At the risk of being highly subjective, this 1980 movie rocks! The basic premise of the film is to spoof airline disaster movies so prevalent towards the latter half of the 1970s. As is often the case in Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker films, the movie is an endless stream of cheap gags that keep you rolling on the floor for 90 minutes. See also the Naked Gun and Police Squad movies.

The plot revolves around young Ted Striker (Robert Hays), a Vietnam veteran struggling to pull his life back together and get back his girl, Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty). To do this, he overcomes his fear of flying and hops aboard a plane on which she is a flight attendant. She is reluctant to say the least. Fortunately fate decides to intervene, and the entire cockpit crew and several of the passengers fell poisoned by tainted airline seafood. If untreated, the stricken will die and the plane will crash. Fortunately there is another pilot aboard, Ted Striker!

Before Striker can save the day, though, he has to exorcise the demons of his past — the botched mission in Vietnam that cost him his crew and his sanity, the drinking problem, the disco dancing. With the support of Elaine, Doctor Rumack (Leslie Nielsen), an inflatable autopilot, and Captain Rex Kramer (Robert Stack) on the ground, Striker eventually gains the confidence he needs to land the plane safely.

In my effort to write this up as straight as possible, I have neglected to mention the endless sight gags, cheap puns, and other jokes that come at you every three seconds. There is no way to list them all without noding the script, and that would be a bad idea. Suffice it to say, although the overall sense of humor in the film is pretty juvenile, almost anyone will find reason to laugh his or her butts off. Rent the movie. If you really want to get into the lyricism of the movie, you can find the script at

Credits and such

Thanks to the Internet Movie Database (

Written and Directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker

Cast (in credits order)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as Himself & Roger Murdock, Copilot
Lloyd Bridges as Steven McCroskey, Chicago Air Control
Peter Graves as Captain Clarence Oveur
Julie Hagerty as Elaine Dickinson, Stewardess
Robert Hays as Theodore 'Ted' Striker
Leslie Nielsen as Doctor Rumack
Lorna Patterson as Randy, Stewardess
Robert Stack as Captain Rex Kramer
Stephen Stucker as Johnny Hinshaw, Air Controller
Jim Abrahams as Religious Zealot #6
Frank Ashmore as Victor Basta, Navigator
Jonathan Banks as Gunderson
Craig Berenson as Paul Carey
Barbara Billingsley as Jive Lady
Lee Bryant as Mrs. Hammen
Joyce Bulifant as Mrs. Davis
Mae E. Campbell as Security Lady
Ted Chapman as Airport Steward
Jesse Emmett as Man from India
Norman Alexander Gibbs as First Jive Dude
Amy Gibson as Soldier's Girl
Marcy Goldman as Mrs. Geline
Bob Gorman as Striped Controller
Rossie Harris as Joey Hammen
Maurice Hill as Reporter #3
David Hollander as Young Boy with Coffee
James Hong as Japanese General
Howard Honig as Jack
Gregory Itzin as Religious Zealot #1
Howard Jarvis as Man in Taxi
Michael Laurence as Newscaster
David Leisure as First Krishna
Zachary Lewis as Religious Zealot #3
Barbara Mallory as Religious Zealot #2
Maureen McGovern as Nun
Nora Meerbaum as Cocaine Lady
Mary Mercier as Shirley
Ethel Merman as Lieutenant Hurwitz
Len Mooy as Reporter #1
Ann Nelson as Hanging Lady (as Ann M. Nelson)
Laura Nix as Mrs. Hurwitz
John O'Leary as Reporter #2
Cyril O'Reilly as Bill the Soldier
Bill Porter as Hospital Contortionist
Nicholas Pryor as Mr. Jim Hammen
Conrad E. Palmisano as Religious Zealot #4 (as Conrad Palmisano)
Mallory Sandler as L.A. Ticket Agent
Michelle Stacy as Young Girl with Coffee
Robert Starr as Religious Zealot #5
Barbara Stuart as Mrs. Kramer
Lee Terri as Mrs. Linda Oveur
Kenneth Tobey as Air Controller Neubauer
William Tregoe as Jack Kirkpatrick
Hatsuo Uda as Japanese Newscaster
Herb Voland as Air Controller Macias
Jimmie Walker as Windshield Wiper Man
Jill Whelan as Lisa Davis
Al White as Second Jive Dude
John David Wilder as Second Krishna (as John-David Wilder)
Jason Wingreen as Dr. Brody, Mayo Clinic
Louise Yaffe as Mrs. Jaffe
Charlotte Zucker as Make-Up Lady
David Zucker as Ground Crewman #1
Jerry Zucker as Ground Crewman #2

Rest of cast listed alphabetically
Susan Breslau as Ticket Agent (uncredited)
Leslie Hoffman as Passenger in terminal (uncredited)
Dr. Robert Nevin as Other Doctor/Plane Passenger (uncredited)

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