30th Anniversary of Airplane!

Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of one of my favorite movies of all time, Airplane! To celebrate, watch the classic clip above. When we were kids, my brother and I memorized the dialogue in this scene (every scene, actually) and would occasionally perform it. For our parents. Below is a delightful video featuring the film's creators and the two actors reminiscing about the jive talk bit. For more, please see "Oh Stewardess, I speak jive!"

New York Times feature about the film's anniversary: "Surely it's 30 (Don't Call Me Shirley!)"


  1. In the German version, they dubbed the whole Jive scene in a thick Bavarian accent, which kind of reversed the effect when the old woman comes up in the end to translate it for the stewardess…

  2. In the German dubbed version of Airplane, which inexplicably was called “The incredible journey in a crazy aeroplane” for its release, those two guys were given heavy Bavarian accents. The fun part is that the German subtitles really were necessary, too, because in the rest of the country, most people don’t get what Bavarians are saying anyway.

    The dialog, though, deviates quickly from the original meaning. In German, they talk about a guy having grabbed the buttocks of the right one’s wife for which he hit him, then they talk about what each of them likes in a woman and then agree about preferring to rather get a beer belly from too much beer than a hump from too much work.

    Here’s the scenes, after the Jaws intro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gcZI74qtac

  3. When we were kids, my brother and I memorized the dialogue in this scene (every scene, actually) and would occasionally perform it.

    I had a friend in middle school who could recite the whole jive scene word for word as well. I don’t know if he knew the whole movie, though.

  4. How many more people can we get here posting about the GERMAN version of Airplane and the Bavarian accent???

  5. I saw this film in London when it came out. The five Americans in the audience laughed their asses off; the British just didn’t get it all.

    1. Well they must have been lame, because as an adolescent girl living in New Zealand I “got” the Jive scene. Then again I bet we’re flooded with much more American TV than Britain (maybe back then anyway).

    2. I have to disagree with that – my mum and dad saw it on a double bill in the UK with “Life Of Brian” back in 1980 and they said it was one of the funniest evenings of their lives.

  6. “Can’t anyone tell us about the German dubbed version??!”

    I don’t remember where I’m getting this from, but I think I’ve heard that they have the jive guys speaking one of the regional German dialects – maybe Swiss German or Austro-Bavarian?

  7. Dude! I was just remembering recently how although I took “Black English” in college (to meet my linguistics requirement) the only jive I really learned was from the movie “AIRPLANE!” as a kid. Frickin’ LOL!

    Cinespia, in Hollywood, is going to show “Airplane!” at the end of this month. Woohoo! Party on the lawn, mofos! Summer is here. :)

    1. Surely, by this point in the Internet epoch, we can pretty much run a ‘Downfall’ skit about anything directly in our forebrains?

  8. I saw the film in Antofagasta, Chile back in ’81, when I was an exchange student. It was “Donde esta el piloto?” and the Spanish subtitles they used clearly didn’t do the humor justice. For many of the jokes, I was the only one in the theater laughing. Good times!

  9. Kudos Pesco! Definitely one of my fave bits from Airplane. Still holds up too. (Better Off Dead is another one I watched recently with that “well-it-was-funny-when-I-was-14″ hesitance and was pleasantly surprised at how solid the writing is.)

    1. Bing! Sine your pitty on the runny kine.

      You know what would be funny? If these guys would have spoken in Bavarian. MY IDEA!

  10. I can confirm that the first three comments in this thread are, bizarrely, not a triple-post or a login/anon glitch.. that is three commenters from three different regions within the hour (and it wasn’t a knowing pile-on, because the anons were likely not-yet approved when the third named comment came in..


  11. I’m so glad that there were subtitles in that first video because I could not understand a word of it.

  12. ¿uǝɥɔǝɹds ǝʇnǝןɯןıɟbnǝzbnןɟ ǝsǝıp ʇsı sɐʍ

    Was ist diese Flugzeugfilmleute sprechen?

  13. I didn’t see this movie in the theater so finally there’s a movie I don’t have to feel bad about its 30 year release anniversary.

  14. German dubbers in the 70s and 80s didn´t give a crap about staying true to the original and made many a comedy movie so much better for it, like every Bud Spencer & Terence Hill movie ever. It was the golden age of German movie dubbing.
    These days they try to faithfully translate culture-specific jokes and end up with plain unfunny and at times completely nonsensical dubs, the Simpsons being one of the worst offenders.

  15. Yeah too bad the creator of this frat boy so-called humor film has turned into a right wing creeper.

  16. Re the German multiple posts:
    “I just want to tell you both good luck. We’re all counting on you”

  17. am I the only who noticed the jive subbed when the actors were discussing the scene?

Comments are closed.