Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

R | 93 mins | Comedy | 25 November 1987

Director:

John Hughes

Writer:

John Hughes

Producer:

John Hughes

Cinematographer:

Don Peterman

Editor:

Paul Hirsch

Production Designer:

John W. Corso

Production Companies:

Paramount Pictures , Hughes Entertainment
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HISTORY

Planes, Trains and Automobiles marked writer-director John Hughes’s first adult comedy after making a name for himself with teen comedies like Sixteen Candles (1984, see entry) and The Breakfast Club (1985, see entry). Promotional information in AMPAS library files indicated that Hughes based the script on his experiences traveling from Chicago to New York while working in advertising.
       The movie was the first Hughes-directed film to receive an R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The 26 Oct 1987 HR reported that Paramount Pictures appealed the decision, but the MPAA’s appeals board upheld the R rating. The 6 Nov 1987 DV reported the R rating came from the use of the “F-word” nineteen times in a single scene. Star Steve Martin claimed the F-word was appropriate for the scene because his character’s frustrations had been building to the point of exploding into profanity.
       Principal photography began on 2 Mar 1987 in the Buffalo, NY area, according to 10 Mar 1987 HR production charts. Reports in the 27 Apr 1987 HR stated the film was originally scheduled to be shot entirely in the Chicago, IL, area, but a lack of snowfall there forced the move to Buffalo. Later, the production moved to Chicago for more exterior scenes and then to New York City. Other exteriors were filmed in and around Los Angeles, CA.
       The film opened on 1,100 screens on 25 Nov 1987, the day before Thanksgiving. Reviews were positive and the film earned $10.1 million in its first five days of release according the 2 Dec 1987 ... More Less

