Airport '77 (1977) Poster

(1977)

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Classiest cast of the "Airport" sequels and most serious.
Poseidon-330 March 2000
Landing after the TV sitcom-level cast/plot of "Airport 1975", but arriving before the ludicrous "The Concorde-Airport '79" is this slick disaster film entry. Featuring Oscar-winning and nominated stars like Lemmon, Grant, de Havilland, Quinlan, Kennedy and Stewart, it also offers one of the best caliber casts of the '70's disaster cycle. There is no deep thinking involved in watching the film, but it does offer some watery thrills and some fun thrashing around as the plane first skips along the surface of the water and then slips under. Suspense builds as the pressure continues to wreak havoc on the plane's outer skin and, unusually for an "Airport" film, pretty many lives are claimed! The death toll in this film is higher than the other three combined. It's great to see so many once and future stars flopping around in the underwater tomb, but the main attraction is Lee Grant. Clocking in with only about a dozen or so total minutes of screen time, she is utterly hilarious and unforgettable as a shrewish, boozy, sarcastic lush. No one is safe from her rude, brash comments and she is a joy to behold for bad-move connoisseurs. Her husband in the film is Christpher Lee. Fortunately, they didn't marry offscreen or she would have become Lee Lee, but that's another story.......
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6/10
Mid Air Ocean Caper Gone Awry
bkoganbing29 July 2006
Gazillionaire James Stewart is shipping his collection of art to a museum and he's using his private jet to fly the collection and a few friends down to meet him in Florida.

Of course this attracts the attention of a few crooks who have a pretty well thought out plan and the copilot, Robert Foxworth, working with them. Of course all good plans go awry and they go down in the Bermuda Triangle into some relatively shallow area of the Atlantic.

Hey they could have gone down and been lost for decades like the Titanic was.

That's essentially the plot here and in true Seventies disaster film tradition you load the screen with big names, dress them fashionably and put them in harm's way. The rest of the film is devoted to their rescue.

Incidentally the footage devoted to the air sea rescue is the best thing about Airport 77. No member of the audience will not go away impressed with the U.S. Navy's capabilities in that regard.

Jack Lemmon is the pilot and in an action role which is normally against type for him, he does quite well. Almost twenty years before he supported James Stewart in Bell, Book,and Candle and now the billing is most definitely reversed.

My favorites in the film are Joseph Cotten and Olivia DeHavilland, a classy and elegant pair of passengers who so typify the glamor of old Hollywood.

Christopher Lee also performs against type, he's not the villain here in fact he turns out quite the hero among the passengers. Lee Grant is his trollop of a wife and I remember seeing this in theaters and the shouts for joy from the audience when Brenda Vaccaro punches her out.

I'm not sure which is a wilder rescue this one or that other James Stewart film The Flight of the Phoenix. There's no way any of them should survive.

But this is a Hollywood disaster epic, so all things are possible.
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7/10
One of the better disaster films!
boyinflares23 August 2006
Following the not-so-spectacular "Airport 1975" comes "Airport '77" which is a welcome addition to the Disaster Movie genre. In typical "Airport" fashion, a routine plane ride, this time carrying various celebrities and other high-profile people, gets into some trouble when it crashes into the ocean in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle....

Though the decor of the flash plane filled with VIP's is dreary compared to the fabulous colours of the chairs in "Airport 1975", the characters are a major improvement, along with the actual danger that the passengers and crew are placed in.

In typical Disaster Movie style, the cast is large, and many of them are forgettable, however, stand-out performances in "Airport '77" include Jack Lemmon in a serious role as the likable Captain Gallagher, Lee Grant is Karen Wallace a VIP guest of the nasty variety, the underrated Pamela Bellwood as a young mother, the lovely Kathleen Quinlann is as usual outstanding, but unfortunately under-used here, but the stand-out star of the film is of course Brenda Vaccaro as Captain Gallagher's girlfriend Even Clayton. Vaccaro is certainly one of the better leading ladies in a Disaster Movie, but is also a surprising choice. Nevertheless, she is fantastic, it is a shame she is not more recognized for her work.

