AIRPLANE! / AIRPLANE II: The Sequel [1980 / 1982 / 2014] [Blu-ray] [USA Release] What’s Slower Than A Speeding Bullet, And Able To Hit A Tall Buildings At A Single Bound! In Space No One Can Hear You Laugh!

‘AIRPLANE!’ Voted “one of the 10 funniest films ever made” by the American Film Institute, ‘AIRPLANE!’ is a masterpiece with off-the-wall comedy. Featuring Robert Hays as an ex-fighter pilot forced to take over the controls of an airliner when the flight crew succumbs to food poisoning; Julie Hagerty as his girlfriend/stewardess/co-pilot; and a cast of all-stars including Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Leslie Nielsen, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar...and more! Their hilarious high-jinks spook airplane disaster flicks, religious zealots, television commercials, romantic love... the lists whirls by in rapid succession. And the story races from one moment of zany fun to the next! ‘AIRPLANE II: The Sequel’ and there's a mad bomber on board, and the first lunar shuttle is about to self-destruct, the engines are not working and worst of all; the flight crew discovers they are completely out of coffee! It's the high flying lunacy of ‘AIRPLANE!’ and all over again as Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty fly totally out of the ozone to recreate their hilarious original roles. The crew of crazies includes Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges, William Shatner, Chad Everett, Sonny Bono, Raymond Burr and many others. Can Robert Hays save the day again – without caffeine? Fasten your seatbelts for a ride you'll never forget ‘Airplane II: The Sequel.’ A post credit scene shows a screen that says “Coming From Paramount Pictures: ‘AIRPLANE II: The Sequel’ Commander Buck Murdock [William Shatner] is then seen saying “That's exactly what they'll be expecting us to do!”

FILM FACT No.1: ‘AIRPLANE!’ Awards and Nominations: 1980 The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards: Nominated: Worst Performance by a Child in a Featured Role for Jill Whelan. 1981 Golden Globes: Nominated: Best Motion Picture in a Comedy or Musical. 1981 BAFTA Awards: Nominated: BAFTA Film Award for Best Screenplay for David Zucker, Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams. 1981 Writers Guild of America: Win: WGA Award (Screen) for Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium for David Zucker, Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams. 1981 Young Artist Awards: Nominated: Best Young Comedienne for Jill Whelan, Nominated: Best Young Comedian for Rossie Harris. 2010 National Film Preservation Board, USA: Win: National Film Registry for ‘AIRPLANE!’ 

FILM FACT No.2: Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and David Zucker (collectively known as ZAZ), wrote ‘AIRPLANE!’ while they were performing with the Kentucky Fried Theatre, a successful small theatre they founded in 1971. AFI's 100 Years . . . 100 Movie Quotes: Ted Striker: “Surely you can't be serious.” Dr. Rumack: “I am serious. And don't call me Shirley.” Captain Oveur: “You ever been in a cockpit before?” Joey: “No sir, I've never been up in a plane before.” Captain Oveur: “You ever seen a grown man naked?” “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.”

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AIRPLANE! Cast: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Julie Hagerty, Robert Hays, Leslie Nielsen, Lorna Patterson, Robert Stack, Stephen Stucker, Otto, Jim Abrahams, Frank Ashmore, Jonathan Banks, Craig Berenson, Barbara Billingsley, Lee Bryant, Joyce Bulifant, Mae E. Campbell, Ted Chapman, Jesse Emmett, Norman Alexander Gibbs, Amy Gibson, Marcy Goldman, Bob Gorman, Rossie Harrism, Maurice Hill, David Hollander, James Hong, Howard Honig, Gregory Itzin, Howard Jarvis, Michael Laurence, David Leisure, Zachary Lewis, Barbara Mallory, Maureen McGovern, Nora Meerbaum, Mary Mercier, Ethel Merman, Len Mooy, Ann M. Nelson, Laura Nix, John O'Leary, Cyril O'Reilly, Bill Porter, Nicholas Pryor, Conrad E. Palmisano, Mallory Sandler, Michelle Stacy, Robert Starr, Barbara Stuart, Lee Terri, Kenneth Tobey, William Tregoe, Hatsuo Uda, Herb Voland, Jimmie Walker, Jill Whelan, Al White, John-David Wilder, Windy (Horse), Jason Wingreen, Louise Yaffe, Charlotte Zucker (Make-up Lady), Jerry Zucker (Ground Crewman #1),  David Zucker (Ground Crewman #2), Benjie Bancroft (uncredited), Larry Blake (uncredited), Susan Breslau (uncredited), Sandra Lee Gimpel (uncredited), Leslie Hoffman (uncredited), Bill Kirchenbauer (uncredited), Joyce Mandel (uncredited), John Marlin (uncredited), Ernesto Molinari (uncredited), Paula Marie Moody (uncredited), Kitten Natividad (uncredited), Robert Nevin (uncredited), Tony Regan (uncredited), Patrick Reynolds (uncredited), Leoda Richards (uncredited) and Sally Yarnell (uncredited) 

