Whether you're battling terrorists or chasing a loved one you don't want to leave, you don't go to the airport unless you've got something big to do. We may take such travel for granted, but even a cheeky weekend in Berlin involves you climbing into a giant metal tube that will fling you through the stratopshere. It's not surprising, then, that with so much real-life drama in airports, the movies take a fair few trips to them for their own ends. Romance, action, souvenir shops - all human life is there, so here, for your delectation, are the finest airport scenes in film history...
We had to start with this - the all-time comedy classic that savagely spoofed the increasingly po-faced airport movie genre, and about a thousand other things for good measure. This is an early highlight, with an argument between tannoy announcers growing increasingly absurd. Fun fact: these voices were the real announcers at LAX, and were married in real life.
Up in the Air
Airport security is the single most annoying thing in the western world - thanks, war on terror. Here we have some gleefully un-PC lessons on gliding through from George Clooney's seasoned traveller.
In the collective memory, it may get lost in between parkour chases and mid-poker game punchups, but Casino Royale's airport chase would be the highlight of many a lesser film.
A slightly more relaxed trip through the airport than Bond's in Casino Royale, this may just be the coolest Johnny Depp has ever looked. Which is a huge claim, but come on - watch this, and tell us you don't want to be this man. Minus the drug dealing, of course.
Ok, this this the very last scene of the film, so don't watch the clip if you're still avoiding spoilers for a film that's more than three years old. Even so, this scene truly deserves to be here - a wordless sequence that comes at the end of a truly epic adventure, where counter-intuitively the heroes merely wake up on a plane. Their trip out of the airport wraps a sprawling cast up nicely, and leads to one of the great debates of modern cinema. But this scene could come at the end of an anti-smoking PSA and still be one of the most amazing things we've ever seen, purely because of Han Zimmer's music. Stumbling off a Ryanair flight just doesn't feel the same without it.
Statistically, the cliché goes, air travel is the safest mode of transport there is. Try explaining that to Dustin Hoffman's autistic savant Raymond, who has one of cinema's strangest freakouts at the very idea of flying in a plane. There's a subtext to this scene that he could perhaps just have not have wanted to get on a plane with Tom Cruise, but that's a conversation for another day.
Die Hard 2: Die Harder
Back in the early nineties, when air terrorism wasn't the most horrifying thing imaginable but a fit subject for popcorn entertainment, we were treated to this breathtakingly ruthless scene. Some right-wing nutjobs have hijacked a whole airport, and to demonstrate their resolve they deliberately crash a plane. This is simply no way imaginable this scene would have even been conceived today, let alone shot - whether that's due to good taste or cowardly filmmakers, we'll leave up to you.
Time hasn't been kind to this tale of feuding air traffic controllers - but this climactic scene is so odd, it has to be seen to be believed. Delici0usly dodgy late-nineties CGI, too.
It's not every scene that can pretty be much recited verbatim even by people who haven't seen it. This scene is so impacted into our culture, be it through parody or knock-off, we forget the devastating knock-out blow of Humphrey Bogart's redemptive sacrifice - and all in some of the most golden dialogue ever, perfectly performed. If you haven't seen Casablanca since some rainy bank holiday in 1992, now is the time to revisit it.
La Jetee/12 Monkeys
It's self-defeating to split these two, given their deep spiritual links, so here they are together. Terry Gilliam's 1995 flick starring Bruce Willis was inspired by the 1962 short La Jetee, both spinning off on their own tangents from the concept of a man in a post-apocalyptic world haunted by dreams - or are they memories? - of a traumatic incident he witnessed in an airport as a boy. How we get to the points in these clips is pretty complicated - time travel does tend to take things in that direction - but it's fair to say that witnessing your own death slightly outclasses failing to get an upgrade to business class, stress-wise.