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Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

1:26 | Trailer
A man must struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving with a lovable oaf of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.


John Hughes


John Hughes
2,408 ( 656)
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Martin ... Neal Page
John Candy ... Del Griffith
Laila Robins ... Susan Page
Michael McKean ... State Trooper
Kevin Bacon ... Taxi Racer
Dylan Baker ... Owen
Carol Bruce ... Joy
Olivia Burnette ... Marti
Diana Douglas ... Peg
Martin Ferrero ... Second Motel Clerk
Larry Hankin ... Doobie
Richard Herd ... Walt
Susan Kellermann ... Waitress (as Susan Kellerman)
Matthew Lawrence ... Little Neal
Edie McClurg ... Car Rental Agent


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


What he really wanted was to spend Thanksgiving with his family. What he got was three days with the turkey. See more »


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Michael McKean's role as the Wisconsin State Trooper was actually much longer as originally shot. In a 1990s interview, McKean said his character was intended to provide additional exposition. As originally shot, Del pleads with the trooper not to impound the smoldering car as he is getting Neal home for Thanksgiving, specifically mentioning home as Chicago, as well as having driven from St. Louis. The trooper then informs them they had overshot Chicago roughly a hundred miles back, noting they were driving north, and were now in Wisconsin. Upon hearing this news, and realizing he could have been home hours ago, as well as their last mode of transportation now gone, Neal attacks Del and winds up chasing him around the car, which the trooper had to comically break up. As plot points frequently changed during filming, John Hughes discarded most of the scene and re-shot it as just a traffic stop resulting in the burnt out car getting impounded, leaving out any information either about where they were or about the pair being lost. Michael McKean had to return to Buffalo to shoot the shorter version which explains the continuity issue between the sunny and cloudy skies in the scene. See more »


Outside the Braidwood Inn, Neal tells Del that he has a Visa Card, a gasoline card and a Neiman Marcus Card. However, earlier when they check into the motel, Neal pays with a Diner's Club International card. See more »


[last lines]
Neal: Honey, I'd like you to meet a friend of mine.
Susan Page: Hello, Mr. Griffith.
Del: Hello, Mrs. Page.
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 »

Alternate Versions

TV version show a scene during the first plane ride where they order dinner. Del talks about which he meals he orders according to what airline he's flying. Neal's dinner is lasagna, which due to various delays, has been reheated several times. Unsatisfied, Neal gives the lasagna and the rest of his food, to Del, who shares it with the old man next to Neal. Neal keeps the brownie with his meal, but a lady in front of them throws her hair back, disgusting Neal, so he gives the brownie to Del, who again shares it with the old guy giving him "the bigger half." See more »


I'll Show You Something Special
Written by Des Morris, Mark Morris, and Steve Brown
Performed by Baalam & the Angel
Produced by Steve Brown
Balaam & the Angel performs courtesy of Virgin Records Ltd.
See more »

User Reviews

Classic Film that had mixed reviews upon its theatrical release
25 March 2019 | by Christmas-ReviewerSee all my reviews

I Have Reviewed OVER 500 "Christmas Films and Specials". Please BEWARE Of films and specials with just one review! For instance When "It's a POSITIVE" chances are that the reviewer was involved with the production. "If its Negative" then they may have a grudge against the film for whatever reason. I am fare about these films.

Review Date 3/25/2019

In 1987 "Planes Trains & Automobiles" opened in theaters the same weekend as "Three Men and a Baby". The critics went gaga over "Three Men" but gave only "so-so" reviews to "Planes Trains and Automobiles" however over the years "Planes" reviews have come around and is now considered one of John Hughes best work and I agree. However I thought that when I first saw it in 1987.

Now 32 years later "Three Men and a Baby" comes across like a feature length sitcom but "Planes Trains & Automobiles" has improved with age and at lighting fast 92 minutes you are never bored.

The simple plat is Steve Martin is an uptight business man trying to get home for Thanksgiving. Everything goes wrong for him. His traveling companion by default is John Candy who has never been better and brings depth into a character that only John candy could.

In 1987 I think critics were reviewing the film harshly because the film went over schedule and budget. "Three Men & a Baby" however did not have bad press to overcome from its production. However when you are watching that film today you will see the "Cookie Cutter" that was always there in the film. "Planes trains & Automobiles" took for more chances and dared you too like two characters that at times weren't very nice.

If you never have seen the film please watch it. The older you are the more you will enjoy it.

This film is by far one of Steve Martins best performances as well as John Candy's. The only films John Hughes wrote that were better than this is "Vacation" and "Christmas Vacation". However all of them are classics and should be mandatory watching.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

25 November 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Planes, Trains and Automobiles See more »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,009,482, 29 November 1987

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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