The most iconic aircraft in film history

What’s the most iconic aircraft in film history? Blogger Michael Cooper picks his top 5, including the Grumman F-14 Tomcat (pictured), Boeing 747, and others. What do you think of his list? What aircraft would you include?


  1. Jarvis Owens says

    I think the B52 because it has appeared in more films than any other, well the landing gear has. Every movie that shows an airplane taking off and then goes to a belly cam to show gear retracting they always seem to show a B-52’s gear. :)

    • Sarah Ashmore says

      I cringe whenever I see one of those morphing airplanes in a movie or TV show. They can change configuration as many as 3-4 times in some cases. That is the down side of being an aviation entheusiast, you notice these details that the directors think are insignificant (or at least they think we are too stupid to realize). The B-52 gear shot used for any aircraft taking off is certinly a movie Icon in that regard.

  2. Edd Weninger says

    C-47 DC-3

    Island in the Sky. A Classic.

    Written by Ernie Gann. An Icon himself. Who better?

    Movie with John Wayne and a number of well known actors in the day. Icons. Who better?

    DC-3 C-47 Icons. What better?

    • says

      Ed; Yes – great film classic actor and icon John Wayne – C-47’s on skies – I believe released in 1951? Guess the “Mustang”, altought the BEST AAF fighter of WW II, didn’t make the TOP list!

  3. Sarah Ashmore says

    The C-82 would hardly seem worthy of the list having only appeared in one film. The B-17 was the star of more war movies then you can count pushing out the more numerous boxy looking B-24 because it had more star appeal. And the section on the B-747 is in error, the movie “Airplane” featured at B-707 which was also popular with the film industry in it’s day.

  4. Greg C says

    What about the B-52? Not only did it star in three movies (Bombers B-52, Dr. Strangelove or How I Learn to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Bomb, and Gathering of Eagles), a rock band is named after it. And it is still flying combat missions!

  5. JetScreamer says

    Are you kidding? B-17 Flying Fortress. “Air Force”, “Command Decision”, “12 O’Clock High”, “The War Lover”, “Memphis Belle”…are just a few of the pictures the B-17 starred in. Co-stars included Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, John Garfield, Gregory Peck, Steve McQueen. Even James Bond flew the Fortress- that’s a Skyhook equipped B-17 reeling in Sean Connery at the end of “Thunderball”.

  6. Stephen Kallis, Jr. says

    As an old (industrial) filmmaker, I suspect that *in *film*, the most iconic aitcraft is the DC-3/C-47/R4D. It’s been shown in many films, from comedies through adventures to even a few musicals.

    • Sarah Ashmore says

      The C-17 has made it into the recent “Transformers” movies but as a backbround player at best and in my opinion that would hardly make it an Iconic aircraft in films. What do you base your nomination on ?

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