Overall, "Airport '77" is a terrific, and often overlooked addition to the genre, with a super cast, great direction, and a very interesting scene in which the plane is raised from the ocean, according to the credits, this is the actual method used by the Navy, which is a nice addition to the film.
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6/10
Another box office success in disaster genre with a great cast full of familiar faces
ma-cortes25 November 2015
Plastic acting and stock characters detailing a hectic flight in 747 Boeing . It is an insincere , slick attempt to find box-office magic again , and , really , it achieved a hit smash . This is the third of four movies in the "Airport" series adapted from the Arthur Hailey novel . It's exciting and amusing but full clichés and stereotypes , including the unavoidable accident , with passable acting by all-star-cast . Twist to this in-flight catastrophe is that the bad time in the air happen underwater . The movie is another jetliner epic with hero Jack Lemmon as valiant pilot . Billionaire -James Stewart- fills his converted passenger commercial airline of the American Airlines 747 with priceless paintings and sets off to Palm Beach for a museum opening being piloted by Jack Lemmon , Robert Foxworth and joined by an invited band of hijackers , and being subsequently crashed into the sea . Describing the reactions of the crew and passengers as they cope with the impeding doom . At the end takes places a daring rescue attempt . The film is detailing hectic flighty piloted by Jack Lemmon and the relationship among passengers . If you've seen the original ¨Airport¨ by George Seaton based on the Arthur Hailey's novel 'the daddy of them all' , you have seen them all .

This old-fashioned catastrophe picture contains thriller , suspense , drama , moderate tension and being quite entertaining though with some flaws and gaps . All clichéd and stock roles with regurgitation of all usual stereotypical situations from disaster films , including a fairly moronic screenplay . Filmed at the height of the disaster genre from the 7os , this entry in the spectacular series profits of an enjoyable acting by Jack Lemmon , bringing life to character , in fact , to prepare for his role, Jack attended both diving school and flight training school , as he wanted to know what all the knobs and dials were for . Look quickly to Robert Hooks , Monte Markham , Kathleen Quinlan , Darren McGavin ,Gil Gerard , M. Emmet Walsh , Pamela Bellwood ,Michael Pataki , James Booth and Chris Lemmon , Jack's son as Radioman . And , of course , it appears the classic character Patroni played by usual George Kennedy continuing his role appeared in all four "Airport" pictures . The motion picture was professionally directed by Jerry Jameson , habitual TV director and occasionally for movie theater . Jerry went onto direct a similar sunken-vehicle high-concept picture around three years later with Raise the Titanic (1980) ; instead of raising a sunken 747 airplane from underwater it was the ship the Titanic . However , Airport '77 (1977) was box-office hit whereas Raise the Titanic (1980) was a box-office flop . It's an inoffensive diversion but is sometimes tediously unspooled . The film will appeal to Jack Lemmon fans and disaster genre enthusiasts .

This sagas belongs the following films : the first was ¨Airport¨ (1970) , unanimously deemed the best , it paved the way for many lesser flicks including its many sequels , being directed by George Seaton with Burt Lancaster , Jean Seberg , Dean Martin , Van Heflin ; ¨Airport 75¨ (1974) by Jack Smight with Charlton Heston , Karen Black and Gloria Swanson , ¨Airport 77¨ (1977) considered one of the best of the series , leading to the last of the tired ones , ¨Airport 79¨ , (1979) by David Lowell Rich with Alain Delon , Robert Wagner , Silvia Kristel . Furthermore , ¨ Skyjacked (1972) ¨ by John Guillermin with Charlton Heston , James Brolin and this film was parodied heavily in Airplane! (1980) by Jim Abrahams and David Zucker .
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6/10
Surprisingly appealing rescue movie...
dwpollar12 August 2007
1st watched 8/12/2007 - 6 out of 10(Dir-Jerry Jameson): Surprisingly appealing rescue movie despite some of the silly characterizations and typical goofiness that tends to accompany these type of movies. The thing that the movie does well is hold your attention to the very end. You genuinely care for some of the characters involved primarily because of the good acting by leads like Jack Lemmon, who plays the pilot in this one. The danger also seems very real all the way up to the end which adds to it's believability. The movie starts setting up the story as an airline president and master collector, played by Jimmie Stewart, is promoting the opening of a museum and a new plane that will be sent down to the island paradise with his very special guests. Included on the plane are his daughter and grandson, whom he has not seen for a very long time. A small group including one of the co-pilots decide to capture the plane while it's airborne, putting the passengers to sleep, in hopes to take it's valuables and run off to South America. Their plan goes awry when the pilot crashes in a shallow part of the ocean(wherever that might be) in the Bermuda triangle. The rest of the movie is an underwater rescue movie as the plane drifts to the shallow bottom. There are the usual stupid moments, like allowing the pilot to go nuts but the women passengers can't for some reason, and the attempt to save the plane in-tact with the people is a little far-fetched. These are the moments that get you talking to the screen. But despite this, the overall effect of the movie is satisfying which I honestly didn't expect because these movies usually don't appeal to me. I really think that the strong presence of the believable hero in Jack Lemmon as the pilot really helped the movie become a little more than the typical disaster movie for me.
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6/10
OK, so this isn't "Casablanca"
forever_swirl25 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
OK, so this isn't the greatest film ever made, but not all films have to be Shakespeare to be entertaining. I mean, have you seen some of the garbage big stars make today? It's not all for the Oscars, believe me. This one of those great movies you can actually enjoy for a few hours. An early popcorn flick - like all the disaster films were.

