Airport (film)

Airport (film)

Infobox Film
name = Airport

caption = Theatrical Release Poster
director = George Seaton
producer = Ross Hunter
writer = Arthur Hailey (novel)
George Seaton
starring = Burt Lancaster
Dean Martin
Jean Seberg
Jacqueline Bisset
George Kennedy
Helen Hayes
Van Heflin
music = Alfred Newman
cinematography = Ernest Laszlo, ASC
editing =
distributor = Universal Pictures
filmed = Early 1969
released = March 5, 1970 (U.S. release)
runtime = 137 min
language = English
country = USA
budget =
amg_id = 1:1307
imdb_id = 0065377
followed_by = "Airport 1975"

"Airport" is a 1970 film based on the 1968 Arthur Hailey novel of the same name. This film, which earned over $100,000,000 [See "The Numbers" site [] ] at the box office, centers around 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 film cost $10 million to produce.

"Airport" paved the way for the disaster film genre and established many of the conventions for that genre.

The movie 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. It was the last film scored by Alfred Newman before his death.

This story takes place at the fictional Chicago-area Lincoln International Airport.


* Burt Lancaster as Mel Bakersfeld, airport manager
* Dean Martin as Captain Vernon Demerest, check-ride pilot on Trans Global Flight Two
* Jean Seberg as Tanya Livingston, public relations agent for Trans Global Airlines
* Jacqueline Bisset as Gwen Meighen, chief stewardess on Flight Two
* George Kennedy as Joe Patroni, chief mechanic for TWA, on loan to Trans Global
* Helen Hayes as Mrs. Ada Quonsett, stowaway
* Van Heflin as D. O. Guerrero, former contractor, in bankruptcy
* Maureen Stapleton as Mrs. Inez Guerrero
* Barry Nelson as pilot Anson Harris, Captain on Flight Two
* Dana Wynter as Cindy Bakersfeld, wife of Mel Bakersfeld
* Lloyd Nolan as Standish, the head of Customs at Lincoln Int'l Airport
* Barbara Hale as Sarah Demerest (sister of Mel Bakersfeld, wife of Vernon Demerest)
* Gary Collins as Cy Jordan, the second officer/flight engineer of Flight Two
* Ena Hartman as Ruth, tourist class stewardess
* Patty Poulsen as Joan, tourist class stewardess
* Marion Ross as Passenger "Can we get a blanket?" (uncredited)


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, Cinematography, Costume Design (Edith Head), Film Editing, Original Score, and Sound,


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 (Van Heflin), down on his luck, 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 an improvised bomb, while the plane is over the Atlantic Ocean. Guerrero does this in the hope that his wife will benefit from the insurance money. The explosion causes explosive decompression but only Guerrero is sucked out of the plane. The plane returns to Chicago where it makes a successful emergency landing – all while the airport is suffering from the snowstorm.

In the movie, Dean Martin who plays check-pilot Vernon Demarest, calls into Cleveland Center on his way to Chicago. Cleveland, Ohio Cleveland Center is a reference to the ARTCC or Air Route Traffic Control Center in Oberlin, Ohio. This center is the busiest control centers because of air traffic. Dean Martin had his career start in Cleveland.

The film is characterized by ensemble acting in which many different personal stories interact, and by the emphasis on the decisions which must be made minute-by-minute by the airport staff -- particularly Joe Patroni, and the pilots, to ensure the safe operation of the air flights in conditions of extreme weather and air sabotage.


The majority of the filming was done at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. A display in the terminal, along with stills from the field and from the film itself told the story thus: "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: airreg|N|324F, 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. In 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. [Details of 707 crash in São Paulo [] ]

Lancaster and Martin made quite a lot of money on this project, as they both had a percentage share of the box-office receipts of this picture.


Box Office

"Airport" was released into theatres on March 5, 1970. Overall, it made $100,489,151.


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.
* "Airport 1975"
* "Airport '77"
* "The Concorde...Airport '79"

The one actor appearing in all four "Airport" films is George Kennedy in 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

* [ "Photos of the aircraft used in the movie"]
* [] - Airport @ Box Office Mojo

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