NYCA At The Movies – The 13 Best Aviation Scenes

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Written by: Gabe Andino
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Following up on our list of greatest aviation and space movies, we turn our attention to aviation-related movie scenes. There are a great number of movies that have a memorable scene taking place at an airport or onboard an aircraft. In keeping with our movie theme this week, we present some of our favorites. Unlike our previous list, this is a selection of scenes from movies whose plot isn’t necessarily centered on aviation.

This is just a sampling. We weren’t able to find video clips of some of our other favorites, such as the final scene in Bullitt, the scene at St. Louis airport in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, or the bomb-rigged bus driving around LAX in Speed to name a few. Still we hope you enjoy this collection of avgeek cinema.


Rain Man

Some people are apprehensive about getting on a plane but Raymond Babbit really dislikes flying. He’s ok with Qantas though.


Catch Me If You Can

There are a lot of scenes to choose from in this movie, but this one is great as it shows off the old TWA terminal at JFK and just how clueless Frank Abagnale was about flying when he first started impersonating pilots. It’s amazing he pulled this con off for as long as he did.


True Lies

Arnold Schwarzenegger tears some stuff up in a Harrier towards the end of this movie. Unfortunately this clip only shows the tail end, although we do get the classic action movie one-liner, “you’re fiahed”.



Based on the true-story of a little-known CIA rescue of US embassy hostages in Iran, the climactic scene in the movie takes place at the Tehran airport as the group flees the country on a Swissair 747.



There are a lot of memorable scenes to choose from in this great film, the epic heist shootout, a rare scene between screen legends Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino’s take on the female form. For our purposes, however, the final chase at LAX is right up there with those.


Apocalypse Now

I can’t look at a Bell UH-1 Huey without “Ride of the Valkyries” playing in my head thanks to this scene.


Saving Private Ryan

Tank buster to the rescue.


Dumb & Dumber

Remember when Jim Carrey was funny? That was awesome.



Remember when Chevy Chase was funny? That too was awesome.


Wayne’s World

Who knew the airport in Aurora sees heavy jets like that?


Lord of War

Nicholas Cage doing Nicholas Cage things. The time-lapse that follows that scene is also pretty crazy.



The crash scene in Alive is pretty intense. Released in 1993, modeled after a book on the real-life story of survival following a 1972 crash in the Andes, it holds pretty accurately to true events. Probably not the best clip to watch for anyone with a fear of flying, but you have to weigh that with your interest in seeing a 22 year old Ethan Hawke.



The Lufthansa heist is kind of a big deal around here.


Gabe Andino is an Associate Editor for NYCAviation.com, aviation enthusiast and airport management professional residing in New Jersey. Follow him on Twitter @OGAndino

About the Author

Gabe Andino
Gabe Andino is a Senior Producer for NYCAviation, aviation enthusiast and airport management professional residing in New Jersey.



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  • Bransom Bean

    did I miss CASABLANCA??