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* AcceptableTargets
** [[BadGuyBar "It was filled with every lowlife from Bombay to Calcutta...]] [[TakeThat it was worse than]] [[PlaceWorseThanDeath Detroit."]]
** The various religions and charitable causes being pitched in the airport, especially when Kramer starts charging through them all.
** "WZAZ in Chicago, [[FamousLastWords where disco lives forever]]!" ''[plane smashes through radio tower and takes out the antenna]'' In its original theatrical run, it was not uncommon for the audience to ''cheer'' at this point.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: The naked woman [[{{Gainaxing}} who bounces her naked breasts]] ([[ValuesDissonance in a PG film!]][[note]]The PG-13 rating did not exist at the time[[/note]]) in front of the camera as the passengers are panicking.
** [[CloudCuckooLander Johnny]] is a walking BLAM. He rarely leaves [=McCloskey's=] side and seems to actually work there (as his opinion is asked and he's tasked with talking to reporters) but he seems to live on a different planet, yet no one reacts to his strangeness, even when he physically manhandles them.
-->'''[=McCloskey=]:''' Bad news. The fog's getting thicker.
-->'''Johnny:''' (leaping up and wrapping his arms around an overweight man from behind) And Leon's getting ''laaaaaaaarger''!
* CrossesTheLineTwice: Several gags, but particularly the "[[GetAholdOfYourselfMan hysterical woman gets slapped]]" one, not to mention stewardess Randy's disastrous attempt to cheer up the LittlestCancerPatient; both are played as BlackComedy.
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome: The Zuckers and Abrahams were actually disappointed when the film ended up with a genuinely good score, rather than a cheesy one that would add to the parody. They probably shouldn't have hired ElmerBernstein.
** Given [[ComicallySerious the overall tone of the film]], they're probably the only ones who feel like this.
* [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome Crowning Music Of Funny]]: When Rumack (Nielson) tells Striker the end of the "George Zipp" story. Whether or not one's a fan of the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_NxSTX0jkc&playnext=1&list=PL6C4A870152E947AA Notre Dame Fighting Irish]], the moment is hilarious.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Stephen Stucker steals the entire movie.
-->'''Reporter:''' What kind of plane is it?
-->'''Johnny:''' Oh, it's a big pretty white plane with red stripes, curtains in the windows and wheels and it looks like a big Tylenol.
* FunnyAneurysmMoment: The tagline "...and able to hit tall buildings at a single bound", and the plane running into and destroying a radio tower on a building.
** A Roman Catholic nun reading a ''Boys Life'' magazine.
** The turban-wearing passenger who douses himself in gasoline and tries to blow himself up to avoid listening to Striker reminiscing. (Though he was probably meant to be [[UsefulNotes/{{India}} East Indian]] rather than Middle-Eastern.)
* GeniusBonus: [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manny_Mota Manny Mota]] was the all-time leader in pinch hits - but he never pinch hit for Pedro Borbon.
* HilariousInHindsight: It's funny enough on its own, but the moment where Kareem Abdul-Jabbar finally breaks down and starts talking basketball is even funnier since Jabbar himself [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h03QVlrwI_s misidentified the line on Celebrity Jeopardy]].
** The film itself has inevitably had this effect on ''Zero Hour'', the major inspiration for its plot and many of its lines. It's downright surreal watching that film now and seeing lines like "I picked the wrong week to quit smoking" played completely straight.
* MemeticMutation: ''Every punchline'' has entered the [[PopCultureOsmosis cultural consciousness]].
** "Surely you can't be serious." "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley."
** "I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you."
** "I picked the wrong week to quit smoking[=/=]drinking[=/=]sniffing glue."
* RetroactiveRecognition: David Leisure (''Series/EmptyNest'', Joe Isuzu) is one of the Hare Krishna.
* TheScrappy: Johnny the control tower employee inspires this reaction from some viewers, especially during his ForTheEvulz moment with the runway lights. Others consider his antics to be one of the [[CrossesTheLineTwice funniest things]] in the movie.
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny: At the time, the entire joke with Leslie Nielson's character was seeing a serious actor bringing every bit of his usual gravitas to such ridiculous material. [[LeslieNielsenSyndrome Nielsen proceeded to make this kind of material his bread and butter]], so that viewers these days will likely just be surprised that he's not playing the lead role.
** Hiring [[ComicallySerious non-comedic actors]] in a screwball comedy. Nowadays, it's impossible to find any famous actor who has't regularly done both genres.
* SpecialEffectFailure:
** In the scene where the man opens the vent to give his wife air resulting in hurricane-force winds, note the man with the fake beard behind them. The beard was supposed to come off in the wind (you can tell the guy is waiting for the beard to come off), but they couldn't get it to work - they left the scene in anyway.
** When the man dancing with Elaine in the "Stayin' Alive" scene get stabbed in the back, you can see the pad in his back and the actor doing the stabbing pausing to aim for the target.
* ThisIsYourPremiseOnDrugs: ''Creator/MontyPython'' plus Creator/MelBrooks on speed.
** To get the film made, Zucker and company told film executives it was ''AnimalHouse'' on a plane. It wasn't.
* *ToughActToFollow: Not as much for the Zucker-Abrahms-Zucker team, although it is one of their more memorable works, as much as for ''the entire genre of parody movies''! Nearly every one made since has been held to this one as the genre's golden standard.
* WatchItForTheMeme: Due to the film reaching Memetic Critical Mass. It's on par with ''Film/RockyHorrorPictureShow'' in terms of quotable lines per minute.
* WeirdAlEffect: ''Zero Hour'', the movie it was based on. In fact it's technically a remake, not just a parody.
** The film also parodies many of the subplots from the ''Film/{{Airport}}'' film series.

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