Which leads to stowaways sneaking into planes

Airport (1970 film) - Airport (1970 film)

1970 film by George Seaton

Airport is a 1970 American air disaster drama film written and directed by George Seaton and starring Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin. Based on Arthur Hailey's 1968 novel of the same name, the 1970s disaster film genre emerged. It's also the first in the Airport -Film series. With a budget of $ 10 million, over $ 128 million was made.

The film is about an airport manager who tries to keep his airport open during a snow storm while a suicide bomber plans to blow up a Boeing 707 plane in flight. It takes place at the fictional Lincoln International Airport near Chicago. The film was a commercial success and excelled Spartacus as Universal Pictures' biggest money maker. The film won Helen Hayes an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as a blind elderly stowaway and was nominated for nine other Oscar awards including "Best Picture", "Best Cinematography" and "Best Costume Design" for designer Edith Head.

Taking into account the details of daily airport and flight operations, the plot involves responding to a crippling blizzard, environmental concerns about noise pollution, and attempting to blow up an airliner. The film is characterized by personal stories that intertwine as the airport and airline staff, operations and maintenance teams, flight crews and air traffic controllers of the Federal Aviation Administration make minute-by-minute decisions.

Ernest Laszlo photographed it in 70mm Todd-AO. It is Alfred Newman's last film and the last film role for Van Heflin and Jessie Royce Landis. It was also Ross Hunter's last film to be produced for Universal after a 17-year tenure.


The Chicago area is paralyzed by a snow storm at Lincoln International Airport. A Boeing 707 flight crew from Trans Global Airlines (TGA) misjudges their turn from runway 29 onto the runway, gets stuck in the snow and closes this runway. Airport manager Mel Bakersfeld has to work overtime, which leads to tension with his wife Cindy. A divorce appears to be imminent as he has a closer relationship with an employee, TGA account manager Tanya Livingston.

Vernon Demerest is a TGA Captain who is slated to serve as the Airline's Checkride Captain to assess Captain Anson Harris during TGA Flight 2 to Rome. TGA's international flagship, The Golden Argosy , is operated with a Boeing 707. Despite being married to Bakersfeld's sister Sarah, Demerest is secretly having an affair with Gwen Meighen, the chief stewardess on the flight, who informs him before takeoff that she is pregnant with his child.

Bakersfeld loaned TWA mechanic Joe Patroni to help deal with moving TGA invalids Level 29. Bakersfeld and Tanya blocked runway also with Ada Quonsett, an elderly widow from San Diego who is an ordinary stowaway on various airlines.

The demolition expert DO Guerrero, who has lost his luck and suffers from a mental illness, is buying both a one-way TGA ticket on board TGA Flight 2 and a large life insurance policy with the intention of committing suicide by flying the plane blows up. He plans to detonate a bomb in a briefcase over the Atlantic for his wife Inez to collect the insurance money of $ 225,000 (now $ 1.5 million). His erratic behavior at the airport, including using his last cash to buy the insurance policy and mistaking a US customs officer for an airline gate agent, caught the attention of airport officials. Inez finds an envelope for special delivery at a travel agent and goes to the airport to try to dissuade him, as DO may be doing something desperate. She informs airport officials that he has been fired from a construction job for "improper placement" of explosives and that the family's financial situation is poor.

Ada Quonsett manages to avoid the TGA employee who has the task of putting her on a flight back to Los Angeles. Enchanted by the idea of ​​a trip to Rome, she talks past the gate agent, gets on flight 2 and happens to be sitting next to Guerrero. When the flight 2 crew is made aware of Guerrero's presence and possible intentions, they will turn the plane back toward Chicago without informing the passengers. As soon as Ada is discovered, the crew enlist their help to get to Guerrero's briefcase. However, the trick fails when an interfering passenger steps in and hands the case back to Guerrero.

Demerest goes back to the passenger cabin and tries to convince Guerrero not to set off the bomb. He tells him that his insurance policy has expired. Guerrero moves briefly to give Demerest the bomb, but at that moment another passenger leaves the toilet in the back of the plane and the same nuisance passenger yells that Guerrero has a bomb. Guerrero runs into the toilet and detonates the bomb, dies instantly, blowing a three-foot hole in the torso. Gwen, right outside the door, is injured in the explosion and subsequent explosive decompression, but the pilots retain control of the plane.

Since all airports east of Chicago are unusable due to bad weather, Flight 2 is returning to Lincoln for an emergency landing. Due to the bomb damage, Demerest claims the airport's longest runway, runway 29, which is still closed because of the stalled commercial aircraft. Bakersfeld orders the plane to be pushed off the runway by snow plows, despite the costly damage they would do. Patroni, who was "taxi qualified" in the 1970s, attempted to move the stalled plane in time for Demerest's damaged plane to land. By exceeding the engine operating parameters of the 707, Patroni frees the stuck jet without damaging it, so that the runway 29 can be reopened just in time for the crippled TGA flight 2 to land.

When the shocked passengers leave the plane, a hysterical Inez searches in vain for her dead husband. Demerest's wife sees him walking with Gwen's stretcher when he says he'll take her to the hospital. Bakersfield and Tanya go to their apartment together for an urgent rest and breakfast.

In a short afterword, Ada enjoys her reward for free premium travel with TGA. But when she arrives at the gate, she complains that it was "a lot more fun going the other way".


  • Burt Lancaster as Mel Bakersfeld, airport manager at Lincoln International Airport near Chicago
  • Dean Martin as Vernon Demerest, Checkride captain at Trans Global Airlines (TGA) Flight 2, Bakersfeld's brother-in-law
  • Jean Seberg as Tanya Livingston, Head of Customer Service at TGA, widow, Bakersfeld's future lover
  • Jacqueline Bisset as Gwen Meighen, Chief Stewardess at TGA Flight 2
  • George Kennedy as Patroni, chief mechanic at Trans World Airlines at Lincoln International, appointed by Bakersfeld
  • Helen Hayes as Ada Quonsett, an elderly stowaway
  • Van Heflin as DO Guerrero, failed contractor and bomber on TGA Flight 2 (Heflin's last film role)
  • Maureen Stapleton as Inez Guerrero, wife of DO Guerrero
  • Barry Nelson as Anson Harris, Captain on TGA Flight 2
  • Dana Wynter as Cindy, Bakersfeld's wife
  • Lloyd Nolan as Harry Standish, head of US Customs at the airport
  • Barbara Hale as Sarah, Bakersfeld's sister, Demerest's wife
  • Gary Collins as Cy Jordan, flight engineer at TGA Flight 2
  • John Findlater as Peter Coakley, a TGA gate agent, hires to escort Mrs. Quonsett
  • Jessie Royce Landis as Mrs. Mossman, an arriving passenger trying to sneak items through US Customs (Landis' last movie role)
  • Larry Gates as Ackerman, head of the Lincoln Airport Board of Commissioners
  • Peter Turgeon as Marcus Rathbone, a caustic and annoying passenger
  • Whit Bissell as Mr. Davidson, passenger alongside Mrs. Quonsett

Production notes

Most of the filming took place at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. An ad in the terminal, with stills from the field and the movie, says: “Minnesota's legendary winter 1969 Hollywood attracted here when parts of the movie Airport Shots took place in the terminal and on the field. The weather remained persistently clear, however. and forces the director to use plastic snow to achieve the appropriate effect. "

The set that depicts the interior of the 707 was left at Universal Studios and ended up with the 747 interior set for the Airport 1975 connected to "Stage 747". Both sets have been used extensively in other Universal movies and television series. For example, the 707 set was used in The Andromeda Strain and in series like Used ironside . The sets were removed around 2002 and the room converted into a workshop.

Only one Boeing 707 was used: a model 707-349C (registration number N324F) leased from Flying Tiger Line. It had an El Al cheatline above its bare metal finish with the fictional Trans Global Airlines (TGA) titles and the stern. This aircraft later crashed on March 21, 1989 while approaching São Paulo when it was in service as the Transbrasil Flight 801 cargo flight, killing all three crew members and 22 people on the ground.

Many Jack Webb members produced TV shows such as Dragnet, Adam 12 and Emergency with the supporting cast: Robert Patten, Clark Howat, Lew Brown, Merry Anders, Chuck Bowman, William Boyett, Eva Brent, Robert Brubaker, Robert Knapp, Marco Lopez, Quinn Redeker, Marc Hannibal and Richard Van Vleet


The airport was released on May 29, 1970. It premiered as the first 70mm film to be shown at New York's Radio City Music Hall, where it ran as an Easter attraction for 12 weeks.


Box office

The film grossed $ 100,489,151 in the United States and Canada, which is $ 662 million in 2019 when adjusted for inflation. Internationally, it achieved sales of US $ 27.9 million with a worldwide gross of US $ 128.4 million.

