Study Guide

Airplane! Director

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We kinda wonder if they all got together because of the cool acronym their last names made (ZAZ).

Though Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker started out primarily as writers, the trio turned out to be terrific directors, too. After the success of Kentucky Fried Movie, the studio handed them the reins for Airplane!. The ZAZ team would go on to direct two more films together: 1984's Top Secret and 1986's Ruthless People.

Though the trio would continue to write together throughout the '80s and '90s, Ruthless People would mark the last time ZAZ directed together as a threesome. Their next biggest hit, The Naked Gun, featured only David Zucker as director. David would go on to direct several more successful comedies, including The Naked Gun 2½,the Trey Parker and Matt Stone vehicle BASEketball, and Scary Movie 3 and 4.

While Jim Abrahams hasn't exactly been prolific in the post-ZAZ years, Jerry Zucker had tremendous success in 1990 with Ghost and went on to direct another modest hit in 2001, Rat Race.

Airplane!, however, catches the trio as a team, at the height of their creative prowess, showcasing their unusual three-pronged directorial style before they went their separate ways.

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