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The Best Aviation Movies

Updated June 28, 2020 8.2k votes 1.4k voters 149.5k views111 items

List RulesMovies about aviation and flying only.

A list of the best airplane movies ever made, ranked by movie fans with film trailers when available. This aviation movie list is ordered by popularity, so only the greatest movies about airplanes are at the top of the list. If there are any great movies about aviation you believe we missed, please feel free to add them to the list yourself. The films on this list are the most famous aviation movies of all time, so use it to find some movies that you haven't seen already. Click on these aviation movie titles for more information about the films.List features Iron Eagle on the Attack, Midway and more.This list answers the questions, "What are the best aviation movies?" and "What is the greatest aviation movie of all time?" Various bits of information are included with these popular aviation movies, such as who directed them, when they were released and who starred in the films. Whether you're watching these aviation movies on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, these good aviation movies can be enjoyed no matter what.
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    The Right Stuff

    Jeff Goldblum, Ed Harris

    Released1983

    Directed byPhilip Kaufman

    The Right Stuff is a 1983 American drama film that was adapted from Tom Wolfe's best-selling 1979 book of the same name about the Navy, Marine and Air Force test pilots who were involved in...  more

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    Apollo 13

    Tom Hanks, Bryce Dallas Howard

    Released1995

    Directed byRon Howard

    Apollo 13 is a 1995 American historical docudrama film directed by Ron Howard. The film stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, and Ed Harris. The screenplay by William Broyles, Jr....  more

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    Tora! Tora! Tora!

    Jason Robards Jr., Martin Balsam

    Released1970

    Directed byRichard Fleischer, Toshio Masuda, Kinji Fukasaku

    Tora! Tora! Tora! is a 1970 American–Japanese film directed by Richard Fleischer and stars an ensemble cast, including Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten, Sō Yamamura, E. G. Marshall, James Whitmore...  more

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    #9 of 24 Brutal War Movies That Absolutely Got It Right#11 of 223 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time

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    Battle of Britain

    Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier

    Released1969

    Directed byGuy Hamilton

    Battle of Britain is a 1969 British action film directed by Guy Hamilton. In 1940, the British Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle to prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining air superiority over the...  more

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    Top Gun

    Tom Cruise, Meg Ryan

    Released1986

    Directed byTony Scott

    Top Gun is a 1986 American action drama film directed by Tony Scott, and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, in association with Paramount Pictures. The screenplay was written by Jim Cash...  more

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    The Aviator

    Kate Beckinsale, Leonardo DiCaprio

    Released2004

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

    The Aviator is a 2004 American biographical drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, written by John Logan and produced by Michael Mann, Sandy Climan, Graham King, and Charles Evans, Jr.. It stars...  more

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    Memphis Belle

    John Lithgow, Sean Astin

    Released1990

    Directed byMichael Caton-Jones

    Memphis Belle is a 1990 film directed by Michael Caton-Jones and written by Monte Merrick. The film featured an all-star cast with Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz and Harry Connick Jr. in leading roles....  more

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    The Blue Max

    Ursula Andress, George Peppard

    Released1966

    Directed byJohn Guillermin

    The Blue Max is a 1966 British war film in DeLuxe Color and filmed in CinemaScope, about a German fighter pilot on the Western Front during World War I. It was directed by John Guillermin, stars...  more

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    Released1965

    Directed byKen Annakin

    Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines; Or, How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 Hours 11 Minutes is a 1965 British comedy film starring Stuart Whitman, Sarah Miles, Robert Morley,...  more
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    The Spirit of St. Louis

    James Stewart, Murray Hamilton

    Released1957

    Directed byBilly Wilder

    The Spirit of St. Louis is a 1957 biographical film directed by Billy Wilder and starring James Stewart as Charles Lindbergh. The screenplay was adapted by Charles Lederer, Wendell Mayes, and Billy...  more
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    Midway

    Tom Selleck, Charlton Heston

    Released1976

    Directed byJack Smight

    Midway, released in the United Kingdom as Battle of Midway and in the US on video as The Battle of Midway, is a 1976 Technicolor film directed by Jack Smight and produced by Walter Mirisch from a...  more

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    The Great Waldo Pepper

    Susan Sarandon, Robert Redford

    Released1975

    Directed byGeorge Roy Hill

    The Great Waldo Pepper is a 1975 drama film directed, produced, and co-written by George Roy Hill. Set during 1926–1931, the film stars Robert Redford as a disaffected World War I veteran pilot who...  more
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    Airplane!