In this sequel, Jack Lemmon plays the ever-present Heroic Captain who must save the day as his ship gets a) hijacked, b) crashed into the ocean and c) lost by the search planes. Sure, the plot's out there - no way would a plane not break apart under the ocean, etc, etc, but who cares? Sure, the ending's basically a commerical for the NAVY. It's all fun - and tasteful fun - not the tacky, cheap, makes-you-feel-like-you've-killed-brain-cells-by-watching feel of "The Swarm" or "Airport 75" or "79".

The best bits are the action scenes - when the hijackers take over, when the plane crashes into the ocean and the thrilling rescue mission at the end. I was LITERALLY on the edge of my chair!

My favorite parts were really the relationships on the plane. Sure, they were underwritten and great actors were ill-used (*ehm* Christopher Lee, Olivia De Havilad and Joseph Cotton), but there were hints of realism there. The touching love between the piano player and Kathleen Quinlan. The lovely reunion between rich folks De Havilad and Cotton (and she looked so dignified when tumbling around in the sinking craft!). The sweet 70's romance between Jack Lemmon and Brenda V. (and she was more James Stewart's secetary then Head Stewardess!). I think I liked that relationship the most because they did seem to have actual chemistry - something that was lacking in even the great "Airport".

OK, so this isn't Oscar material, but it's a great popcorn flick right up there with "Towering Inferno" and "Poseidon Adventure". The actors do seem to take themselves seriously (well, except for the bitchy wife of rich chap Christopher Lee, Lee Grant) and aren't totally phoning in their performances. Lemmon gives the best performance here and he seems to relish the role of hero. Good for him to break the mold! Too bad he couldn't do it more often.

BOTTOM LINE: A darn good action flick that ranks up there with "Towering Inferno" and "Poseidon Adventure". Watch this if you want to be thrilled and watch the time fly by.
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Still A Fave
richard.fuller128 February 2004
Of all the disaster flicks, this seems to be the one I enjoy most, perhaps it was the first one I would see.

But looking back at the hot pants in Poseidon Adventure & Dunaway's dress and the tuxedoes in Towering Inferno, Airport '77 is quite an elegantly dressed cast, aren't they?

The movie would get famed Hollywood fashion expert Edith Head to dress the cast and it shows. Anyone else would have made Brenda Vaccarro look obese trying to put her in that pullover sweater.

Airplane! would make fun of Edith Head being credited for '77 like that, by crediting their own costumer, but 27 years later, the wardrobe makes the cast of '77 appear tremendously dashing, giving the tragedy that greater a feel as well.

Jack Lemmon was an incredible standout as the hero of the piece, in comparison to Paul Newman's sexism in Towering Inferno (he never speaks to Jennifer Jones as a human during their entire ordeal with the children) or Heston's stiffness or McQueen's inexpressiveness.

Two years after her Oscar nomination, Vaccarro was hardly the disaster flicks idea of a leading lady as well, so she is quite a one-of-a-kind casting also.

When I was little, I was most fascinated with Arlene Golonka, who I knew from the Andy Griffith show.

Later, identifying the rest of the cast just made it more and more fun. Dracula, Buck Rogers, Kolchak the Nightstalker (Darren McGavin & Jack Lemmon were a powerhouse duo).

Then the names and stars figured into it. DeHavilland, Cotten, Grant. No one looked more out of place than Olivia DeHavilland in an underwater airplane.

Robert Hooks as the crippled bartender and Tom Sullivan (who is actually blind) as the pianist added even more flavor.

There is M. Emmet Walsh, "The Name, But What Which One Is Him?" actor. He is the doctor, and I do enjoy his one scene when he explains who he really is.

Monica Lewis, disaster movie staple. She would appear in Earthquake and Concorde: Airport '79. Check out her expression as she and Olivia DeHavilland enter the lifeboat. It reads "Miss DeHavilland, I'm one of your biggest fans. I really enjoyed you in Gone With The Wind." Lucy Ricardo lives.

Should it have been a commercial airline, instead of a private plane? Not necessarily.

I enjoy watching it now and observing a few of the female extras at the beginning of the crash don't seem to be present anymore by the end. It seems that they weren't available for filming then.

