Planes, Trains & Automobiles Movie Poster

Trivia for Planes, Trains & Automobiles

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  • Jeri Ryan was cast, but her part was cut from the final release.
  • In the airport scene in Wichita, when the airline employee announces that the flight has been cancelled, you can see on the board behind him that the destination of the flight is "nowhere".
  • The scenes shot at Lambert Airport in St. Louis were shot during winter, but the weather was uncharacteristically warm (mid eighty degrees Fahrenheit), so all the snow in the scene had to be trucked in.
  • The Marathon Car Rental scene is exactly one minute long from the time Steve Martin starts his tirade, to the time the attendant ends the scene. In that sixty seconds, the word "fucking" is used eighteen times, that word is only said in that scene.
  • Although it's not included in the theatrical or the network cuts, a shot of Del Griffith brushing his teeth was included on ads for the network version.
  • Cast and crew travelled from the Midwest to the East Coast and back in search of snow for many scenes, which seemed to melt whenever they arrived. The shoot was hellish, and according to some who worked on it, John Hughes' grumpy behavior (he was going through rough times) only made it worse.
  • Many of the highway scenes were actually filmed on a stretch of (at the time) unopened highway (U.S. Highway 219) that runs between Buffalo and Springville, New York.
  • John Hughes shot over six hundred thousand feet (one hundred eighty thousand meters) of film, almost twice the industry average. The rumored three-hour version of the film does indeed exist, although not in order. Moreover, it's a mess of footage that would take "months, maybe even years" according to Hughes to transform into an actual film. It is locked away in a Paramount vault, and according to Hughes, most of it has probably deteriorated by now.
  • The movie She's Having a Baby (1988) is showing on the television in the motel scene in Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), even though the film hadn't been released yet. Both pictures feature both Kevin Bacon and John Candy in them. Bacon stars in She's Having a Baby (1988) and cameos in Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), while Candy cameos in She's Having a Baby (1988) and stars in Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987).
  • Del Griffith's friend at the railroad, Bert Dingman, is a direct reference to Robert O. Dingman, Jr., President of the New York and Lake Erie Railroad, where the train scenes were filmed.
  • John Candy and Steve Martin eat dinner on the plane, in a scene that is not in the theatrical version (though it airs on the televised version). The scene ends with a long-haired passenger in front of Steve Martin letting his or her hair cascade down onto Martin's brownie, completely covering it. Seeing that Martin is no longer hungry, John Candy fishes through the hair to retrieve and eat it.
  • The exterior of their aircraft in flight, is a re-use of the 707 flying through the storm, from the movie Airplane! (1980), also released by Paramount Pictures.
  • John Hughes' original choice for the train station and platform was the station in Kankakee, Illinois, sixty miles south of Chicago. The cast and crew were in town for a week waiting for weather cold enough to make snow, and several interior scenes were filmed at an abandoned warehouse using a "cover set".
  • Neal's (Steve Martin's) house was also a set built from scratch, consisting of seven rooms, and taking five months to complete. It ended up costing one hundred thousand dollars, which angered Paramount executives, and caused turmoil on the set.
  • At the beginning of the movie, Steve Martin (Neal Page) races Kevin Bacon (taxi racer), which is a direct reference to the scene in the movie Quicksilver (1986), in which the character played by Bacon, is racing someone on a bicycle.
  • The green convertible is a 1986 Chrysler LeBaron Town and Country, with a 2.2 liter turbo engine. It was modified for the film, including the following Dodge 600 parts: taillights, steering wheel, and owner's manual (that can be seen in the glove compartment when Neil puts his wallet in there). The trunk was off of an older K-car convertible: no third brake light, and the luggage rack that was not offered in 1986 (but was, on older models).
  • At the beginning of the movie, Neal Page (Steve Martin) races a character played by Kevin Bacon for a taxi. Later, Neal phones his wife to tell her that he has been delayed (again). In the background, you can hear the fight from She's Having a Baby (1988) (also directed by John Hughes) between Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern, when she screams that she doesn't like his friend's girlfriend.
