Airplane! is an American comedy film, first released on 2 July 1980, produced, directed, and written by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker. It starred Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lorna Patterson. It is the first film the trio wrote and directed together (the group previously wrote The Kentucky Fried Movie but it was directed by John Landis). For release in Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines, Airplane! was re-titled as Flying High.
Airplane! is a spoof of the disaster movie genre. It has a slim plotline (originally designed for a 20-minute sketch) that serves mostly as a vehicle for various jokes and gags. Indeed, many fans of Airplane! repeatedly re-watch the film, in the process catching gags that they did not notice earlier due to the sheer number of often-overlapping sight, sound, and dialogue gags.
Airplane II: The Sequel, first released on December 10, 1982, attempted to tackle the science fiction film genre. Although most of the cast reunited for the sequel, the writers and directors of Airplane! chose not to be involved.
In the short term, Airplane! received slight recognition. Abrahams, Zucker, and Zucker received the 1981 Writers Guild award for Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium, Jill Whelan was nominated as Best Young Comedienne by the Young Artist Awards, and the film was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy) and a BAFTA for Best Screenplay.