I would argue, as a movie, that this one is more fun to watch than the first one. Lancaster and Seberg in the first Airport movie are comical to me trying to be so serious.

And the second Airport movie, Airport '75, is funnier than Airplane.

There is a very strong and different feel from Airport '77 than the other Airport flicks or the other disaster films in general.
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8/10
Loved this movie
schanin130 December 2006
I loved this film growing up.

I have even become a flight attendant because of this film and the movie Survive ( the Rene Cardeno Jr version).

I could pick this movie to bits. However I will not as it is there for pure entertainment and entertain it does.

I have always wondered if there was a longer version though. As a child i remember it being shown over two nights the same with earthquake. If anyone can help with this and verify if there is a longer version let us know. If you want some disaster fun this is it. A plane crashes into the sea and survivor's must fight for their lives. Some may make it and some may not. Oliva DE Havilland does look out of place in this movie I think this is because she was a great star and a disaster movie just did not seem to be a role she would do. the same with Gloria Swanson who also ended up in a disaster movie. But we all must eat.

Lee Grant steals the show this could be debatable but I believe she does as a booze drinking socialite.
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8/10
Not for claustrophobics
Petey-1016 March 2008
Airport '77 is the second sequel in the Airport franchise.Boeing 747 is carrying some valuable art of wealthy philanthropist Philip Stevens.A group of art thieves hijack the plane and soon they crash it to the Bermuda triangle.The passengers survive but for how long? Jerry Jameson's disaster movie from 1977 is a mighty entertaining movie.It's packed with the brightest stars.James Stewart is Philip Stevens.Jack Lemmon is Captain Don Gallagher.That's two of my favorite actors.The real lady Olivia de Havilland plays Emily Livingston.Joseph Cotten plays Nicholas St. Downs III.George Kennedy is Joe Patroni.Christopher Lee is Martin Wallace.Lee Grant is Karen Wallace.M.Emmett Walsh plays Dr.Williams.So there are many great stars in a great jam.Airport '77 offers many intense moments under the water.Everybody not suffering from claustrophobia should see this.
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8/10
A real step up
Leofwine_draca18 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
AIRPORT '77 is my favourite yet of the series, a real step up from the slightly turgid antics of the first two instalments. This one ups the drama and the suspense considerably and tells a classic disaster story in which the action is always focused on the disaster itself, as it should be. A series of unfortunate events leads to a prototype passenger plane crashing and sinking to the ocean floor, where a bunch of survivors subsequently hold out for hopes of rescue as their air supply gradually runs out and the water gradually finds a way in. As usual, an ensemble cast of performers helps things immeasurably, with Jack Lemmon proving himself in a serious role for once and even Christopher Lee appearing as a good guy for a change. Lee Grant plays her most hissably evil character yet while others such as Joseph Cotten and Darren McGavin really shine too. The film sounds cheesy on paper but is surprisingly taut and realistic on screen, and there are few dodgy effects to spoil things either. Great fun!
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Wow, i was impressed...really impressed.
Hassard199419 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I was looking at Airplane on wikipedia a few weeks ago, i then clicked on a link that was "Airport" and that's how i found out about this series of disaster flicks. I decided to watch this on Sky Movies to see what they were like before buying the Box Set, i was really impressed, it was a very enjoyable film, even if it was abit far-fetched.

It's basically about a luxury Airplane which, when Hi-jacked, crashes into an oil rig and crashes into the ocean. The original crew, try to get the passengers to safety, which they eventually do, thanks to The Navy!

All in all, i would recommend this to anyone really, it's very enjoyable and perfect to kill a couple of hours.