Directors: David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker

Producers: David Zucker, Howard W. Koch (uncredited), Hunt Lowry, Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker and Jon Davison

Screenplay: David Zucker (written for the screen), Jerry Zucker (written for the screen), Arthur Hailey (screenplay "Zero Hour") (uncredited), Arthur Hailey (teleplay "Flight Into Danger") (uncredited), Hall Bartlett (screenplay "Zero Hour") (uncredited), John C. Champion (screenplay "Zero Hour") (uncredited) and Jim Abrahams (written for the screen),

Composer: Elmer Bernstein

Cinematography: Joseph F. Biroc, A.S.C. (Director of Photography)

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AIRPLANE II: The Sequel Cast: Lloyd Bridges, Raymond Burr, Chuck Connors, Rip Torn, John Dehner, Chad Everett, Peter Graves, Julie Hagerty, Robert Hays, Kent McCord, James A. Watson Jr., William Shatner, Stephen Stucker, John Vernon, Al White, Sonny Bono, Laurene Landon, Wendy Phillips, Jack Jones (Lounge Singer), Art Fleming, Frank Ashmore, Richard H. Jaeckel, Lee Bryant, John Larch, John Hancock, Oliver Robins, Louis Giambalvo, Sam Anderson, Leon Askin, B.J. Barie, Hilary Beane, Craig Berenson, Sandahl Bergman, Burke Byrnes, Ed Call, Michael Currie, Patty Freedman, Gary Faga, Mary Farrell, Madeleine Fisher, Bruce French, Richard Gilliland, Hugh Gillin, Elisa Goodman, Laurie Hagen, Maurice Hill, Steven Hirsch, Howard Honig, Dennis Howard, Marcy Lafferty, Stanley Lawrence, David Leisure, Floyd Levine, Steve Levitt, Gail Matthius, Pat McNamara, Mary Mercier, Marcus K. Mukai, Ann Nelson, Steve Nevil, James Noble, Kenneth G. O'Brien, Rick Overton, Lee Patterson, David Paymer, Pamela Guest, Barbie Reade, Mary-Robin Redd, June Sanders, Pat Sajak, Clint Smith, Louise Sorel, William Vaughan, Sandy Ward, Ricky Powell, Sean Peters, Hervé Villechaize, Allison Hanes, Ronald E. House, Maureen McGovern, Leslie Nielsen   (archive footage), Lorna Patterson, John David Wilder, Jack Bernardi (uncredited), Earl Boen (uncredited), Terry Bolo (uncredited), Patrick Culliton (uncredited), Paul DeCeglie (uncredited), Joyce DeWitt (uncredited), Ken Finkleman (Voice of ROK, the main computer on Lunar Flight) (uncredited), Cindy Fisher (uncredited), Monique Gabrielle (uncredited), Martin Garner (uncredited), Lars Hensen (uncredited), Rance Howard (uncredited), Gregory Itzin (uncredited), Paul King (uncredited), Eric Mansker (uncredited), Tom McGreevey (uncredited), Kitten Natividad (uncredited), Danny Nero (uncredited), John Paragon (uncredited), William Porter (uncredited), Stephen Powers (uncredited), Alison Price (uncredited), Lee Purcell (uncredited), Frieda Rentie (uncredited), Leoda Richards (uncredited), Hunter Roberts (uncredited), Hank Robinson (uncredited), George Sasaki (uncredited), Dee Giffin Scott (uncredited), Eddie Smith (uncredited), Jim Staahl (uncredited), Tim Taylor (uncredited), Mary Mon Toy (uncredited), Tanis Van Kirk (uncredited), Lou B. Washington (uncredited), Clifton Wells (uncredited), George Wendt (uncredited), Tom Willett (uncredited) and Ilona Wilson (uncredited)                                                                            

