Airport is the first of a 1970s series of disaster movies centering around aircraft in distress. The first, award-winning movie became the Trope Codifier for the Disaster Movie genre. Based on the novel of the same name by Arthur Hailey, it can be considered a very close and faithful adaptation; the sequels, however, have nothing to do with an original book.The movie begins with the day-to-day concerns and life issues of various crew and patrons of Chicago's fictional Lincoln International Airport (actually, a redressed Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport). The central drama to this movie seems to be marital problems; first in the guise of difficulties between airport manager Mel Bakersfield (Burt Lancaster) and his wife. Mel has a rivalry with his brother-in-law, Vernon Demerest (Dean Martin) over who's right about airport operations. Demerest also happens to be doing the deed with one of his flight attendants, Gwen Meighen (Jacqueline Bisset). However, Mel is fortunately not alone; he does have help from his friend, Trans-Global Airlines Supervisor of Passenger Relations Tanya Livingston (Jean Seberg) and TWA Chief of Maintenance Joe Patroni (George Kennedy) in the numerous challenges...usual and unusual.A wrinkle that will disrupt the whole flow of things is a despondent, suicidal passenger (Van Heflin) who plans to bring down an aircraft via a bomb. He's only partially successful, and now the stricken plane must be brought to safety — and another airliner is stuck in the snow on the only suitable runway. Can the ground crew get the stranded aircraft cleared from the runway in time?Helen Hayes' performance as Ada Quonsett won her an Oscar, and the movie was very well received in general.Airport spawned three sequels: Airport 1975, Airport 1977, and Airport '79 (in a Concorde!). A TV-movie and miniseries was also created in the aftermath of Airport; San Francisco International Airport. (The miniseries simply dropped the word Airport). Today, it's probably best known for having inspired Airplane!, The Parody of '70s disaster movies.
Tropes present in Airport include: