Airplane!  (1980)

IMDB Rating 7.8/10  88 min - Rated 12 Comedy | Adventure

Stars:           Robert Hays,  Julie Hagerty,  Leslie Nielson    Directors:    Jim Abrahams,  David Zucker

The experiences of Ted Striker (Hays) as a fighter pilot have left him with a deeply entrenched phobia of flying. However, when his air-hostess girlfriend, Elaine (Hagerty) dumps him, he realises he must follow her in the next flight if he is to win her back. Fortunately, he doesn’t eat the poisonous fish that the airline serves for dinner but, as most of the crew (and the passengers) do it falls to Ted to land the plane. With help from Emily and an unflappable doctor (Nielsen), and in spite of help from a high-as-a-kite ground-controller and an inflatable automatic pilot, he manages to land the plane safely.  Disaster movies had been one of the most successful Hollywood genres of the seventies, with such success as The Towering Inferno, Avalanche and Earthquake –and the whole series of Airport movies. By the end of the decade, these catastrophe films were running thin on ideas and the relentless parodying provided by Airplane! not only tolled their death-knell but gave rise to a new style of knock-about spoof movie. Airplane!’s plot was based on Arthur Hairley’s screenplay for the fifties B-movie Zero Hour. The AZZ team – Abrahams, Zucher and Zucher – held on to the B-movie tension (with the help of such B-movies stars as Bridges, Stack and Nielsen) – and added a laugh a second. They’d been practising the laughs in The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977), and the hilarity now came tumbling out of the bucket. ‘Parody may be lowest form of humour’, observed Variety on Airplane!’s release, ‘but few comedies in ages have rocked the laugh-metre this hard.’