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Funny / Airplane!

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They can't be off-course, they're still on instruments.

As Airplane! is a shoe-in on any list of the funniest films of all time, this is gonna be a looooooong list...
  • The opening credits where the fin of the airplane doubles for a shark fin, complete with appropriate music!
  • The most famous one is:
    Ted Striker: Surely you can't be serious!
    Rumack: I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.
  • An elderly woman just overcome with airsickness has this reaction:
    Old Woman: I haven't felt this awful since I saw that Ronald Reagan film.
  • "Excuse me, stewardess. I speak Jive."
  • A passenger asks for something light to read... she's given a tiny "Famous Jewish Sports Legends" leaflet.
  • Any mention of Ted's "drinking problem".
    • Or his mind-numbingly boring stories of life after the army. Or rather, the reactions to said stories.
  • "It was a rough place - the seediest dive on the wharf. Populated with every reject and cutthroat from Bombay to Calcutta. It's worse than Detroit."
  • "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking."
    • "Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop drinking."
      • "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines."
      • "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue." *sniff*
  • "...What a pisser."
  • Pretty much everything air control employee Johnny (Stephen Stucker) does, all of which is ad libbed. He's basically the only one who knows that this movie is a comedy.
    "Johnny, what do you make of this?" *hands him a computer printout*
    "This? Why, I can make a hat, or a brooch, or a pterodactyl that can eat your..."
    • "And Leon's getting laaaaaarger!"
    • "The tower? Rapunzel! Rapunzel!"
    • (after he has plugged back in the runway lights, which have gone out in the middle of an emergency landing) "Just kidding!" (Evil Laugh)
    • (to Mrs. Oveur) "Where did you get that dress, it's awful, and those shoes and that coat, jeeeeez!"
    • "Me John Big Tree."
    • This exchange:
      McCroskey: "Your husband and the others are alive, but unconscious."
      Johnny: "Just like Gerald Ford."
    • "There's a sale at Penney's!"
    • "Oh, it's a big pretty white plane with red stripes, curtains in the windows and wheels and it looks like a big Tylenol!"
    • In the climax: "Auntie Em!!! Uncle Henry!!! Toto!!! It's a twister!!! It's a twister!!!"
    • Advertisement:
    • "We need someone that won't crack under pressure."
      "How 'bout Mr. Rogers?"
    • "Mayday, what the hell is that?"
      "May Day, why that's the Russian New Year! We'll hold a big parade..."
    • "Hey Johnny, how about some coffee?" "No thanks!"
  • "Okay, boys. Let's take some pictures."
  • "We have clearance, Clarence." "Roger, Roger. What's our vector, Victor?"
  • Crowning Moment of Funny? What is it?
  • "It's a big building where the generals meet, but that's not important right now".
    • Later thrown back at her: "It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now."
    • "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilots sit, but that's not important right now."
  • "No thank you. I take it black, like my men."
    • The look the boy gives her after that line is gold as well.
  • Rex Kramer beats up some guys.
    • "Stop nuclear power?" *whack* "How about Buddhism?" *pow* "Scientologyyyyyyyy!"
      • Using arguably the most beautiful back-flip kick-throw ever.
      • Doubles as a Moment of Awesome for anyone who's ever gotten annoyed and have been wanting to hit any of those persistent, annoying donation seekers—this is foreshadowed in the opening sequence when Ted himself punches one of the guys.
      • At the time this movie was made, airports were teeming with people like this, so viewers probably did get a visceral satisfaction out of this sequence.
      • And one of those guys is a young Charles Logan.
  • Rex Kramer "driving" to the airport.
    • Where to start? First, he runs over a bicyclist, and is completely unaware of it, even as the cyclist calls him an asshole.
    • Then, the fact that every time they turn, he's either not turning the wheel or turning it the other way.
      • Or the fact that at one point, the driving footage clearly doubles in speed.
    • And then the Indian attack...
  • " to live a life of religious fulfillment."
  • "He's a menace to himself and everything else in the air. Yes, birds too."
  • "Keep him at 24,000. No, feet."
  • Striker at the seedy bar where he first sees Elaine: "It hit me like a thunderbolt. I had to ask the guy next to me to pinch me to make sure I wasn't dreaming." Striker says something, and the burly longshoreman next to him gives him a dirty look and edges away cautiously.
  • Oveur has had some interesting experiences:
  • "It's an entirely different kind of flying, altogether."
    All, Together: "It's an entirely different kind of flying."
