10 Terrifying Movie Plane Crashes

Going on Holiday? Don't read this...

 

It's summer, in case the weather was misleading you, and many of you will be jetting off to warmer climbs to enjoy ludicrously overpriced luxuries and a poor exchange rate.

In order to get there, many of you will take planes, so to celebrate, join us for a look at the most terrifying plane crashes in movie history.

Dare you look? Dare you watch the clips? Dare you get on the plane? Remember, it's just a film. although in several cases, a film based on a true occurance...

Still more chance fo dying from a bee sting, but bees don't kill you in a fiery ball of painful death, do they? Read on the bravest among you, and heed the warnings well...

 

Knowing (2008)

The Film: Entertaining Sci-fi actioner, which sees Nic Cage’s bad hair day go from receding to thinning when he discovers he can predict disasters, and ultimately, Armageddon.

Entertaining that is, until the baffling variation on the Biblical creation myth in the film’s final minutes.

The Plane Crash: Stuck in traffic, the Cagester gets out to converse with a cop, who turns and runs away.

Cage looks behind him to see a passenger jet slam through some power lines, take out several cars and explode in a fireball at the side of the highway.

He runs over to help, and is confronted with surviving passengers running from the wreckage engulfed in flames, their screams relentless. Despite his efforts to save people, the devastation is total.

The relentless barrage of screaming and fiery deaths makes this one of the most realistic and horrifying plane crashes ever filmed.

The look on Cage’s face amid the chaos says it all; there is nothing he can do for these people.

What To Look For On Your Flight: Not many warning signs on this one, but if any balding action stars with scary intense eyes try to warn you that they can predict disasters, you better damn well listen.

Next: Fearless[page-break]

 

Fearless (1993)

The Film: Jeff Bridges, he of Tron and Dude fame, finds himself among the few survivors of a plane crash that killed his business partner and a hundred others.

Slipping into a deluded emotional state, Bridges begins to question life, death and god, and his existential quest leads him to befriend Rosie Perez’ young mother, and help her cope with the grief of losing her new born son.

The Plane Crash: In an extended scene, the plane loses hydraulics after an engine failure, and the passengers are told to prepare for a crash landing.

Amidst the panic, prayer and tears, Jeff Bridges experiences a moment of enlightenment, rendering him calm and fearless.

With his newfound outlook, he strides around the cabin, comforting those around him, telling them that everything will be alright.

Taking his seat as the plane is about to land, The Dude sits in contentment, completely assured of his own survival.

Cut to the wrecked fusilage of the plane, and Bridges takes the hand of a small boy who also survived, and leads him out into the daylight.

Ever wondered what the plane crash from Fearless would be like when accompanied by the soothing tones of Coldplay? Nope, neither have we, but here it is anyway.

What To Look For On Your Flight: Look for the Dude. See him? Stick close by, and try to do what he does. He screams, you scream. He smiles, you smile.

He walks calmly around the carriage comforting people like Jesus, you do ditto, and hope that movies never lie to us.

Next: Passengers[page-break]

 

Passengers (2008)

The Film: Psychotherapist Anne Hathaway is called in to treat the survivors of a recent plane crash, and meets the handsome but troubled Eric (Patrick Wilson).

When her patients start to disappear, she uncovers what she thinks is a conspiracy by the airline to cover up the truth about the crash, but she soon discovers that the facts are not all they seem to be.

The Plane Crash: During the opening credits we see intercut footage of passengers on a plane, Patrick Wilson and Clea Duvall among them.

Then the plane violently shaking as the turbulence breaks it apart.

Finally, we see Patrick Wilson standing next to a burning tree, in shock, as he walks among the flaming, scattered wreckage.

Blackened bodies lie on the ground, other survivors walk among them, dazed. Part of the fusilage explodes. Most depressing movie opening since ever.

What To Look For On Your Flight: Are you on a plane with Patrick Wilson? Cool, get us an autograph. But also watch out for the turbulance that will rip the plane to pieces and send you to a fiery death.

Put the autograph in the black box if possible, need to protect that.

Next: United 93[page-break]

 

United 93 (2006)

The Film: A fictionalised account of the final minutes of United Airlines Flight 92, which was supposedly brought down by its own passengers after being hijacked over Philadelphia on September 11th, 2001.

The film was directed by Paul Greengrass in his trademark handheld style, and won plaudits for the sensitive portrayal of events, despite underlying criticisms that it was made too soon after the tragedy.

The Plane Crash: All we see of the fatal crash is a shot from the window of a field, as the plane races towards the ground. In an understated portrayal of the final moment of United 93, the screen just goes black then cuts away.

This does justice to the memory of those on board without glorifying or perverting their tragic end, but does little to divert from the reality of the situation.

