Movies | Pop Culture | 80s

12 Facts About 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' That Will Remind You Why It's The Best Thanksgiving Movie

The holidays are a stressful time of year, and it all kicks off with Thanksgiving. Planes, Trains and Automobiles, is one of those movies that everyone could relate to because of the craziness we all experience during holidays.

Enroute to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his family, intolerant businessman Neal Page, played by Steve Martin, finds his first-class plane ticket being demoted to coach where he meets obnoxious salesman Del Griffith, played by John Candy.

When a sudden snowstorm in Chicago forces the plane to land in Wichita it brings Neal and Del together on a crazy adventure.

The 1987 movie is ripe with comedic laughter, mostly because we can imagine how we would react in the same situation.

If you've seen the movie once or a dozen times, these facts will make you want to go back and rewatch it again this Thanksgiving.

1. John Candy worked with John Hughes more than once.

John Candy appeared in more movies from John Hughes than any other actor. This included National Lampoon's Vacation, The Great Outdoors, Uncle Buck, She's Having a Baby, Home Alone and, of course Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

2. Written in Three Days

John Huges wrote the first draft of Planes, Trains and Automobiles in only three days. At the start of his career, it would take him three to five days to complete one screenplay.

3. Based on a true story

John Hughes admitted that it once took him five days to get from New York City to Chicago because of a plane delay that stranded him in Wichita, Kansas.

Before he was a screenwriter, Hughes used to work as a copywriter in Chicago. One day he had a presentation at 11 AM in New York City and planned to be on the 5PM flight home. Thanks to winter weather his flight was cancelled so he stayed overnight in a hotel. Afterward his plane was diverted to Denver, then Phoenix. He was able to write the first 60 pages of Planes, Trains and Automobiles in just six hours based on his experience.

Mental Floss

4. Planes, Trains and Automobile inspired Home Alone

John Candy's role of Del Griffith in Planes, Trains and Automobiles inspired his cameo as Gus Polinski, the Polka King of the Midwest, in Home Alone which was also written and produced by John Hughes.

5. Rave Reviews

The film critic, Roger Ebert thought Planes, Trains and Automobiles was one of the greatest movies ever made. “It is perfectly cast and soundly constructed, and all else flows naturally,” Ebert said.

6. 3 hour version of the movie

It's rumored that John Huges had a three-hour cut of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, whose run time is currently 92 minutes. I wonder what happened in the other 88 minutes?

7. 18 uses of the f-word in one minute

During the Marathon Car Rental scene, that is exactly one minute long, Steve Martin managed to throw in 18 F-Bombs. Amazing!

8. Search for snow

The crew had a tough time finding snow between the Midwest and the East Coast while filming the movie. When they were able to find the cold, white stuff, it sometimes melted before they were ready to shoot.

“As we would shoot, we were hopping planes, trains, and automobiles, trying to find snow,” Martin said.

9. She's Having a Baby Easter egg

The movie that John Hughes made AFTER Planes, Trains and Automobiles is playing in the background of the motel scene, even though it wasn't released until the following year.

10. Home Alone Easter egg

Neal's family home is actually the same house as in Home Alone, which was also written and produced by John Hughes.

11. Two scenes won over Steve Martin

Steve Martin agreed to do the movie after reading two scenes in the screenplay; the seat adjustment and the F-Bomb tirade.

12. Teenagers As Leads

Planes, Trains and Automobiles was the first movie John Hughes did that didn't have teenagers as the lead actors.

Source: Phactual / Mental Floss

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