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Airplane! vs Withnail and I

Airplane! vs Withnail and I

At last month’s Rialto Film Club meeting, we all met to decide which films to show for the next six months. Most nominations within a category went by with the usual nodding heads, stroked chins and debate over whether to show films for their popularity, their rarity or just for us.

Then came the Comedy category. The choices quickly narrowed down to Airplane! vs Withnail and I. No contest I thought – Airplane! is simply one of the funniest movies of all time, full of witty and silly puns, visual and blue gags galore. In short, a guaranteed laugh-fest for anyone with a sense of humour.

Surprisingly, half the committee immediately chose Withnail and I. I’ve seen it once (admittedly on video on a dull Saturday afternoon) and I didn’t find anything particularly funny about it. I don’t think I laughed once at it. But pretty soon, both sides were arguing passionately for Airplane! or for Withnail and I. The deluded fools.

We couldn’t come to a decision, so it’s been deferred to the next meet. Which is next week.

So which film would you prefer? And why?


  • Since I have not seen either, I could not vote. This also means I probably would not be apart of your club.

  • Chanster

    Withnail is for students. Airplane is for non-students. Therefore your group consists of many ex-students. Both films are funny, but in their own different ways – It basically comes down to the level of sophistication.

    A good thing about Withnail is that you can play the drinking game. Before starting to watch it, you need to stock up on booze – lots of booze – or things to drink (lighter fluid or vinegar optional). Lay it out in front of you and basically you have to match Withnail's character drink for drink.

    Good luck!

  • You may decode my vote from the following cryptic sentence:

    Withnail and I is utter fucking shite and all copies should be burned so as to save the rest of the world from having this festering eyesore forced upon them by the small-minded tastless fuckwits who seem to have it in their heads that because it's British and has a fucking Dr Who in it that it must be funny.

    Did I ladle enough hatred in there?

  • Airplane has the benefit of appealing to a wider audience. Slapstick always goes down well, especially when everyone has had a tipple. That said, it gets old fast. Withnail and I is in familiar territory for students and anyone who's been unemployed (often one and the same), and as Chanster pointed out, a perfect excuse to get completely legless.

    I would vote for…Spaceballs.

  • two fucking Doctor Whos…sorta,

    But yeah, Airplane! is by far the better movie. And actually, I'd cite Airplane II as one of the most consistent-sequels-not- produced-by-the-original-team ever.

    People tend to like Withnail in a second-hand 'people-who-i-want-to-be-like-like-it- so-i-should-too' kind of way.

    A bit like Blade Runner.


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