genius. He didn't' write a lot, but wrote Naked Gun and Airplane!. He also wrote Top Secret! (notice the exclamation mark) starring Val Kilmer who played Iceman in Top Gun. If you look at Airplane's! cast you'll notice Jim Abrahams playing religious zealot #6. Beautiful Julie Hagerty made this movie extra charming. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar playing co-pilot is funny on it's own. Peter Graves (R.I.P.) was a big gentleman. He started acting back in the 50's! Lloyd Bridges (R.I.P.) started in 40's. They had big on-screen experience before acting in Airplane!. And that's one more reason why Airplane! is so funny; acting is just great. I don't think lesser experienced actors could've done this good job. Leslie Nielsen plays Dr. Rumack. His surprised expression is my favorite one and I believe one of the most famous in the movie history.

You can see that cast and whole film-making crew had a lot of fun while filming Airplane!. The atmosphere is very relaxing, friendly and entertaining. That's why I see this movie every now and then. And so should you - laughing makes you live longer.
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6/10
Wacky comedy with innumerable gags
ma-cortes13 August 2005
Jim Abrahams , Jerry Zucker and his brother David Zucker (ZAZ) are American satirists and writers with successful work along and long time collaborators , they made their own comedy troupe , ¨Kentucky Fried theatre¨. Airplane remains commercially their most hit smash with the exception of ¨Jerry Zucker's Ghost¨ . In the film appears the habitual quirky and lunatic roles , thus : Robert Hays obsessed for events happened long time ago , narrated by means of flashbacks and with a memorable cameo of Ethel Merman ; Julie Haggerty as a flight hostess who must pilot the airplane just like Karen Black in ¨Airport 1975¨(Jack Smight) ; the nutty air controller LLoyd Bridges ; Peter Graves and his children's desires .

The film was realized by the Kentucky group , the ironic humor is originated in the American surrealist comedy since ¨Hellzapoppin¨ (H.C.Potter) , Marx Brothers and W.C. Fields , and being based on the absurd , the lunatic and wacky comedy and , of course , the parody or spoof movie . The picture is an ¨Airport¨ (George Seaton) spoof , the references are continued , the parody is gross out but is also intelligent and audacious . There's one comic gag each ten seconds . Other references besides Airport (based on Arthur Haley novel) are the followings : ¨Jaws¨ with the musical theme by John Williams ; ¨Fever Satuday night¨ with Robert Hays dancing like John Travolta ; ¨From Here to the eternity¨ with Hays and Haggerty imitating the famous kisses on the beach between Burt Lancaster and Debora Kerr ; ¨Rocky¨ with a poster advertising an aged boxer. The film will appeal to wild and unruly humor fans.
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10/10
'Jimmy Do You Like Movie's About Airplanes?
Kieran Green31 October 2005
Airplane! 'what is it? it's a crazy off the wall comedy But that's not important right now! I' must of seen this literal laugh a minute, comedy classic numerous Times, If there was such a contest to see who could quote this film i'am sure I would be the winner! In a nut shell Airplane! is a send up of a lesser known plane in jeopardy movie 'zero hour' and most film classics such as From here to Eternity Jaws, and Saturday night fever. The unintentional 'funny' moments Of the first two airport disaster Films, are done quite well here such as the scene in Airport '75 with The singing nun, the hysterical passenger Etc, But if you don't find this film funny i suggest you should donate your 'funny bones' to a dog shelter:).
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10/10
a really obscure reference
deerudd119 July 2005
Every time I watch this, I seem to see something new going on in the background. There's a scene in the Control Room where Steven Stucker mentions Barbara Stanwyck. A few seconds later he is on the phone shouting to someone about "the barn is on fire". Just figured out the names mentioned were Stanwyck's sons in the Big Valley TV show. Yeah, I'm that old. Speaking of Stucker, unlike seemingly everyone else, I really disliked his character. Whilst the other actors were delivery line with deadpan sincerity, Stucker is flitting around with complete non-sequiters. I understand he was the only one allowed to ad-lib...it shows. I also agree with previous comment that there is a lot of "High and the Mighty" being spoofed. Especially John Wayne's flashbacks and the trucks on the flight line
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9/10
A truly great comedy
Prichards123459 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The gags from this film are so well known it would be trite to quote them in my summary! Getting straight actors like Leslie Neilsen, Robert Stack and Lloyd Bridges to play comedy is a master stroke. Neilsen revealed an unexpected genius for straight-faced line delivery of absurd bon-mots, Stack is hilarious in that scene where he beats up all the airport charity collectors and Bridges...well I just can't think of him in this movie without laughing.

I just can't mention enough about how wonderful some of the jokes are in this: the hysterical woman getting slapped, the camera pulling back to reveal a queue for of people toting weapons, the automatic pilot, the brilliant gag with the taxi driver, Robert Hayes' "drinking problem", these beautifully played sight-gags (and many more) are just superb. I think Empire film magazine once counted around 365 jokes in its 90 minute or so running time, so do the math. There's hardly a gag that fails amongst the whole lot.

