directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker
Airplane disaster movies surely were serious business in the 1970s. The success of Arthur Hailey’s 1968 novel Airport birthed a quartet of films in which airplanes run into trouble in the clouds and under the ocean (!!). Inspired by these films and the 1957 flick Zero Hour!, the comedy team of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker wrote and directed Airplane! Unlike modern cinematic spoofs, Airplane! has an actual plot with real characters at its core grounding the zaniness. Leslie Nielsen nailed his supporting role as Dr. Rumack so well that this same creative team cast him in the short-lived TV series Police Squad!, giving birth to a whole new comedic phase of his career. From an automatic pilot who can only be inflated with a tube below his waist to the infamous subtitled jive conversation between an old lady and two hip gentlemen, Airplane! is full of memorable scenes. The puns never stop coming, and the laughs are right on target. Remember, there’s never stopping in a white zone.