The Explosive Review – Airplane! (1980)

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Ted Striker, a former ex-fighter pilot suffering from trauma and a fear of flying, boards the fictional Trans America commercial airliner in an attempt to rekindle his broken relationship with his stewardess ex-girlfriend Elaine. After taking off the ground, the flight crew and many passengers slowly succumb to food poisoning as the plane hits poor weather conditions. It’s soon left up to Ted Striker to conquer his fear of flying and safely land the plane and its passengers, guided by the help of air traffic controllers Steve McCroskey and Rex Kramer.

“Airplane!” was the first to spoof the disaster film genre which dominated the recent 1970s era at that time (films such as “The Poseidon Adventure”, the “Airport” series, “The Towering Inferno”, “Earthquake” and so on). At the same time, it is also a remake of 1957’s “Zero Hour!”. This film was a huge turning point in many people’s careers including Leslie Nielsen, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, among others. “Airplane!”‘s box office experienced similar tremendous results as it became a major successor in the summer of 1980, taking in a domestic $83 million against its small budget of $3.5 million.

“Airplane!” is one of the best comedies ever made and deserves to sit up there with 1972’s laugh-fest “What’s Up, Doc?”. It plays the airport and disaster spoof for all that it’s worth. The gags found in this film are highly laughable and endless; it’s quite enjoyable to see the comedic Leslie Nielsen and Lloyd Bridges before their ‘Naked Gun’ and ‘Top Gun’ roles, they are just as hilarious here.


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