Airport ’77 (1977)

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Starring: Jack Lemmon, Lee Grant, Brenda Vaccaro, James Stewart, Robert Foxworth, Monte Markham, Michael Pataki, Christopher Lee, George Kennedy, Joseph Cotten, Olivia de Havilland, Darren McGavin, Kathleen Quinlan, Tom Sullivan, Gil Gerard, James Booth, Monica Lewis, Maidie Norman, Pamela Bellwood, Arlene Golonka, M. Emmet Walsh, and Anthony Battagila.

Directed by: Jerry Jameson.

Story: 

A 747 airliner is hijacked for some valuable cargo on board and ends up crashing in theBermuda Triangle. Now the crew and passengers must escape before the plane is completely submerged with water.

Characters: 

*Captain Don Gallagher (Jack Lemmon): Captain of the plane.

*Philip Stevens (James Stewart): Owner of the private luxury 747 plane. He is a wealthy philanthropist.

*Bob Chambers (Robert Foxworth): The plane’s co-pilot and leader of the thieves who are after the plane’s cargo.

*Banker (Monte Markham): One of the thieves who ends up as cannon fodder.

*Wilson (Michael Pataki): Another member of the thieves whom bites the dust as well.

*Martin Wallace (Christopher Lee): A diver on board who partners up with Captain Gallagher.

*Joe Patroni (George Kennedy): A consultant, former chief mechanic and Vice President ofOperations.

*Eve Clayton (Brenda Vaccaro): The head stewardess.

Overall: 

“Airport” meets “Beyond The Poseidon Adventure” – What were they thinking here? This is the first film in the series to spout such unrealistic plot events and here they draw some inspiration from 1965’s “The Flight of the Phoenix”, just replace the Sahara Desert with the Bermuda Triangle in the Atlantic Ocean and you’ve got the third film in the ‘Airport’ series, “Airport ’77”.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t particularly the worst film in the series, “The Concorde: Airport ’79” takes the crown for that one. “Airport ’77” does make enough effort to deliver some new ideas to the table, regardless of whether or not they’re entirely realistic. The plane becomes an aerial Titanic of sorts here. It does take a hint from the superior second film, “Airport 1975”, by not going down the ‘multiple subplot’ route which the very first film did. 

The performances are brilliant and professionally chosen, even though this film doesn’t have Charlton Heston. The icing on the cake is the realistic navy search and rescue procedures inter-spliced with the sinking airplane story. The franchise should have ended here though.

Rating: ***1/2

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