Planes, Trains and Automobiles marked writer-director John Hughes’s first adult comedy after making a name for himself with teen comedies like Sixteen Candles (1984, see entry) and The Breakfast Club (1985, see entry). Promotional information in AMPAS library files indicated that Hughes based the script on his experiences traveling from Chicago to New York while working in advertising.
       The movie was the first Hughes-directed film to receive an R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The 26 Oct 1987 HR reported that Paramount Pictures appealed the decision, but the MPAA’s appeals board upheld the R rating. The 6 Nov 1987 DV reported the R rating came from the use of the “F-word” nineteen times in a single scene. Star Steve Martin claimed the F-word was appropriate for the scene because his character’s frustrations had been building to the point of exploding into profanity.
       Principal photography began on 2 Mar 1987 in the Buffalo, NY area, according to 10 Mar 1987 HR production charts. Reports in the 27 Apr 1987 HR stated the film was originally scheduled to be shot entirely in the Chicago, IL, area, but a lack of snowfall there forced the move to Buffalo. Later, the production moved to Chicago for more exterior scenes and then to New York City. Other exteriors were filmed in and around Los Angeles, CA.
       The film opened on 1,100 screens on 25 Nov 1987, the day before Thanksgiving. Reviews were positive and the film earned $10.1 million in its first five days of release according the 2 Dec 1987 HR.
       Singer Elton John began writing music for a theme song, with lyrics to be written by Gary Osborne, according to the 25 Oct 1987 LAT. However, contractual technicalities prevented John from moving forward, after Paramount insisted on full ownership of the recording master. At the time, John was under contract with PolyGram, which owned rights to any song created by John.
       End credits include “special thanks” to: California Film Commission; California Highway Patrol; California Department of Transportation; Illinois Film Office; Chicago Office of Film; Illinois State Police; Chicago Transit Authority; Missouri Film Commission; New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and TV Development; New York City Mayor’s Office for Film and TV. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
20 Nov 1987.
p. 3, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Oct 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Nov 1987
p. 3, 38.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Dec 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Oct 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Nov 1987
p. 1.
New York Times
25 Nov 1987
p. 19.
Variety
11 Mar 1987.
---
Variety
25 Nov 1987
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
A John Hughes Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
Unit prod mgr, New York crew
Asst dir, New York crew
Asst dir, New York crew
Asst dir, New York crew
1st asst dir--2d unit, Chicago crew
2d unit dir
2d unit dir
1st asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst photog
2d asst photog
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Lamp op
1st company grip
2d company grip
Dolly grip
Asst cam op, New York crew
Asst cam op, New York crew
Gaffer, New York crew
Key grip, New York crew
1st asst photog, Chicago crew
2d asst photog, Chicago crew
1st company grip, Chicago crew
Chief lighting tech, Chicago crew
1st company grip, 2d unit
Chief lighting tech, 2d unit
1st asst photog, 2d unit
2d asst photog, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Addl ed by
Addl ed by
Addl ed by
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting by
Asst ed, Chicago crew
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Lead person
Set des
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const foreperson
Propmaker foreperson
Prop master, 2d unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Key costumer
Key costumer
Steve Martin's costumer
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus supv
Mus coord
Addl mus score by
Addl mus score by
Mus ed
Mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
Orchestrator
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom person
Cableperson
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
ADR supv
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley artist
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Dolby Stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Asst spec eff
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Steve Martin's hair des by
John Candy's makeup des by
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Scr supv
Video asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Prod office coord
Prod secy
Extras casting
Extras casting
Asst to John Hughes
Secy to John Hughes
Asst to John Candy
Prod auditor
Asst prod auditor
Animal trainer
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Craft service
Loc coord, New York crew
Casting, New York crew
Loc mgr, Chicago crew
Extra casting, Chicago crew
Transportation capt, Chicago crew
Transportation co-capt, Chicago crew
Chicago casting, Chicago crew
Chicago casting, Chicago crew
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Neal's stunt double
Del's stunt double
Doobie and Owen's stunt double
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
Utility stunts
Utility stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“Ba-Na-Na-Bam-Boo,” by Elizabeth Westwood, Nick Burton & Robert Andrews, performed by Westworld, produced by Mark Ferda, Westwood performs courtesy of BMG Records (UK) Ltd.
“Back In Baby’s Arms,” by Bob Montgomery, performed by Emmylou Harris, produced by Jimmy Bowen and Emmylou Harris, Emmylou Harris performs courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
“Blue Moon of Kentucky,” by Bill Monroe
+
SONGS
“Ba-Na-Na-Bam-Boo,” by Elizabeth Westwood, Nick Burton & Robert Andrews, performed by Westworld, produced by Mark Ferda, Westwood performs courtesy of BMG Records (UK) Ltd.
“Back In Baby’s Arms,” by Bob Montgomery, performed by Emmylou Harris, produced by Jimmy Bowen and Emmylou Harris, Emmylou Harris performs courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
“Blue Moon of Kentucky,” by Bill Monroe
“Continental Trailways Blues,” by Steve Earle, performed by Steve Earle & The Dukes, produced by Steve Earle & Tony Brown, Steve Earle performs courtesy of MCA Records
“Everytime You Go Away,” by Daryl Hall, performed by Blue Rom, produced by Steve Levine
“I’ll Show You Something Special,” by Desmond Morris, Mark Morris & Steve Brown, performed by Balaam & The Angel, produced by Steve Brown, Balaam & The Angel performs courtesy of Virgin Records, Ltd.
“Lost Again,” by Boris Blank & Dieter Meier,” performed and produced by Yello, courtesy of Polygram Special Projects, a division of Polygram Records, Inc.
“(Meet) The Flintstones,” by William Hanna, Joseph Barbera & Hoyt S. Curtin
“Mess Around,” by Ahmet Ertegun, performed by Ray Charles, produced by Ahmet Ertegun & Jerry Wexler, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp. by arrangement with Warner Special Projects
“Modigliani (Lost In Your Eyes)” by Susan Ottaviano, Jade Lee & Theodore Ottaviano, performed by Book of Love, produced by Ivan Ivan, courtesy of Sire Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Power To Believe,” by Nick Laird-Clowes & Gilbert Gabriel, performed by the Dream Academy, produced by Hugh Padgram & Nick Laird-Clowes, courtesy of Reprise Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Red River Rock,” by Tom King, Ira Mack & Fred Mendelsohn, performed by Silicon Teens, produced by Larry Least
“Six Days On The Road,” by Earl Green & Carl Montgomery,” performed by Steve Earle & The Dukes, produced by Steve Earle & Tony Brown, Steve Earle performs courtesy of MCA Records
“Three Coins In A Fountain,” by Sammy Cahn & Jule Styne
“Wheels,” by Chris Hillman & Graham Parsons,” performed by Stars of Heaven, produced by Paul Barrett
“I Can Take Anything” (Love Theme from Planes, Trains and Automobiles), by David Steele, Andy Cox & John Hughes, performed by E.T.A. featuring Steve Martin & John Candy, produced by Stephen Hague
“Gonna Move,” by Dave Edmunds & Nick Lowe, performed and produced by Dave Edmunds.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 November 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 25 November 1987
Production Date:
2 March--8 Julyy 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
9 December 1987
Copyright Number:
PA358795
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo in selected theatres
Color
Col by Technicolor
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
93
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28537
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Two days before Thanksgiving, advertising pitchman Neal Page is stuck in a meeting in New York City, worried about making his airplane flight home to Chicago, Illinois. When the meeting ends, Neal has just over an hour to get to John F. Kennedy Airport from mid-town Manhattan. There’s a long line of people waiting for taxis on Park Avenue, so Neal offers to pay another man to let him have the taxi. However, as they haggle over the price, shower-curtain-ring salesman Del Griffith gets into the taxi with his large trunk and heads to the airport. Unable to hail another cab, Neal takes a bus to the airport, only to find his flight has been delayed. As he sits in the waiting area, he spots Del sitting across from him and confronts him about stealing his taxi. Del apologizes, saying he was unaware he was taking someone else’s taxi and offers to buy Neal a beer and a hot dog to make up for it, but Neal declines. When he gets on the plane, Neal discovers his seatmate is Del, who talks throughout the flight, despite Neal’s stating he wants to nap. When Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is closed due to a snowstorm, the flight is diverted to Wichita, Kansas. Upon landing, Neal telephones his wife, Susan, to tell her of the delay, but Del makes hotel reservations. He assures Neal the motel will have a room for him as well, but when they get to the Braidwood Inn, there is just one room left. They agree to share the room and split the cost. Settling into the room, the uptight, but ultra-neat Neal ends up arguing with the ... +


