Airports in the Movies

Hollywood Takes Flight

Photos courtesy of Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

Airports have featured in numerous films over the years, providing the ideal setting for adventures, romances, spoofs, and thrillers. Here are a few of our favorites:

Airplane! One of the greatest comedies ever made uses Los Angeles International (LAX) prominently and liberally in the first scenes. Watch Ted Striker (Robert Hays) and his lost love Elaine (Julie Hagerty) walk through the iconic corridor lined with colorful mosaic walls.

Airport 1975 One of disaster flicks spoofed by Airplane! was this second installment of the Airport series. In the beginning of the movie, the camera focuses on the exterior of Eero Saarinen's Dulles International Airport, in Chantilly, Va., and soon the action moves inside the terminal (note the open spaces and lounge space available in the days before extensive security), with the likes of Gloria Swanson, Myrna Loy, and Sid Caesar getting ready to board their ill-fated transcontinental flight.

The Concrode  … Airport '79 Though campier (if possible) than its disaster-film predecessors, this film features great shots of Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

Diamonds are Forever and Moonraker Both of these James Bond films have Roger Moore landing at LAX. He quickly moves on to other locations, but you can't help noticing the iconic, arched Theme Building in both establishing shots. Several other Bond films feature airports; From Russia With Love, for example, has Sean Connery landing at Istanbul's Ataturk International.

Bullitt This 1968 thriller starring Steve McQueen is famous for numerous shots of San Francisco, including a harrowing chase scene through the city's street. The ultimate scene involves a suspenseful pursuit through the San Francisco International Airport.

Catch Me if You Can This stylish 2002 film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Leonardo DiCaprio captures the heady excitement of airline travel during the jet age. It was shot at several airports, including Eero Saarinen's TWA Flight Center, at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Read the magazine's feature story on airports 

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Comments

Submitted by better memory at: May 7, 2009
What about "North by Northwest", or "Midnight Run", or "2 weeks in another town"

Submitted by abagads at: May 1, 2009
We can't forget the first (original) AIRPORT film that used the Minneapolis-St Paul airport. They used both the interior and exterior for filming. It was called Lincoln International in the movie.