12 Great Films With Airplanes That Everyone Should Get on Board With Watching

If you're a fan of thrilling action, heart-pounding suspense, or captivating aviation stories, buckle up and prepare for takeoff! These 12 incredible films showcase the power, drama, and sheer excitement of airplanes. So fasten your seatbelts, stow away your tray tables, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable cinematic journey through the skies.

1. The Aviator (2004)

The Aviator Leonardo DiCaprio
Image Credit: Miramax Films.

The Aviator is a captivating biographical drama directed by Martin Scorsese. Set in the glamorous Golden Age of Hollywood, the film chronicles the life of aviation pioneer Howard Hughes, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio. It explores Hughes' ambitious aviation endeavors, innovative aircraft designs, and turbulent personal life.

From his triumphs as a film producer and record-breaking pilot to his struggles with mental illness, this film takes viewers on a mesmerizing journey through the skies and the depths of Hughes' complex world.

2. Up in the Air (2009)

george clooney 1
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Directed by Jason Reitman, Up in the Air tells the story of Ryan Bingham, played by George Clooney, a corporate downsizer who spends most of his time traveling across the country. As he racks up frequent flyer miles, Ryan becomes detached from personal relationships, finding solace in his solitary lifestyle.

However, a series of unexpected encounters challenges his way of life and forces him to confront the meaning of human connections and the impact of his actions. This poignant drama explores loneliness, purpose, and the delicate balance between personal and professional life.

3. Top Gun (1986)

Top Gun Tom Cruise Kelly McGillis
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Top Gun is an adrenaline-fueled action film that follows the journey of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, played by Tom Cruise, a talented fighter pilot at the prestigious United States Navy's Fighter Weapons School. Alongside his rival, “Iceman” (Val Kilmer), Maverick undergoes intense training to become the best of the best.

Filled with exhilarating aerial dogfights, intense camaraderie, and a sizzling romance, Top Gun showcases the thrilling world of naval aviation while capturing the indomitable spirit of these elite pilots.

4. Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Top Gun Maverick
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Top Gun: Maverick takes place decades after the first film's events, with Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) now serving as a flight instructor. As he trains a new generation of pilots, Maverick faces challenges that push his limits and force him to confront his past.

With advanced aircraft, intense aerial sequences, and a fresh cast of characters, Top Gun: Maverick is a surprisingly brilliant and emotionally poignant sequel to a much-loved story, earning itself an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

5, Snakes on a Plane (2006)

Snakes On A Plane Samuel L. Jackson
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

Buckle up for a thrilling, high-altitude ride with Snakes on a Plane. Starring Samuel L. Jackson as an FBI agent, this action-packed film takes a wild turn when a crate of deadly snakes is released on a passenger plane mid-flight. With chaos and panic spreading throughout the aircraft, it's up to Jackson's character to rally the passengers and crew in a desperate battle for survival.

Full of suspense and unexpected twists, Snakes on a Plane delivers a unique and thrilling take on the disaster movie genre way up in the air.

6. Red Eye (2005)

red eye thriller
Courtesy of DreamWorks Pictures

Directed by Wes Craven, Red Eye is a tense psychological thriller that unfolds onboard a red-eye flight. A hotel manager, Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams), is seated next to a charming stranger, Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy). What starts as a seemingly innocent encounter quickly turns into a nightmarish situation when Jackson reveals his sinister intentions.

With suspense building at 30,000 feet, Lisa must summon her courage and wits to outsmart her captor and save her and her fellow passengers' lives.

7. Airplane! (1980)

Airplane! Lloyd Bridges and Robert Stack
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Prepare for a hilarious and irreverent comedy that parodies the disaster movie genre with Airplane! Directed by Jim Abraham and the Zucker brothers, this classic film takes comedic flight with its clever gags, puns, and rapid-fire jokes. The story revolves around a commercial airplane that falls victim to food poisoning, jeopardizing the passengers' lives.

With an ensemble cast that includes Leslie Nielsen, Robert Hays, and Julie Hagerty, Airplane! delivers non-stop laughs and unforgettable moments that will have you rolling in the aisles.

8. Dunkirk (2017)


Directed by Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk is a visually stunning war epic that recounts the harrowing evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk during World War II. The film weaves together three interconnected narratives that follow the experiences of soldiers on the ground, pilots in the air, and civilians on the sea.

With breathtaking aerial sequences and a relentless sense of urgency, Dunkirk immerses viewers in the intensity and bravery of those involved in this remarkable rescue mission.

9. Sully (2016)

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Based on the true story of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, Sully is a gripping drama directed by Clint Eastwood. The film focuses on the miraculous emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River.

Tom Hanks delivers a captivating performance as Captain Sullenberger, showcasing his heroic actions and the subsequent investigation into the event. Sully explores themes of heroism, resilience, and the impact of split-second decisions, offering an inspiring and emotional portrayal of a remarkable aviation feat.

10. Con Air (1997)

Con Air Nicolas Cage
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

Get ready for a high-octane ride with Con Air, an action-packed film directed by Simon West. Nicolas Cage stars as Cameron Poe, an ex-Army Ranger who finds himself aboard a prisoner transport plane filled with the most dangerous criminals. When the inmates hijack the aircraft, Poe must navigate a deadly game of cat and mouse, fighting to protect the innocent and bring the villains to justice.

With explosive set pieces, intense performances, and pulse-pounding excitement, Con Air is an adrenaline-fueled joyride.

11. Air Force One (1997)

Harrison Ford Films Air Force One 1997 Columbia Pictures
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

Air Force One combines political intrigue and high-stakes action in this thrilling film directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Harrison Ford portrays President James Marshall, who must take matters into his own hands when terrorists hijack Air Force One, the presidential plane, with his family and staff onboard.

As the tension escalates, President Marshall becomes a one-man army, fighting to save his loved ones and reclaim control of the aircraft. With gripping suspense and Ford's commanding performance, Air Force One delivers a white-knuckle ride.

12. Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Catch Me If You Can 2002 Dreamworks
Image Credit: Dreamworks

Directed by Steven Spielberg, Catch Me If You Can is a captivating biographical film based on the incredible true story of Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio), a skilled con artist and master of deception. Abagnale's daring escapades include assuming various identities, forging checks, and even impersonating a Pan Am pilot.

Throughout his exploits, Abagnale's adventures aboard airplanes add an element of thrill and danger to his cat-and-mouse game with the relentless FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks). Catch Me If You Can is a riveting tale of wit, charm, and audacious exploits that will keep you engaged from takeoff to landing.

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.