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''Airport'', directed by George Seaton and released in 1970, was the first in a series of {{Disaster Movie}}s produced in that decade and centering around aircraft in distress. Adapted from 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 ([[CaliforniaDoubling 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 [[TheHero airport manager]] Mel Bakersfield (Creator/BurtLancaster) and his wife. Mel has a rivalry with his brother-in-law, [[DirtyOldMan Vernon Demerest]] (DeanMartin) 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 elderly stowaway Ada Quonsett won her an AcademyAward, and the movie was enough of a hit to effectively serve as the TropeCodifier for the '70s disaster movie genre, paving the way for such films as ''Film/ThePoseidonAdventure'', ''Film/{{Earthquake}}'', and ''Film/TheToweringInferno''.

''Airport'' itself spawned three sequels: ''Airport 1975'', ''Airport 1977'', and ''The Concorde... Airport '79'' ([[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin in a Concorde!]]). A TV-movie and miniseries was also created in the aftermath of ''Airport''; ''Film/SanFranciscoInternationalAirport''. (The miniseries simply dropped the word Airport). Today, it's probably best known for having inspired ''Film/{{Airplane}}'', TheParody of '70s disaster movies. For a while this franchise was something of an employment agency for older actors and actresses from the studio era. Stars from UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfHollywood who appeared in one or more ''Airport'' movies include Hayes, Gloria Swanson, Dana Andrews, Creator/MyrnaLoy, Joseph Cotten, Creator/OliviaDeHavilland, and [[Creator/JimmyStewart James Stewart]].

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!!Tropes present in the original ''Airport'' include:

* TheAce: Joe Patroni. This led to him becoming the BreakoutCharacter and being featured in every subsequent ''Airport'' film.
* AllLowerCaseLetters: In the book, Tanya Livingston writes all notes and memos in lower case, because she bribed a company mechanic to file all the capitals off her typewriter.
* AnyoneCanDie: {{Subverted|Trope}} in that [[spoiler:there's only a single death, that of Van Heflin's character, mad bomber D.O. Guerrero.]]
* BilingualBonus:
** A sign in French visible on the wall of the incoming internaional passenger area which would, if it were in English, read "Escallator to exit," has an error, which reads in French: "Escalier au sortie." It should read: "Escalier vers la sortie."
** Jacqueline Bisset reads the emergency instructions to the passengers on Flight Two over the PA system in both English and Italian.
* BreakoutCharacter: Joe Patroni, who features in every subsequent ''Airport'' film.
* TheChessmaster: Mrs. Quansett, professional airplane stowaway, having stolen hundreds of rides and has an arsenal of tricks. She uses her advanced age to get away with a number of schemes, including faking illness to get rid of the man who is supposed to babysit her (and keep her from stowing away on another plane) and defeating Mrs. Livingston's attempt to keep her from doing so. The book makes this explicit: both Mrs. Quansett and Mrs. Livingston independently realize the two of them are battling to see who can win. The result: age and craftiness defeat youth and inexperience. As noted above, Helen Hayes' portrayal of Mrs. Quansett won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
* CoolOldLady: Ada Quonsett.
* CoversAlwaysLie: The DVD cover adds a fire effect to the 707. At no time is fire seen in the movie.
** The Blu-Ray release uses the same basic cover, but with the fire removed.
* DeadpanSnarker: Bakersfield, with Demarest.
-->'''Bakersfeld:''' [Runway] 2-9er is closed. A pilot from your flight 45 made a shortcut across the field. And he didn't make it.\\
'''Demerest:''' What are you doing about it?\\
'''Bakersfeld:''' Well, when the snow melts in April, we'll get it out.
* DevelopingDoomedCharacters
* DisasterMovie: The TropeCodifier.
* DownerEnding: For some characters.
* TheFilmOfTheBook
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: A man is seated at dinner and is praying with his family when a plane flies overhead, shaking the whole house. "For this food, your many blessings, and your bounteous goodness, we give thanks to Thee in the name of.." plane overhead makes it impossible to hear, then the man finishes, "...Jesus Christ!"
* HeDidntMakeIt: Used straight to indicate someone failed to do something, not as in the typical euphemism for "someone died."
* IdiosyncraticWipes
* IdiotBall: Assistant passenger agent Peter Coakley, told by Tanya Livingston never to leave Mrs. Quansett, professional stowaway (see TheChessmaster) alone, is tricked by her into going to get a doctor, and Mrs. Quansett calmly walks away after she duped Coakley into going on a fools' errand.
* {{Jerkass}}: That one [[UnsatisfiableCustomer whiny, surly bald passenger]] (played by Steven Turgeon). Even a priest felt the need to hit him!
** The smug pilot that strands the plane from earlier, providing half the plot.
* KilledOffScreen: [[spoiler:D.O. Guerrero, when he detonates his bomb in the lavatory, tearing a hole in the wall and sucking him into oblivion.]]
* SecretRelationship: Demerest and Gwen, resulting in a pregnancy.
* SplitScreen: Used several times. Very ''de rigueur'' for a 1970 film.
* TemporaryBlindness: [[spoiler:Gwen.]]

!! Tropes present in ''Airport 1975'' include:

* CrashCourseLanding: This almost happens, when the chief stewardess ends up flying a 747 after a mid-air collision. ''Almost'', because George Kennedy and the U.S. Air Force managed to drop CharltonHeston into the airliner's cockpit so he could land it instead.
* DisposablePilot: The pilot of a private plane suffers a fatal heart attack. This causes him to crash into the cockpit of the airliner, killing the first officer and flight engineer and blinding the captain who then falls unconscious.

!! Tropes present in ''Airport '77'' include:

* TheBermudaTriangle: Where the plane crashes and sinks.
* AntagonisticOffspring: Philip Steven's daughter.
* TheCameo / DemotedToExtra: Patroni, although he has more screentime in the original version.
* CoolOldGuy: Philip Stevens.
* CoolOldLady: Emily Livingstone, who can play poker with the best of them.
* InfantImmortality: Benjy and Bonnie survive, although Bonnie is seriously injured.
* HopeSpot: A ship passes the submerged plane, but is unaware of the accident.
* KarmicDeath: One of the hijackers drowns as the ship is being lifted out of the sea by the navy rescue team.
* LadyDrunk: Karen Wallace.
* MasochismTango: Saintly marine biologist Martin Wallace and his abrasive, alcoholic wife Karen.
* SomethingCompletelyDifferent: While it stays with the plane theme, this film takes the action out of the airport (and skies, for the most part) and sets it in the underwater depths of TheBermudaTriangle.

!! Tropes present in ''The Concorde... Airport '79'' include:

* AscendedExtra: Patroni at least becomes this from his previous appearance.
* BigBad: Harrison.
* TheCameo:
** Charo. Sadly, she was not nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars that year.
** Creator/BibiAndersson as the prostitute that Patroni hooks up with in Paris.
** Ed Begley, Jr., as one of the members of the Concorde rescue team.
** In the TV version, Jose Ferrer and JD Cannon appeared as investigators looking into Harrison's background.
** Although not cameos, half the cast are billed as "guest stars", with some getting very little to do.

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