Critical answer

Variety wrote, "Based on Arthur Hailey's novel, overproduced by Ross Hunter with a cast of stars as long as a jet runway, and adapted and staged by George Seaton in a shiny, refined style, is the Airport often a pretty $ 10 million dramatic epitaph for a bygone brand of filmmaking, "but added that the film" creates no tension because the audience knows how it's going to end. "Film critic Pauline Kael admitted Airport one of its worst contemporary reviews and scornfully dismissed it as "boring old school entertainment". "There is no electricity in it," she wrote; "Every stereotypical action is followed by a stereotypical reaction." Roger Ebert gave the film two out of four stars and criticized a predictable plot and characters that "speak in regular B-movie clichés like no B-movie you've seen in ten years". Gene Siskel gave the film two and a half stars out of four, reporting that while the theater audience cheered the climax, "It's a long and excruciating road to applause. Blocking the road is speeches that promote the industry, dialogue that counts." silliest in memory and a tedious act that tells you everything twice.Vincent Canby of the New York Times called it "an immensely silly movie - and it will likely entertain people who are no longer very interested in movies." Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times called the film "stunning in its celebration of everything that used to work, when Hollywood was younger and we were all more innocent." Gary Arnold from the Washington Post called it "a lousy movie" that was "absolutely predictable." The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote: "Corny really is the only word for that incredibly old-fashioned look at the modern international airport phenomenon: the only surprise is that the cute old white-haired stowaway doesn't jump the controls and bring the distressed plane down with one hand like that Doris Day once did it under analogous circumstances. "

Christopher Null wrote in 2000: "We headed with a grandiose performance Airport a genre of filmmaking that is still going strong - the disaster movie ... Shame the 'disaster' doesn't happen until 2 hours after 2:15 in the movie. No matter - The endless sequels and parodies of the Airport are proof that this film is a true slice of Americana, for better or for worse. "Although the film is one of the most profitable of Burt Lancaster's career, he called it 'a piece of rubbish'.

The rating aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 73%, based on 15 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2 / 10. On Metacritic, the film has an average rating of 42/100, based on 5 critics, which is based on " mixed or average ratings "indicates.

watch TV

The film first aired on Canada's CTV on October 24, 1973, almost a month before ABC on November 11. The ABC show became the highest rated collaborative film on television, the Love story with a Nielsen rating of 42.3, but a slightly higher audience, corresponds to a share of 63% (compared to 62% of Love story ). The record was set in 1976 by Gone with the wind struck .

Awards and nominations


The film was the final project of the composer Alfred Newman. His health deteriorated and he was unable to conduct the sessions for recording his music. The contract was taken on by Stanley Wilson, although the cover of the 1993 CD edition by Varèse Sarabande credits Newman. Newman conducted the music that was heard in the film. He died before the film was released. Newman posthumously received his 45th Academy Award nomination for the film, the most received by a composer at the time.


Listing of the soundtrack album:

  1. Airport (main title) (3:11)
  2. Airport love theme (3:30)
  3. Inez's topic (1:29)
  4. Guerrero's Farewell (2:37)
  5. Ada Quonsett, stowaway (1:26)
  6. Mel and Tanya (2:27)
  7. Airport Love Theme No. 2 (2:40)
  8. Joe Patroni Plane or Plow? (2:22)
  9. Triangle! (3:50)
  10. Inez-Lost Forever (1:45)
  11. Emergency landing! (1:38)
  12. Airport (ending title) (2:36)


The airport had three sequels, the first two of which were hits.

The only actor to appear in all four films is George Kennedy as Joe Patroni. Patroni's character evolves and he changes from a chief mechanic on Airport to a Vice President of Operations on Airport 1975 , a consultant on Airport '77 and an experienced pilot on The Concorde Airport ... 79 .

See also

  • The high and the mighty , a 1954 film that was used as a template for the Airport served
  • Hour zero! , a 1957 film written by Arthur Hailey, a decade before the release of Airport Visited the airline disaster film genre through Hailey
  • Jet storm , a British film from 1959 with many similarities
  • Plane! (1980), a successful parody film that combines elements of an already established airline disaster film genre, including from Airport '75 inspired action points as well Zero Hour!
  • Starflight: The plane that couldn't land , a 1983 ABC television movie starring Lee Majors. Also known as "Starflight One" or "Airport 85".


External links