Airplane Movie Behind The Scenes

Making Airplane

What's slower than a speeding bullet, and able to hit tall buildings at a single bound?
Airplane Picture
Hot on the dancefloor... !


Go behind the scenes on the 1980 Comedy movie starring Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Lloyd Bridges, Leslie Nielsen

Robert Stack, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Frank Ashmore, Jonathan Banks, Craig Berenson, Barbara Billingsley, Lee Bryant, Joyce Bulifant, Mae E. Campbell, Peter Graves, Robert Hays, Otto (III), Lorna Patterson, Stephen Stucker, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker Update Cast

We believe the following info is all legit. If it's bogus or you have additional info, please update us.

Thanks to Lori Ann Chauvette
Much of the plot of "Airplane!" is taken directly from the 1954 movie "Zero Hour", even down to some of the dialogue! The filmmakers got the idea after seeing an ad for the film on TV when they were taping commercials to parody. They saw the movie as a way to wrap the commercials around as if it were a parody of the late shows on television, but when presenting the idea to a producer, he suggested just parodying the movie itself. Source: Commentary on the "Airplane!" DVD.
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David Letterman apparently screen-tested for the role of Ted Striker.
Thanks to Mike Martin
The Siamese twins Stan & Terry were named after the Zucker brother's lawyers.
Thanks to Jake Roswell
The aircraft used in the movie is a Boeing 707. The markings on the aircraft are exactly like the "Trans World Airlines" (TWA) markings of the time. The only difference between the two airlines are the names. If you look at the tail of the plane in the movie you will see the letters "TA" for "Trans America", however, the tail and body lettering in the movie is the same lettering that TWA used on their aircraft at the time. Just add a "W" to that tail and it's all set!
Thanks to Mike Martin
ZAZ wanted the plane to be propellor driven, but Paramount wanted the plane to be a modern jet. The compromise was to use a modern jet for the plane, but all of the sounds were those of a propellor airplane.
Thanks to Jonathan Lim
A repainted TWA Boeing 707 was used for the exterior shots.
Thanks to Mike Martin
The original script for "Airplane" was originally written in 1974 as part of "Kentucky Fried Movie", but was expanded into a full movie.
Thanks to Jake Roswell
When you see an exterior shot of the plane, you can hear the sound of a large propeller aircraft - not a jetliner like its supposed to be. This was a deliberate joke. In fact, the filmmakers wanted a propeller plane, but the studio wouldn't go for it, so the comporomise was the sound.

Next Section: Deleted Scenes

Deleted Scenes

There are often scenes cut from the final version of a movie. Sometimes these will have been seen by preview audiences, or be included in Blu-ray or DVD extras etc.

Shucks.. We don't know of any cut scenes from "Airplane". Can you help? Please add one for others to enjoy. It's quick & easy
Next Section: Alternate Versions

Alternate Versions

Sometimes, there will be several versions of a movie floating about on cable, tv or video etc. Other times, a Director may release a special cut of the movie on Blu-ray or DVD.

The following versions of Airplane are apparently real. If you disagree or have additional info, please update us.

Thanks to Jim Makela
When the movie is shown on TV there is, of course, some footage removed to make the FCC happy, but unlike most movies this one has added footage that you can only see when shown on TV.

The only one I know shows the pilot calling out the engines as he starts them and then as the engines start they make a piston engine sound, Apparently, this footage was cut from the original movie, but was added to the broadcast verson to get the running time back up. By the way, you will not find this footage on the DVD.
When I saw the original film release, there is a scene missing in which Kareem Abdul-Jabbar becomes violently ill and strips to his Laker's uniform. You see him dragged out in uniform without explanation in later versions.

Two reasons this scene may have been dropped, one is NBA protest over copyright or licensing issues, the other is that the same scene with Peter Graves is funnier and redundant. There were a couple of other scenes I have forgotten over the years. I hate when the film release is cut down for video and scenes lost forever.
Thanks to Jim Lajter
On some TV showings, there were additional scenes involving the boy and the girl who likes her coffee black like her men. I don't remember what they said. I believe it was a series of romantic cliches.
Thanks to Anonymous
In the original 88-minute movie there is a series of jokes about a teenage girl who asks a young man to make love to her before they all die. Then she asks an older man. Then there is a line of men standing in the aisle waiting their turn. Finally she is seen smoking a cigarette next to a horse that also is smoking. The DVD and streaming versions are 87 minutes long and cut all these scenes.

Jump To: Filming Locations
1980 Paramount Pictures
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