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Airport 1975

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Airport 1975 (1974)

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In the wake of the 45-million-dollar gross of the original Airport (1970), Universal was all but required by an act of Congress to produce Airport '75. Charlton Heston heads the all-star cast as Alan Murdock, the former test pilot who must keep a disabled 747 from crashing in flames. The crisis begins when a businessman (Dana Andrews), flying his small private plane, suffers a fatal heart attack and the plane smashes into the cockpit of the 747. Following Murdock's radioed instructions, stewardess Nancy Pryor (Karen Black) takes over the controls. The special-guest passenger lineup includes Helen Reddy as a singing nun (a character wickedly satirized in the 1980 parody Airplane!), Myrna Loy as an alcoholic, and Sid Caesar as a garrulous passenger. While Airport '75 yielded only 25 million dollars at the box office, the franchise continued, spawning Airport '77 a few years later and Airport '79 two years after that.

Derided by critics upon its release, Airport 1975 was nonetheless a massive commercial success. With a budget of $3 million,[1] the film made over $47 million[2] at the box office, making it the sixth highest-grossing film of 1974 and the year's third highest-grossing disaster film, behind The Towering Inferno and Earthquake. The film was included in the book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time published in 1978. The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.[3]

This is one among many of a class of disaster films that became a popular craze during the 1970s. Its plot devices and characterizations, including a singing nun (Helen Reddy), a former glamorous star (Gloria Swanson as herself), an alcoholic (Myrna Loy), a child in need of an organ transplant (Linda Blair) and a chatterbox (Sid Caesar) were parodied in 1980's Airplane! and on The Carol Burnett Show as "Disaster '75". The characteristics of Airport 1975 were used in numerous similar films to come, including the sequels Airport '77 and The Concorde ... Airport '79.

Helen Reddy was nominated at the 32nd Golden Globe Awards for Most Promising Newcomer - Female.

In The New Yorker magazine, film critic Pauline Kael called the picture "cut-rate swill", produced on a TV-movie budget by mercenary businessmen. She said Helen Reddy "embarrassed herself...looking like Beulah Witch from Kukla, Fran and Ollie. Kael also thought the metallic sound was grating and that the main character, a stewardess, was constantly being patronized by the males on land.

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