8/10
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10/10
The Best Of The Airport Films
greene51513 January 2006
James Stewart, plays an Ageing Millionaire who owns a priceless artwork collection ,which is due to be flown to his museum, on his state of the art 747, Among the artwork their are several VIP's and Stewart's estranged daughter,who are all traveling in style to Stewart's museum, A group of thieves hijack the 747 mid flight Which in dense fog, collide's with an off shore oil rig, and Spectacuarly plunges the craft off radar and in to mysterious depths in the waters of the Bermuda triangle, Jack Lemmon, takes over From Charlton Heston,as the heroic pilot, Falcon Crest's Robert Foxworth is Lemmon's co-pilot who aids the hijackers,Brenda Vaccaro,plays Lemmon's love interest who is a stewardess, Also on board is Christopher Lee,a businessman who has a shrewd alcoholic wife to contend with played by Lee Grant, Joseph Cotten, and Olivia De Havilland,play autumn year lover's, And George Kennedy in a probable contractually obliged role returns as 'Joe Patrioni. Finally available on DVD in 235:1 Widescreen this film has never looked better,
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9/10
Airborne Terror In The Bermuda Triangle
virek2134 December 2017
Of the three sequels to the 1970 blockbuster film AIRPORT, the film that is generally credited with having begat the first wave of disaster films that were so popular with audiences (and so vilified by the critic) in the 1970s, the 1977 offering AIRPORT '77 probably has the most to offer in terms of suspense, plot, and acting, and the least in the way of the kinds of clichés that nauseated critics no end in the 70s. Even though some of the situations depicted in this film seem incredible to believe, it is due in no small part to the above-average quality of the acting of a lot of the case that they seem fully credible, and the tension is often palpable. And this time around, there is a slight element of the supernatural, as most of the goings-on in the second half of the film take place in that part of the Atlantic bounded by Miami, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda—the infamous Bermuda Triangle, where it is said ships and planes have been known to vanish without a trace.

The plane in question is the new Stevens Corporation jumbo jet, whose owner (James Stewart) has invited many dignitaries onboard to take a flight from Washington to his place in Palm Beach, Florida for the opening of his new art museum and library grounds. There's also several million dollars worth of paintings onboard in the cargo hold, which makes it a target for a trio of art thieves (Michael Pataki, Robert Foxworth, Monte Markham). During mid-flight, the thieves siphon sleeping gas into the passenger cabin of the plane, and cause the passengers to go to sleep, while they try to get their hands on those paintings. Foxworth, meanwhile, sets the plane on a course that takes it right into the Bermuda Triangle, and underneath coastal radar. But the whole thing goes fatally awry when, flying through a fog bank, the jet strikes the top of an oil rig, and is set out of control onto, and then under, the Atlantic. When the passengers come to, they find their plane under one hundred feet of water. The combination of outside water pressure and the lack of oxygen inside the plane doesn't give them much time; and the chief pilot (Jack Lemmon) is forced to swim out of a flooded cargo hold and up to the surface in a life raft equipped with a homing device that will allow the Navy and other rescue parties to find the plane. Since physical underwater rescue of the passengers is impossible, the Navy is forced to use pontoons to somehow raise the plane up to the surface long enough to get the passengers out.

Lemmon's performance as the pilot is one of many reasons why AIRPORT '77 works as well as it does; his Everyman quality is the kind audiences appreciate (much like pilot Chesley Sullenberger in the real-life 2009 Miracle On The Hudson). And although Lee Grant's performance as the obnoxious wife of a philanthropist (Christopher Lee) does weight down the film at times, the solid performances of Joseph Cotten, Olivia DeHavilland, and Darren McGavin compensate for that fault, as doe the performances of others in the cast, including Kathleen Quinlan, M. Emmet Walsh, Pamela Bellwood, Robert Hooks, Gil Gerard, James Booth and (in a cameo as Joe Patroni) George Kennedy. Jameson, normally a TV director who nevertheless earned his pedigree in the small-screen disaster film genre via films like HURRICANE and TERROR ON THE 40TH FLOOR, does a fairly good job of handling what at first seems to be a typically implausible disaster film plot. A lot of the credit for that success must go to the fine visual effects work of Albert Whitlock, whose long list of credits include Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 horror/suspense classic THE BIRDS and the 1970 sci-fi drama COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT, and Frank Brendel, who won an Oscar with Whitlock in 1974 for EARTHQUAKE. And the climactic rescue operation sequence, though it requires a suspension of disbelief not uncommon for the disaster genre, is also quite good too.

John Cacavas' score, which goes from brooding avant-garde to typical grandiose orchestral gestures, is the icing on the cake for AIRPORT '77, a film that manages to be suspenseful and entertaining, while dialing down some of the worst excesses of the disaster genre that so alienated critics, and doing so with solid performances from almost all of the cast involved.
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8/10
A genre full house
michaelberanek2759 July 2017
Having read a bunch of rubbishing reviews I was almost delighted to find there was plenty to engage with in this movie that by 1977 had joined an established tradition of disaster flicks. But even the things some pundits pan can be conversely interesting like the stereotype characters such as the hysterical woman, the sick child, just no nun this time. It made me appreciate the spoof Airplane even more which is no mean feat. There's the droll elements of period detail like the suffocation of beige walls carpets and furnishings, the soaking wet deep shag pile carpets and the total neglect of any seatbelts on anyone at any time it seemed. There was a lot of elegant dressing too. The action for me was OK from the start but then it took a bit of a dip halfway but then took off as the plane did the opposite. It became a bit of a Top Gun ad for the US Navy but that appealed to my boyhood fantasies of throwing military might around and being heroic and all that. The special effects looked good, the cast was of high calibre. So it ticked all the boxes. This being the kind of enterprise it is you really can't expect it to have a quirky plot or really a sense of humour - that's just not in the genre rulebook.
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8/10
It's Holding, For Now!
rhiron3 December 2013
There is a tendency to over-think films like these.