Director: Ken Finkleman

Producers: Howard W. Koch and Mel Dellar

Screenplay: Al Jean (uncredited), Ken Finkleman (written) and Mike Reiss (uncredited)     

Composer: Elmer Bernstein

Cinematography: Joseph F. Biroc, A.S.C. (Director of Photography)

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Image Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
English: 1.0 DTS-HD Master Mono Audio
French: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio
Português: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio
Spanish: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio
French: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
Spanish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Português

Running Time: 87 minutes and 84 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 2

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Andrew's Blu-ray Review: The hundred-gags-a-minute movie parody genre seemed destined to die a quick death when ‘AIRPLANE!’ came out back in 1980, but it's hung on a lot longer than anyone could have expected. When these things don't work, they really don't work, so it's easy to forget just how hilarious ‘AIRPLANE!’ was . . . and still is.

No matter which route you choose, you're going to upset the fans. After all, ‘AIRPLANE!’ is one of the most consistently funny slapstick spoofs ever made. There's not one single scene in the film absent some kind of ridiculous sight gag, word play, pop culture reference or slapstick moment. It's actually shocking how rapid fire the jokes are, which is one right after another. Just watch the film's sharply paced opening and you'll be treated to at least a dozen good jokes before the 10-minute mark, including one of cinema's best gags, the arguing PA announcers and I chuckle now as I write this just thinking about it, “Listen Betty, don't start up with your white zone s*** again.”

The plane is loaded to bursting with disaster movie clichés including a little girl who needs a heart transplant, a singing Nun [Maureen McGovern], a square-jawed pilot [Peter Graves], a brilliant physician Dr. Rumack [Leslie Nielsen], who of course says the classic comment “Don’t keep calling me Shirley” and an athlete making a quickie appearance in a movie, even though he can't act  Roger Murdock [Kareem Abdul-Jabbar]. The directors David Zucker, Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams, mock the characters with an ongoing series of bad puns and ludicrous sight gags that quickly demolish your genre expectations.

‘AIRPLANE!’ is a great film, the template for which all films of its type should be based. The Zucker Brothers get so much right with this goofy little flick and it's amazing, and even through some of the film culture references have grown dated, they remain as charming reminders of a time when humour in these sorts of films didn't heavily rely on reality TV and pop culture trends as the “Date Movie” type films do. ‘AIRPLANE!’ isn't riddled with “Hey, look! They're making fun of Michael Jackson” moments.” Those types of gags are there, true, but the film is driven by something much deeper. The men and women behind this film are actually funny. And that makes a world of difference. ‘AIRPLANE!’ is a zany little picture that continues to garner hearty laughs now, more than 30 years later. And I imagine it will continue to bust guts for another 30 years to come, probably longer. Regardless of whether you're a newcomer to the series or a huge fan, give this Blu-ray a whirl. Anyway until you get to the end credits, you're be waiting to see how many jokes they can cram into the 87 minutes of ‘AIRPLANE!’


STAYIN’ ALIVE (Written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb) [Performed by The Bee Gees]

THEME FROM ‘JAWS’ (Written by John Williams)

NOTRE DAME VICTORY MARCH (Written by Michael J. Shea, J.H. O'Donnell and John F. Shea)

RIVER OF JORDAN (Written by Peter Yarrow) [Performed by Lorna Patterson]

EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES (Written by Stephen Sondheim and Jule Styne) [Performed by Ethel Merman]

RESPECT (Written by Otis Redding) [Performed by Maureen McGovern] (uncredited)

1812 Overture (uncredited) (Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)

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AIRPLANE! Blu-ray Image Quality – Finally the 1980s Paramount Pictures title from the current wave that looks relatively good. ‘AIRPLANE!' sports a very nice 1080p encoded image with a good 1.78:1 aspect ratio transfer that doesn't appear to be the victim of a transfer-destroying level of noise reduction. On the contrary, there's a fine layer of active grain and no evidence of excessively smoothed over, waxy-looking faces. Skin textures are suitably complex, as are clothing materials, the seams in the inflatable automatic pilot, and general objects around the plane and inside the airport. Clarity is rather good, and there are several scenes where the string holding up an actor (Ted dancing at the Disco) or the airplane in exterior shots are readily visible. The image certainly sports a slightly dated appearance, though; colours are strong but not terribly vibrant. However, the brighter hues stand out nicely and naturally, just not with the sort of precision accuracy that might be found in a brand new movie. Black levels are honest, never going too grey and rarely exhibiting excess crush. This is a mostly solid transfer from Paramount Pictures.

