Take Flight: 12 Movies That Satisfy Your Need For Speed

Some may view Top Gun as the king of aircraft movies. In reality, there are plenty of options if you're looking to watch a film involving planes. Here are 12 choices for your next movie night.

1. Top Gun (1986)

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

In case you've been living under a rock, we'll explain Top Gun for you. The film follows students at the United States Navy's elite fighter weapons school, competing to be the best in the class. One rebellious young pilot, Maverick (Tom Cruise), discovers a few things from a civilian instructor not taught in the classroom.

2. Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Top Gun Maverick
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Tom Cruise returns as Maverick and is still a boundary-pushing top naval aviator that hasn't ranked as highly as he should have because of his rebellious ways. Still, he must confront ghosts of his past to properly train Top Gun's elite graduates for a dangerous mission that has no guarantees about coming home. 

3. Airplane! (1980)

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

Airplane! is a parody of the disaster film genre. It borrows the plot and central characters of Zero Hour! (1957). It uses slapstick humor with verbal gags, puns, obscure humor, and running jokes. It stars Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

4. Flight (2012)

Flight Denzel Washington Nadine Velazquez Don Cheadle
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Flight is a drama following alcoholic airline pilot William “Whip” Whitaker Sr. (Denzel Washington), who is deemed a hero after miraculously crash-landing his plane after mechanical failure.

However, not long into the investigation, revelations lead to questions that cast Whip in a negative light. The film is inspired loosely by the plane crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 but is a fictional telling.

5. 7500 (2019)

7500 Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

7500 is a sci-fi action thriller that follows terrorists attempting to seize control of a Berlin-Paris flight. An American co-pilot struggles to save the passengers' and crews' lives while forging a connection with one of the hijackers. Allstarpilot747 suggests, “7500 is criminally underrated.”

6. Con Air (1997)

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

Con Air is an action thriller centering on a prison break aboard a Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System aircraft, nicknamed “Con Air.” One inmate is on his way home and is the government's only hope for bringing down the plane. It stars Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, Dave Chappelle, and Danny Trejo.

7. Flight of the Phoenix (2004)

Flight of the Phoenix
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Flight of the Phoenix is a survival drama that follows a group of people surviving an aircraft crash in the Gobi Desert. They must use the old plane to build a new aircraft to escape. It stars Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Giovanni Ribisi, Miranda Otto, and Hugh Laurie. It's a remake of the 1965 film of the same name, based on the 1964 Elleston Trevor's novel The Flight of the Phoenix.

8. Air America (1990)

Air America Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr.
Image Credit: Tri-Star Pictures.

Air America is an action comedy following two American pilots (Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr.), flying missions during the Vietnam War in Laos. After discovering their aircraft is used by government agents to smuggle heroin, they must avoid being framed as the drug-smugglers.

9. Iron Eagle (1986)

Iron Eagle Louis Gossett Jr.
Image Credit: TriStar Pictures.

Iron Eagle is an action movie whose story relates to real-life attacks by the United States against Libya over the Gulf of Sidra, particularly the 1981 Gulf of Sidra incident. The film was a hit, followed by three sequels: Iron Eagle IIAces: Iron Eagle III, and Iron Eagle on the Attack.

10. The Aviator (2004)

The Aviator
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

The Aviator is an epic biographical drama that follows billionaire and aviation tycoon Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio). He's a successful big-budget Hollywood director of films such as Hell's Angels. Cate Blanchett stars as Katharine Hepburn, and Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner. 

11. Sully (2016)

Sully
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Starring Tom Hanks, Sully is the movie adaptation based on the 2009 emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson. All 155 passengers and crew on board the flight survived.

12. Snakes On A Plane (2006)

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

The action film starring Samuel L. Jackson is best known for its famous line spoken by Jackson during the movie's climax. While the film itself isn't the best, it's a perfect popcorn flick for when you're looking for a “good” bad movie.

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.