  • The scenes at night on the highway were filmed in central California. Fake snow was applied to the sides of the roads to make it appear as a Midwest winter.
  • A scene that is not included in the movie, but featured in the trailer, shows Del (John Candy) in the bathroom of the first motel he and Neal (Steve Martin) are staying in. In the scene he does, among other things, an impersonation of Elvis Presley in which he sings into his hair brush.
  • The house used as Neal's family home, is actually in Kenilworth, Illinois, on Warwick. The house used in Home Alone (1990) was on Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka, one town over.
  • The taxi scene was filmed on a stretch of road in Madison, Ohio.
  • John Hughes, in an interview on the "Those Aren't Pillows" DVD, said he was inspired to write the film's story after an actual flight from New York to Chicago he was on, was diverted to Wichita, Kansas, thus taking him five days to get home.
  • John Hughes wrote the first-draft of the screenplay in three days. His average writing time for a screenplay in those days was about three to five days with twenty-some re-writes.
  • Steve Martin was convinced to join the production after favoring two scenes he had read from the script; the seat adjustment-scene in the car, and the F-word tirade at the car rental desk.
  • When Del Griffith (John Candy) clears his sinuses in the motel room, his nose is whistling sounds out the final chords to "Shave and a Haircut".
  • One of Roger Ebert's Great Movies.
  • Debra Lamb's role was cut from the final finished version of the film.
  • Del Griffith's large trunk (footlocker) contains a pillow, and a picture of his wife.
  • Although they appeared in television movies and shows prior to this film, this was Olivia Burnette's and Matthew Lawrence's feature film debut.
  • When Neal and Del check into the motel in Wichita, Gus, the clerk, has two flags on his counter. It's the American flag crossing the flag of the United States Air Force. Charles Tyner, who played Gus, served in the Army Air Forces, the predecessor of the U.S.A.F. in World War II. Also, in real-life, McConnell Air Force Base is located in Wichita, Kansas.
  • Larry Hankin, Edie McClurg, and Carol Bruce have all appeared on at least one episode of WKRP in Cincinnati (1978), though none of them together.
  • (Cameo) Kevin Bacon: As a taxi racer.
  • (Cameo) Michael McKean: As a state trooper.
  • (Cameo) Edie McClurg: As a car rental agent.
  • (Cameo) Charles Tyner: As Gus.
  • The name of the book that Del Griffith is seen reading was "The Canadian Mounted". The joke is that while John Candy was Canadian in real-life, he played an American.
  • The interior of the Wichita airport sequence was shot on a studio soundstage in Hollywood. This scene was also the final one featuring extras during filming.
  • (Cameo) Ben Stein: Airport Announcer.
  • Lyman Ward, Edie McClurg, and Ben Stein appeared in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986).
  • John Candy and Steve Martin's favorite film of their own.
  • The rural train station, where Neal and Del buy the tickets for their ill-fated train ride, is the same station seen in The Natural (1984). It's located in South Dayton, New York.
  • Upon receiving the script through his agent, Steve Martin was surprised to discover the script's one hundred forty-five page length, with a comedy typically aiming for ninety pages. When Martin met with John Hughes, he asked if he had any intention of cutting the script. According to Martin, Hughes looked at Martin strangely and said "Cutting?", making Martin realize he had no intention of cutting the script.
  • With the cold weather, it was expected for snow to arrive, as it was conducive to the story. But as weather didn't produce snow, the production waited for several weeks in Illinois, before moving to Buffalo, New York.
  • John Candy uses the same line in two movies. "I know it's not pretty to look at, but it'll get you where you wanna go." He says that about the car to the police officer. He says in Cool Runnings (1993), "I know it's not much to look at but..." He says that when revealing the team's bobsled for the first time.
  • John Candy does a Jamaican impression in the hotel room when they're drinking the different types of alcohol. In Cool Runnings (1993), his character does a Jamaican impression to the Olympic qualifying judge after they tell him the qualifying time just got shorter.
  • In the movie, Neal and Del stay in a hotel called the Braidwood Inn, Wichita, Kansas, the real hotel was actually called the Days Inn, located in Braidwood, Illinois, when Owen stopped by to pick them up the next day, right in front of the hotel is Interstate Highway 55, you see a Jay's Potato Chip truck drive by in the background. They are a local potato chip company out of Chicago, Illinois.