AIRPLANE! Blu-ray Audio Quality – The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack proves quite the satisfying experience. Various elements are surprisingly potent, with no shortage of effortless clarity and natural spacing in score delivery. Popular music is rich and pleasing, too. The Disco sequence featuring “Stayin' Alive” sounds absolutely fantastic; there's energy to spare, the tune is clear as a bell, and it stretches the front half of the soundstage to its limits. Unfortunately, a few sound effects take on a harsher, crunchier, almost indistinct audible texture. The plane crashing into the terminal at the beginning of the film, for instance, lacks both energy and clarity, somewhat lessening the scene's effectiveness. Still, terminal voiceovers are suitably spacious and, combined with the general din around the airport; the listener will feel fairly immersed in that environment. However, ‘Airplane!’ is primarily a dialogue-based film, and there's no cause for alarm in that regard; the spoken word enjoys sound clarity and remains entrenched in the centre speaker. This is a quality, but not quite that perfect soundtrack from Paramount Pictures, still never mind, it is still enjoyable and laugh out loud physical comedy.      

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With the film ‘AIRPLANE II: The Sequel’ [1982] and after the events of the first ‘AIRPLANE!,’ it's a wonder that Ted Striker [Robert Hays] would ever board a plane again. But this time around it's no ordinary plane ride. This is a lunar shuttle, and it's going straight to the moon! The passengers on board are all as wacky as the crew, led by the bubble-headed Captain Clarence Oveur [Peter Graves] and spaced-out stewardess Elaine Dickinson [Julie Hagerty]. In mid-air, disaster strikes with a computer malfunction, straight out of Stanley Kubrick's ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ and a mad bomber on board! It's up to Ted Striker to save the day once more! The usual cast of nut balls are called in, including Lloyd Bridges reprising his role as Steve McCroskey, “I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing chemical glue!” William Shatner as Commander Buck Murdock, Steven Stucker as Jacobs / Courtroom Clerk, “JUST kidding!” and Sonny Bono as the mad bomber. It all adds up to antics so insane that you'll need two viewings to catch them all! Oh wait, I'm thinking of the original. Will Ted Striker [Robert Hays] save the day? Can the mad bomber be stopped? And what will happen when the passengers find out the plane is completely out of coffee!!!

There are some great performances in this film. Peter Graves gives such a funny spin on Captain Clarence Oveur that he almost steals the show. When a small boy and his dog are brought up the cockpit to see the sights and Captain Clarence Oveur asks him if he likes it when “Scraps holds on to his leg and rubs up and down?,” you can't  help but blurt out some laughter. Lloyd Bridges shows why he continued to prosper in a second-wind career as a comedy star in such films as ‘Hot Shots!’ and ‘Mafia!’ He has such wonderful deadpan delivery that it was a shame to lose him in the prime of his spoof career. His foil, Steven Stucker, reprises his role as the gay tower worker, Jacobs / Courtroom Clerk (or so we'd assume, as he loves to go to sales at J.C. Penny's and is a big fan of broaches). Long before the character of Jack on “Will and Grace,” there was this hysterically funny portrayal of flamboyancy at its loony best.

Leslie Nielsen's career, rather incredibly, was also revitalised by his role. It's shocking to note that, almost a quarter of a century later, there are viewers who see Leslie Nielsen only  as that guy with the deadpan expression who'll do anything for a laugh. For many years leading up to this picture, he was a popular, deadly serious character actor; that was the whole point of casting him as an authority figure in ‘AIRPLANE!’ and the next time you view ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ [1972] and you'll notice Leslie Nielsen as the captain of the ill-fated ocean liner. Leslie Nielsen plays it completely straight, although maybe he shouldn't have. But at this point, everything he does (or did) seems thoroughly tongue-in-cheek. And at least we know his name now.

Confession time, I actually like ‘AIRPLANE II: The Sequel,’ the much-loathed second chapter in this hilarious spoof series. In fact, I really like the sequel. No, I'll go one step further and say, “I love the sequel.” Naturally, I can see why so many people were let down by the film. It's missing some major players, both in front and behind the camera. But really, ‘AIRPLANE II: The Sequel,’  has some seriously funny gags and the guy shaving while they land, the whole finale with William Shatner, the supercomputer subplot, Sonny Bono as the bad guy. Hell, I love that scene with the Rocky poster in the background for the ‘Rocky XXXVIII’ film and what a fantastic sight gag and one that kind of or sort of came true.


