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Top 10 Airport Movies Part II

Part I of our Top 10 airport related movies blog post published on Tuesday certainly captured some airport staples, but I think you’ll find Part II features a few favourites that were notably missed from Part I.  While the author of Part I might disagree, when I think top airport movies, I don’t just think action and disaster, but the uplifting and potentially romantic setting of airport arrivals.  Let us know if  these five make your top 10 list, or if you have others to add – or (gasp), if the five listed in Part I are more your style.


The Terminal

Perhaps the most obvious airport movie, at least when an unscientific poll was conducted by shouting across the office, The Terminal is a 2004 comedy-drama directed by cinema juggernaut Steven Spielberg. Starring Tom Hanks, the movie revolves around a man who is denied entry into the U.S. and ends up living in one of the world’s most famous airports, JFK in New York. Speculation has arisen over the years that this movie was inspired by Iranian refugee Mehran Karimi Nasseri who lived in Terminal One of Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France. Regardless, this imaginative movie shows a glimpse into life at an airport – even though Spielberg had to create JFK in a hangar as he couldn’t find an airport that would let him film due to length of production.

Love Actually

The new quintessential rom-com Christmas movie, this film makes the list because of the integral theme airports play throughout the film. Leading man Hugh Grant (playing a fictitious Prime Minister) announces at the beginning that he thinks of the pure uncomplicated love felt at Heathrow’s Arrivals Terminal whenever he needs cheering up.  The final scenes of the film are also staged at Heathrow where the youngest character Sam receives his first kiss (albeit on the cheek), an aging rock-star arrives with his groupies and returning family members and love ones are greeted. Actually, what’s not to love?

Up in the Air

George Clooney (in one of his less flattering roles) stars in this film about a man who spends his life as a corporate downsizer, always on the road, or in the air. Scenes were filmed at a number of airport locations including Detroit, Michigan; Omaha, Nebraska; Las Vegas, Nevada and St. Louis.  The film’s final pivotal scene shows George Clooney standing in an airport terminal staring up at the departures board and dropping his luggage. 


While much of the talk today is focusing on whether director Ben Affleck was robbed of an Oscar nod, this 2012 film’s captivating story is undeniable.  Loosely based on a published account of the rescue of six U.S. diplomats during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, this film delves into a politically charged time in history.  A key scene in Argo involves the hostages nervously waiting at the airport, as their ruse that they are Canadian filmmakers scouting locations unravels. SPOILER ALERT: Luckily, they make it on to the Swissair flight just in time.


The oldest movie to make the top 10, is also one of the most famous – for good reason!  Casablanca is a legend in its own right, a tragic love story set against an exotic Moroccan WWII backdrop. In the famous farewell scene, Humphrey Bogart’s character convinces his lover, played by Ingrid Bergman, to rejoin her husband and board the plane to Lisbon. The movie won a Best Picture Academy Award, and coined the phrase “Here’s looking at you, kid.”



1 Comment

  • Vince wrote on Mar 03 2014 AT 1:47 PM

    No Home Alone Series? I can hear the music now as the McCallisters race to catch their plane!
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