Personally, this is my favourite of the 'Airport' franchise of films. It has perhaps the best cast of names of any disaster film, including Jack Lemmon (curiously cast as a pilot), Lee Grant and Robert Foxworth (who would both appear a year later in 'Damien: Omen II' (1978)), Christopher Lee, Brenda Vaccaro, George Kennedy, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten AND James Stewart, to mention just some of the biggest names.

Also, as the poster suggests, most of the action takes place underwater. This is also where audiences do most of the over-thinking. Don't worry about it being a plane - just buy into the possibility that James Stewart's character was so stinking rich and so concerned about his passengers and his art treasures that he bothered to make it the equivalent of a flying submarine (but a fragile one)!

This is an outrageous film - there are no two ways about it - but it certainly beats the cartoon-ish sequel featuring the Concorde, which stinks to high heaven in comparison!

It also possibly provided some vital training work for director Jerry Jameson before he went on to helm the doomed 'Raise The Titanic' (1980). What can be said for this film is that it certainly didn't sink as quickly as that film did! Universal Studios actually set up a ride where paying customers could be held hostage aboard a luxury airliner, before being (fictionally) rendered unconscious and then dunked in the drink. For such an audacious and exciting-sounding ride to even be dreamt up, this film had to have been a considerable success!! And, perhaps, Brenda Vaccaro was comforted for suffering pneumonia after filming this flick by the thought that all those innocent theme park tourists were suffering a similar fate!

Anyway, aside from the Concorde sequel, this is the most outrageous of the 'Airport' films - if any of them could actually be considered realistic viewing, then that's one on me!

Watching Lee Grant acting her co-stars in circles is a great pleasure to be gained from this entry into the franchise and the special effects, although dated now, of course, are still a lot of fun to watch!

And this is a fun film, blending the heist films of the 1960s and 1970s with the purely 1970s disaster craze. For the cast and the excitement, thrills and spills alone, give this film a watch if you're looking for something that will take your mind off of things and give you a good laugh as well! I had an exam the day after I watched this and it worked wonders just to unwind by watching this kind of inconsequential drama!
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Average disaster movie
JeffG.26 December 1999
This is a so-so movie. Not as good as the previous two Airport movies. The movie gets off to a slow start, introducing the characters and trying to bring some character development to the film. And not doing too well in that regard. Even the late, great Jimmy Stweart doesn't add much to the film. As with the other movies, you have to suspend your disbelief at times. While not the best installment of the series, this is a somewhat entertaining disaster movie. Though only recommended if you've seen everything else in the store.
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Airport '77 just isn't fun enough.
tgodel24 October 2002
  • 2/5 STARS -


How do you get a 747 widebody to the ocean floor without filling it completely with water? Modern jets will float for a half-hour or more, but once they start flooding, they don't stop until the cabin is uninhabitable. The intricate solution to this problem is just the first in a long series of hoops the producers had to jump through after saying, `Let's do a film about a jumbo jet that sinks in the Bermuda Triangle with the passengers still alive inside!'

Airport '77 is the gloomy response to this challenge. Art thieves hijack a specially equipped and highly luxurious private 747 to loot her expensive cargo. In the process of flying stealthily below radar, the copilot/thief (Meredith) strikes an oil drilling platform and loses control of the airplane. After a brief struggle to stay aloft, the jetliner settles onto the surface of the water, but not before a massive storage container tears loose and punches a fatal hole in the forward cargo compartment.

And therein lies the solution to the first problem. Like the customization of a conversion van from the same era, this private jet has been modified to contain a series of individually pressurized cargo holds. When the forward cargo compartment floods, the rest of the plane is left dry. Within minutes, however, the weight of the water pulls the plane to the floor of the ocean, with most of the passengers still alive and plenty of doors and windows leaking ominously.

Airport '77 starts with heavy-handed drama and never lets up. There's not much room for humor in a 747 several hundred feet under the water, but Airport '77 doesn't even attempt to lighten the mood occasionally. Better disaster movies pull the audience from one emotional extreme to another, but on this plane, the dialogue is suffocating even before the oxygen starts to run low. There isn't anyone in charge of bringing hope to the survivors (and the audience).

