Airplane! is such a great comedy that you will have great difficulty finding something to watch after it. I mean, it has fucking everything you would want from a comedy. Intelligent and witty script, loads of slapstick, and black humor but more importantly it’s willing to go places. And by that, I mean that there will be no topic left out. Religion, sex, drugs, basically anything that you can make fun of will be made fun of. I cannot imagine the sheer size of the balls of the producers. They broke every rule and made something that’s just as funny now as it was in the eighties.
This means that the movie Airplane! holds up incredibly well, some thirty years after its initial release. To make things even strangers, this is a fucking PG movie! Yes, the standard was really young back then and you can tell that by the amount of sexual and drug references. You know, every now and then I remember some joke from this movie and I start smiling involuntarily. And out of all those jokes, the one with the airplane controller “picking the wrong week to quit”, comes up the most. I really don’t know why.
You will hear more jokes and see more hilarious scenes in just five minutes of this movie than during the entire runtimes of some popular modern comedies. The pacing is incredibly fast and the rapid-fire jokes are sure to get you at least once every few minutes. As I said, it’s really hard to find a movie that can match the levels set here. However, if you’re looking for movies like Airplane! I recommend you check out Naked Gun, The Party and Hot Shots. Now two of those movies are parodies just the same as the movie we’re talking about today. Although, Airplane! works surprisingly well without that notion.
It also marks the first comedic role for Leslie Nielsen. How knew that we were that close to never discovering just how funny and talented this man really is. The rest of the cast also did a terrific job, starting with Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty. This is also one of those movies I keep coming back to. It’s got a huge replay value because there will always be some joke you didn’t get or simply miss the last time. And some of them are so funny you would want to hear them one more time. Like the ones with the pilot and young Joey.
Finally, I guess we should talk about what happens in the movie. So, Airplane! is a parody of a all those disaster movies, especially the ones with the, you guessed it, airplanes. More specifically, 1957’s Zero Hour! and hugely popular Airport franchise that ruled the seventies. We will be following a group of passengers aboard a plane who will soon find themselves in serious trouble as pilots get sick. Now, a traumatized war veteran afraid of flying is their only chance.
Directors: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker
Writers: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker
Cast: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Julie Hagerty, Robert Hays, Leslie Nielsen
Fun Stuff: The crew had doubts about the “slap scene” but actress Lee Bryant, playing the hysterical woman, suggested they go ahead and add even more people. The scene was done in one take and Leslie Nielsen accidentally actually slapped Lee.