And of course, there's Peter Graves. "Joey have you ever hung out in men's gymnasiums?" Hilarious.
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3/10
I tried to like this, I really did...
OrigamiDoug24 July 2002
I really tried to like this movie after reading the great reviews and hearing that it was one of the funniest films of all time over and over. But I just couldn't. I watched the whole movie without so much as cracking a smile. It wasn't that I didn't understand the jokes. On the contrary, I saw the point of every joke and why it was supposed to be funny, but I just didn't think it was humorous in the slightest. All told, I have watched this movie three times all the way through thinking maybe I had missed something or it would just "click" one time, but it didn't. I honestly have no idea why anyone would think that this is one of the greatest comedies ever or even think that it's funny.
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9/10
One of the daftest movies ever, I love it.
Paul Evans9 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
A flight ends up in real trouble when a case of food poisoning takes down the Pilot, co Pilot and lots of the passengers.

Airplane is one of those films that no matter what kind of mood you're in it will make you smile, it's adorably funny. 80's humour had a sense of innocence, so different to what is classed as funny now. Dull to the point of absurdity, it is the original king of spoofs, you can't help but feel it led the way for future films in this genre. It's really nicely acted, Julie Hagerty and Robert Hays are just delightful as our lead characters Elaine and Ted. She is incredibly sweet, just adorable.

It boasts way too many funny moments to try and pick out a best bit, but some of the highlights are, the kids with the coffee, the Hospital scene, Ethel Merman haha, the food poisoning sequences, especially the woman doing her makeup! the film is just true family fun.

Don't eat the fish!! 9/10
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6/10
Riotous comedy
Leofwine_draca24 February 2014
AIRPLANE!, a laugh-a-minute spoof of aeroplane disaster movies, is a comedy that still works today. I'm a big fan of spoofs, slapstick humour and surrealism, and all of these combine in a film which is only now starting to look slightly dated. It's also a film notable for featuring numerous 'straight' actors making their comedy debuts, making their deadpanning all the more effective.

The highlight, of course, is Leslie Nielsen, whose latter-day career in comedy was launched thanks to this, but the others are still effective - particularly Peter Graves and Lloyd Bridges as the harassed air traffic controllers. Meanwhile, on board the plane, all of the disaster staples and gags are rolled out to amusing effect. The gag rate is extremely high, and while not all of them are successful, at least there's never a dull moment.

I have to admit that I do prefer the later spoofs by this time - such as the scattershot NAKED GUN movies - but AIRPLANE! is the one that helped to start the trend, and it's a lot of fun to sit through.
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9/10
Airplane! Never attempts to take itself seriously and that's why it succeeds!
bscrivener-5081028 February 2016
Released in 1980, Airplane! is often seen as the original and by some the best spoof comedy film of all time. Starring Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty and Leslie Nielsen. Airplane! sees a group of colourful characters take a routine flight from Los Angeles to Chicago which goes horribly wrong after a unknown sickness spreads, forcing a PTSD stricken war hero into the cockpit to land the plane and save the lives of all on board. Airplane! is known for its use of fast-paced slapstick humour, both visual and verbal gags and puns as well as its over the top, surreal humour. Airplane! never attempts to take itself seriously and thats why it succeeds so well, this film will have your eyes-watering and sides-splitting from laughing so hard. Airplane! is a hugely funny movie and has a surprising amount of character depth and back story (this often being the highlight of much of the humour). A few flaws with the film could really depend on the viewers style of comedy, the slap-stick humour can at times go a bit too far and come off as more stupid than funny. There are also a few times (although not many) where some jokes fail and leave you cringing more than laughing. Overall, Airplane! is a fantastic comedy movie, that has managed to stand the test of time with both audiences and critics alike. 9/10
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6/10
Hasn't really dated well but still a fun watch.
BlackJack_B28 July 2014
Airplane! is still a good comedy film but it is compromised by being a topical film. Back in 1980, this was a very funny movie but in 2014, it doesn't hold up quite as well since disco, jive talking, the glorification of drug use and deadpan comedy aren't exactly in nowadays. A movie like The Jerk still holds up in 2014 because it doesn't rely on the pop culture of its time.

That said, it's still very watchable and its screen time flies rapidly. You wish more movies had the genius idea of casting serious actors and playing off of their stoic style for laughs. Leslie Nielsen's career took off after playing Dr. Rumack and he had a successful back-nine when it came to acting. Julie Hagerty (in her debut) may come off as somewhat mousy and spaced-out as Elaine but she could also be a knockout as seen in the club scene.

The movie is worth seeing for those classic exchanges and some funny spoofs but I just feel it doesn't have that punch that it once had after seeing it again recently.
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