What To Look For On Your Flight: Tricky one here, as we all know by now, terrorist types come in all shapes and sizes, so there is no point discriminating.

Security checks at the airport are much tighter these days, and there a Marshalls aboard most major international flights, so the only thing to look out for is anyone messing with their shoes…

Next: Final Destination[page-break]

 

Final Destination (2000)

 

The Film: Inventive teen horror/thriller, which adds a unique twist to the supernatural plotline when it turns out death himself is out to kill the survivors of a plane crash.

Next Big Thing Devon Sawa has the abitity to cheat death, seeing the events that foreshadow both the plane crash and subsequent ‘accidents’, and fights to save his friends from their demise.

Unfortunately Death doesn’t like his plan disturbed, and it’s only a matter of time before he catches up with you.

The Plane Crash: A turbulent take-off leaves knuckles white, but sighs of relief are heard all around when things even out again, but it doesn’t last long.

The plane begins shaking violently, lights flickering on and off, overhead storage lockers spilling their contents over the screaming passengers.

As the oxygen masks descend, an explosion tears through the electrics in the roof, causing explosive decompression in one side of the plane, and seats start being sucked out into the night.

Then a spark ignites gases released by the first explosion, turning the plane into a fireball and burning our precognitive protagonist alive…

But thank Devon for that, it’s just a dream. Well turns out it’s a premontion, because Mr Sawa makes such a fuss they eject him, along with several classmates, from the plane, which subsequently explodes on take off. Nice.

What To Look For On Your Flight: Is there a soon to be A-List Next Big thing Hollywood-star among the passengers on your plane? Is he screaming to buggery about getting off the plane because it’s going to crash?

Are the supporting cast of Dawson’s Creek involved in the fracas? Then hightail your buns out of your seat and off that plane Mister, it’s the airport hotel and Dutch porn for you tonight.

Next: Die Hard 2[page-break]

 

Die Hard 2 (1990)

The Film: Detective John McClane is up to his usual antics. Terroism, public place, gunplay, witty banter etc. etc.

The action this time around takes place in an airport, with terrorists taking over and threatening to do something, something, something, explosion.

The Plane Crash: To prove he means business, Former US Special Forces Col Stuart gets his guy to reprogram the instrument landing system, setting it a 200ft below sea level, then clears one of the circling planes for landing.

In thick fog and unaware of their actual position, the pilot starts his decent to what he believes is ground level.

As the plane comes out of the fog he sees they are too low and going to fast, and the plane slams into the runway and explodes in a fireball, despite McClane’s best efforts to flag them down.

What To Look For On Your Flight: If everyone is talking in the most ridiculously terrible British accents, and you’ve been stuck circling the airport for over an hour, you might want to get on the phone and call your loved ones…

Next: Con Air[page-break]

 

Con Air (1997)

The Film: Nicolas Cage is an Army Ranger serving a stretch for the accidental death of an assailant in a bar fight. It was self-defence, but because of his training, he had to do time. Or something.

Being released, he’s looking forward to getting home and meeting the daughter he’s never seen, but that plan hits the shitter when the Prisoner Transport plane he’s hitching a ride on is hijacked by that nutty Malkovich fellow.

The Plane Crash: Trigger-happy Agent Malloy is in pursuit of Con Air in an Apache helicopter, and is making swiss cheese of the body work with the gun.

Arming his missiles, Malloy is looking for a target lock when The Cage radios to say he’s taken the plane. Malloy relents but it’s too late, the plane is in shitty shape and heading for the solid stuff.

Approaching Las Vegas, the pilot informs Cage that the plane just isn’t going to make it to the airport, and they’ll have to ditch on the strip.

In an blissfully terrible attempt at CG, the plane heads for the crowded Las Vegas strip, clipping the Hard Rock Casino’s giant neon guitar before colliding with the asphalt and several dozen taxis, palm trees, neon signage and metal poles.

After a bit of flash and sparkle, the bird comes to rest in the lobby of the Sand’s, with slightly less in the way of wings, tail and fusilage than it started with.

What To Look For On Your Flight: If you’re sitting on a prisoner transport plane then you already know you’re in the shit. If you’re a Native American sitting next to Dave Chapelle start to worry.

Breath a sigh of relief however, if a mullet happy Nicolas Cage is somewhere on board too, because then you know that if the plane goes down, at least he goes down with it.

Next: Cast Away[page-break]

 

Cast Away (2000)

The Film: Tom H-to-the-anks is a Fed-Ex guy with a gut, a marriage and a mortgage, until the plane he’s on crashes, leaving him stranded on a desert island.

In no time at all he’s whipped into shape by the elements, and becomes a lean, mean, Vollyball bothering machine. When he is rescued four years later, he returns to a much-changed world, and a girlfriend who married someone else.

The Plane Crash: Chuck (Tom Hanks) is a Fed-Ex employee hitching a ride to somewhere when the plane he’s on diverts from its course over the pacific and hits some nasty turbulence.

Getting out of his seat to retrieve a pocket watch his girlfriend gave him, Chuck is thrown around violently before the plane this the water and begins to sink.

Chuck manages to escape when the ceiling caves in, and he drifts in a lifeboat before washing up on what will be his home for the next four years.

Want to see the crash in poor definition and cut to some awful prog rock nonsense? Sure you do!

What To Look For On Your Flight: Parcels, probably. Packages too. Don’t forget letters. If your pilots tell you that they’ve gone of course somewhere over the pacific it may be wise to start praying.

Next: Fight Club[page-break]

 

Fight Club (1999)

The Film: The Narrator (Edward Norton) has insomnia, leading him into a downward spiral of depression and self-help groups therapy, until he meets kindred spirit Tyler.

Together, the pair start an underground boxing club, clawing back the masculinity of the much maligned modern male. Soon they have a following in every city, and their plans descend into anarchy…

The Plane Crash: Norton is fantasizing about the monotonous plane journeys he takes for work to end in a crash or a collision.

Suddenly he sees another plane through the window as it slams into his plane tearing the carriage in half with an almighty bang.

The air is sucked out, debris flying around as he sits and watches entire rows of seats and their occupants pulled out into the blackness.

“Life insurance pays out triple if you die on a business trip” he narrates as the whooshing and destruction ends, and the plane returns to normal.

What To Look For On Your Flight: Is there a guy talking to himself about soap? Does he look brusied or battered or disheveled in anyway? Then you’re safe, because any crashes will just be figment of his insomnia addled imagination.

Probably.

Next: Alive[page-break]

 

Alive (1993)

 

The Film: An account of a real-life plane crash in the Andes, which saw a group of survivors, members of a Uruguayan rugby team among them, stranded high in the mountains with no hope of rescue.

Forced to eat their dead, the group decide organise their own rescue mission and two of the rugby team hike off over the treacherous Andes mountains in search of help, eventually getting off the mountain after an agonising 72-day ordeal.

The Plane Crash: The Rugby team and their family and coaching staff are traveling to a game in Chile. When they begin to experience turbulance over the Andes, the boys cheer in defiance at being jolted around in their seats.

Their cheers soon turn to panic when the plane drops a couple of hundred feet in an air pocket, leaving them flying dangerously close to the mountain and leave the pilots struggle to maintain control.

With no time to maneuvre, the plane clips the top of a ridge, ripping off a wing and tearing the tail section from the plane. Those seating at the back of the plane are sucked out in their seats, along with the porter, who was standing in the aisle.

The plane then hits a second ridge, tearing the remaining wing from the body. More rows of seats and their occupants are lost from the back of the cabin as an eerie silence falls over the passengers, leaving only the sound of rushing wind.

The wingless fusilage dumps down on a snowy slope, skiing down at great speed, causing more rows to detatch and the overhead luggage to spill onto those seated below.

The plane eventually hits a snow bank, stopping it dead, flinging everybody violently forward, jolting all the seats from their moorings and crushing them together, throwing one guy from his seat straight into the cockpit wall.

What To Look For On Your Flight: Any south American rugby players speaking in bad American accents? Any American actors pretending to be South American, but not trying on the accent front? Are you flying over the Andes?

If the answer to one or more is yes, then you better say your Hail Mary’s, because you’re doomed.

Agree with our choices? Any movie plane crashes that make you want to take the train? Let us know.

Like This? Then try...

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter here. 

Follow us on Twitter here.

 

Comments

    • ebrown2112

      Aug 5th 2009, 11:33

      Hello, The Aviator?

      Alert a moderator

    • SCQ47

      Aug 6th 2009, 1:55

      I appreciate you saying that United 93 is " A fictionalised account". That bird was shot down by the US government, but this tale was presented because Americans can not handle the idea of their government having to kill citizens to protect others.

      Alert a moderator

    • dgoodswen

      Aug 6th 2009, 2:11

      We were going for passenger plane crashes, and reluctantly had to leave out The Aviator... apologies!

      Alert a moderator

    • bentgaga

      Aug 6th 2009, 2:36

      This is one of the best feature lists you have ever done, thanks!! Man that Final Destination opening scared me, I hate planes..

      Alert a moderator

    • Lblount

      Aug 6th 2009, 12:45

      Good feature, well written.

      Alert a moderator

Most Popular