Best Airplane Movies

Many uncomfortable occurrences come with flying in airplanes, from turbulence to sitting next to strangers. Directors and movie producers have profited on all of them.

During a flight, a lot of things can happen. You can fall in love, capture a criminal, or even engage in a full-fledged battle with a swarm of snakes. Nevertheless, airplanes have been the setting for some of the most unforgettable films ever filmed!

While it isn’t advisable to watch any of these films while on a plane because they would be too upsetting for most people, they provide excellent entertainment until your next trip.

Air Force One

Air Force One, starring Harrison Ford as the family-oriented, terrorist-fighting President of the United States, is a high-octane thriller set nearly entirely on the titular airplane. 

The plot begins when a group of Communist extremists (headed by Gary Oldman in his evil mode) kidnap the President’s jet and threaten to kill the passengers unless the US administration agrees to their demands. Following that, there are two hours of Situation Room conversations, Harrison Ford tracking terrorists through airplane aisles, and fight scenes that range from enthralling to faintly ludicrous. 

The filmmakers had a great time creating Air Force One into an action-movie set, and Ford is the right clenched-jaw hero as the most ass-kicking President in history.

The Aviator

The Aviator is based on the true tale of Howard Hughes (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), a well-known film director who has an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). 

Hughes’ Hollywood romances, B-list movies, and a downward spiral into mental illness are all depicted in Martin Scorsese’s biopic, which runs over three hours. Above all, this is a movie about a man’s passion for flying planes, hence the title. 

Many of Hughes’ aviation activities are shown, such as testing planes for the Army, flying around the world in four days, and successfully flying the H-4 Hercules flying boat, which became the film’s final moment.

Airplane!

This 1980 screwball comedy is likely the first film that comes to mind when you think of films set on airplanes. This 87-minute masterpiece uses everything annoying and nerve-wracking about flying into some of the most wonderfully idiotic gags ever seen in cinema.

The plot is ridiculous and straightforward—pilots try to land an aircraft after passengers suffer from food poisoning. However, it’s the bizarre cast of characters, visual jokes, and memorable phrases that make this film worth seeing. It birthed a self-aware, sassy brand of comedy that praised total humor and a cheeky fondness for a lower-than-lowbrow fare.

With cheerful flight attendants, irritating seatmates, horrible airline meals, strangely self-serious pilots, and the nagging thought that the aircraft could go down at any moment, Airplane!’s antics remain timeless.

Die Hard 2

Die Hard 2 movie poster, image of Bruce Willis, flying airplane

John McClane is back, and he’s going to save Dulles International Airport this time. The previous film’s events occur a year later, but terrorists have taken over the Washington DC airport this time, and only McClane can defeat them. They’ll purposely lead planes to crash if he can’t.

Die Hard 2 is the best movie for you if you want high stakes and many battle sequences. It’s a surprisingly enjoyable holiday movie, just like the first in the series.

Sully

Sully movie poster, image of Tom Hanks, airplane window

The remarkable story of US Airways pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is one for the books and one we all want to see Tom Hanks portray to the big screen.

Sully’s brave management of that notorious US Airways flight, in which there were two knocked-out engines and certain disasters looked imminent, is depicted in this terrifying re-creation.  Sully’s calm command under stress and pressure will amaze you even more after watching this film.

The actual Flight 1549 was barely four minutes long, including the departure from LaGuardia and the notorious geese collision. Still, this Clint Eastwood-directed film will have you enthralled for far longer. Clint Eastwood won’t let you pause for a moment, and Sully’s realistic description of the crash makes the climax even scarier.

Snakes on a Plane

What would happen if bad guys release a gang of deadly snakes in the middle of a commercial flight? Snakes on a Plane is B-movie silliness with a humorous sense of self-awareness. The movie is a combination of awful and good, but the film’s Claustrophobia, Aviophobia, the Ophidiophobia concept give it a jolt.

Samuel L. Jackson was the sole person who could save the day while also delivering some very inspirational monologues. Sure, it’s ugly and campy, but the snakes attacking people in all kinds of inventive and gruesome ways make it worth watching whenever you need a good chuckle.

Red Eye

Red Eye, directed by Wes Craven, takes a familiar airplane scene- flirting with your seatmate and twisting it into something horrific.

Lisa, a hotel manager, played by Rachel McAdams, befriends fellow passenger Jackson, portrayed by Cillian Murphy. But she quickly realizes that their meeting was far from chance: Jackson admits to being a member of a domestic terrorist group. He takes her captive, threatening to kill her father if she doesn’t aid him with a terrorist plot.

The fact that Lisa has nowhere to flee adds to the suspense of the story. However, at 30,000 feet in the air, the heroine does her hardest to outsmart her sly foe.