  • "That's Lt. Hurwitz. He thinks he's Ethel Merman."
    • Bonus points for actually being played by Ethel Merman (in her last film role).
  • "Ladies and gentleman, this is your stewardess speaking. We regret any inconvenience the sudden cabin movement might have caused. This is due to periodic air pockets we encountered. There's no reason to be alarmed and we hope you enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?" (cue Mass "Oh, Crap!")
  • The beating heart on the desk at the Mayo Clinic.
    • And the fact that the shelves behind him have jars of mayo.
    • "I have an emergency call for you on line 5 from a Mr. Hamm." "Alright, gimme Hamm on 5, hold the Mayo."
  • "I just want to tell you both good luck, we're all counting on you."
    • Including after the plane has successfully landed.
  • The quarreling announcers.
    Male Announcer Vernon: The red zone has always been for loading and unloading of passengers. There's never stopping in a white zone.
    Female Announcer Betty: Don't you tell me which zone is for loading, and which zone is for stopping!
    Vernon: Listen, Betty, don't start up with your white zone shit again.
    Betty: Oh really, Vernon? Why pretend, we both know perfectly well what this is about. You want me to have an abortion.
    Vernon: It's really the only sensible thing to do, if its done safely. Therapeutically there's no danger involved.
  • "WZAZ in Chicago, where DISCO LIVES FOREVER!" (Airplane immediately knocks over the station's transmitting antenna.)
  • Roger hits his Rage-Breaking Point with little Joey after hearing that his father thought poorly of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
    Joey: I think you're the greatest, but my dad says you don't work hard enough on defense. And he says that lots of times, you don't even run down court. And that you don't really try... except during the playoffs.
    Roger: The hell I don't! (looks around; grabs and pulls Joey in) Listen, kid. I've been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA. I'm out there busting my buns every night. Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes!
  • "No, the white phone."
    • This moment becomes twice as funny when you know that Peter Graves actually did pick up the wrong phone, and the directors just went with it.
  • Otto the Autopilot. The look on his face when Elaine has to re-inflate him? Priceless. It's like he's smirking to men in the audience to say, "That's right boys! I'm getting more head than you ever will!"
    • And the bit where the doctor walks in, sees her inflating him, and turns around and walks straight out...
    • At the end of the movie, it turns out that Otto is sentient, and he flies the plane away, after inflating a female companion, who looks suspiciously like Elaine.
  • Ted buying a ticket for the plane and taking the smoking option. He's then handed a ticket that is literally smoking.
  • "Two more minutes?! They could be miles off course!" "That's impossible, they're on instruments!" And then we see that, yes, indeed they are...
  • The scene where the boy is reading a Nun's Life magazine, a few seats from the nun reading a Boy's Life.
  • "When Kramer hears about this, the shit's gonna hit the fan." He's right.
  • Modern Sperm magazine...a one-off image gag, but still amusing to think about.
  • Captain Oveur ate fish...
  • A very overlooked joke that got abused in the sequel.
    Murdock: You want me to check the weather, Clarence?
    Oveur: No, why don't you take care of it?
  • "No, that's what they'll be expecting us to do."
  • "Christmas, Ted, what does that mean to you? To me, it was a living Hell. Do you know what it's like to fall in the mud and get kicked on the head with an iron boot? Of course you don't, no one does. It never happens. Sorry, Ted, that's a dumb question... skip that."
  • Mrs. Oveur and her horse.
  • This:
    Ted: We're bombing the storage depots at Daiquiri in 1200 hours. We're coming in from the north below their radar.
    Elaine: When will you be back?
    Ted: I can't tell you that. It's classified.
  • This rather unfortunate exchange:
    Rex: Our only hope is to build this man up. We gotta give him all the confidence we can. (into microphone) Striker, have you ever flown a multi-engine plane before?
    Ted: No. Never.
    Rex: (with microphone still on) Shit! This is a goddamned waste of time! There's no way he can land this plane!
    • Ted's deer-in-headlights reaction from the cockpit really sells this one.
    • "Flying a plane is no different than riding a bicycle. It's just a lot harder to put baseball cards in between the spokes."
  • The parade of emergency vehicles dispatched at the Chicago airport includes a Budweiser truck, an ice cream truck, a Sparkletts water truck, a cement mixer, and a tractor.
  • This exchange:
    Dr. Rumack: "Captain, how soon can we land?"
    Oveur: "I can't tell."
    Dr. Rumack: "You can tell me, I'm a doctor."
    Oveur:"No, I mean I'm not sure."
