The Concorde... Airport '79 (1979)

PG   |    |  Action, Drama, Thriller


The Concorde... Airport '79 (1979) Poster

A supersonic airborne disaster. In order to survive a flight headed for the Moscow Olympics, passengers of the Concorde must endure aerial acrobatics to dodge missiles and survive a device that decompresses the plane.


4.5/10
5,707


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  • Susan Blakely in The Concorde... Airport '79 (1979)
  • Susan Blakely in The Concorde... Airport '79 (1979)
  • Sylvia Kristel in The Concorde... Airport '79 (1979)
  • Robert Wagner in The Concorde... Airport '79 (1979)
  • Marneen Fields in The Concorde... Airport '79 (1979)
  • Sylvia Kristel and Alain Delon in The Concorde... Airport '79 (1979)

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Reviews & Commentary

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1 August 2003 | jimu63
So bad they advertised it as a comedy!
"The Concorde--Airport '79" is truly one of the worst films ever made. It is tacky, imbecilic, and inept, with some of the most inane plotting ever committed to celluloid. It comes complete with what is probably the worst script ever by an Academy Award Winner (Eric Roth of "Forrest Gump" fame). It is so dumb it is laughable. It is stupid. In fact, it is so bad they advertised it as a comedy!

The plot is inane: wealthy weapons manufacturer (Robert Wagner) is confronted by television anchorwoman/girlfriend (Susan Blakely), who tells him she has evidence that he is selling secrets to the Russians and is going to expose him. Does he kill her then? No. Since she has been assigned to cover the inaugural flight of the Concorde (Washington, D.C. to Paris to Moscow), he decides to shoot down the plane with the anchorwoman in it. So when the plane takes off with the usual "Hollywood Squares" cast of television has-beens as passengers, and the two most unlikely pilots in the business (Alain Delon as Capt. Marquand and George Kennedy as Capt. Joe Patroni--that's right, airline mechanic turned executive turned Concorde pilot), he tries to shoot it down with a wayward missile, which he could conveniently blame on equipment failure. After the pilots elude the missile by flipping the plane over a half-dozen times and firing a flare out the window while flying at mach 2 (!!), they survey the damage and decide to fly on to Paris, since noone is hurt and structural damage evidently not a concern. Then they get to Paris, where they are attacked by a couple of fighter jets, which they manage to elude. They then crash land (in one of the most cheesy uses of obvious miniatures I have ever seen in a supposedly big-budget film--even the trees are obviously plastic) and disembark. That's the end, right? Wrong. The movie is only half over, so after an overnight layover, in which the cast couples as if the Concorde is Noah's Ark, everyone reboards the plane to go on to Moscow, even though they know someone is trying to bring it down.

Anyway, let's just say the second leg of the trip ends even worse, with the plane crashing into a snowdrift without a single passenger or crew fatality. So what does our wealthy weapons manufacturer do? He shoots himself in the head. Fade to Black.

Where do I start? Obviously this is absolutely ridiculous from start to finish. And then there are the actors: soft-core porn star Sylvia Kristel as a stewardess, Jimmie "J.J." Walker a saxophonist, Mercedes McCambridge looking ridiculous as a Russian gym coach, Andre Marcovicci as a gymnast who appears to be six feet tall, John Davidson as a TV reporter, Bibi Andersson a prostitute, Eddie Albert the idiot Concorde owner and Sybil Danning his trophy wife, David Warner the flight engineer, etc. etc. There's even a cameo by Charo (yes, Charo) as a passenger who tries to smuggle a chihuahua onto the plane by pretending to be blind and saying it's her "seeing eye Chihuahua." And, sadly, we're treated to the sight of the great African-American actress Cicely Tyson, reduced to picking up a paycheck as the mother of a heart-transplant recipient who's accompanying the heart to Paris where her son waits. (In the late '70's, the two most highly regarded TV performances of the decade were Sally Field in "Sybil" and Cicely Tyson in "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman." Field was rewarded for her performance with a film career that was capped by two Oscars. Tyson disappeared after appearing in this travesty. How sad.)

Yep, the stupidity runs rampant: Kennedy and Andersson make love by a fire. Kennedy tells stewardess Kristel: "They don't call it the cockpit for nothing, honey," a line that would get you fired in a second nowadays. Albert says upon disembarking in Paris: "Nobody is keeping us from going on the Moscow!" Martha Raye adds unfunny comic relief as an old lady with weak bowels. When she's nervous, she runs to the bathroom. She spends the entire film in the bahtroom. (Ho! Ho!) And no one even mentions lawsuit once, even after the plane turns upside down. And the cast? Dreadful. All the way down the line. Paychecks, paychecks, paychecks. That's all anyone was after on this one.

Incidentally, the "director" of this mess was yet another television hack, David Lowell Rich, who may as well be named Ed Wood. But he's the least of the problems. No, the problem is a studio that insisted on dumping cheapjack product like this on an undemanding public instead of taking the time to hire truly talented visionaries who could come up with a decent premise, or better yet, not make the darned film in the first place. The only good thing about "The Concorde--Airport '79"? Released at the same time as "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure" and the year before "When Time Ran Out...," it delivered strike two in the at bat that mercifully ended the disaster craze of the '70's. And not a moment too soon. no stars (out of *****)

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Concorde was known as a "SST" or supersonic transport. In the original Airport film, a model of a planned American-made SST (the Boeing 2707) was seen on the airport manager's desk. This plane went through testing and modification, being certified in 1974 but the cost of the project which if brought to the point of production, would have required a federal subsidy, but the Congress refused to fund this on the grounds that due to the low number of seats and resulting break-even business model, issues with sonic booms on domestic routes, pollution, and other issues. This provides the justification in this story for an American-based carrier to purchase a Concorde, which was European-made. It should be noted that while designed for 100 passenger seats, due to weight considerations the Concorde only had 92 seats and, adjusted for inflation for 2019 dollars, a round-trip New York to Paris ticket cost a whopping $13,000, which is roughly 30 times the cost of the cheapest ticket for this route. The development costs were so high that it could never be recouped via ticket sales, so the British and French governments simply absorbed the costs. The only other rival SST was the Soviet-built Tupolev Tu-144 (sometimes referred to as the "Concordski"), which was problematic and only operated for a few years in the late 1970s.


Quotes

Isabelle: You pilots are such... men.
Capt. Joe Patroni: They don't call it the cockpit for nothing, honey.


Goofs

In the beginning, while landing at Dulles, the Concorde makes a steep turn aligning with the runway. In real life, even a small, relatively slow plane (like a Cessna) needs a few miles to approach a runway.


Alternate Versions

SPOILER: There are two versions of the scene where Kevin Harrison committs suicide. The first, which is the theatrical version, has Harrison, on his private plane, after seeing that Maggie is still alive after the Concorde crashes in the mountains, shooting himself. The alternate scene, which airs on the network television version, which airs a further nineteen minutes of footage discarded from the theatrical version, has him shooting himself in a crowd of reporters while being asked about the Concorde incident.

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Action | Drama | Thriller

Details

Release Date:

17 August 1979

Language

English, French, Spanish


Country of Origin

USA

Filming Locations

Los Angeles, California, USA

Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$13,015,688

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,015,688

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