• 30 aviation movies you must watch

Having trouble deciding which film to watch? We have the solution.

Prepare for takeoff as we journey through the cinematic skies with our ultimate guide to aviation movies! As movie lovers and aviation enthusiasts, we find the thrill of flight encapsulated beautifully in these films.

From nerve-wracking tales of survival to biographical dramas of famous aviators, these movies touch upon various aspects of aviation, leaving us thrilled, inspired, and emotional.

Buckle up as we explore each of these high-flying masterpieces!

The Terminal

‘The Terminal’ (2004) is a delightful film that explores a different side of aviation. This heartwarming drama sees Tom Hanks stranded in JFK airport due to a bizarre political crisis.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie touches on the human stories that unfold within the hustle and bustle of a busy airport. Consequently, it’s a charming tale of resilience, humanity, and the surprising adventures that can happen while in transit.

Top Gun

No list of aviation movies would be complete without mentioning ‘Top Gun’ (1986). This cult classic, starring Tom Cruise, is a high-octane showcase of fighter jet action.

The film immerses us in the intense world of naval aviators, complete with exhilarating aerial maneuvers, competitive rivalry, and a stirring romantic subplot. Top Gun’s thrilling dogfights and memorable quotes are sure to ignite your passion for aviation.

Three decades later, in 2022, the sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick”, was released and our school was present at the premiere! In this post you can see what the premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick” was like.

  • Photograph of the Top Gun star on the film set


In ‘Amelia’ (2009), we are transported back to the golden age of aviation with the story of Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic.

Hilary Swank’s portrayal of the legendary pilot is inspiring and poignant. This biographical drama is a testament to the indomitable spirit of aviators, their passion for flight, and the risks they are willing to take in pursuit of their dreams.

Want to know more about this aviation icon?  We have a post in which we explain what happened to Amelia Earhart.


‘Flightplan’ (2005) is a suspense-filled drama that keeps viewers hooked. The movie, starring Jodie Foster, unravels a mother’s desperate quest to find her missing daughter on a transatlantic flight.

It’s a captivating narrative that explores the complexities of airplane design and the challenges of in-flight emergencies. With its heart-pounding suspense and intricate plot, therefore, Flightplan is a must-watch for fans of aviation and mystery.

  • Flightplan's frame

The wind rises

‘The Wind Rises’ (2013) is a unique entry in our list. This animated film by Hayao Miyazaki is a biographical drama of Jiro Horikoshi, designer of WWII Japanese fighter planes.

The film combines historical reality with poetic storytelling, exploring the beauty and tragedy of aviation. It’s a visually stunning, emotional journey that provides a different perspective on the world of flight.

The Wind Rises' poster


‘Sully’ (2016) is a remarkable film that retells the real-life Miracle on the Hudson. Tom Hanks shines as Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who heroically landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River, saving all 155 passengers on board.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, the movie delves into the aftermath of the event, exploring the intense scrutiny Sully faced. This film is a tribute to the professionalism and courage of pilots in extraordinary circumstances.

  • Sully's frame

Air Force One

Harrison Ford’s turn as the President in ‘Air Force One’ is iconic, to say the least. This movie injects a dose of high-stakes political drama into the aviation mix.

As Air Force One is hijacked mid-flight, the President’s bravery and determination to save his family and staff are put to the ultimate test. An exciting blend of politics and aviation, this movie keeps you on the edge of your seat from takeoff to landing.

The aviator

‘The Aviator’ (2004) is a biographical film about Howard Hughes, a pioneering aviator, and filmmaker. With a standout performance by Leonardo DiCaprio, the movie traces Hughes’s passion for aviation, his filmmaking career, and his struggles with mental illness.

The film is a compelling exploration of the eccentric genius’s life, his significant contributions to aviation, and his relentless pursuit of perfection.

  • The Aviator's frame


‘Midway’ (2019) is a war film that offers a gripping account of the Battle of Midway during World War II. The movie focuses on the pilots and soldiers who used their wit, fortitude, and bravery to overcome the odds.

Absolutely, it’s a visually spectacular film that pays tribute to the heroes of the past and provides an intense depiction of air combat.

