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Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

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A man must struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving with an obnoxious slob of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.

Director:

John Hughes

Writer:

John Hughes
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Popularity
2,081 ( 113)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Steve Martin had no reason to panic...until John Candy came along. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 November 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Planes, Trains and Automobiles See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,009,482, 20 December 1987, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$49,530,280
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The car that Neal and Del drive was modelled after the Wagon Queen Family Truckster from Vacation (1983), which John Hughes wrote. See more »

Goofs

In the second motel, when Neal and Del are drinking and talking, Neal finishes a little bottle of gin and then starts drinking a tequila Del threw over to him. But when Neal toasts the wives, he has gin in his hand again. See more »

Quotes

Del: [sitting outside the motel cafe after finding out they've been robbed] You know I've been thinking. What we're dealing with here is a small-time crook. He didn't take the credit cards, right? So we charge our way home. What kind of plastic do you carry?
Neal: I have a Visa and a gasoline card. Oh, and I have a Neiman Marcus card in case you want to send someone a gift. What do you have?
Del: Chalmer's Big and Tall men's shop. It's a seven outlet chain in the pacific northwest. Great stuff. Unfortunately, ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

After all the end credits, we get to see advertising exec William Windom in the office as in the scene in the beginning of the movie, still examining the pictures Neal Page were waiting for him to get through with at that point. See more »

Alternate Versions

In a television version, there is added footage during the New York- Chicago/Wichita flight where Del and Neal try to eat in flight. See more »


Soundtracks

Continental Trailways Blues
(1987)
Written by Steve Earle
Performed by Steve Earle and John Mandoukos (as The Dukes)
Produced by Steve Earle and Tony Brown
Steve Earle performs courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Arguably the best comedy of the 1980s
2 June 2004 | by MovieAddict2016See all my reviews

The greatness and pure genius of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" is that, while it is uproariously hilarious, it also reveals great hurt and truth - unlike any comedy I have ever seen before or since.

Scenes such as those in the Bravewood Inn are classics. The argument between Neal and Del is the turning point in the film, and it is the first time that the audience realizes that they are in for more than they thought they were. There are certain elements of tenderness, heart, agony, conflict, and heartfelt emotion in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" that make it transcend the genre.

Steve Martin and John Candy don't just act; they embody themselves so deeply in their characters that it almost sets a standard for how comedic pairings should be. Line them up next to Chris Farley and David Spade and the differences are astronomical. Watching Steve Martin is like acting a comedian at the top of his game. Just watch his reactions. The facial reaction from Steve in response to Del's comeback in the Bravewood Inn is perfect; we understand what Neal is going through, and Steve Martin lets us know this by placing himself in a recognizable area. We also understand Del, and that is really the key to this movie: Being able to identify with both characters almost equally. How often can you say that about buddy pictures? I don't ever feel much sympathy for Chris Farley, if that means anything.

John Candy remains one of the most underrated and underwritten film comedians of all time. Offered constant mediocre scripts during the eighties and early nineties, all the way up until his death in 1994, he could make the material something more, something watchable. I recently viewed "Funny Farm," a painfully unfunny film to sit through. I imagined what John Candy could have done with Chevy Chase's role, and I found myself laughing. Why? Because John Candy can make anything watchable. Just how many times would you watch "Summer Rental" or "The Great Outdoors" if the lead actor was Jim Carrey?

There's some important content in this film, but it is never overpowered by laughs, nor vice versa. They go hand-in-hand. I come back to the Bravewood Inn argument scene. After the hilarious, ongoing insults Neal throws at Del, Del responds and says, "You wanna hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I'm an easy target. Yeah, you're right, I talk too much. But I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynical like you, but I don't like to hurt people's feelings. So you go right on and think what you like about me. But I'm not changing. I - I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. 'Cause I'm the real deal. Whatcha see is whatcha get." It's creepy how much dramatic, emotional and truthful subtext sneaks into this film, and yet it only makes it all the better for it. "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" is my favorite Comedy, yes I know that I have said it before. But, it is a serious comedy that has both heart and is hilarious at the same time. Entertainment at it's best. And isn't that what movies are all about?

5/5 stars.


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