And despite their occasional humanitarian efforts, this group of super-rich, mostly white passengers does little to elicit sympathy from the audience. Only the head flight attendant (Vaccaro) invites compassion. Her romance with the pilot (a mustache-laden Lemmon) isn't adequately explored, particularly when he volunteers to leave the plane in a risky maneuver that might easily kill him. Meanwhile, virtually the entire support staff of the plane magically disappears so that the drama can focus on the wealthiest and presumably most interesting group aboard.

The tone of this film is gloomy right from the start, and bad cinematography doesn't help. Every room (on the plane or elsewhere) is dark, and every cast member seems to be covered with a thin layer of reflective slime even before the plane sinks! It's as though good lighting and decent makeup were dispensed with just to darken the mood.

The sun-drenched rescue operations offer the possibility of relief from the closed quarters of the plane, but instead we receive an abundance of stock Naval rescue footage. Generous thanks are paid to the men and women of the armed services who assisted in the production of this movie, and we know this to be true because the final third of the movie is so boring.

Airport '77 has the most elaborate special effects of any Airport movie, and they are enjoyable to watch. All of the external effects are clear, and the flooding inside the plane is done as well as can be expected. Aside from the abundance of dark brown furniture (and carpet, and paint, and wallpaper) it's the relentlessly dim lighting that clinches the claustrophobia. Though possibly necessitated by the depth of the plane underwater, the resultant sense of suffocation only disengages the viewer further. The cheap special effects of The Concorde: Airport '79 indicate that the lesson was learned that good effects won't save a mediocre film.

In short, Airport '77 just isn't fun enough. It's a clever premise and the producers went to great lengths to get the plane underwater in a satisfactory manner. But if it's not the weighty dialogue, it's the unengaging Naval training footage, and so the audience quickly discovers that there's really not that much to enjoy here after all. Airport '77 is fun to watch for the crash and flooding sequences (as well as Darren McGavin's dependable character acting), but seat-of-your-pants thrills are best found elsewhere.
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3/10
Terrible!
face-782-65620125 September 2010
Like many third movies this film is un-necessary and stupid. A 747 with a group of rich idiots is hijacked and then ( because the hijackers are fools ) crashes into the Bermuda triangle where it sinks to the bottom. For a start if this did happen the plane would snap in two and everyone would die. If this didn't happen then the pressure would destroy the plane and everyone would drown. The plane is now sitting st the bottom of the ocean and the crew and passengers must find a way to escape and survive. The acting is dreadful even with actors like Lee Grant ,Christopher Lee and Jack Lemmon. The story is so far fetched that it might as well be an episode of a cartoon show. Don't watch it !
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2/10
Seafood anyone?
sampleman411-12 July 2002
Capt. Gallagher (Lemmon) and flight attendant Eve Clayton (Vaccaro) are a supposedly hot item in this death trip; a luxury 747 airliner decked out to look like a nightclub-slash-hotel… there's even a blind piano player who falls in love. Karen Wallace (Grant) is the hysterical b!$3& who'll do anything to get attention from henpecked husband Martin (Christopher Lee) and, later, the rest of the people on board.

Memorable Moments: Boeing 747 doing a belly flop in the Atlantic Ocean, Karen getting her chops busted when she goes too far, and furniture (and screaming people) who become 'ball bearings' in a sinking 'pinball machine.'

The action and rescue sequences here are relatively phenomenal, but not much goes on in between. Hitchcock was supposed to have directed this sequel, but I forget the reason why not… He would've done wonders for the 1970 original, on which this sequel is partly inspired ('77 also got inspiration from `The Flight of the Phoenix').

Actors Cotten and de Havilland reunite from their days on `Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte' (apparently here they are not playing heavies, just reunited ‘Autumn Years' lovers). And isn't the actress playing Emily's companion the same one who played the hammered-to-death maid on `Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?'

