->''I hope there's a good movie on this flight.''
-->-- '''Rat'''

'''''Executive Decision''''' is a 1996 action film, directed by Stuart Baird (his directorial debut) and starring Creator/KurtRussell, Creator/HalleBerry, Creator/DavidSuchet, Creator/JohnLeguizamo, and Creator/StevenSeagal.

Terrorists have hijacked a Boeing 747 en route from Athens to Washington, D.C., demanding in exchange for the hostages the release of terrorist El Sayed Jaffa, who had been recently captured and taken into United States custody. It is discovered that the terrorists are actually planning an attack on Washington, D.C., placing a bomb on the airplane that will release a large amount of nerve gas on detonation. A plan is devised to place a small team of United States Army Special Forces into the plane mid-flight to retake control and disable the bomb. If they are not successful, it may become necessary to shoot down the aircraft before it reaches United States airspace, sacrificing approximately 400 innocent passengers to save the lives of hundreds of thousands on the ground. That call is an "executive decision", meaning that it must be made by the President of the United States.

Comparisons with ''[[Film/AirForceOne Air Force One]]'' are inevitable, but although that film is better known, this one actually predates it by [[DuelingMovies one year]] (both were also scored by veteran composer JerryGoldsmith). Notable for being the originator of OceanicAirlines.

!!This film provides examples of:

* AdvertisedExtra: Travis.
* AirVentPassageway: PlayedWith: The heroes take turns crawling around in the crawlspace above the passenger cabin so they can spy on the bad guys. They spend most of the rest of the movie hiding in the cargo bay.
* BadassBookworm: Grant.
* BoardingPod: The F-117X Remora aircraft. Basically an F-117 with a boarding sleeve on the back and room in the back for passengers.
** Interesting to note this was inspired by an early F-117 test where the aircraft's stealth was tested by seeing if it could be detected by a 747's collision avoidance radar.
* ButIReadABookAboutIt: Grant has had some (incomplete) pilot training in single-engine planes, and uses a manual kept in the cockpit to find the instructions on landing procedures when he [[FallingIntoTheCockpit has to land the plane]]. Such manuals are TruthInTelevision due to modern aircraft being rather complex to maintain and operate.
* ChekhovsGun: The straw.
* ChekhovsGunman: The Sky Marshal, who hides his badge and gun when the hijackers first make their move, being GenreSavvy enough to know how well it would work if he tried to stop them all on the spot.
* ChekhovsSkill: The flying lessons.
* CoolPlane: The Remora.
* CoversAlwaysLie / NeverTrustATrailer: [[spoiler:Although killed off quicky, Seagal's character was heavily featured in the film's marketing, as he was the most bankable star.]]
** This was only in the international release. The American release had Creator/KurtRussell solely billed above the title (he had some recent hits at the time as well, such as ''Film/{{Stargate}}'' and ''UnlawfulEntry'').
* CrashCourseLanding: Except the heroes are attempting to use the flight manual rather than having someone talk them in over the radio. It helps that Grant was training to be a private pilot: He knows how to fly and land a plane, he's just never had to try with one as big or fast as this one.
** Such a manual being in the cockpit of a commercial jet is, of course, TruthInTelevision. The heroes knowing where it is and how to use it is {{justified|Trope}} by them being a student pilot and a (non-pilot) member of the flight crew.
* DeadlyGas: The whole reason why they board the plane midair in the first place.
* [[spoiler:DeadStarWalking: Travis]].
* DestroyTheEvidence: One of the flight attendants throws away the passenger manifest, which would have otherwise revealed the presence of the [[ChekhovsGunman Sky Marshal]] on the plane to the terrorists.
** The terrorists [[GenreSavvy quickly realize that the manifest is gone]], but they [[WrongGenreSavvy think that it was destroyed to cover up the fact that there was a Senator on board]].
* DieHardOnAnX: ''Die Hard'' on a plane.
* EvenEvilHasStandards / NotWhatISignedOnFor: Even though Jaffa gets released like they wanted, Hassan still wants to go on with his original plan, and when a fellow terrorist objects, Hassan kills him.
* EveryoneKnowsMorse: In this case, US Navy fighter pilots do.
* HandicappedBadass: Cappy [[spoiler: after his neck injury]]
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Travis closing the external 747 hatch right before the Remora conduit integrity fails]].
* {{Homage}}: The scene involving the F-14 interception was the last film appearance of [[BadassCrew Squadron VF-84, ''The Jolly Rogers'']], before being decommissioned.
* ImmuneToBullets: About half the cast. The Sky Marshall takes several rounds and survives long enough to be taken to hospital. The BigBad gets [[MoreDakka More Dakka'ed]] to near death, yet is able to get up and take out the pilots. Rat gets shot in the back with little more effect than being knocked unconscious for around thirty seconds, though it's likely he had a bulletproof vest on.
* INeedAFreakingDrink: Cahill said this almost word-for-word at the end. Kinda hard to blame him.
* MeaningfulEcho: [[spoiler:"Just relax and fly the airplane."]]
* MundaneSolution: The bomb is "defused" not with all the high-tech gear the soldiers brought on board, but rather by the simple expedient of thrusting a [[RockBeatsLaser plastic swizzle-stick between two electrical contacts]], thus preventing the detonator from firing.
* NonActionGuy: Dr. Grant, Dennis Cahill even more so.
* NotQuiteDead: Captain Rat, who kills Hassan in the end.
* OceanicAirlines: The maiden flight of this [[DoomMagnet very exciting airline]] in any work of fiction. The aerial footage was [[StockFootage reused in many other works]] as a cost-saving measure, leading to Oceanic becoming a sort of industry in-joke along the lines of the WilhelmScream.
* OperationGameOfDoom: The bomb onboard the plane had a core that would explode if anyone touched the laser security grid around it.
* PostModernism: For most of us a movie begins when we see the trailer or the poster; Steven Seagal's character, Travis, features prominently in these places. [[spoiler:So we figure he's the guy who will save the day and are doubly shocked when he dies.]] Utterly brilliant.
* {{Retirony}}: The flight attendant gushing about her recent wedding is the first to die when the hijackers take over the plane.
* RightManInTheWrongPlace: Dr. Grant
* RedHerring: There is a terrorist sleeper agent hiding among the passengers with a remote detonator to the bomb. The team thinks that one passenger who is acting suspiciously is said sleeper, but it turns out that he's actually a diamond smuggler.
* SacrificialLion: [[spoiler:Col. Travis, played by Steven Seagal.]]
* SpannerInTheWorks: Dennis Cahill.
* SuicideAttack: Hassan's original intention.
* TookALevelInBadass: Over the course of the movie, Grant goes from a nerdy (but still kinda suave) nobody to almost fearlessly taking on the terrorists with the Army Special Forces as if he was one of them; this was best shown when he fought [[spoiler: the sleeper]].
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: There are two other members of the assault team that go down with the Remora with [[spoiler: Travis]], but they are not mentioned or even acknowledged.