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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More an epic soap opera than a disaster movie, but still a fun ride
Although The Poseidon Adventure gets all the credit, Airport is the film that really kicked off the 70s disaster craze. Unlike its three follow-ups, this adaptation of Arthur Hailey's doorstop novel really is as much about the snowbound airport as it is the imperilled plane, one of many plots the movie juggles. Hailey had built his novel around a 1956 Canadian TV movie he...
Published on 27 Nov 2007 by Trevor Willsmer

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More an epic soap opera than a disaster movie, but still a fun ride, 27 Nov 2007
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Airport [DVD] (1970) (DVD)
Although The Poseidon Adventure gets all the credit, Airport is the film that really kicked off the 70s disaster craze. Unlike its three follow-ups, this adaptation of Arthur Hailey's doorstop novel really is as much about the snowbound airport as it is the imperilled plane, one of many plots the movie juggles. Hailey had built his novel around a 1956 Canadian TV movie he wrote called Flight Into Danger, but much of it plays like a Peyton Place-esquire soap opera: will embattled airport manager Burt Lancaster stay married to Dana Wynter or to his job - or will he go off into the sunrise with that nice airline rep Jean Seberg? Will pilot Dean Martin leave his wife now he's got stewardess Jacqueline Bisset up the duff? Will Helen Hayes' scene-stealing geriatric stowaway get caught? Will George Kennedy clear the blocked runway in time to avoid tragedy? Will Van Heflin's mentally troubled demolitions expert set off the bomb in his briefcase? Would there be a movie if he didn't?

Shot like an epic to emphasise the size and scale of everything (it even opens with an overture of sound effects of a busy airport terminal before bursting into Alfred Newman's urgent rumba-led score) it's a big, glossy well crafted entertainment that still holds up surprisingly well, especially in widescreen where the occasional split-screen effects come into their own (not to mention a great gag with a priest and an annoying passenger during the crash landing that's usually lost in the TV panning-and-scanning). It's the least sensational of the series but still the most effective, and there's no shortage of familiar faces in the passenger seats, from Lloyd Nolan, Maureen Stapleton, Jesse Royce Landis, Whit Bissell and the original "Jimmy Bond 007" of the CIA, Barry Nelson. Sadly, setting something of an unfortunate pattern for the series, the 707 used in the film crashed in 1989, somewhat disproving the constant accolades the plane's abilities receive throughout the film ("The only thing a 707 can't do is read!").