TV actors include the girlfriend from `Mayberry RFD' (her character's daughter wins a drawing contest, or something lame like that), `Buck Rogers' Gil Gerard and `Dynasty's' Pamela Bellwood.
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8/10
Solid disaster movie.
pmtelefon25 September 2019
"Airport '77" may not be a classic disaster movie but it comes close. It's a very satisfying movie to watch. It touches all the bases. It has a great performance by Jack Lemmon. The rest of the cast does a fine job as well. There is a lot of excitement. The action is well staged. The movie moves well with very little downtime. Disaster movies are one of my favorite genres. I grew up on them and I still dig them. "Airport '77" is a good example of a disaster movie done right.
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1/10
Did they need the money that badly?
Mike-29930 May 2003
I saw this piece of garbage on AMC last night, and wonder how it could be considered in any way an American Movie Classic. It was awful in every way. How badly did Jack Lemmon, James Stewart and the rest of the cast need cash that they would even consider doing this movie?
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4/10
A floundering series...
moonspinner5519 February 2008
Although the production and Jerry Jameson's direction are definite improvements, "Airport '77" isn't much better than "Airport 1975": slick, commercial rubbish submerging (this time literally) a decent cast. Jack Lemmon is the pilot of a packed airliner which gets hijacked by art thieves and crashes into the sea (all the publicity claimed it was near the Bermuda Triangle, but there's no mention of it in the film itself). When the rescue ships come to raise the airplane out of the water, we see all their cranes dropping (rather blindly) into the ocean and it's hard not to laugh (imagining the cranes plugging the plane, the passengers and the waterlogged script). NBC used to air what appeared to be the "director's cut", with at least an hour of extra footage--mostly flashbacks--injected into the proceedings with all the subtlety of a "Gilligan's Island" episode. Most exciting moment is the plane crash, and some of the players have a little fun: Lee Grant is an obnoxious drunk, Brenda Vaccaro a no-nonsense stewardess, Joseph Cotten and Olivia de Havilland are flirting oldsters. Still, the personality conflicts and the excruciating military detail eventually tear at one's patience. ** from ****
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5/10
Airport 77 is all wet.
jrs-817 July 2001
"Airport 77" was the third in this series and it's obvious the quality was dipping with each film. It's a notch below "Airport 1975" but far, far better than "Concorde: Airport 79."

This film deals with a private jumbo jet (owned by none other than James Stewart) that is sabotaged by a couple of halfwit crooks so they can steal some priceless paintings. Then something goes wrong (of course we disaster film afficionados know something ALWAYS has to go wrong) and the plane crashes into the Bermuda Triangle. The rest of the film is the attempted rescue and the standard disaster movie characters trying to stay alive.

The problem with the film is that there is no suspense. The only real peril the passengers are in is when water starts to leak into the plane at an agonizingly slow rate. And why have them crash in the Bermuda Triangle and not, say, the Pacific Ocean? Perhaps something mysterious will appear? Perhaps a ghostly presence? Sorry to say but no. There is no reason to set the crash in the Triangle save to use that in the ads to lure unsuspecting viewers in.

The typical star studded cast is headed by Jack Lemmon as the pilot. Why Lemmon took this part is beyond me. Perhaps the pay was too great to refuse or he desperately wanted a hit. Either way he sold his talent out on this one. Any grade b actor could have played the part.

If you are bored and having nothing else to do then I suppose this is a passable timewaster. But ONLY is there is absolutely nothing else on.
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3/10
Get some whiskey, quick!
rmax30482327 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is the kind of movie that my enemies contend I watch all the time, but it's not bloody true. I only watch it once in a while to make sure that it's as bad as I first thought it was. You don't believe me, ask the Director of the Institute.

Some kind of mobsters hijack a Boeing 747. (That, at least, is an improvement over having Boeing hijack a good part of the Pentagon.) The airplane goes down in the Bermuda triangle and sinks pressurized to the bottoms, a kind of post-facto submarine.

It has one of those all-star casts, the stars either falling or barely above the horizon.

"We're on our own!", says pilot Jack Lemon. He is so right. Except for George Kennedy. He's in all these disaster movies.

Watch another movie instead. Oh, not "Airport" the original. That's no good either. Instead, watch a decent flick about stuck airplanes like "Flight of the Phoenix."
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6/10
Airplane Rescue Fatigue Setting In
view_and_review19 June 2019
You've had an airplane get a hole blown through it by a suicidal bomber trying to collect on insurance. You've had an airplane get a hole gashed into it by a small plane. What can we do as an encore? Let's sink the plane in the middle of the ocean.

Airport '77 had a tough time trying to keep up with its predecessors. They stayed true to a few things: 1.) The star/pilot was a big name-in this case it was Jack Lemmon.

2.) There was a large commercial jet in peril.

3.) There was a love interest between the pilot/hero/main character and someone aboard said plane

4.) George Kennedy made an appearance.

As to number three: let me be sure never to fly on a plane in which the pilot is romantically involved with someone on the crew.

As to number four: George Kennedy had a significantly reduced role. Maybe that's why this one wasn't as good?

No, that's not why. There was bound to be airplane rescue fatigue. I'd say that and the fact that Jack Lemmon just wasn't believable in the hero role. I couldn't help but see the pitiful Felix Unger from The Odd Couple, even if he did have a mustache.
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