All your bags are packed; you’re ready to go. You’re standin’ there outside the door … of the airport terminal. As you wait to board that plane to a lush tropical paradise, scenic Mediterranean village, or one of a thousand other exotic destinations, it hits you: you don’t have anything to keep yourself entertained on this flight. Luckily, with the help of airport Wi-Fi and this list, you can load up your laptop and/or tablet with an awesome selection of films to make the long hours on that plane just fly by.
Just in time for the start of vacation season, here is my list of five movies perfect for a long flight…
The Shawshank Redemption
OK, I might be a little biased on this one since it is my favorite movie (which is why I’m giving it away on my welcome post), but The Shawshank Redemption is a great movie to have for a long flight. One of the reasons this former best picture nominee wasn’t as big of a commercial success as its fellow nominee (and eventual winner) Forrest Gump was because audiences just didn’t want to sit in a theater for the well over two hour runtime during an era when the average film was about 90 minutes long. However, you’re on a plane; where else are you going to go?
A film that is all at once brutal and uplifting, Shawshank has overcome its failure at the box office to become one of Hollywood’s all-time classics and is currently ranked #1 on IMDB’s Top 250 list. A long flight is the perfect time to finally catch up with this tale of how hope springs eternal, featuring amazing performances from Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.
The Lord of the Rings (Trilogy)
Putting an entire trilogy on this list might be a bit of a cheat, but it is almost impossible to separate this trio of fantasy epics. The Lord of the Rings will easily fill up your time on even the longest of flights, clocking in at a hefty 558 minutes (An even longer 726 minutes if you brave the extended editions). As insurmountable as that sum may seem during our usual “nine-to-five” lives, it is merely a worthy challenge when sitting on a plane for a flight across the ocean, desperately trying to avoid making eye contact with the person in next seat who looks like they could tell you their entire life story without taking a breath.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy hearkens back to the days of Cecil B. DeMille and movies such as Cleopatra or The Ten Commandments: Broad, sweeping epics unlike anything the world is likely to see again. However, above everything else, this set of films tells a story about the bonds of friendship, romance, heroism, and good triumphing over ultimate evil. If you are the mood for an action-filled adventure featuring an all-star cast, The Lord of the Rings is the perfect way to spend away the hours while you’re flying high in the sky.
Toy Story (Trilogy)
OK, so I cheated again. This is the last time (I promise)! I had to do it though, because the thought had occurred to me that you may be traveling with the kids for a vacation to a certain magical-type kingdom place in Florida or California, so you might want something a little more family friendly to set the tone for the trip. Look no further than Toy Story: Disney/Pixar’s magnum opus of computer animation!
This tale of toys coming to life when their kid is away appeals to children of all ages, both boys and girls. Who didn’t at one point wonder what happens when you leave your toys alone in a room? At the heart of the series, however, Toy Story reminds us that real friendship is something worth going to infinity and beyond for. Chock full of humor and (at least in the third film) emotional moments, the Toy Story trilogy is perfect for kids and parents to watch together on that long flight. Just don’t forget the headphone splitter!
For slightly older kids (including those well past their teen years), The Avengers may be a film from the House of Mouse that could better occupy the time in the air. You know the movie I’m talking about: the big-budget action movie starring an amazing cast that completed Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I probably don’t have to sing this movie’s praises, but I’m going to anyway.
The worst thing about flying, other than the stale peanuts, is that it is boring. The Avengers is anything but boring. Beyond the great action set pieces, you have witty dialogue tinged with humor that doesn’t detract from the overall experience and memorable characters that will stand the test of time. Plus, with Avengers: Age of Ultron just about to hit theaters (or having just hit theaters, depending on when you are reading this), a long flight is the perfect time to catch back up with the first time all our favorite heroes fought together.
Gone with the Wind
We began this list with a modern American classic, so let’s finish with one of the original classic pieces of cinema. Gone with the Wind is one of those films we always speak about in hushed tones, reverence coming from our every word. It holds a place of honor in the pantheon of films. Sadly, too many people never watch it anymore. It just doesn’t fit in our busy lives because of it’s incredible length (almost four hours). Why not change that on a flight?
Those who take the time to enjoy Gone with the Wind will discover a film that helped make Hollywood Hollywood, if you get my meaning. Even now, in the age of CG wizardry, the scope of this 1939 film is incredible to behold. Beyond visual spectacle, Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable put in the performances of a lifetime. Mere words cannot do these actors justice. However, the film’s greatest strength is in its message: Survival and hope is possible, even in the most desperate of circumstances. “After all, tomorrow is another day” is a sentiment we need to remember more in our lives.
Conclusion and Farewell
There you have it! My list of five(ish) movies to keep your entertained in the sky while you are between destinations on your vacation. I hope you discovered something you haven’t seen before that you can enjoy. What is your personal in-flight entertainment pick? Be sure to let me know in the comments.
If you liked my list, be sure to go check out Cassie over at Southeast By Midwest as she lists off the five must haves for any woman’s carry-on bag.
Roselynn saysApril 23, 2015 at 10:03 am
I used to have to travel five hours back and forth to visit my husband at least once a month and always had two movies ready with me. Usually I wouldn’t start it until a hour in when everything is relaxed, but I did watch avengers like three times.
Donna Ward saysApril 23, 2015 at 10:09 am
Hi Travis – my FAMily are also movie fanatics and 2 of us are nerds! lol – The Shawshank Redemption has always been a FAVORITE for us and I could see watching it again on a long flight and who couldn’t watch Lord of the Rings over and over – I’ve seen each of these movies and read a the books for some – great choices 🙂
Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle saysApril 23, 2015 at 10:37 am
It’s so hard to pick my favorite. There are so many movies that I love, and I love them all depending on my mood!
