Written by Brian Peterson. Published on .
Flying can be a polarising past-time, as while some love nothing more than to take to the skies in the pursuit of adventure, others are gripped by a crippling sense of fear when they board a plane.
Here at Just Fly Business, we think that this range of emotions may have been inspired by the diverse selection of aviation-inspired films that have hit the screens over the last 50 years, from taut thrillers to buoyant, laugh-out-loud comedies.
With this in mind, here is our list of the five most iconic airplane movies ever made:
A film that has retained a cult following since its release, Airplane! is a truly epic comedy that spawned an entire genre of hilarious spoofs and satirical films.
Starring the incomparable Leslie Nielson as Dr. Rumack and magnificent cameos from Robert Stack and Lloyd Bridges, the film served as a brilliant parody of the disaster genre and combined slapstick with surreal humour to brilliant effect. A critical and commercial success, a 2007 survey by Channel Four saw the film voted as the second greatest comedy of all time.
As a parody, Airplane! borrowed elements from a number of movies in the disaster genre, but the 1957 hit Zero Hour! was the most influential (from the dramatic use of exclamation points to the primary plot lines and script). Directed by Hall Bartlett, this World War II flick see Dana Andrews and Sterling Hayden forced to land a plane after the pilot and staff fall ill, with Andrews keen to prove himself and rebuild his life after he left the Royal Canadian Airforce in disgrace.
In some respects, there is nothing spectacular about this 1996 thriller, which sees competent geek Kurt Russell and stewardess Halle Berry save a plane from a group of terrorists. The film is renowned for throwing a huge curve ball at fans less than half and hour into the piece, however, as the perceived star and militaristic cavalry leader Steven Seagal falls to his death at the start of the second act.
In fact, many people who watched the film in its entirety were convinced that Seagal was clinging to the wing of the plane waiting to return and save those on-board!
A film that does exactly what it says on the tin, there is a refreshing simplicity and honest about the cult, 2006 hit Snakes on a Plane. With a cast led by the charismatic Samuel L. Jackson, the film presents a simple concept to fans and delivers it with skill, excitement and an impressive level of characterisation. In an age where titles and narratives are increasingly convoluted, this film shows that all you need is a plane, some snakes and a decent casts to illuminate the silver screen.
One of the more interesting and thoughtful aviation films to come out of Hollywood in recent times, Flight stars Denzel Washington as ace pilot Whip Whittaker. After a drug and alcohol fuelled night, Whittaker successfully steers and lands the plane when it suffers an in-flight mechanical failure, saving everyone on-board.
Initially hailed as a hero, an investigation casts the pilot on the different light and ultimately triggers a sad, inevitable decline. Innovative and well-written, the film is a must-see for anyone with a love of aviation or the industry.
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