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Leslie Nielsen

    Released1980

    Directed byJerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker

    Airplane! is a 1980 American satirical disaster comedy film directed and written by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker and released by Paramount Pictures. It stars Robert Hays and Julie...  more

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    Flight of the Intruder

    Willem Dafoe, David Schwimmer

    Released1991

    Directed byJohn Milius

    Flight of the Intruder is a 1991 film directed by John Milius, based on the novel of the same name by former Grumman A-6 Intruder pilot Stephen Coonts. The film stars Danny Glover, Willem Dafoe and...  more

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    The Dam Busters

    Robert Shaw, Patrick McGoohan

    Released1954

    Directed byMichael Anderson

    The Dam Busters is a British Second World War war film starring Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd and directed by Michael Anderson. The film recreates the true story of Operation Chastise when in...  more

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    Flight of the Phoenix

    Hugh Laurie, Jared Padalecki

    Released2004

    Directed byJohn Moore

    Flight of the Phoenix is a 2004 survival drama film and a remake of a 1965 film of the same name, both based on the 1964 novel The Flight of the Phoenix, by Elleston Trevor, about a group of people...  more
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    Air America

    Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr.

    Released1990

    Directed byRoger Spottiswoode

    Air America is a 1990 American action comedy film directed by Roger Spottiswoode, starring Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. as Air America pilots flying missions in Laos. When the protagonists...  more
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    The Rocketeer

    Jennifer Connelly, Timothy Dalton

    Released1991

    Directed byJoe Johnston

    The Rocketeer is a 1991 American period superhero film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and based on the character of the same name created by comic book writer/artist Dave Stevens. Directed by Joe...  more

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    Always

    Audrey Hepburn, John Goodman

    Released1989

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Always is a 1989 romantic drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, and starring Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, introducing Brad Johnson and featuring Audrey Hepburn's cameo in her...  more

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    The Aviator

    Christopher Reeve, Rosanna Arquette

    Released1985

    Directed byGeorge T. Miller

    The Aviator is an American adventure film directed by George T. Miller. The story of the film was adapted by Marc Norman from the book The Aviator written by Ernest K. Gann. The film stars...  more
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    Mosquito Squadron

    David McCallum, Charles Gray

    Released1969

    Directed byBoris Sagal

    Mosquito Squadron is a 1969 British war film made by Oakmont Productions, directed by Boris Sagal and starring David McCallum, with a memorable music score, which was composed and conducted by Frank...  more
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    The Tuskegee Airmen

    John Lithgow, Cuba Gooding Jr.

    Released1995

    Directed byRobert Markowitz

    The Tuskegee Airmen is a 1995 HBO television movie based on the exploits of an actual groundbreaking unit, the first African American combat pilots in the United States Army Air Corps, that fought in...  more

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    Flyboys

    James Franco, Jean Reno

    Released2006

    Directed byTony Bill

    Flyboys is a 2006 British-American drama film set during WWI, starring James Franco, Martin Henderson, Jean Reno, Jennifer Decker, David Ellison, Abdul Salis, Philip Winchester, and Tyler Labine. It...  more

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    Released1964

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, more commonly known as Dr. Strangelove, is a 1964 political satire black comedy film that satirizes fears of a nuclear conflict...  more

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    The Final Countdown

    Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen

    Released1980

    Directed byDon Taylor

    The Final Countdown is a 1980 alternate history science fiction film about a modern ship that travels through time to a day before the 1941. Produced by Peter Vincent Douglas and directed by Don...  more

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    #84 of 174 The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1980s#268 of 440 The Best Fantasy Movies