Rakesh's movie talk
Airplane (1980)

Home | Movie Reviews | Movie talk | Film Personalities | Misc Articles | Contact Me | Tamil Time

Written and directed by Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams and David Zucker
Starring Robert Hays, Julie Haggerty, Lloyd Bridges and Leslie Nielson.


The mother of all spoofs. This was the movie that opened up a great career for the likes of the writer/directors Jim Abraham and the Zucker brothers, and also for serious actor turned comedian, Leslie Nielson. 

What a movie! Where shall I begin? Where shall I end? 

It helps if you are familiar with the Airport movies that excited and bored the audiences in the seventies. Also, if you are familiar with scores of other movies like Saturday Night Fever, From Here To Eternity and scores of other classic, you are in for great deal of jesting and rib poking. 

Here the standard characters of disaster movies are presented in the best cliched form. There's this sick girl and her mom, a torn lovers, a straight, slightly heroic doctor and so on so forth. Robert Hays plays ex-war pilot (with interesting past which goes back to WWII though he is young) the lover of a beautiful stewardess, and he has a drinking problem. Literally. And his flashbacks are lethal. Literally. Nielson is the doctor in the crowd and his straight faced dialogue delivering ("don't call me Shirley") will have you in stitches. This was days before he went into slapstick mode, making funny faces.  

And watch out of Kareem Abdul Jaabar, who plays co-pilot to Peter Graves' pilot, a pedophile dude who asks a young boy whether he likes Gladiator movies. Urgh! 

Now, like the Airport movies, something goes wrong. In our case, it is the poisoned fish! All the pilot and co-pilot goes immobile and it is up to the young pair of lovers to save the day. What ensues is true meaning of hillarity. It is what the gag-makers would call laugh-a-minute. It is what Woody Allen would call, shooting jokes with a shot gun.  

You will have to watch this movie again and again to appreciate the jokes, the in-jokes, the polite ribbing, the rude jesting and the unpredictable twisting of each scenes.  If you think that Hot Shot and its sequel is funny, think again.