6 Films Set in Airports

Last week, I was on the bus to the airport, ready to speed through the luggage control area and get to my gate. Unfortunately, this nice plan was ruined by a text I received a moment later, which informed me that my departure time would be delayed by five hours. It was too late to go back home, so I had to settle with a much longer than anticipated wait in the airport terminal. And, while waiting, I tried to be as productive as possible, and also found a topic for this week’s post – films set in airports.

1. Airport (1970)

It would be unfair to write an ‘airport film’ list and not start with Airport. Not because it’s the best of the bunch, but simply because of its name – can’t get clearer than that what the setting will be, can it? This classic film stars Dean Martin and Burt Lancaster, among others, and deals with all kinds of problems that take place one winter’s day at Lincoln Airport: frozen runways, delays, fuel problems, personnel issues and angry passengers. All the usual stuff.

2. Up in the Air (2009)

The story also mostly revolves around terminal buildings, and the main character is played by George Clooney, a corporate downsizing expert focussed on collecting frequent flyer miles. Judging by the timing of the release, both the corporate downsizing angle and the saving money angle were highly relevant, and it proved to be quite a hit.

3. Airplane! (1980)

This is without a doubt one of my favourite classic comedies, and I had to cheat a little bit to include it here, since most of the action takes place in the air, inside an airplane, and not on airport hallways and corridors. It’s super good fun, stars Leslie Nielsen among many others, and was nominated for Best Comedy at the 1981 Golden Globes.

4. The Terminal (2004)

Tom Hanks plays an Eastern European tourist who becomes stranded in the JFK Airport and hast to call it home for a while. Directed by Steven Spielberg, and also starring the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Stanley Tucci, it received a warm reception from general audiences, despite not being liked very much by critics.

5. Die Hard 2 (1990)

When a couple of military bad guys try to seize control of Dulles International Airport in Washington DC, around Christmas time, it is once again time for John McClane (Bruce Willis) to save the day. It’s fun, even more action-packed than the first Die Hard, and provides interesting insights into how flying was back in the 80s – without no-smoking policies and much more carefree luggage checks.

6. Catch Me If You Can (2002)

The last entry on the list is also directed by Steven Spielberg, and features a star-studded cast that includes Tom Hanks, Leonardo Di Caprio, Amy Adams, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, James Brolin and Jennifer Garner. It’s a complex crime story with a lot of angles, settings and locations – and some of these include – as you probably guessed already – airports.

Article written by Julian Leu for The Monthly Film Festival




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