Two days before Thanksgiving, advertising pitchman Neal Page is stuck in a meeting in New York City, worried about making his airplane flight home to Chicago, Illinois. When the meeting ends, Neal has just over an hour to get to John F. Kennedy Airport from mid-town Manhattan. There’s a long line of people waiting for taxis on Park Avenue, so Neal offers to pay another man to let him have the taxi. However, as they haggle over the price, shower-curtain-ring salesman Del Griffith gets into the taxi with his large trunk and heads to the airport. Unable to hail another cab, Neal takes a bus to the airport, only to find his flight has been delayed. As he sits in the waiting area, he spots Del sitting across from him and confronts him about stealing his taxi. Del apologizes, saying he was unaware he was taking someone else’s taxi and offers to buy Neal a beer and a hot dog to make up for it, but Neal declines. When he gets on the plane, Neal discovers his seatmate is Del, who talks throughout the flight, despite Neal’s stating he wants to nap. When Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is closed due to a snowstorm, the flight is diverted to Wichita, Kansas. Upon landing, Neal telephones his wife, Susan, to tell her of the delay, but Del makes hotel reservations. He assures Neal the motel will have a room for him as well, but when they get to the Braidwood Inn, there is just one room left. They agree to share the room and split the cost. Settling into the room, the uptight, but ultra-neat Neal ends up arguing with the relaxed but messy Del. Neal tells Del he is boring and talks far too much. Del’s feelings are hurt, but he says there are people who like him. As the room only has one double bed, they must share it, but while they sleep, a thief breaks into the room and steals the cash from their wallets. The next morning over breakfast, the two realize all the flights to Chicago will be delayed because of the weather and decide to take the train instead. As they attempt to pay for the meals, they discover their wallets are empty. Fortunately, they still have their credit cards. The motel owner’s son gives them a ride to the train station in the back of his truck. As their seats on the train are not together, they say their goodbyes, wishing each other the best. However, the train experiences mechanical difficulties and stops in the middle of the country. The passengers are forced to walk a mile to get to the road where trucks will take them to Jefferson City, Missouri. When Neal sees Del struggling to pull his trunk across the field, he goes to help him. Once in Jefferson City, they board a bus to Chicago, but discover that their tickets only take them as far as St. Louis, Missouri. All the buses from St. Louis to Chicago are full due to the holidays. To get some cash, Del sells some of his shower curtain rings as earrings to passengers at the bus terminal. Over dinner, Neal suggests they split up to improve their chances of getting home. Del’s feelings are hurt, but nonetheless, he gives Neal half of the money he made from the earring sales. Neal rents a car at the airport, but when the shuttle bus drops him in the remote parking lot, there is no car in the designated space. In frustration, he tears up his rental agreement. With no attendant in the parking lot to help him and the shuttle bus gone, Neal returns to the Marathon car rental office. There, he yells obscenities at the woman working behind the counter, but she can do nothing for him without the rental agreement. An angry Neal walks outside and tells off an airport attendant who responds by punching him in the face. As Neal falls to the ground, Del drives up in a rental car and offers him a ride. Neal sleeps in the passenger seat while Del drives through the night. Del tosses a cigarette butt out the window, but it flies into the backseat. When he tries to take off his winter coat off, it gets stuck in the seat adjustment lever and he nearly drives the car off the road. Getting back on the freeway, he mistakenly goes the wrong direction, heading south in the northbound lanes on a deserted stretch of highway. Drivers in southbound lanes try to signal him, but Del is oblivious to their warnings. Suddenly, two freight trucks riding parallel to each other come over the hill. With no time to react, Del drives between them, so close that the car’s side mirrors are torn off. When the car comes to a stop, neither Del nor Neal is injured. They retrieve Del’s trunk that fell off the back of the car only to see the car burst into flames from the cigarette butt that flew into the back seat. The flames are extinguished with snow and the car is still drivable. They go to a nearby motel and get a room. After initially arguing, the two bond over snack machine chips and mini-bar bottles of liquor. The next morning, Thanksgiving morning, as they push the car out of the snow in the parking lot, Del accidently puts it in reverse and it crashes through the motel’s front window. They drive off in a rush to escape the scene. Later, a state trooper stops them for speeding, saying they were going seventy-eight miles per hour. Examining the car further, the trooper deems it unfit for travel and impounds it. Del arranges a ride to Chicago in the back of an Osh Konoggin Brands refrigerated dairy truck. When they arrive in Chicago, they go to the elevated railway station and say their goodbyes. However, after Neal gets on his train, he feels guilty and goes back to the station to invite Del to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Del admits that he does not have a home, since his wife, Marie, died eight years earlier. Del and Neal take the train to the suburbs where Neal’s family warmly welcomes Del to their Thanksgiving celebration. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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