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Movie InfoAirport had enough plot and enough star power in its cast for three feature films, and it only encompassed about half of the complexity or characters found in Arthur Hailey's best-selling potboiler. Essentially built around 12 harrowing hours at a major Midwestern airport, the film had everything an audience of the period could have wanted -- suspense, romance, drama, and comedy -- all spread across a vast canvas. Mel Bakersfeld (Burt Lancaster) is the manager of Lincoln Airport, facing a night beset by the worst blizzard in a decade, a wife (Dana Wynter) who announces she wants a divorce, a primary runway blocked by an airliner stuck in a snowdrift, and a governing board ready to fire him. Bakersfeld's cynical, smooth-talking brother-in-law, Vernon Demerest (Dean Martin), won't let up on his criticism of the management at Lincoln, but he has his own problems as well, mostly in the form of a young stewardess, Gwen Meighen (Jacqueline Bisset), who is pregnant by him and whom he finds he genuinely loves. Add to that the presence of an old lady stowaway (Helen Hayes) and a mentally disturbed passenger (Van Heflin) carrying a bomb, and there's more than enough plot to keep viewers engrossed for two hours plus. Airport became one of the top-grossing movies of its era, racking up astronomical box-office numbers and spawning an entire film genre -- the disaster movie. With Jean Seberg, George Kennedy, Lloyd Nolan, Barry Nelson, and Maureen Stapleton filling out the rest of the leading roles, there was something for almost everyone in this film. The movie still has a lot to offer if only as a prime example of Hollywood at its most successfully glitzy, but, if possible, viewers should try and see the letterboxed version of Airport on DVD (released May 2001). ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Airport
Yes, it may be junk, but it's irresistible junk, like cotton candy, chicken nuggets or Gilligan's Island reruns.
Before there was Airplane! there was Airport, a surprisingly engaging disaster drama that ignited a trend.
If it weren't for a mad bomber story line, it would be the perfect empty movie for airlines to show on long flights.
One of the most embarrassing films to be nominated for Best Picture and other Oscars, Airport is a trashy flick that began the cycle of disaster movies; the spoof Airport is better and more enjoyable.
Old-fashioned and fairly stagy, but this great-granddaddy of disaster flicks has an undeniable old-fashioned charm.
It spawned a sub-genre, but it was old-fashioned when it was new.
Audience Reviews for Airport
A little hokey to be sure but eminently watchable, Helen Hayes IS endearing but her oscar was surely a sentimental one and really should have gone to Maureen Stapleton who gives a real and very touching portrayal of a woman in an impossible situation. The rest of the cast is fun, Burt Lancaster and Dana Wynter inject a touch of reality as they come to grips with the end of their marriage in a wonderfully played scene. Jacqueline Bissett is young and beautiful, the chicest stewardess to ever fly the friendly skies.More
One of the original disaster films that spawned an entire new genre of films, Airport is a good little film. However, there's nothing too special about this one. Airport is entertaining, but lacks terrific character development and has cringe worthy dialogue at times. The performances are good, and the cast is pretty impressive, however the plot is hit and miss, and the direction seems unfocused. Nonetheless, if you love a classic thrill ride, this is worth checking out; just don't expect anything great with the film. I liked the film, but it's nothing special. The film set the standard of every other disaster flick that was to follow. The film is a bit too predictable, but in the end it's silly fun. The film tends to go from serious to almost tongue in cheek. Of all the disaster films out there, I find that this is one of the few more unintentionally humorous ones. I'm not saying the picture is bad, but there are moment in the film where you're like, did this happen? Considering that this is drama, you'd expect something a little more serious. This film could have been much better, and the screenwriters could have toned down on the cheesy dialogue and poor tongue in cheek moments. Otherwise, this is an entertaining picture that delivers effective thrills from start to finish, and despite its flaws, it's worth watching you love 1970's cinema. Just don't expect a great film. Enjoyable, but you can see that the film had the potential of being so much more than what it turned out to be.More
The first of the Airport disaster films. I remember seeing most of them on Sunday afternoons on TV as a young kid. Big budget blockbusters for the time with an all star cast! I think there were three sequels in the end Airport '75, '77 and '79 concorde! Check them out, still pretty good films and few disaster films about planes have been made since to this standard.
Not too mention it inspired two of the funniest spoof films (Airplane) as well!
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