There are very few films that can claim to be a “Thanksgiving” movie, but 1987’s Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is one of the best! The movie has a beloved cult following, and with good reason. It’s a funny, relatable, heart warming story brought to life by Steve Martin, John Candy, and a cast of memorable side characters. John Hughes very rarely misses with his dynamite scripts and with him in the directors chair, it’s usually a recipe for success.
Tom Hanks Please!
Hughes wrote the script in just 3 days after being inspired by a terrible flight experience of his own, resulting in him spending a week in Wichita, Kansas. John Hughes’ first choices for the main characters Neal and Del were Tom Hanks and John Travolta. Hanks was busy working on the film Big and John Travolta’s career was in a bit of a tail spin at the time. The studio opted for casting Rick Moranis and John Goodman. At this point Hughes was frustrated and decided to step away from film and hand directing duties to someone else. Eventually Steve Martin and John Candy would sign on, and Hughes asked to step back in.
- John Candy requested exercise equipment in his film contract. Steve Martin claimed that he never used any of it.
- The outside shots of the airplane in the film is the same as those from the movie Airplane!
- The Marathon Car Rental scene is exactly one minute long and the “F” word is used nineteen times. The film could have been rated PG or PG-13 by the MPAA if it weren’t for this one scene.
- The original cut of the film was 3 hours ad 45 minutes long! Almost twice the standard amount of film was used to shoot the movie.
- Dylan Baker created the Owen character himself. The snorts, facial tics, and twisted expressions are all his own making. John Hughes directed him to surprise Steve Martin by spitting in his hand before shaking it.
- Elton John was commissioned to create a song for the film but contractual issues between Paramount the Elton’s record label prevented it from being finished.