Washington Dulles International Airport is a movie star! The Eero Saarinen designed terminal which opened in 1962 has featured in a number of Hollywood movies.
Passing through the airport after seeing it on screen is quite something as it hasn’t really changed that much. Just like another movie star airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Dulles has some unique features which makes it suitable for film.
Airport 1975 Movie Star
Starring Charlton Heston, Karen Black and George Kennedy, Airport 1975 showcases Washington Dulles at the beginning of the picture very well. Opening with Karen Black walking through the terminal, you see quite a lot.
A possible reason for Dulles being chosen is because it was not that busy. In 1975, the airport served 2.5 million passengers compared to Washington National’s 11.7 million.
The only real change between then and now is that the terminal is larger and there are concourses on the field. No longer is all boarding through mobile lounges, though they are still in use for international arrivals.
Airport ’77 at Washington Dulles
A couple of years later, Airport ’77 arrived in cinemas. Starring Jack Lemmon, James Stewart, Olivia de Havilland, Brenda Vaccaro, George Kennedy and Joseph Cotten it also featured the airport.
As opposed to the previous movie, this one barely shows the airport at all, but they mention it often enough. The original terminal was doubled in size from 600 feet to the original design specification of 1,240 feet in 1996. The difference is noticable.
The Concorde: Airport ’79
Also featuring Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, the final installment in the Airport series also has scenes at Dulles. Starring Alain Delon, Susan Blakely, Robert Wagner and George Kennedy, this movie was a flop at the box office.
Airport ’79 is worth seeing due to the shots of Concorde throughout the picture. Otherwise, it’s a strange mix of comedy and drama, which is a bit like life, I guess!
Washington Dulles is definitely a movie star airport. Though the classic Christmas film Die Hard 2 is supposedly set at Dulles, it was in fact shot in Los Angeles at the airport there.
Are there any other movies you know featuring Washington Dulles? Did you enjoy seeing the terminal back in the day? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Joe Ravi via Wikimedia Commons.
All other images copyright Universal Pictures.