The only extra on the PAL DVD is the original trailer, but the 2.35:1 widescreen transfer is good. The NTSC releases are extras free - and the intial US release from Goodtimes is a cropped fullframe version as well! The European Blu-ray release is also completely devoid of extras, but does have a much improved widescreen transfer with little of the often obvious overuse of DNR that Unversal titles can be prone to.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is where it all began, 9 Feb 2004
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
There have been a few disasters and monsters before this movie. However this is the one credited as the beginning of the airplay disaster movies. These have included some sequels and even the "Air Plane" spoofs.
It is fun to look back at the different actors and remember or see them for the first time in a younger body.
The film has several overlapping and intertwining stories; some of the stories seem like soap operas.
A few mentionable scenarios are Mel Bakersfield (Burt Lancaster); airport manager is accused of placing his work before his family. He gets berated in the middle of a crisis by his probably to be ex-wife Cindy Bakersfeld (Dana Winter). Does he also get distracted by his beautiful and efficient assistant? Throw in a pilot playboy, Capt. Vernon Demerest (Dean Martin) that is forced to evaluate fatherhood. For comic relief we have Ada Quonsett a geriatric stowaway. Then for the drama there is someone who has nothing to lose and everything to gain if the plane mysteriously does not reach its destination; the man with an attaché case D. O. Guerrero (Van Heflin.)
I am not going to go through the whole story it is for fun if you get to speculate on what is going to happen. How ever I must say one of my favorite characters is Joe Patroni (George Kennedy) operations chief that is tasked with clearing the runway of a stuck 707. See him again as the corrupt lawyer, Uncle Andrew, in Agatha Christie's "Death on the Nile."
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - gripping and emotinal, 12 Aug 2001
This review is from: Airport [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This film, is fantastic. Multi plots and colourful charectors keep you entertained untill the dramatic finale that can only be described as gripping. The director takes the viewer through the typical struggles between emotinal and proffesional life, with the fate of hundreds and a million dollar airliner lying in the hands of one man and his all encompasing bettle between the two lives.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Airport Blu-Ray edition 1970, 15 April 2014
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Well, having seen this film about 10 times at the Cinema when I was younger, when it did the rounds in the local theaters, it was a Joy to see this remastered, to a very high standard given its age. it also shows whats missing from todays films, and thats a decent background into the characters. The Boeing 707, ancient by todays standards needing two pilots and the flight engineer to fly it, was neatly realistic in its operation, Dont you love the 70's interior? Many facets of human behavior are seen in this film, thanks to the fine screenplay and writing. having now seen the film tonight, which Amazon sent within 24 hours, I just never realized what a great actor Van Heflin was. certainly you are pulled into the unfolding drama piece by piece, With almost a certain degree of sympathy for a broken man, with a forgiving wife, who he believes deserves a better life. The words that always stick out for me as being scary, is when Tania Livingston & Mel bakersfield asks Mrs Guerrero What he did for a living ? "Shes manages to spurt out " he was a demolition expert". Sadly many of the cast have passed on, some quite early in life , even some tragically, Jacqueline Bisset is still with us , now an amazing 69 years of age, as is George Kennedy, who really pushed the boundary of the technology of the Aircraft a little to much. N1 N2 Throttles at full power, like was shown, would surely have ripped the nose wheel undercarriage or main wheels off the plane while trying to get it back on the taxiway. On in all, the ATC chatter, the old fashioned communications and the talk down were spot on. Ada Quonsett of course steals the show as the stowaway (Helen Hayes) who was not in real life like her character, she was very active in giving time and money to courses close to her heart, and had an intelligent theatrical career. There's so much going on in this movie, you may be forgiven to thinking it will detract from unfolding events, but unlike later generations of films, this one succeeds in never taking you away from its main Theme. A classic, never surpassed in my view. Always been a 5* film, and the transfer to Blu ray, gives you a very crisp picture, and sound to match, however the rear surround is slighty lacking, but thats a very tiny gripe in what is an exellent film, in full 1080 HD cinema full screen mode. Jump aboard, and escape into the world of one of the finest early disaster movies ever made.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the first disaster, and the best ?, 31 Dec 2013
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Everybody knows Burt Lancaster and Dean Dino Martin were capable of more challenging performances than in this easy entertainment(just think of ELMER GNATRY, BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ or RIO BRAVO)suspense, but that is precisely why it is a luxury to combine their talents with a fun picture..and that is why this has been hard to match since then : nowdays, you have either serious actors or "Steven Seagals", but at the time of the big studios even first rate actors did quality commercial films.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First Airport movie, 16 April 2013
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This is the first one in the series and I think, the best. Fine performances by Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin and George Kennedy. Excellent support by Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset. The blu ray verson is well restored with excellent sound and picture. I had an earlier DVD of the same movie, where the picure and the sound were pathetic and have dumped that version. This is one of the very well produced disaster movies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have seen this film umpteen times, 3 Feb 2013
By 
verity (DEVON: U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Airport [DVD] (1970) (DVD)
Still it keeps my attention after all these years. It is a team which keeps the airport in business and shows just how much everyone depends on everyone else. I can even feel sorry for those actors on the fringe for not having the chance to be part of this one big family. An exciting story
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you are a disaster genre fan? Get in line for your ticket., 31 July 2012
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Airport [DVD] (1970) (DVD)
Lincoln International Airport is swamped by a truly severe snow storm, frozen runways and inadequate vision are causing no end of problems. Yet these are not the only things causing distress on this blustery evening, marital strife and stress management issues are besetting some of the airports major players, all this when a madman with a bomb has boarded the flight to Rome!

Based on the hugely successful novel written by Arthur Hayley, Airport is not only the trail blazer for the disaster genre, it's also a case study for star appeal over basic substance. Which all told makes for an interesting bed fellow. Yet as niggly as Airport is at times, and as dated as it so clearly is (but lets say period piece), it's entertainment value and slick professionalism more than make it a hugely enjoyable piece of fluff. I mean come on, when Dean Martin is the Captain of your flight, you just know that this is a film to be enjoyed with a pinch of salt, this in spite of the multi threaded strands of character arcs that seam throughout the course of the picture.

Not without tension, excitement and surprisingly deft moments of humour, (something the makers of Airplane would wonderfully exploit ten years later), Airport suffers mainly because it just doesn't have the time to cram in all of Haley's technical aspects from the book. We do get little tasters of just how pressurised the workers of a busy airport are, both with Dean Martin's Captain Demerest and Burt Lancaster's airport manager, Mel Bakersfield. But in the main the substance needed is glossed over in favour of a star cast mugging for all they are worth. That they are all duty bound to look good as they triumph is of course a given. But in spite of my grumblings, and my willingness to accept Airport's failings (you will never find me debating with someone who thinks it's awful) I just flipping think it's great viewing, but then again I'm a disaster genre fan, a genre that doesn't take itself as seriously as some of its detractors do.

