Airport (film): Wikis


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Theatrical Release Poster
Directed by George Seaton
Produced by Ross Hunter
Written by Arthur Hailey (novel)
George Seaton
Starring Burt Lancaster
Dean Martin
Jean Seberg
Jacqueline Bisset
George Kennedy
Helen Hayes
Van Heflin
Music by Alfred Newman
Cinematography Ernest Laszlo, ASC
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) March 5, 1970
Running time 137 min
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10,000,000
Gross revenue $100,489,151
Followed by Airport 1975

Airport is a 1970 American film based on the 1968 Arthur Hailey novel of the same name. This film, which earned over $100,000,000[1] at the box office at a time when achieving that milestone was rare, focuses on an airport manager trying to keep his airport open during a snowstorm, while a suicidal bomber plots to blow up a Boeing 707 in flight. The story takes place at the fictional Chicago-area Lincoln International Airport. The film was written for the screen and directed by George Seaton. Seaton was assisted by Henry Hathaway, and Ernest Laszlo photographed it in 70 mm Todd-AO. The film cost $10 million to produce. This was the last film scored by Academy Award winning composer Alfred Newman.

Airport paved the way for the 1970s disaster film genre, establishing the widely-followed convention of "microcosmic melodrama combined with catastrophe-oriented adventure".[2]



This film was based on the best-selling novel by Arthur Hailey. With considerable attention to the details of day-to-day airport and airline operations, the plot of the movie concerns the response to both a paralyzing snowstorm and to an attempt to blow up an airliner.

Demolition expert D.O. Guerrero, down on his luck and with a history of mental illness, purchases a life insurance policy with the intent to commit suicide by blowing up a Rome-bound Boeing 707 Intercontinental jet from a snowbound Chicago airport. He plans to do this while he is on board using a self-made bomb hidden inside an attache case, while in flight over the Atlantic Ocean. Guerrero does this in the hope that his wife, Inez, will benefit from the insurance money.

Co-pilot Vern Demerest tries to persuade Guerrero not to trigger the bomb while airport manager Mel Bakersfeld deals with a variety of personal, weather, runway and stowaway problems from the ground. The ultimate detonation causes explosive decompression and Guerrero is sucked out of the plane. Chief stewardess Gwen, pregnant with Demerest's child, is seriously injured in the blast. The plane returns to Chicago to attempt an emergency landing -– all while the airport is in the midst of a blizzard with one runway closed from a stuck-in-the-snow airliner that chief mechanic Joe Patroni is trying to move in time.

The film is characterized by ensemble acting in which many personal stories intertwine while decisions are made minute-by-minute by the airport staff.



The majority of the filming was done at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. A display in the modern-day terminal, along with stills from the field and from the film itself illustrated the story as such: "Minnesota's legendary winters attracted Hollywood here in 1969, when portions of the film Airport were shot in the terminal and on the field. The weather remained stubbornly clear, however, forcing the director to use plastic 'snow' to create the appropriate effect."

Only one Boeing 707 was used in the filming: N324F, a 707-349C, was leased from Flying Tiger Line by Universal Studios and sported an El Al cheatline over its bare metal finish, with the fictional Trans Global Airlines (TGA) titles and tail. On March 21, 1989 that aircraft, flying for Transbrasil with registration PT-TCS, crashed while making a high speed approach at runway 09R of São Paulo's Guarulhos International Airport after departure from Manaus Eduardo Gomes International Airport.[3]



Box office

Airport was released into theatres on March 5, 1970. Overall, it made $100,489,151 and was the highest-grossing film of the year.[4]


Critics have mostly panned Airport in the years since its release,[5][6 ] with the most generous reviews complimenting the film's influence on the disaster genre and its "camp value."[7][8]


The film won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Helen Hayes), and was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Maureen Stapleton), Writing (adapted screenplay), Art Direction (Alexander Golitzen, E. Preston Ames, Jack D. Moore, Mickey S. Michaels), Cinematography, Costume Design (Edith Head), Film Editing, Original Score, and Sound.[9]


This movie is the final film project of composer Alfred Newman. Newman's health was failing at the time and so he was unable to conduct the sessions for the commercially-released recording of his music (this duty was handled by Stanley Wilson); Newman did conduct the sessions for the music heard in the film.


The success of Airport spawned three sequels, the first two of which were box office hits.

The one actor appearing in all four "Airport" films was George Kennedy in recurring role of Joe Patroni. Patroni's character evolves over the series, however, and he goes from a chief mechanic in Airport to a Vice President of Operations in Airport 1975, a consultant in Airport '77, and an experienced pilot in The Concorde...Airport '79.


External links


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