Top 6: Plane Movies

Posted in Top 6 at 4:59 am by Sam

For Episode 24, our Top 6 list is about the best movies that take place on an airplane, or are about airplanes, or at least have a memorable scene involving airplanes. Like trains, in our Top 6 Train Movies list, the confined, moving, and airborne setting of an airplane can be an exciting place to set a story.

What are your own favorite plane movies?

As always, we recommend listening to the episode before reading further.

  1. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
  2. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
  3. Red Eye (2005)
  4. Pushing Tin (1999)
  5. Con Air (1997)
  6. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
  1. United 93 (2006)
  2. Airplane! (1980)
  3. Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)
  4. The High and the Mighty (1954)
  5. No Highway In the Sky (1951)
  6. The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)


  1. jaime (13) said,

    March 13, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    My Top6:

    1. Airplane! (1980)
    2. United 93 (2006)
    3. The Aviator (2004)
    4. Casablanca (1942)
    5. Top Gun (1986) and Donnie Darko (2001)
    6. Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) and Flightplan (2005)

    Airplane! is one of the best movies about an airplane and it`s also a parody to many movies, it`s a well made parosy (not like Scary, Date or Epic Movie, well maybe some Scary Movies would be saved.) It`s fun, it has amazing escenes, like the Harakiri or the beating of the hysteric woman. A full classic.

    United 93 is a powerful, chocking and it made me think ‘If I`m in their possition, I would`ve done the same thing’. It made me understand the pain of many families and from all USA, since I`m Chilean. But, I`d seen Loose Change 2nd Edition hours before seing this, so I watched it with a different view. Good scenes, good dramatization of some places like the Military Base.

    The Aviator is very interesting because it combines planes and the movie industry. Interesting.

    Casablanca, maybe isn`t a plane film, but all the movie goes around plane tickets to America, and besides, the last scene in the Airport is one of the most beautiful and esciting of all times.

    Top Gun is an entertaining war plane movie.

    Donnie Darko has an special appearance in my list, because the film begins with a plane engine falling on a house. Plus, it is an important object on the movie…

    it makes the difference between the Tangent and Normal Universe


    Tora! Tora! Tora! is one of the movies you see in History Class, because is one of the most histroically accurate movie in film history.

    Flightplan is one of the most interesting thrillers I`ve watched and it happens in a plane, the union between the plane and Jodie Foster`s character it`s magical. The frenetic search of her little child is breathtaking.

  2. WarpNacelle (48) said,

    March 13, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    Since “Con-Air” was mentioned, I won’t feel embarrassed to start with “Air Force One” and “Die Hard 2″ (airport setting, McLain’s wife stuck on the plane, the big battle on a plane finale).

    But probably my most favorite Plane movie is “Memphis Belle”. I saw this in college and it was one of the first war pictures that realistically portrayed WWII and began to open my eyes to the terrifying experiences of the soldiers. It had a big emotional impact on me, not to be matched until “Schindlers List” and “Saving Privet Ryan”.

  3. siochembio (82) said,

    March 13, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    I’d also suggest “Only Angels Have Wings” as an interesting character study of plane pilots, and there are also some good and very perilous flying sequences.

  4. Venkman (2) said,

    March 13, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    In the absence of Jimmy Stewart, I think Tom Hanks is our closest equivalence today- and I thought it would be worth mentioning a few of his aviation related pics: Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal, and most notably- Cast Away.

    In anticipation of the forthcoming animation discussions, I also submit “Plane Crazy” from 1928- the first appearance of Mickey Mouse. (even though its a short)

  5. SplishFish (29) said,

    March 15, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Battle of Britain (1969) has wonderful aerial cinematography, even by today’s standards. Maybe even better because they didn’t have CGI. According to IMDb, “The large number of aircraft collected for this production made it the 35th largest air force in the world.”

    Venkman: I wouldn’t classify Cast Away is a plane movie. Other than it being the reason he’s stranded it’s really not central to the plot. Wilson is more significant than the crashed airplane. It would be like saying Robinson Crusoe is a story about a ship.

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