Release Date



  • David Zucker
  • Jim Abrahams
  • Jerry Zucker


  • Robert Hays
  • Julie Hagerty
  • Leslie Nielsen

A man afraid to fly must ensure that a plane lands safely after the pilots become sick.

This pun and sight-gag-filled disaster-movie spoof features a jive-talking grandma, a shell-shocked lieutenant who thinks he’s Ethel Merman, and a co-pilot who looks suspiciously like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In the film, ex-fighter pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays) pursues his flight attendant girlfriend Elaine (Julie Hagerty) onto a Boeing 707 bound for Chicago, in an effort to win back her affections. Ted hasn’t flown since “the war,” where he was severely traumatized and developed his “drinking problem.” When many of the passengers and crew fall ill, fellow passenger Dr. Rumack (Leslie Nielsen) deduces that they have contracted food poisoning. It is now up to Striker to land the plane, with the help of a glue-sniffing air traffic controller (Lloyd Bridges) and Striker's vengeful former captain (Robert Stack), who must both talk him down. Ranked the number-one comedy of all-time by Empire Magazine, Airplane! set the bar for slapstick in the early 1980s.

Past Programs


Modern Flight Automation Systems in Commercial Aircraft

Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA