When hiring a pilot, our primary concern should be whether or not they will make any “Lost Wages” jokes along the way. However, from a cinematic perspective, that’s a little boring. They may not be anything we’d want to see on a plane, but these films about pilots are worth seeing. Here are a few of our favorites, as chosen by our staff.
1. “Top Gun” (1986)
There is a pressing need for this. It’s a matter of urgency. “Top Gun,” one of the most iconic films of the 1980s, stars Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, and a slew of other hot young performers from the era. These aviators not only fly a lot, but they also play beach volleyball.
2. “Sully” (2016)
Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and the “Miracle on the Hudson” may be familiar to you. There were no fatalities when the plane landed on the water due to an emergency situation. This heroic deed earned him a biopic starring Tom Hanks, who is known for being a decent guy in real life.
3. “The Aviator” (2004)
Howard Hughes was involved in a wide range of activities during his life. He was a filmmaker. He had sex with celebs. Then there was the matter of flying, which occupied him. When it came to building the “Spruce Goose” aircraft, Hughes spent a great deal of time and money. This and more is covered in Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator,” featuring Cate Blanchett as well as Leonardo DiCaprio as the aviator.
4. “Independence Day” (1996)
“Independence Day” has a few different pilots, and we’re not talking about the aliens who control the spaceships (we stuck to Earth-based flying machines here). After flying a crop duster, Randy Quaid switches to a military plane and saves the day. There’s no doubt that Will Smith is a pilot, and the President even climbs back behind the wheel of an airplane to take on the alien invaders.
5. “Wings” (1927)
A piece of cinematic history, “Wings” is a wonderful film. The first Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards was a World War I picture. Aside from “The Artist,” this is the only true silent picture to win Best Picture. Although Wings is about a century old, it has been maintained for future generations.
6. “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo” (1944)
Most people have heard of Pearl Harbor, but have you heard of the Doolittle Raid? We opted not to add the Michael Bay film because it is so horrible. After Pearl Harbor, this was the first American airstrike on Japan. That raid is the subject of “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.” Before he was blacklisted from Hollywood, Dalton Trumbo wrote it.
7. “Airplane!” (1980)
“Airplane!” is a favorite among moviegoers who prefer their farces to be more subtle. In this classic comedy, there is a joke a second. In the spirit of ’70s action films like “Airport” and “Zero Hour,” the picture serves as a spoof. However, “Airplane!” protagonist Ted Striker is the subject of these stories. We’re taking this seriously. Do not address us as Shirley either.
8. “Charley Varrick” (1973)
A great deal of his work was in gritty dramas, such as “Grumpy Old Men” and “Dennis the Menace,” and you’ve been missing out. Sure, Matthau could handle comedies, but he also in a lot of gritty 1970s films, like “Charley Varrick,” in which he starred or costarred. Actor Matthau plays Varrick, a former stunt pilot who is now a bank-robbing cropduster.
9. “Flight” (2012)
It is possible that a hero pilot could also be a threat to himself and others. “Flight,” a film by Robert Zemeckis and starring Denzel Washington, deals with the question. Despite constantly abusing booze and drugs, Washington plays the pilot who manages to pull off an amazing flying feat.
10. “Catch Me If You Can” (2002)
Frank Abagnale Jr. got a few things in life by deceiving and tricking people. He pretended to be a doctor, a lawyer, and a pilot for Pan Am, despite the fact that he has no experience flying aircraft. A lot of his motivation is financial, with him eventually using Pan Am payroll checks to rack up millions of dollars in shady transactions. Even if Frank isn’t a pilot, many people still took his word for it. What’s the harm in doing so?
11. “Iron Eagle” (1986)
In comparison to “Top Gun,” “Iron Eagle” is a shadow. Even though they were both released in the same calendar year, “Top Gun” was a massive success, whereas “Iron Eagle” was underwhelming. However, it isn’t as popular as the original. Because of this, there are three sequels to “Iron Eagle”. “Top Gun” has yet to receive a sequel.
12. “The Great Waldo Pepper” (1975)
It was a joy to work with Paul Newman and Robert Redford for George Roy Hill. When Hill and Redford finished “The Sting,” they went on to make “The Great Waldo Pepper.” Former World War I pilot Redford plays Pepper, who joins a flying stunt show to attempt and liven up his life again.
13. “American Made” (2017)
It’s Tom Cruise’s turn! “Top Gun” director Doug Liman’s new picture is as dazzling and enthralling, but it’s darker and more sinister as well. Barry Seal, a pilot who flew missions for the CIA, a drug cartel, and the DEA, is played by actor Tom Cruise in the film. He had a lot on his plate.
14. “Captain Marvel” (2019)
When Captain Marvel is soaring across space at the end of the movie, you may recognize her from that scene. She is so powerful that a sequel is practically moot, but that’s a story for another time. Carol Danvers, a test pilot, was Carol Danvers at the beginning of her life. As Captain Marvel is a pilot, her best friend and mentor is also a pilot.
15. “Bridge of Spies” (2015)
“Bridge of Spies,” a courtroom thriller, is based on a true story, but what is the story about? Basically, it’s a story about the US and Soviet Union swapping spies. The American spies? Spy pilot Francis Gary Powers was killed in a Russian airstrike. Even though Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance won Oscars for their roles in the film, the protagonist is a pilot.
16. “Wonder Woman” (2017)
Diana does not hold a pilot’s license. At least, not in the film. It was in the comics and the show that she flew an invisible plane. However, Chris Pine’s character, Steve Trevor, is a pilot in the film. He crashes close to Diana’s home, which is how she ends up in ours. This film is about a pilot, despite the fact that Trevor only has a supporting role.
17. “Red Tails” (2012)
Non-“Star Wars” films by George Lucas are either a success or a failure for the filmmaker. However, his “Star Wars” films are similarly a mixed bag. It was only in 2012 that Red Tails was made using his money and goodwill. The Tuskegee Airmen were a World War II U.S. Air Force squadron comprised solely of African-American pilots. Despite the fact that he didn’t direct the film, Lucas served as its producer and public face. It was obvious that this was a labor of love for him. It was a failure, too.
18. “Hot Shots!” (1991)
“Top Gun” was brought up earlier in the conversation. Then there’s “Hot Shots!,” a spoof of “Top Gun” and other military movies. For this type of film, “Airplane!” or “Naked Gun” are good examples. Charlie Sheen plays the lead role in “Hot Shots!” and returns for the follow-up film to reprise his role. They’re not nearly as funny as “Airplane!” but they’re amusing nevertheless.
19. “The Rocketeer” (1991)
The Rocketeer, the film’s semi-superhero, utilizes a jetpack to fly, hence he qualifies as some sort of pilot. For some time before he gets his hands on the experimental aircraft, however, the man in the mask, Cliff Secord, is a professional stunt pilot. As a fun and original action film, “The Rocketeer” wasn’t well-received when it first came out, but that’s changed with time.
20. “The Right Stuff” (1983)
About the beginnings of the American space program, “The Right Stuff” is a film. Who were the first men to be invited to try their hand at being an astronaut? They were all test pilots for the military. Though he wasn’t a member of the Mercury Seven, he appeared in the film? Who is Chuck Yeager? He was the first person to break the sound barrier in a plane.