HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Airplane! Flying LowBuy this film here.
Year: 1980
Director: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker
Stars: Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, Peter Graves, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lorna Patterson, Stephen Stucker, Barbara Billingsley, Maureen McGovern, Norman Alexander Gibbs, Al White, Kenneth Tobey, Ethel Merman
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  8 (from 6 votes)
Review: Cab driver Ted Striker (Robert Hays) used to be a pilot in the war, but tragedy struck and he has never been the same man since, not even able to board a plane anymore. Tonight his girlfriend Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty) has decided to break off her relationship with him, and leaves for the airport to catch the flight to Chicago that she is a stewardess on. Ted follows her just in time, and pleads with her not to abandon him, but it's too late, she's made up her mind. Making up his mind never to give up, and unbeknownst to Elaine, Ted confronts his fears and gets on the plane as a passenger. However, it soon becomes clear that the plane is flying into danger...

Remember the first time you saw Airplane? Presuming you have seen Airplane. Wasn't it one of the funniest things you'd ever watched? Written by the directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker, it continued the line of bad taste, anything goes humour that their previous film, The Kentucky Fried Movie, had set up, only this time with a proper plotline borrowed from a nineteen-fifties disaster movie called Zero Hour. Nevertheless, the feeling of watching a series of sketches is never far away, all of them hit or miss but crucially with more hits than misses. Daft jokes abound, not only making fun of the old clich├ęs, but sending up whatever they could pack in to ninety minutes.

By the late seventies the disaster movie genre was lapsing into unintentional self-parody and thus was a wide, easy target for the Kentucky Fried Movie team. The passengers hit all the marks for the stereotypes: the nice little old lady (who here commits suicide through boredom at Ted's war stories), the little girl in need of a heart transplant (the heart is seen bouncing around a doctor's desk at the start), the nun (and the Hare Krishnas), the token black passengers (who only speak in "jive") and many other recognisables. The hero naturally has a mountain of self doubt to conquer, the heroine is a decent girl who loves him really, and the crew of the plane are all professionals with names designed to cause confusion - "Roger," "Huh?" "Over," "What?", and so on.

The disaster is not a light aircraft hitting the plane, a bomb on board or a crash into the sea, but the problem of the fish that was served for dinner. If you ate the steak, you'll be fine, but those who had the fish will contract dire food poisoning, and that includes the flight crew. A doctor (Leslie Nielsen) is found, and he recommends the plane be landed at the nearest airport, but as the unconscious pilots have been surreptiously dragged down the aisle in full view of the passengers, who can fly it now? The only candidate is of course Ted, but is he up to it? Down on the ground, chief controller McCrosky (Lloyd Bridges) realises he picked the wrong week to stop smoking/drinking/glue sniffing and calls in Ted's old commander, Rex Kramer (Robert Stack) to talk him down.

The jokes are relentless, and wear you down - everyone should find something to laugh at here. Whereas in the later spoofs that Airplane inspired the cast would be deliberately and obviously playing for those laughs the actors here get the right idea immediately and are deadly serious throughout. Nielsen in particular was a revelation in a spoof of the roles he had essayed in countless television movies, and the increasingly wild Bridges and square-jawed Stack complemented each other perfectly. Where the parodies that came after relied on simply recognising the references they were making, this film takes care to make certain the humour works in its own right, whether you've ever seen an Airport movie or not.

The secret of its success is that the film can be rewatched in the comfortable knowledge that you'll find a joke you hadn't noticed or caught the previous time, and more essentially, it's endlessly quotable: the punchlines to "The hospital! What is it?" and "Surely you can't be serious!" have entered the vernacular. From its surreal sight gags (the inflatable autopilot, the terrible back projection, Bridges adopting the pose of a photograph behind his desk) to its inspired quips ("No, I've been nervous lots of times," "The tower! The tower! Rapunzel! Rapunzel!"), this irreverent gem was a deserved sensation, for better or worse, considering what it influenced. Listen for the terrific music by Elmer Bernstein, which keeps a straight face as much as the actors do.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 14320 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: