Airplane! (1980)

Part of our FILM FESTIVAL OF FLIGHT: Friday 20th – Sunday 29th September 2019.

Airplane!, starring Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty, is well-known for its use of surreal and obscure humour and its fast-paced slapstick comedy.

The film is satirical, a much-loved parody of the disaster film genre; particularly the 1957 Paramount film Zero Hour!

Pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays), an alcoholic who’s developed a fear of flying due to wartime trauma, boards a jumbo jet in an attempt to win back his stewardess girlfriend (Julie Hagerty).

An unfortunate case of food poisoning sweeps through passengers and crew, leaving it up to Striker to land the plane, with the help of a glue-sniffing air traffic controller (Lloyd Bridges) and Striker’s vengeful former captain (Robert Stack).

In the years since its release, the film’s reputation has grown substantially. Airplane! has gone on to rank highly in many comedy charts and polls including a 2007 survey by Channel 4 in the United Kingdom where it was judged to be the second greatest comedy film of all time; after Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

“Airplane! crackles with great jokes and slapstick comedy and has retained the energy that made this satirical disaster film such a hit in 1980” – The Telegraph ★★★★★

“Frankly, if you’re not laughing, get checked out for lockjaw” – EMPIRE ★★★★★