For this reason, this film is one of the best war and aviation movies you could watch on a saturday night.

Memphis Belle

In Michael Caton-Jones’s “Memphis Belle,” a famed World War II bomber is manned by ten young crew members who have completed twenty-four missions and yearn for home.

The film, an epic tale of hope, draws inspiration from wartime documentaries by William Wyler. If you like aviation and action, this is definitely the film for you.

The Flight

Whitaker’s character in ‘The Flight’ is a paradoxical mix of heroic and flawed. Skillfully directed by Robert Zemeckis, the movie is a thrilling roller-coaster ride. The film showcases a daring emergency landing after a mechanical failure, bringing attention to the raw skill and decision-making capabilities of pilots under pressure.

Undoubtely, it’s a powerful, emotionally-charged narrative with Denzel Washington’s gripping performance, painting a vivid picture of the ups and downs of life in aviation.

Black Hawk Down

In the 2001 film “Black Hawk Down,” an elite American unit is deployed to Somalia for a mission that spirals into a nightmarish ordeal.

Hans Zimmer’s compelling score enhances this war drama, resonating deeply with viewers. It is a perfect film to enjoy at any time.

Pearl Harbour

During the Second World War, two aviator comrades are compelled to part ways: one takes to the skies for the British forces, while the other heads to Pearl Harbour, where his friend’s sweetheart awaits.

This romantic drama ensnares your attention for its entire three-hour duration, undeniably ranking as a monumental classic in the realm of aviation films.

Behind Enemy Lines

“Behind Enemy Lines” transports viewers to the aftermath of the Balkans War, where an American pilot fights for survival after a mission over Bosnia.

This war movie, thrilling beyond measure, shakes its audience with 105 minutes of intense action and breathtaking aerial scenes.


Shifting from romantic drama to a comedy laced with suspense, “Airplane!” emerges as another timeless piece in the aircraft movie genre. Imagine the chaos when, mid-flight, a majority of the crew succumbs to food poisoning.

This narrative unfolds in a film by David Zucker and Jim Abrahams, securing its place in the annals of iconic cinema.

Only Angels Have Wings

“Only Angels Have Wings” is a film from 1939, and it introduces Bonnie, who encounters a group of pilots and sets her sights on Geoff, their leader.

To win him over, Bonnie must navigate the rivalry with Judy, another admirer of the pilot, blending romance with aviation in an unforgettable classic.

The Tuskegee Airmen

A tribute to the fight against racism, The Tuskegee Airmen shines a spotlight on a cadre of African-American pilots who pioneered service during World War II.

The film delves into their story and introduces one of the most formidable battalions of the era, commonly known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
Undoubtedly one of the most evocative films in this list of aviation films.


Flyboys is about a group of French World War I volunteers who become the first American flying squadron, the Lafayette Escadrille. Jean Reno, James Franco and Jennifer Decker give a stunning performance in this 2006 film.

There is nothing better than the combination of the French and American film industries.

Red Tails

Red Tails recalls the role of the first black cadets recruited for a military training programme in World War II.

You’ll have noticed: it’s about the same team of pilots as the Tuskegee Airmen. But this film looks at this anti-racist struggle in a different way – it’s definitely another classic!


In “Firefox”, the Soviet Union develops an advanced fighter jet, the Firefox, prompting NATO to send pilot Mitchell Gant to steal it.

This 1982 film captures the tensions between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War and offers an irresistible narrative that combines history and the war genre. It also stars Clint Eastwood in an absolutely riveting performance.

United 93

“United 93” takes us back to 11 September 2001 and portrays the only hijacked plane of that day that did not reach its destination, thanks to the intervention of the passengers. What should passengers do in such a situation? Will they be essential in stopping the attack?

This film immerses the viewer in the tension and fear of that tragic day.


The plot of this film, although from 2005, is very topical. A bomber equipped with artificial intelligence and what are the consequences for an elite team? Watch Stealth to find out.

This futuristic film is very close to the reality we live in today and also shows another side of aviation. Definitely a safe bet for a weekend afternoon.