BABY LOVE (Written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland) [Performed by The Supremes]

CAR WASH (Written by Norman Whitfield) [Performed by Rose Royce]

THEME FROM “THE LOVE BOAT” (Written by Charles Fox and Paul Williams) [Performed by Jack Jones]

THINK MUSIC (Written by J. Griffin)

THEME FROM “MISSION IMPOSSIBLE” (Written by Lalo Schifrin)

THEME FROM “BATTLESTAR GALATICA” (Written by Stu Phillips and Glen A. Larson)


MacARTHUR PARK (Written by Jimmy Webb)

RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD (Written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach) [Performed by 101 Strings]

The Blue Danube Waltz (uncredited) (Written by Johann Strauss)

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AIRPLANE II: The Sequel Blu-ray Image Quality – ‘AIRPLANE II: The Sequel’ arrives on Blu-ray via Paramount and I suppose for a film that got minimal treatment, doesn't look terribly bad. The 1080p encoded image transfer, presented with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, has some decent detail levels and the colours, although not entirely vibrant, do seem well balanced.

AIRPLANE II: The Sequel Blu-ray Audio Quality – The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track sounds okay with the same audio coming from both the right and left channels. The dialogue levels sound clear enough and the sound effects, such as bells and crashes, aren’t anything spectacular yet adequate enough given the source material.

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Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Audio Commentary with Producer Jon Davidson And Writers/Directors Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker And David Zucker: Producer Jon Davison and Writers/Directors Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, and David Zucker deliver an affable but very well-informed audio commentary, discussing how the project came together, changes made from initial idea to finished product, anecdotes from the set, casting the primary roles, with some emphasis on the appearance of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the differences between the television and theatrical versions, the film's premiere, and much more. This is a solid all-around track that fans will enjoy.

Special Feature: Long Haul Version: Includes Deleted Scenes, Interviews and More! In this mode, viewers will be prompted from within the film to click an icon to view “Deleted scenes, interviews, and more.”

Special Feature: Trivia Track: A standard pop-up trivia track surrounding the world of ‘AIRPLANE!’ Much like the audio commentary, this is a hilarious track that actually complements the film and adds another level of fun. Other than providing some great insights into the production and certain scenes, random items throughout are pointed out to viewers as mistakes on the set.

Theatrical Trailer [1980] [1080p] [1.78:1] [3:32] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘AIRPLANE!’

Finally, often mentioned as possibly the funniest film ever made, ‘AIRPLANE!’ still delivers a barrel full of gut-busting laughs, but several jokes are starting to wane into hearty chuckles. The wild, zany spoof on disaster films transformed by the ZAZ comedy trio [Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and David Zucker] into a brand of satirical humour, one which can clearly be seen in many films today. Yet, this 1980 box-office smash remains one of the most admired and funniest of the bunch. The Blu-ray comes with a much-improved audio and video presentation that fans will definitely enjoy, but the supplements are identical to previous inferior DVD editions. Overall, it's a strong package worth picking up if you want a good laugh.

‘AIRPLANE II: The Sequel' is not in the same league as that uniquely gut-busting trendsetter. But it still stacks up quite well against most parodies and a lot of other comedies in general. Setting this doomed flight on a space shuttle widens the lampoon to include sci-fi movies and opens up a new spectrum of possible jokes, including the ship getting fixed on a collision course with the sun by its shipboard computer, a goof on the HAL 9000. Sure, the jokes are obvious, but part of the film's gleeful appeal is that it revels in that very obviousness. By bringing back dozens of the characters, including many of the passengers, and using an almost identical structure, the sequel might even be considered a parody of the original, rather than just its extension. Easily its funniest element is William Shatner, who takes over the Robert Stack role of the grizzled veteran on the ground trying to talk pilot Striker down. ‘AIRPLANE II: The Sequel’ isn't quite as original as the first, but few films are, it's too bad that ‘AIRPLANE II: The Sequel’ remains such a poor stepchild in Paramount Pictures catalogue, but to me it is still quite good and having the 2 films in one package, is totally brilliant. But the Blu-ray is good and will not disappoint any fans of these 2 films. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado 
Le Cinema Paradiso 
United Kingdom

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