    Dr. Rumack: "Can't you take a guess?"
    Oveur: "Well... not for another two hours."
    Dr. Rumack: "You can't take a guess for another two hours?"
  • The scene where Ted and Elaine kiss on the beach. And then the waves come in and drench them. When they recede, Ted and Elaine are covered in seaweed and there's even some fish flopping about next to them.
    • It's even better when you know that, regardless of what everyone thinks the first time they see the scene, the Zuckers and Abrahams weren't familiar with From Here to Eternity and it's not an intentional parody of that film's beach lovemaking Signature Scene.
  • Kramer: "I want every light you can get poured onto that field!" McCroskey (pointing out to the airfield) "Being done right now." Cut to a dump truck unloading electric lamps onto the ground.
  • Dr. Rumack's introduction. He is asked if he is a doctor. He replies yes...and for some odd reason he's wearing a stethoscope.
  • Elaine does her job of relaying information to the control tower a bit too well
    Kramer: What's the weather like?
    Ted: Rain, and a little ice.
    Elaine: (on radio) Rain, and a little ice.
    Kramer: Alright, Striker. Just keep the plane steady and everything will be fine.
    Ted: (to Elaine) It's a damn good thing he doesn't know how much I hate his guts.
    Elaine: (on radio) It's a damn good thing you don't know how much he hates your guts.
  • The plane that due to poor hand signal communication taxis directly through the terminal window.
  • "I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you."
  • "Shayna, they bought their tickets. They knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash!"
  • Vintage airplane test footage over the traumatic voiceover from Ted's past ("You'll have to decide! You'll have to decide!").
  • The Brick Joke at the end of the movie after the credits (one of the earlier examples of The Stinger).
    Taxi passenger: Well I'll give him another 20 minutes, but that's it.
    • What makes this joke even funnier is that the passenger in question was played by Howard Jarvis, who was a lobbyist and politician known for advocating against tax increases and for fiscal responsibility. Note that Stryker started the fare meter and never shut it off, meaning it was running during the entire events of the film.
  • The long line of people wanting to slap some sense into the hysterical female passenger. Several of them are wielding various implements with which to beat her. And one has a gun. She's in for a world of hurt. Even funnier is that Rumack slaps the woman twice: Once when he's trying to calm her down, and again when he leaves and the next person takes his place.
  • Randy singing "River of Jordan" to the sick girl who's a passenger. It seems like it's going to be a heartwarming moment - and then the flight attendant knocks the girl's IV feed out with her guitar. After the girl's IV tube is reconnected, Randy's guitar disconnects the IV tube a second time!
  • "He's all over the place! 900 feet up to 1,300 feet. What an asshole!"
  • "I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you."
  • When all hell breaks loose on the plane, one of the nuns starts strangling a Hare Krishna (David Leisure).
  • The infamously long brawl between the two girl scouts during Ted's flashback. It seemingly ends with one girl getting slid down the bar into the Jukebox, which starts playing Stayin' Alive. At which point all the shady folks in this Wretched Hive of a bar start dancing. You can then spot the girl scouts still beating each other up while Ted and Elaine are dancing. And then finally, when Ted and Elaine are slow dancing long after everyone else has left and a guy's sweeping up, we hear a punch, a scream, and one of the girl scouts lands on the dance floor.
  • When the music kicks up, Ted removes his jacket and carelessly whips it off screen before striking a disco pose... only to have the jacket thrown right back in his face.
  • During Ted's first meeting with 'Elaine', he ends up dancing the kazatsky while juggling apples.
  • A guy trying to remove a knife from his back has his anguished moves seamlessly mirrored by a dancing Elaine in perfect accordance.
  • The scene cuts to near closing time, with Ted and Elaine still dancing... and the Girl Scouts still fighting.
  • Rex Kramer dresses in front of a mirror... or does he? When finished, his supposed reflection just crosses under the frame of the doorway. If you blink, you'll miss it.
  • When Ted successfully lands the plane several reporters rush into several adjoining phone booths to report the news...and they promptly knock the entire phone stand over.
  • The choir's voices cracking during the film's love theme.
    • Worth noting: Elmer Bernstein had never scored a straight-up spoof before and was unsure how to do it; ZAZ told him to make it completely deadpan, as though it were a serious movie. The choir joke is even funnier when you think back and realize that (except for the Jaws quote) it's the only musical gag in the film; the rest is the musical equivalent of all the actors keeping a straight face.
  • When everyone gets into their "crash positions."