  • Only rated PG in New Zealand, even though the infamous "eighteen f-words in under a minute" scene remained intact.
  • The train used in the movie sits dormant at a small rural station in the Western New York town of Gowanda. The "Contrack" logos are still present on the engine and cars. It's remained unused since the making of the film.
  • The name of the railroad, on which the actors ride, is "Contrack", a fictional name. It is a combination of "Conrail" and "Amtrak", two well-known American railroad operations.
  • According to Editor Paul Hirsch, the original cut of this movie was three hours and forty minutes long. He and John Hughes edited it down to two hours. This version was test screened, and it was probably used to edit trailers for the film, which is why they show a lot of deleted scenes. The movie was then edited again down to one hour and thirty-three minutes for theatrical release. According to Hirsch, a two hour version still exists, but he doesn't know where it is.
  • The exterior of the rental car was designed to resemble that of the Griswolds' station wagon, from John Hughes' previous production, National Lampoon's Vacation (1983).
  • After Del "steals" Neal's cab at the beginning of the movie, Neal looks down and sees that the cab is gone. In the puddle on the ground, there are two shower curtain rings.
  • Although he receives fourth billing, Michael McKean appears in only one scene, and is on-screen for ninety seconds.
  • The car that Neal and Del drive was modelled after the Wagon Queen Family Truckster from Vacation (1983), which John Hughes wrote.
  • The movie ends with a freeze frame of John Candy with a tight lipped grin. Uncle Buck ends exactly the same way, a freeze frame of John Candy with the same expression.
  • The trunk Steve Martin trips over is stamped: "Del O. Griffith C/O American Light Fixtures Shower Curtain Ring Division P.O. Box 60608 Chicago, IL" 60608 is also a zip code for Chicago.
  • The sound effects over the opening title are of planes, trains, and automobiles, and they play specifically in that order as the main title roles across the screen.
  • In the famous "those aren't pillows!!" scene, after jumping out of bed in horror, Neal asks Del "did you see that Bears game last week?" to which Del replies "hell of a game, hell of a game...Bears got a great team this year...gonna go all the way." In 1987, Thanksgiving fell on November 26th, meaning the previous Bears game would have been Sunday, November 22nd. In that game, the Bears did indeed post an impressive 30-10 win over division rival Detroit. At the assumed point that scene happened, the Bears were 8-2, and en route to an 11-4 season (a week 3 game against Detroit was cancelled, due to a player's strike). Unfortunately, they didn't go "all the way", as they would lose 21-17 in the Divisional Round to the Washington Redskins.
  • The El Rancho hotel is located on U.S. Highway 41 in Gurnee, Illinois, ; however, it now operates under a different name.
  • The speech John Candy gives is parodied in the Family Guy episode "Baby Not On Board" in season seven.
  • Del and Neal are pulled over by a Wisconsin State Trooper. Driving from St. Louis to Chicago through Wisconsin would be extremely out of the way, which could explain the added time shown for travel, as driving from St. Louis to Chicago would only take about five hours. It also would explain why the truck they are riding in approaches downtown Chicago from the northwest.
  • When the rental car burns, a sign is visible behind Martin and Candy that reads "Chicago - 102 Miles". This is a nod to the John Landis film The Blues Brothers (1980), which features at its climax the line "It's one hundred six miles to Chicago...".
  • The original plot involved Del Griffith (John Candy) being a bungling vampire bent on trying to get Neal Page (Steve Martin) to invite him into his family's house (vampires can only enter a house if they've been invited). John Hughes was so impressed with the on-screen chemistry between John Candy and Steve Martin, that he removed the vampire plot from the script, in favor of a more wholesome Thanksgiving theme....this of course is completely untrue. John Hughes came up with the idea when his flight was diverted.
  • The second song that both Neil and Dell listen to on the radio while they're on the highway at night is "Mess Around" by Ray Charles. Ray Charles and John Candy both had starring roles in The Blues Brothers (1980). Ray Charles plays a music store owner, and John Candy played a police detective.
