Don Ignacio Clazzek

Week of December 2 - December 8, 2001

Do you remember those lame airplane and disaster flicks of the 70's? Well, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, and Jim Abrahams had decided to spoof those!

Robert Hays stars as Ted Striker, a pilot who had made a dreadful mistake during the War that had killed seven people. He vowed never to fly again. Ted Striker is in love with airliner stewardess, Elaine Dickenson, played by Julie Hagerty, who had once loved him, but does not any longer. Hopeful to win back her devotion, Ted hastily buys an airplane ticket on Elaine's next flight. However, that flight goes haywire when all the pilots get food poisoning and pass out. Only Ted can save them! But will he?

This film was released in 1980 and the fact that 70's-style disaster films are more or less dead makes this film slightly outdated -- or does it? While "Airplane!" certainly doesn't pack the same punch as it did upon its release (which could not have been helped), it is still very, very funny.

Zucker, Zucker, and Abraham's style is to try putting a joke, pun, or a gag in every single line. Although some of these jokes fall flat, most inspire a grin or laughter. By far the best thing about "Airplane!" is that it has enough outrageous jokes that would adequately supply at least five of today's spoofs ( i.e. "Spy Hard," "Wrongfully Accused," "Scary Movie," "Mafia!" etc.) Therefore, if you are looking for multiple great laughs, this film is highly recommended.

I have found out, however, that much of the humor is outdated. "Airplane" does spoof some old commercials and Disco. (Today's audience will still find the Disco scene entertaining, nonetheless.) However, most of the jokes are not outdated. Airplane trips are something that most people have experienced before, therefore, this film can be appreciated by people today.

This film is the king of puns. Some people may not even find puns funny, but you will in this film! Here are some great lines:

Man: You'd better tell the Captain we've got to land as soon as we can. This woman has to be gotten to a hospital.

Woman: A hospital? What is it?

Man: It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now.

And here's my favorite line of them all:

Man 1: Surely, you can't be serious!

Man 2: I am serious, and don't call me Shirley.

The cast also includes comedic favorites Lloyd Bridges and Leslie Nielsen in funny roles.

The Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker team has also worked on "The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)" and "Top Secret! (1984)." "Airplane!" has them both beat.

"Airplane!" is followed by a sequel, "Airplane 2: The Sequel" where much of the cast returns and it's almost good!


This is indeed the mother of all spoofs. Perfect if you're looking for a laugh fest! And stop calling me Shirley!

Movie reviewed by Michael Lawrence



Released: July 2, 1980

Domestic Gross: $83,400,000


Full Cast:

Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack, Lorna Patterson, Stephen Stucker

Directed by:

Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and David Zucker


1980 comedy

Rated PG.


Don Ignacio's score: A

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