There are thousands of thriller, action, and drama movies that have come out over the years, but dozens of them have actually taken place almost entirely on a plane. These movies with an airplane or aircraft setting are usually described as films with a claustrophobic atmosphere, as there is really no escape when tragedy or accidents happen within an aircraft. However, through miraculous actions or motivations, some of these films would usually have a happy ending where there will be survivors.
As we have mentioned previously, there are already dozens of movies that take place on a plane, but only a few are considered to be the best in terms of acting, story, cinematography, and other aspects of the film that are typically reviewed upon. Here are the best movies that take place on a plane.
Snakes on a Plane (2006)
A cult classic movie in the 2000s is Snakes on a Plane, an action film that was directed by David R. Ellis and released on August 18, 2006. The movie stars Samual L. Jackson as Agent Neville Flynn, who is an FBI agent assigned to protect a crime witness named Sean Jones (played by Nathan Philipps) while onboard a plane that goes to Los Angeles. However, before the plane even reached LA, dozens of venomous snakes were released on the passenger plane in an attempt to kill Jones.
Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, Snakes on a Plane became a cult classic among action film lovers because of its cheesiness and thrilling scenes. Before its release, it even became a viral sensation on the internet because of the big marketing push conducted by its production company, Mutual Film Company. However, the film only earned $62 million at the box office against a $33 million budget.
Air Force One (1997)
According to many, one of the best airplane movies that people should definitely watch is Air Force One, a political action thriller film that was directed by Wolfgang Petersen and released on July 25, 1997. The film has Harrison Ford as the president of the United States and a military veteran who deals with a group of terrorists that hijacks his plane, the Air Force One. Because of his past military training, Ford’s character, President James Marshall, is able to have the ability to retake the plane from the terrorists.
Air Force One received positive reviews from critics, who praised the acting of Ford and the other cast members, as well as the story of the film. The movie was also a box office hit, as it was able to get $315.2 million in the box office against an $85 million budget.
From two action films, let us now discuss a drama film that takes place primarily inside a plane. This movie is titled Sully, although it is also known in other places as Sully: Miracle on the Hudson, and it was directed by Clint Eastwood and released on September 9, 2016. The film is based on an autobiography titled Highest Duty, which was released in 2009 and is focused on telling the story of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot of the US Airways Flight 1549. In the story, the US Airways Flight 1549 performed an emergency landing on the Hudson River due to two damaged engines of the plane. No one was supposed to survive such deadly damage on the plane, but Sully was able to land on the Hudson River and saved all 155 passengers and crew members.
Sully was received well by critics, although it received criticisms for the fictionalized portrayal of the NTSB or National Transportation Safety, as they were painted as the villains of the story. The National Board of Review added Sully to the list of the best movies of 2016.
Red Eye (2005)
Another popular airplane movie in the 2000s is Red Eye, which was released on August 19, 2005, and directed by Wes Craven, who is widely known for being the creator of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. The movie stars Rachel McAdams as a hotel manager that is aboard a red-eye flight (a type of flight that departs at night and arrives at the destination the next morning) and is seated next to a terrorist (played by Cillian Murphy) that asks for her cooperation on an assassination plot.
Much like most of the best airplane movies of all time, Red Eye also had very positive reviews from critics, who heavily praised Wes Craven’s directing and the acting of Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy. At the box office, Red Eye received $96.2 million against a $26 million budget.
Con Air (1997)
If you are looking for a classic airplane movie to watch, you should definitely check out Con Air, an action thriller film that was directed by Simon West and released on June 6, 1997. The movie stars three of the biggest actors of the 90s, Nicholas Cage, John Cusack, and John Malkovich. Cage plays the role of Cameron Pie, a paroled prisoner that was a former Army Ranger, while Cusack takes on the role of US Marshal Vince Larkin. Malkovich plays the villain of the film, Cyrus “The Virus” Grissom, who served as the mastermind of the escape plot of several criminals within the JPATS or Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System aircraft.
Con Air is one of the biggest films in 1997, as it was able to get $224 million at the box office against a $75 million budget. Although it was a box office success, critics gave mixed reviews for the film, but they praised the performance of the cast as well as the execution of the action sequences.
These are five of the best airplane movies that you should watch if you are a fan of action thrillers or dramas. Today, it is often rare for us to see movies that take place on a plane, but luckily, there are already plenty of those movies that have been released in the past, so we can just watch those while waiting for a new airplane film.