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“AIRPLANE”- 40th year now on Blu-ray Steelbook


Review by John Delia

It’s a classic comedy that still lives on in the minds of those who saw it for the first time in 1980. The movie Airplane! is back again and this time it’s protected in a steel case for the remastered blu-ray, and with some new bonus extras. It may be a bit corny for some audiences of today, but when it came out the tongue-in-cheek masterpiece was a rave by critics and was nominated for a Golden Globe. While some fans found some of the dialog offensive, others laughed and even if it parodied themselves, Airplane!’s idea was to make something that was serious into a satire easing a grim situation by making lite of it. In this case they chose the movie Airport (1970) to lampoon using a script loaded with wit. The film also includes spoofs of the classic films Saturday Night Fever (1977) and From Here to Eternity (1953) as well.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as Roger Murdock, Peter Gravesas Capt. Clarence Oveur, Rossie Harris as Joey in AIRPLANE! from Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment

On the way to the airport, Flight Attendant Elaine (Julie Hagerty) breaks up with taxi driver and former Air Force pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays) after a long time relationship. Just before the plane she is working on takes off, Ted buys a ticket and boards the craft in and attempt to save his romance. In the cockpit are pilot Captain Clarence Oveur “Over” (Peter Graves) and co-pilot Roger Murdock (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) who have settled in for the long flight. The plane takes off without incident and while cruising at 24,000 feet the pilots get sick and Ted is the only one with any experience to be able to fly the plane.

Robert Hays as Ted Striker, Julie Hagerty as Elaine Dickinson and the auto pilot Otto in AIRPLANE! from Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment

The plot gets very silly and has a lot of funny incidents involving the passengers that make the film more than just an airplane in distress. Directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker cram as much zany scenes as possible into the hour and a half film and it works. Due to the trio’s fine success with public acceptance and a hefty take at the box-office, David Zucker went on to make the Naked Gun Series, Scary Movie 3 thru 5 and with his Brother Jerry the WWII spoof Top Secret. Jim Abrahams added his talent to most of the aforementioned and also directed the comedy Hot Shots! in 1991.


“Filmmaker Focus” Writers/Directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker on Airplane!
“Q&A” with the Directors of Airplane! That took place at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California on January 10, 2020. A lot of what was put into this article was covered by the panel in front of a large audience that had just seen the film.

Airplane! has been rated PG by the MPAA. It does have some scenes that are not appropriate for immature youngsters. Also some dialogue may not be proper according today’s language police.

FINAL ALALYSIS: A classic comedy that was the forerunner for other filmmaking that carried over for years. (3 out of 5 stars for “thin-skinned” audiences and 4 out of 5 for “thick-skinned” audiences)

AIRPLANE! from Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment

Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Robert Hays, Julie Haggerty, Leslie Nielsen, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Lorna Patterson, Robert Stack, Otto
Directed and written by: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker
Genre: Comedy
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hr. 27 min.
Video Release Date: July 21, 2020
Original Theatrical Release Date: July 2, 1990
Language: English
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray
Audio: Dolby Digital DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Number of Discs: 1 Disc
Distributed by: Paramount Home Entertainment
Released on: Blu-ray

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