Planes, Trains & Automobiles
DVD cover
Directed by: John Hughes
Produced by: John Hughes
Written by: John Hughes
Cast: John Candy,
Steve Martin
Runtime: 93 minutes
Country: USA
Language: English
Ratings: US:Rating R; UK:15, Australia:M
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Planes, Trains & Automobiles is an American comedy film produced by Paramount Pictures in 1987. It was written and directed by John Hughes and stars Steve Martin and John Candy. Laila Robins co-stars, and the film features cameos by Michael McKean, Kevin Bacon, Larry Hankin, and Matthew Lawrence. It is considered perhaps the best of John Candy's films.


Steve Martin plays the tightly wound Neal Page, a bundle-of-nerves straight man in the style of Bud Abbott. John Candy portrays the innocent but always skewered Del Griffith, a shower curtain ring salesman who seems to live in a world governed by a different set of rules, a la Lou Costello.

The film is jarred by a scene in which Steve Martin's character goes on an F-word tirade against a car rental agent, played by Edie McClurg. Some consider the scene especially funny; others consider it out of place in an otherwise warm, sweet film aimed at a family audience.

The movie follows the story of Neal Page as he tries to return to his family for Thanksgiving after being on a business trip. The journey is doomed from the outset, with Del Griffith interfering by snatching the taxi cab that Page had hailed for himself. The two inevitably pair up later and begin an absurdly error-prone adventure to help Page back to his home. When every mode of transit fails them, what should have been a brief New York to Chicago flight turns into a mishmash of cancelled, broken, and worthless trips in the wrong direction.


The film was greeted with critical applause in 1987, a surprising revelation given the fact that at the time Steve Martin and John Candy were both known as low brow comedians and John Hughes was considered a teen angst filmmaker. Their attempts at producing an "adult" comedy resulted in one of the most highly regarded films of the decade. (It now has 94% positive ratings on and is featured in Roger Ebert's Great Movies collection.) In 2000, readers of Total Film magazine voted it the 10th greatest comedy film of all time.

The film was released on DVD in 2000, and although there is supposedly a three-hour version of the film sitting in the Paramount Studios vault, the original theatrical version is featured on the DVD in a "bare bones" presentation. Unfortunately, a known deleted scene of Neal and Del eating airline food that is commonly seen on the version of the film edited for television is not on the disc either.

Selected QuotationsEdit

  • "Those aren't PILLOWS!!"
  • "You're going the wrong way!"
  • (add more here...)


  • Kevin Bacon plays the man who races Steve Martin to the taxi at the beginning of the movie. During the filming of this film, John Hughes was also filming She's Having a Baby, in which Kevin Bacon starred. Interestingly enough, later on, the film can be heard playing on a television, even though it had yet to come out in theaters, let alone television.
  • Three actors in this film were also in John Hughes' film Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Edie McClurg, who played the rental agent in the infamous "fuck" scene, played Grace the secretary. Lyman Ward played Neal's friend at the beginning of the film, and played Mr. Bueller, Ferris' dad. And Ben Stein played an airport worker in this, and of course, his infamous role as Bueller's teacher in F.B.D.O.
  • The shot of the plane that Neal and Del are riding on near the beginning of the film is a shot of the plane from the movie Airplane!. However, the image has been enlarged so the faux "TA" Airline logo is not visible on the aircraft.
  • When the rental car burns, a sign is visible behind Martin and Candy that reads "Chicago - 106 Miles". This is a nod to the John Landis film The Blues Brothers, which features at its climax the line "It's a 106 miles to Chicago...".
  • A quick scene after the credits shows that Neal's boss is still trying to decide which ad to use, while his Thanksgiving dinner sits on his desk next to him.
  • This is said to be Steve Martin's favorite film of his own work, and was rumored to have been Candy's favorite, as well.
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