Air Force One Movie Poster Image

Air Force One

Ford makes farfetched action-hero-prez electable.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

They don't get much better than the hero, a strong dad, loving husband, concerned president (who actually dares to set ethical policy and write his own speeches over the heads of Washington hacks) and war hero who is also fearless and heroic. No, you never learn what party he represents, sorry. Secret Service agents are portrayed as courageous and self-sacrificing. A woman vice-president, whose authority and strength is questioned by both the villains and her own government, refuses to cave into pressure.


A lot of gunfire, hand-to-hand combat (resulting in broken necks), and bullet casualties. Airborne explosions and warcraft dogfighting.

Not applicable

The s-word a few times, the f-word once, and "son of a bitch."


Beverage labels, cable news channel names

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that violence in the film includes close-range shootings of innocent hostages, and death threats to women and an adolescent girl. There is also scattered profanity, but in general the R-rating is pretty surprising; seems the MPAA has slapped PG-13s on nastier films than this.

What's the story?

Shortly after the fall of Soviet communism, a U.S. commando team, with Kremlin cooperation, captures an upstart warlord general from his palace in Kazakhstan (this movie was made long before Borat turned poor Kazakhstan into a big joke). In appreciation, U.S. President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) flies with his wife and daughter to Moscow to thank the new Russian government. On the return flight aboard Air Force One, however, ruthless communist gunmen loyal to the deposed general violently hijack the plane, intending to use the First Family to bargain for their leader's release. At first both the marauders and the panicking U.S. authorities believe Marshall ejected in an escape pod -- but the Chief Executive, a Vietnam War hero, has secretly stayed behind on the imperiled plane, where he risks his life fighting back against the terrorists from within.

Is it any good?


This film's thrill-machine goes on at a jet-fueled pace that doesn't let up. Not even a politician would argue lumping AIR FORCE ONE in with the many, many imitators of Die Hard -- "It's Die Hard on a plane with the president!" is probably how the script pitch went -- but it's a well-made cinematic roller-coaster, even when stunts and dangers get over-the-top absurd.

What keeps the picture from crashing are good actors taking this popcorn stuff with utmost seriousness, reminding the viewer it's not just any CIA-Shaolin Temple muscleman-kickboxer-Green Beret-Navy SEAL up there, it's the president. Kudos to Harrison Ford, as not many actors could manage to make James Marshall believable as, all at once, an action hero, caring dad, virile husband, and a righteous and thoughtful Commander-in-Chief -- imagine Rambo) mixed with Josiah Bartlett . But Ford pulls it off. Largely thanks to him, this mayhem actually restores some of old-style Hollywood reverence and awe for the Oval Office, a quality so many films tore down since the 1960s and the Watergate scandal.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the actions undertaken by President Marshall. Should a U.S. president perform lone-wolf heroics like that? You can educate kids about the post-Cold War time period. Going further back, cite presidents who were war heroes and whether that translated into good leadership or not (compare George Washington to Ulysses S. Grant, for example). What did kids think of all the Cabinet bickering about authority and command protocol while President Marshall was in jeopardy?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 25, 1997
DVD/Streaming release date:February 10, 1998
Cast:Glenn Close, Harrison Ford, Wendy Crewson
Director:Wolfgang Petersen
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Run time:125 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byperfectionist December 18, 2009

extremely suspenseful; great movie

awesome movie! Very violent. A little scary too. violence and language is the only thing to watch out for.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 17 years old Written byrafaelg1991 July 3, 2009

e.g. Perfect for older kids, but not for tweens

i love this movie but this movie contains things that kids or some adolescents should not see especially the violence and some bad words like they say the f word 2 times (gary oldman) when he says "get the f**k in the air" and "stop with your f***kin lies" (to harrison ford)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great role models
Adult Written bygarfield2711 June 11, 2010

One of the best action flicks I've seen!

I really enjoyed this film a lot. It had action, suspense, tense moments. I love it. It has some strong violence( but nothing graphic) and some language issues, but for an R rated movie, neither the language nor violence is over the top. This is probably one of the tamest R's I've seen, but some teens, probably shouldn't see it yet. 15 seems about the right age.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models