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Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land (1983)

Not Rated | | Sci-Fi, Thriller | TV Movie 27 February 1983
On the maiden flight of the first hypersonic commercial plane which can make the flight from New York City to London in four hours, a minor disaster occurs resulting in the plane actually ... See full summary »


Jerry Jameson


Robert Malcolm Young (screenplay by), Peter R. Brooke (story by)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee Majors ... Captain Cody Briggs
Hal Linden ... Josh Gilliam
Lauren Hutton ... Erica Hansen
Ray Milland ... Q. T. Thornwell
Gail Strickland ... Nancy Gilliam
George DiCenzo ... Bowdish (as George Di Cenzo)
Tess Harper ... Janet Briggs
Terry Kiser ... Freddie Barrett
Heather McAdam ... Laurie Hansen (as Heather Mc Adam)
Michael Sacks ... Pete
Gary Bayer Gary Bayer ... Martin
Pat Corley ... Joe Pedowski
Robert Webber ... Felix
Jocelyn Brando ... Mrs. Harvey
Diane Stilwell Diane Stilwell ... Betty


On the maiden flight of the first hypersonic commercial plane which can make the flight from New York City to London in four hours, a minor disaster occurs resulting in the plane actually leaving the Earth's atmosphere and orbiting around the globe. A lack of heat-resistant tiling prevents the plane from simply re-entering the atmosphere. With oxygen (and therefore time) running out, the crew of the plane and the crew on the ground must figure out a way to return the plane and its passengers to safety. Written by Afterburner <aburner@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The first hypersonic flight turns into a terrifying nightmare...in space. [Australia Theatrical] See more »


Sci-Fi | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Released theatrically in the UK and several other countries by Orion Pictures. See more »


The outside footage of Columbia preparing for its second launch is not of Columbia, but rather of the test orbiter Enterprise mounted in launch configuration during fit-check procedures in 1979. Columbia's distinctive black wing chines and other markings on the forward fuselage and vertical stabilizer are missing. The footage after launch is again Columbia, as Enterprise was never actually launched into space. See more »


Laura: Honeymooning in Australia - And I've never even been to the San Diego zoo!
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User Reviews

Not bad at all for a TV production
30 September 2019 | by trevorwombleSee all my reviews

The production values for this made for TV movie (but shown in cinemas in some countries) are not bad. The story is credible too even if a little far fetched in places but there is much fun to be had from this film.

Like a logical extension of the 'Airport' series of films, this fits into the 'disaster' genre, plus it has its requisite fill of stars (although most of them are either faded movie stars or faces from television). As the legendary John Dykstra was responsible for the visual effects they are a cut above what is usual for a TV movie so despite some of the negative criticisms on this site, it is obvious an effort has been made on it's visual aesthetic despite the budgetary limitations. In fact I think some of the sets may have been borrowed from other productions to utilise the limited budget.

The film is rarely shown on TV these days as it's quite entertaining and original for its time. It is certainly more fun to watch than many bigger budget made for cinema films of the disaster genre made a few years before. If you bear that in mind and try not to find too much fault looking at it from a 21st century point of view I think you may enjoy it.

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Release Date:

27 February 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Starflight One See more »

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Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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