#701 Airplane! (1980)

A proof that many cooks sometimes don’t spoil the broth, Airplane! is a milestone in a comedy movie history that perfected the spoof comedy formula by taking it over the edge – and then some. A co-written and co-directed by Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and David Zucker, Airplane became a commercial and critical success, and a movie that paved the way to the top zany comedies of the following years: Top Secret, Naked Gun and Hot Shots.

A lot of good insights went into making Airplane a reality. Firstly, instead of casting a gang of worn comedy actors get silly on the screen, they hired actors with no comedy background whatsoever to play their parts with a straight face, which contrasting with the surrounding absurdity added a lot to the comedic effect of the movie. This is where Leslie Nielsen, aged 54 at the time, got his second wind as a comedy actor.

Secondly, if there was an opportunity for a joke, Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker went for it: The movie and its screen estate is constantly loaded with gags, happening on and off the camera. This contributed to the movie’s rewatchability value and it has had a very healthy off box office lifespan in VHS, DVD and on the TV.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 94%