  • The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
  • Film debut of Dylan Baker.
  • Film debut of Susan Isaacs.
  • Dylan Baker, John Candy, and Susan Isaacs were reunited in Delirious (1991). In both films, the character played by Isaacs, is called Marie.
  • This film would have received a PG-13 rating had it not been for Steve Martin's F-bomb tirade during the rental car scene.
  • While riding the bus, John Candy sings the theme song to The Flintstones (1960). The Flintstones (1960) was John Candy's all time favorite cartoon.
  • Bill Erwin, who plays the old man sleeping on Steve Martin's shoulder during the plane scene, also appeared in Home Alone (1990) and She's Having a Baby (1988).
  • The second of two movies where John Candy plays a passenger who gets on the nerves of a passenger sitting next to him., he did so before in Volunteers (1985). In fact in both movies, he is sitting in a window seat on the right side of the aircraft and his victim was to his left in the aisle seat. And, in this film on the Greyhound bus he led the other passengers into song (The Flintstones (1960) to be exact). In Volunteers he led everyone into song (Puff the Magic Dragon (1978)) on board an airplane.
  • Trailer narrated by Percy Rodrigues.
  • The book Dale reads at the beginning is the Manchurian candidate.
  • In Del (John Candy) and Neal's (Steve Martin) room at the Braidwood Inn, above the bed, you can see two perfect handprints on either side of the framed picture above the bed.
  • John Hughes originally wanted Tom Hanks for the role of Neal Page and John Travolta for the role of Del Griffith. But Hanks was unavailable as he was busy shooting Big (1988) and Paramount executives did not want Travolta in the movie because he was considered "box office poison" at the time.
  • Rick Moranis was considered for the role of Neal.
  • Movie critic Roger Ebert gave this movie a very good review and he watched it almost every thanksgiving.
  • Although never disclosed it is safe to assume that Del got the rental car assigned to Neal. He stated he paid the lady in curtain rings and it would seem fitting based on the rest of the story that he would have ended up with Neal's car. Actually, it could not have been Neal's car because when Neal is getting dropped off at the car lot, the driver tells him to look for a white Lincoln. Dell's car was a completely different car.
  • The owner of the former Braidwood Inn featured in this film (now called the Sun Motel) was arrested in March 2019 on charges of promoting prostitution on the premises; the motel had also recently been the site of two drug overdose-related deaths.
  • On Del's trunk it shows Del's name as Del O. Griffith, meaning that Del's initials spell out the word DOG. 5 months before the release of Planes, Trains & Automobiles, John Candy appeared in Space Balls playing a character named Barf who was half man and half dog.
  • Plains Trains and Automobiles was kind of a gay Bromance version of the Sure Thing.
  • When Neal tells the motel clerk that he has "been wearing the same underwear since Tuesday," Del's reply "I can vouch for that" is a reference to The Out-of-Towners (1970), an earlier film comedy about the difficulties of traveling. Steve Martin would later go on to play the male lead in the remake The Out-of-Towners (1999).
  • Steve Martin talked in an interview about his late co-star John Candy and his similarities with the character of Del: "Well, he was a very sweet guy. *Very* sweet... and complicated. And so, he was always friendly, always outgoing and you know, funny and nice and polite, but I could tell he had kind of a little broken heart inside him."

Spoilers

  • After the credits, Neal's boss is still at his desk analyzing the ads, his Thanksgiving dinner sitting on his desk.
  • No transportation company wanted to appear inept or deficient in any way, so crews had to rent twenty miles of train track and refurbish old railroad cars, construct a set that looked like an airline terminal, design a rent-a-car company logo and uniforms, and rent two hundred fifty cars for the infamous Rent-a-Car sequence.
  • Had Neal and Del just stayed at the airport, they probably would've made it back to Chicago just in time. A scene played shortly after shows Neal's wife watching the news and the news said that O'Hare is clearing up.
  • Although it's not confirmed in the movie, It's likely that Neal allowed Del to stay in his home until he got back on his feet.
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