Sky Fighters

Here comes a French gem. In this film, captains Antoine and Sebastien are in charge of an investigation: A Mirage 2000 has disappeared in the North Sea. The captains find it under an Airbus. And if you want to discover what happens… You must see it!

This 2005 film is one of those films you like from the first minute.


On a flight between New York and London, security officer Bill Marks receives a text message with a threat. If the airline doesn’t transfer 150 million dollars to a foreign account, something very bad will happen.

The film is suspenseful and, with Liam Neeson in the lead role, it’s also a spectacle.

Executive decision

“Executive Decision takes viewers into a high-stakes situation where an elite team must defuse a gas bomb aboard a hijacked plane, starring Kurt Russell and Halle Berry in a suspenseful narrative.

If you like action, Executive Decision is sure to have an impact on you.

Pushin Tin

Moving out of the cockpit, this film is about air traffic controllers at loggerheads. Very different from the other films on this list, Out of Control is about the rivalry between two air traffic controllers that affects their working environment.

Although it sounds like a thriller, it’s actually a dramatic comedy – it’s sure to get you hooked!

The Great Waldo Pepper

“The Great Waldo Pepper” paints a vivid tableau of the early days of aviation, where daring stunts and the pursuit of aerial supremacy reigned supreme.

Waldo Pepper, a disillusioned war veteran turned barnstorming pilot, yearns for the glory he never found in combat. His rivalry with the talented and charismatic Ernst Kessler provides the backdrop for a story about the golden age of aviation, where the sky was the ultimate frontier.

Through breathtaking aerial sequences and a nuanced portrayal of its complex protagonist, “The Great Waldo Pepper” invites audiences to soar through the triumphs and tribulations of early aviators.

Con Air

“Con Air” unfolds as an electrifying saga of redemption and chaos in the sky. The narrative centers around Cameron Poe, a paroled convict with a heart of gold, who finds himself trapped on a flight hijacked by the most dangerous criminals America has to offer. As the tension skyrockets, Poe must navigate a treacherous path between allegiance to his fellow inmates and the moral imperative to prevent their escape.

Nicolas Cage delivers a performance that perfectly balances vulnerability and intensity, making “Con Air” a compelling journey of a man fighting for his family, his honor, and the safety of innocent lives on the ground.

Air America

“Air America” delves into the shadowy world of covert operations during the Vietnam War, through the eyes of Gene Ryack and Billy Covington, pilots for the CIA-run airline Air America. This dark comedy-action film explores the blurred lines between right and wrong in a war where morality is as murky as the Laotian jungles.

Ryack, played by Mel Gibson, is a cynical veteran who understands the contradictions of the conflict, while Robert Downey Jr.’s Covington represents the idealism clashing with the harsh realities of war.

The Red Baron

“The Red Baron,” a poignant exploration of heroism and humanity amidst the carnage of World War I, tells the story of Manfred von Richthofen, the legendary fighter pilot. Through spectacular aerial battles and intimate moments of reflection, the film delves into the psyche of a man who became a symbol of national pride and military prowess. As von Richthofen faces the realities of war, his initial enthusiasm for battle gives way to a deep contemplation of its consequences.

“The Red Baron” is more than an aviation movie, it is a testament to the human spirit, portraying a legendary figure’s journey from youthful zeal to a reflective warrior in search of meaning beyond the accolades.

Why aviation movies never go out of style?

As we make our final approach and prepare to taxi off the runway of this cinematic journey, let’s reflect on the undeniable fact that aviation movies never go out of style.

Undoubtely, these films offer more than just a regular movie experience. They tap into our innate fascination with flight, our admiration for those who navigate the skies, and our curiosity about what happens behind the scenes in aviation. Each of the films we’ve explored, from ‘The Flight’ to ‘The Red Baron’, holds a unique lens to various aspects of aviation, offering viewers an exciting and enlightening experience.

So, next time you’re in the mood for a film, why not choose one from our list of high-flying adventures?

To find out more about aviation, don’t miss our aviation blog, where you can learn everything from whether a plane can fly without engines to what an air shuttle is.

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