Flights of Fancy: 10 Great Airplane Movies

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"The Right Stuff" is missing in this list


How could "The High and the Mighty " be left out ,, Bridges of Toko Ri  ,,both are superior to couple that are listed,, such as Top Gun , which was phony,,

glennra3 like.author.displayName 1 Like

I have to agree that "Fearless" has one of the scariest plane crash scenes (entirely from within the plane) I've ever seen.

It may be Jeff Bridges' best performance.

I also liked the 1966 British film, "The Blue Max," about a WWI German fighter pilot. Great flying scenes with some terrific looking biplanes.

AndyHayes like.author.displayName 1 Like

How about "The High and the Mighty"? The first and most realistic airliner disaster  movie. About a DC-6 flying from Honnalulu to SFO when an engine fails and cuts a fuel line - very realistic scenario.


The George lucas-produced Red Tails should be on this list for its incredible re-creation of WW II dogfights.


The absolute best aviation movie that was able to capture the essence and passion of flying is"One Six Right".  It didn't get much play outside of aviation circles, but it was a wonderful movie. Look it up on line. The airborne video is phenomenal.


What about "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines" about the race to fly across the English Channel?

AlbertWilson like.author.displayName 1 Like

Wings (1927) is one of the greatest aviation movies of all time and it wasn't even mentioned. Watch it before you comment.

BelvaDelaneyGurr like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

You didn't list the movie that started it all, 1966's Doomsday Flight with Jack Lord!!! Until this movie no one had ever hijacked a plane and then it all went downhill from there with the how to for future hijackers!!! Air Marshall's, TSA, 9-11 and many more!!!

BelvaDelaneyGurr like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Nowhere is the great Jimmy Stewart mentioned and two of his best, No Highway InThe Sky and Strategic Air Command!!!! The latter has the most beautiful aerial photography ever shown!!!

JosephLCooke like.author.displayName 1 Like

What a crock. You missed 12:00 O'clock High.

The Hunters with Mitchum and Wagner was better than half of the flicks mentioned. 

Sherm like.author.displayName 1 Like

Spirit of St. Louis?

JosephLCooke like.author.displayName 1 Like

Clueless. You missed High and the Mighty.

The Denzel Washington movie was a promo for AA and had little to do with airplanes.

dangill899 like.author.displayName 1 Like

What about The Dambusters, Battle of Britain, 633 Squadron, Reach for the Sky, Memphis Belle

porky_pig_jr like.author.displayName 1 Like

And don't forget 1941, with Belushi as a fighter pilot.


Number one is United 93; it is difficult to watch and you realize just how normal it all seemed at the begining of the flight. This is a movie everyone should see and then "Fearless" with a crash scene that stays with you. Both are about the randomness of life and are fine, fine films.

johndavisbikes like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

I agree, "The High and the Mighty" should be number 1. plus it had that great theme.

Sherm like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@johndavisbikes The intro is fascinating in light of today's tight travel security and limited customer service.  One guy is allowed to board the plane with a handgun.  Another guy forgot his luggage at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the airline says they'll "just have it sent over".

chmallery like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

How could you ignore one of the first great airplane disaster movie, the classic great John Wayne movie - "The High and the Mighty"

SilentBoy741 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Because, as with most articles these days based on "lists", it was probably compiled by a kid who wasn't even born when any of these movies came out, and just wrote up a blurb on the first 10 movies to pop up on a Google search.  Otherwise, "The High and the Mighty" would undoubtedly be on this list, as well as the true granddaddy of them all, the superb "Wings" from 1927; the film that predated "Hell's Angels" in using hair-raising actual aerial "combat" photography.