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Based on Arthur Hailey's best-selling novel, Airport is more or less a soap opera, set in a major urban airport and on an airplane, that accidentally became the blueprint for a slew of big-budget disaster movies in the 1970s, including three sequels to this one alone. Mel Bakersfeld (Burt Lancaster) is the harried airport manager whose wife (Dana Wynter) has just discovered that he's been having an affair with his assistant (Jean Seberg). Meanwhile, Bakersfeld's brother-in-law, pilot Vernon Demarest (Dean Martin) has problems of his own, having just impregnated a stewardess (Jacqueline Bisset). But this all takes a back seat when a mad bomber (Van Heflin) detonates an explosive on the plane Demarest is piloting, imperiling all aboard as he attempts to land the crippled aircraft in a ferocious blizzard. All this catastrophe changes the lives of all involved as they face possible death. The movie mostly takes itself seriously, although the performances by Heflin and stowaway Helen Hayes, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, go over the top and beyond, lending some levity to all the melodramatic goings-on.