Universal Studios were well sweating on the reception to Airport, after plunging in $10 million to make the piece, there was a big feeling that the film would fail miserably. They needn't have worried, it made four times that amount, was nominated for 10 Oscar's, winning the one for Best Supporting Actress (Helen Hayes wonderful as batty stowaway Ada Quonsett) and the 70s public lapped it up.

Not bad for a star laden piece of cheese really. 7/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Airport (1970), 24 Mar 2009
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Ian Rabjohns "dolphin man" (Pant-Yr-Awel, Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan, Wales, UK.) - See all my reviews
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'Airport' (1970) is a super film, with some excellent acting by Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jacqueline Bisset & George Kennedy, etc. I enjoyed 'Airport' immensely, but I was surprised that little happened to the 707 after the explosive decompression. I would have liked more happening to the aircraft as it came in to land. Perhaps the nose gear could have collapsed, thereby elongating the 'nail-biting', wondering if the plane would make it back ok! Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to diss a wonderful flick, just saying what could have made it even better for me. If you're thinking of purchasing a copy from Amazon, do it now, you won't regret it!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original airplane disaster movie, 2 Aug 2003
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Airport [DVD] (1970) (DVD)
This first of the big airplane disaster movies features an outstanding cast, a host of distinctive characters, and a widely interesting web of subplots. While all things lead to disaster in the air, there is a much greater human component to Airport than what you will see in the disaster movies of today. Perhaps the human drama does not play out to perfection on one or two occasions, yet it all kept my rapt fascination even as I wondered why disaster had not yet struck an hour and a half into the film (which lasts for two hours and seventeen minutes). Airport (1970) picked up ten Academy Award nominations, including best picture, Helen Hayes walked away from it with her second Oscar, and a host of sequels followed in its wake, so obviously it did many things right.
The first half of the film actually seems like some kind of 1970s TV pilot. Mel Bakersfield (Burt Lancaster) is the airport manager working himself to death in order to keep the place running smoothly, campaigning when he can for expansion and modernization. His brother-in-law pilot Vernon Demerest (Dean Martin) assumes the role of Bakersfield's antagonist, criticizing airport measures for keeping the runways operational and the flights on schedule, especially on nights such as the one in question, when a major snowstorm is wreaking havoc on the ground as well as in the air. Bakersfield is locked in an unhappy marriage with a regal yet noxious social gadfly, facing the fact that the woman he now cares about may be leaving her job at the airport for a better opportunity elsewhere. Demerest has some kind of marriage of convenience to Bakerfield's sister, and he is carrying on with a lovely and suddenly pregnant stewardess (they still called them stewardesses back in 1970) played by the engaging Jacqueline Bisset. Then you have the heavy of the group, Joe Patroni (George "If it's an airplane movie, I’m in it" Kennedy), the only man for the job of getting an airplane stuck in the snow out of the way of the main landing strip. Helen Hayes plays a delightfully entertaining serial stowaway, and while she is naturally fantastic in her role, the size and importance of her part would not seem to merit the Best Actress award she received for her performance. About the time you start looking for Aaron Spelling's name to come up in the closing credits, we are finally introduced to a nervous fellow putting together an attaché case of explosives. He is presented in the most sentimental of lights, and one can't help but feel sorry for him and for the rash decision he has made, nor can one do anything but curse the otherwise forgettable character who plays the dumbest airplane passenger in history.
Eventually, the plane takes off for Rome with both the stowaway and the bomber on board; soon thereafter, puzzle pieces begin to fall into place, and the pilots, aware of the danger, try to turn around and head for home. Their safe return faces two major obstacles: the bomber on board and the stuck airplane jutting out on the only landing strip they can safely attempt to land on through the roaring blizzard. Don't expect a lot of special effects or outrageous acts of unrealistic heroics (although there is a priest who delivers a most unorthodox and intensely satisfying blessing to the aforementioned dumbest airplane passenger on earth). What happens is presented very well, but the real drama lies in the characters' relationships. I am a huge Dean Martin fan, and I thought the man delivered a terrific dramatic performance in this movie, standing equally beside the likes of the legendary Lancaster, Bisset, and Hayes. The story may seem to develop slowly for those used to or expecting quick and impressive action and special effects, but this movie follows the old creed that there can be no real tragedy unless the audience knows and cares about the characters.
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Airport [DVD] (1970)
Airport [DVD] (1970) by Henry Hathaway (DVD - 2004)
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