Airplane! (1980) Movie Summary

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War hero, Ted Stryker has a checkered battle record. He made the decision to fly too low and men died. He lost his confidence, and he now he won’t fly again. But he lost more than his wings that fateful day in the war. The lingering effects of his mistake drove his girl away too. Now she’s a stewardess. That’s right, stewardess–not flight attendant–because this movie came out in 1980. In those days, you could smoke on a plane, and stewardesses still flew the friendly skies.

Elaine is an absent minded stewardess who dances to disco, and whines when she speaks. She can’t stand Ted, and Ted can’t live without her. So, when she boards an LA to Chicago flight, Ted buys a ticket; hoping he can convince Elaine to give him one last chance.

Soon after take-off, people start getting sick from some bad fish. I’m not talking about wussy little stomach cramps. I’m talking vomiting, nausea, and unconsciousness. Unfortunately for the passengers, the pilot, Clarence “Over” Oveur, co-pilot, Roger “Roger” Murdock, and navigator, “What’s your Vector” Victor Basta all ate the fish; leaving Otto, blow-up doll co-pilot, at the helm.

The dames ask for a doctor, and fortunately, there is. Dr. Barry “Don’t Call Me Shirley” Rumack starts to help out, but realizes that if the plane doesn’t land soon, people will die. His smooth talking convinces Stryker to land the plane.

Aided by Steve “I picked a bad week to stop smoking, drinking, sniffing glue, and popping pills” McCrosky and Captian Rex Kramer, Ted takes control of the plane. Fortunately for the passengers, the rampant sickness, sight gags, and satire aren’t enough to distract Stryker who successfully overcomes his PTSD and lands the plane safely in Chicago. Now freed from the effects of his PTSD, Elaine and Stryker share a passionate kiss as Otto the blow-up doll co-pilot commandeers the plane and flies away with his blow-up doll girlfriend.

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