Best Movies set on Planes

I have never seen Air Force One (1997). Let’s just get that out of the way before we begin. I know, I’m sorry. I’m such a fraud, but at least I’m honest, right? Whilst I’m pouring my heart out, let me also tell you I’ve never seen Con Air (1997). My friend’s a huge Kurt Russell fanboy and, yup, I’ve not seen Executive Decision (1996) either. Though all this is making me realise is that ’96 and ’97 were excellent years for aviation movies.

So I guess this is a list of my favourite movies set on planes. For me, watching these kind of films can almost be as wanderlust-inspiring as films about the destinations themselves. Or, they could be Snakes on a Plane (2006) and make you want to gouge your eyes out so you never have to see anything so mind-numbingly stupid ever again. Either way.

Best Movies set on Planes

Sometimes films set on planes can be more wanderlust-inspiring than films about the actual destination - here are my top movies set on planes!
© 2012 Getty Images

Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990)

Where better to lower your already low expectations of me than begin with Die Hard 2?! Currently with a 7.1 rating on IMDB and a 69% on rotten tomatoes, I think we all have to agree that this one isn’t the masterpiece the first one was. However, it’s still not that bad. I’ve only seen it once but I still remember so much of it. Where better to up the ante than suspending the action in the air?

Sometimes films set on planes can be more wanderlust-inspiring than films about the actual destination - here are my top movies set on planes!
© 2013 – El Deseo S.A.

I’m So Excited (2013)

This was the very first Pedro Almodovar film I saw at the cinema and I loved it. It was everything I wanted in a film. Extremely camp Flight Attendants, a musical number and impending doom. It didn’t do fantastically with the critics but it’s still a whole lot of fun. Honestly, sometimes you need a film that just doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Sometimes films set on planes can be more wanderlust-inspiring than films about the actual destination - here are my top movies set on planes!
© 2004 Miramax Films

The Aviator (2004)

I only watched The Aviator for the first time a couple of months ago and I had absolutely no idea what it was about. How silly is that? Leonardo DiCaprio plays the role of Howard Hawks in what turned out to be a biopic all about him, his love of aeronautics and his mantra ‘bigger is better.’ I also had no idea Hawks was so into Aviation, nor that he had a thing with Katherine Hepburn, portrayed fantastically by Cate Blanchett. I mean, am I even a film fan?!

Sometimes films set on planes can be more wanderlust-inspiring than films about the actual destination - here are my top movies set on planes!
© Paramount Pictures

Up in the Air (2009)

Up in the Air won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and the grey suits and airports do make the film look a little dull. But in doing so, the film highlights what a life of travel can do to a person if they are constantly on the road. I’m not talking about a beach hut in Mexico one day, and a tree house in Thailand the next. I’m talking the same, generic hotel room day, after day, after day… I

Sometimes films set on planes can be more wanderlust-inspiring than films about the actual destination - here are my top movies set on planes!
© 1986 – Paramount Pictures

Top Gun (1986)

Not a commercial plane kind of film for the first time on this list, but a fighter pilot kind of film. Tom Cruise might be a little annoying nowadays but in Top Gun I find him moderately charming. It’s a story of love, determination and a little bit of innovation. And for some reason I’ve got that song ‘Hiiiighwaaay to… the… danger zone!’ in my head right now. Was that song in the film? If not, it should have been, it’s that kind of film.

Sometimes films set on planes can be more wanderlust-inspiring than films about the actual destination - here are my top movies set on planes!
© 1980 – Paramount Pictures

Airplane! (1980)

I hope I’ve managed to redeem myself with the inclusion of Airplane! right here at the end. It’s the best spoof of all time, hands down. I have never known comedy like this film before. You might never want to get on a plane ever again after watching this film, but you know what… I still think it would be worth it.

Do you have any favourite movies set predominantly on an plane?

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Sometimes films set on planes can be more wanderlust-inspiring than films about the actual destination - here are my top movies set on planes!
© 2012 Getty Images & 1986 – Paramount Pictures

Rebecca

I’m the human and hair behind Almost Ginger. I’m a cinephile travel obsessive vegetarian currently residing in Manchester.

4 thoughts on “Best Movies set on Planes

  • August 30, 2016 at 9:37 am
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    Great list! Firstly: yes, Kenny Loggins’ Ganger Zone is in Top Gun, and it’s easily the best aspect of that film (I’m not a fan). Secondly: there’s no shame in including Die Hard 2 on this list, we covered it as a Movie of the Month on the Lambcast a couple of years ago (it was the Christmas show, somehow) and I loved it. I still get flashbacks to William Sadler doing naked Tai Chi in his hotel room. I’ve never seen Executive Decision either, but Air Force One and Con Air are both classics that are well worth your time, just don’t expect anything too high-brow. They’re entertaining popcorn flicks. Finally, I’ve got to mention the Airport franchise. I don’t know if you were a Lambcast listener in April 2015, but we covered the whole franchise back then and it remains one of my favourite shows I’ve ever recorded, because that franchise is insane. Awesomely insane. The first one is a bonafide classic that was nominated for Best Picture and is a typical Irwin Allen-style 1970s mega-cast disaster movie, but the sequels get more and more ridiculous and star-studded as they go. I’d recommend them all, with Airport ’77 being possibly my favourite, because an airplane gets stuck underwater, and hilarity ensues. Also, they all feature the great George Kennedy as the even greater Joe Patroni, an icon of cinema who doesn’t get enough appreciation.

    Reply
    • August 30, 2016 at 12:41 pm
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      I have retrospectively realised that I should have watched some more airplane-based movies for making this list! But oh well. I do really want to see Air Force One and Con Air and I do plan on, I would expect many things that Nicholas Cage is in to be high brow… And no I wasn’t but I have certainly heard tales of this epic! And I have literally only heard of them from a Friends TV show, that’s how little I know of them. I do really like the idea of an airplane getting stuck under water though, you’ve peaked my interest!

      Reply
  • August 31, 2016 at 9:23 am
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    I’ve only seen Up in the Air and Die Hard 2 from your list, I really want to watch I’m So Excited! Air Force One and Con Air are also fun movies. I also liked Non-Stop, I found it entertaining.

    Reply
    • August 31, 2016 at 9:32 am
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      I really should have watched those movies before making this list, but oh well! I haven’t seen Non-Stop either but I have heard good things about it.

      Reply

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