Melissa Pezza saysApril 23, 2015 at 10:51 am
I’ve been a mom for so long, I’ll watch the Toy Story Trilogy on a long flight whether my kids are with me or not! =D
Jeanine saysApril 23, 2015 at 1:14 pm
All such great choices! I’m a fan of them all. I love the idea of the toy story trilogy. That’s probably one I would choose, my kids would love it and be totally captivated we love those movies!
Lisa Bristol saysApril 23, 2015 at 3:36 pm
These are all great movies to watch on a long trip. I love The Lord of The Rings. It is my favorite TRILOGY.
Raijean saysApril 23, 2015 at 4:51 pm
This will come in handy, I have a few long flights coming up so this is perfect.
Liz Mays saysApril 23, 2015 at 5:05 pm
I really like all of these movies. I sometimes check out the tomatometer and pick whichever in flight movie has the highest ratings.
AJ @ NutrIFitMama saysApril 23, 2015 at 5:13 pm
These are definitely great movies to watch on a long flight. SHAW SHANK Redemption is one of my all time favorite movies! I’ve actually never seen Gone With The Wind!
Chubskulit Rose saysApril 23, 2015 at 6:44 pm
We’ve watched the “Lord of the rings trilogy” so many times while we are on a long road trip. OUr kids just love that!
Nina Say saysApril 23, 2015 at 9:05 pm
I couldn’t agree with this list any more. Every single one of these are on the top of my favorite movie list.
touristmeetstraveler saysApril 23, 2015 at 10:50 pm
I TOTALLY AGREE WITH SOMETHING LIKE A TRILOGY! It really lasts and it keeps you far more interested for a longer period of time; Lord of the rings is a perfect example!
Mistee Dawn saysApril 24, 2015 at 1:43 am
I’ve seen all of these except for gone with the wind and the avengers. The lord of the rings trilogy is one of my faves of all time.
Fi Ní Neachtáin saysApril 24, 2015 at 2:04 am
These are a;ll such great picks. The Shawshank Redemption is such a classic, you’ve made me want to watch it again.
Shaney Vijendranath saysApril 24, 2015 at 6:27 am
DEfinitely avengers! I can watch it over and over again. i will never get tired of it.
lisa @bitesforbabies saysApril 24, 2015 at 6:29 am
We travel to Italy every year and i never sleep on the plane so you can imagine how many movies i watch. we have two kids under 4 now so i don’t get to watch too many now! lol!
Michelle @ Dishes and Dust Bunnies saysApril 24, 2015 at 7:09 am
Those are all excellent movies to watch during a long flight. I’ll keep these in mind next time I travel!
Rosey saysApril 24, 2015 at 11:14 am
So many good ones here. And i know i’m not the only adult who cries at the end of toy story 3 when andy drives off to college. 😉 i def. take advantage of long flights to catch up on movies.
Amby Felix saysApril 24, 2015 at 11:52 am
hello my fellow nerd! These are awesome movies. I’m stoked about the new avengers movie and have been a fan of marvel and the evolving of the franchise my entire life. all of these movies are pretty awesome although i had to watch gone with the wind with my mom 500 times growing up haha!
becka saysApril 24, 2015 at 12:01 pm
All of these are good choices.. One of my favorite all time movies is shawshank redemption.but it has been awhile since I have seen it. I may have to drag out the dvd and watch this weekend.
Ashleigh Walls saysApril 24, 2015 at 2:04 pm
I would DEFINITELY choose Toy Story. I love the TRILOGY and it would keep me entertained.
Krystal saysApril 24, 2015 at 4:18 pm
The only movies I’ve seen on this list is Toy story! I certainly have a lot of catching up to do!
Anna saysApril 24, 2015 at 6:10 pm
I would like to see some of these at home too! I haven’t seen shawshank redemption. I remember watchig gone with the wind as a little Girl aNd it was very sad for me, i was provably 6 or 7. Dont ask, i have 2 older sisters lol.
Tiffany ~ Travel Blogger saysApril 24, 2015 at 11:58 pm
My in-laws live in Texas, but my brother in law is in school in Singapore. They’re traveling there next week, so you posted this just in time!
Paula Schuck saysApril 25, 2015 at 3:09 pm
You must have a long flight ahead of you if you have time to watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy! Hahaha! Great post.
Yona Williams saysApril 25, 2015 at 7:10 pm
Interesting, I did not know that Shawshank Redemption was currently ranked #1 on IMDB’s Top 250 list. I’ve only seen parts of this movie, and never sat through it in its entirety.
HilLesha saysApril 26, 2015 at 11:03 pm
The Lord of the Rings trilogy was always my favorite. I don’t think I could ever see any of them again, though, because they were painfully long. ~lol~
Camesha | Mama Motivator saysApril 27, 2015 at 2:39 pm
Good choices! Shawshank redemption is a winner for me every time. I love that movie.
Debi saysApril 28, 2015 at 9:48 pm
Oh great list. These are some of my top favorite Movies. And the trilogies have to be listed together
Shannon gurnee saysApril 29, 2015 at 4:11 am
These are definitely some great movies! I love shawshank redemption and gone with the wind! I love watching tv shows like friends, seinfeld and two and a half men! Thanks for sharing.
Jessica Simms saysApril 30, 2015 at 11:54 am
Oh wow this is a great list of movies, I wish I had this list when I took my trip to the philippines which is a 18 hour flight.