8 Great #$*@ Movies on a *&#$% Plane! On January 21, 1976, Concorde took flight for the first time, writing a new chapter in aviation history. In commemoration of the world’s first commercial supersonic transport, DMG picked 8 great Movies on a Plane for your in-flight entertainment. So strap yourself in, put your seat in the upright position and enjoy the flight.
THE AVIATOR (2004) Martin Scorsese’s biopic THE AVIATOR highlights Howard Hughes’ (Leonardo DiCaprio) illustrious career and obsessive compulsive behaviors. While Hughes’ aimed to direct the best movies and seduce the most beautiful actresses, he found his real passion in aviation. Between developing now-defunct Trans World Airlines into one of the biggest airlines in the US and Hughes Aviation into a massive defense contractor and building the world’s biggest white elephant (the infamous “Spruce Goose”), Hughes looked for any opportunity to launch himself into the skies. Despite winning five Academy Awards, THE AVIATOR is often considered an overlooked masterpiece in cinema.
Fun Fact: In order for Leonardo DiCaprio to prepare for his role as Howards Hughes, DiCaprio studied real OCD patients. The patients displayed many of OCD’s different characteristics, including the habit of repeating sentences, which Hughes also did.
SNAKES ON A PLANE (2006) David R. Ellis’ SNAKES ON A PLANE centers around FBI agent Neville Flynn’s (Samuel L. Jackson) attempt to escort a witness on a plane unknowingly filled with venomous snakes. After witnessing a murder, Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips) is to be escorted to L.A for protection. However, an assassin decides to fill the plane full of snakes in an effort to kill the witness. True to form, Sam Jackson’s Flynn finally reaches his breaking point, exclaiming the movie’s Internet-born tagline – “I have had it with these MOTHERF*****G SNAKES, on this MOTHERF*****G PLANE!”
Fun Fact: The film was intended to be rated PG-13, however after an early and massive amount of fan interest and feedback was generated online, the film was re-shot to be rated R and better meet the audience’s expectations. One of additions is Sam Jacksons’ now famous line, which started as an online parody.
AIRPLANE! (1980) From the childishly satirical minds of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker AIRPLANE! tells the comical story of a passenger jet doomed to crash unless ex-Navy pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays) can overcome his fear of flying. AIRPLANE! brilliantly pokes fun at the bloated and overplayed Hollywood disaster films that were very popular in the 1970s. Filled with cameos and serious actors playing against type including Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack, Peter Graves, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lloyd Bridges, AIRPLANE! is considered one of the greatest comedies of all time – having been named to lists by Empire, Entertainment Weekly, Total Film, Maxim and the US National Film Registry.
Fun Facts: The first two days of AIRPLANE! grosses covered the film’s production budget of US$3.5 million. The classic interchange between Nielsen and Hayes was ranked #79 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 best movie quotes… Ted Striker: “Surely you can’t be serious.” Dr. Rumack: “I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.”
UP IN THE AIR (2009) Jason Reitman’s UP IN THE AIR illustrates the life of Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), a corporate downsizer that enjoys a life of frequent flyer miles, hotel rooms and motivational speeches. When Bingham’s livelihood is threatened by the overachieving Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), Bingham takes Keener across the country to demonstrate the value of his downsizing position. During their voyage, both Bingham and Keener learn from each other, ultimately questioning the direction of their lives. Winner of Best Screenplay at the Golden Globes, UP IN THE AIR challenges the viewer to question how much ‘luggage’ is truly necessary.
Fun Fact: The majority of the people fired in the film were not actors but people who were recently laid off their jobs.
EXECUTIVE DECISION (1996) Stuart Baird’s EXECUTIVE DECISION focuses on intelligence analyst Dr. David Grant’s (Kurt Russell) mission to board a hijacked plane and neutralize a terrorist threat. After being seized by terrorists, Grant, flight attendant Halle Berry and a commando unit led by Lt. Col. Austin Travis (Steven Seagal) are sent to board the plane midflight and take back control. After successfully landing on the hijacked plane, the team quickly finds out that the plane is meant to be used as chemical bomb heading for Washington D.C. Can they stop it in time? EXECUTIVE DECISION is an essential over-the-top 90s action film.
Fun Fact: In order to scare the actors on set, allegedly Steven Seagal physically attacked John Leguizamo during filming. It was also one of the first movies to feature/show the Air Force’s at-the-time highly secretive F-117 stealth fighter.
FLIGHT (2012) Robert Zemeckis’ FLIGHT centers on airline pilot Whip Whitaker’s (Denzel Washington) struggle with substance abuse which is brought to light due to the investigation of an incredible emergency landing. After a malfunction, Whitaker manages to keep his 747 from crashing by flying the plane upside down, but his heroics are soon the center of controversy as it comes it out that Whitaker had been drinking before the flight. A wonderful character study that asks some tough questions about responsibility and what it means to be a “hero” in today’s hyper-sensitive world.
Fun Fact: It took screenwriter John Gatins 10 years to finish the screenplay for FLIGHT.
CON AIR (1997) Simon West’s CON AIR focuses on Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) and his fight to stop a prison plane from being hijacked by some of country’s most dangerous criminals. After inmate Poe is granted parole, he is finally able to go back to his wife and daughter. But Poe is being transported to his release along with a group of dangerous prisoners on their way to a new super-max prison. When these baddies led by Cyrus the Virus (John Malkovich) seize control the plane, it is up to Poe and US Marshal (John Cusack) to stop the hijacking before it is too late. One of Cage’s best, it’s short on plot and big on excitement.
Fun Fact: The song “How Do I Live” was nominated for both an Oscar as Best Original Song and a Razzie as Worst Original Song. The song won neither award. Best line – Garland Greene (Steve Buscemi) says: “Define irony: a bunch of idiots dancing around on a plane to a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash.” As the convicts celebrate capturing the plane by rocking out to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.”
AIR FORCE ONE (1997) Wolfgang Peterson’s AIR FORCE ONE is about President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) battling a group of terrorists led by the ruthless Egor Korshunov (Gary Oldman) that have hijacked the eponymous presidential plane. One of the best of the action-fueled mega-hits of the 90s, AIR FORCE ONE scored huge at the box office and further cemented Ford’s standing as the greatest action star of the decade. Fans of the film include then-President Bill Clinton who saw it twice while in office.
Fun Fact: Although initially denied access to the real Air Force One, Harrison Ford was able to gain the film crew access after calling the White House directly.