- Revolutionized Comedy, writes Matt Zoller Seitz at The New York Times: "The plentiful pop-cultural references and anything-for-a-laugh attitude of Airplane! were reminiscent of early films by Mel Brooks ( Blazing Saddles) and Woody Allen ( Bananas). But its velocity and density were new. Every scene was packed with sight gags (including a supporting turn by NBA giant Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a co-pilot who denies that he's really Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and a cameo by Ethel Merman playing a psychiatric patient who thinks he's Ethel Merman). And the film proudly served up jokes so astoundingly corny that they somehow managed to circle around the bend and become hilarious. ('Surely you can’t be serious.' 'I am serious — and don’t call me Shirley!')"
- A Genre-Defining Film, writes ABC News: "With their script full of puns and non sequiturs, the makers of "Airplane!" set the stage for decades of comedy films. The movie launched an entire genre of films and inspired young writers and directors like the Farrelly brothers, creators of movies like "Dumb and Dumber" and "There's Something About Mary."
- So Many Great Lines, writes CNN's Marquee Blog: "If you can read the 'Airplane!' quotes below and not hear Peter Graves’ hilarious deadpan delivery in your head, then clearly you need to make it a blockbuster night:
Roger Murdock: "We've got Clearance, Clarence."
Captain Oveur: "Rodger, Roger. What's our vector Victor?"
Captain Oveur: "Alright, give me a Hamm on five, hold the Mayo."
Captain Oveur: "...And stop calling me surely."
Randy: "There's been a little problem in the cockpit."
Ted: "The cockpit? What is it?"
Randy: "It's a little room in the front of the plane, where the pilots sit, but that's not important right now."
- Who Could Forget the Jive Scenes? writes David Pescovitz at Boing Boing: "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:
Bonus video: "Oh stewardess, I speak jive"