Where to Watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles – All You Need To Know.

Are you wondering where to watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles? Are you looking for a fun and heartfelt movie to watch on Thanksgiving Day? You can watch the 1987 American movie on stream on fuboTV, AMC+ Amazon Channel, AMC+, DIRECTV, Sling TV, Spectrum On Demand, and HBO Max.

where to watch planes trains and automobiles

Additionally, you can also watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles by renting or buying the movie on different channels like Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Vudu, Microsoft Store, Redbox, AMC on Demand, Apple iTunes, and DIRECTV. Accordingly, the rental price starts at $2.99, and buying the movie would cost you around $9.99 to $14.99.

We’ve always heard people watching the same movie or series during special occasions like Christmas Day. However, did you know that some families have an annual tradition of watching Planes, Trains & Automobiles every Thanksgiving Day?

Let’s learn more about the movie.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles Summary

The Planes, Trains & Automobiles is a 1987 American comedy movie written, directed, and produced by John Hughes. Its main stars are Steve Martin as Neal Page and John Candy as Del Griffith. Subsequently, they share a three-day adventure full of misfortunes to get Neal to Chicago in time for the family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

The movie received critical acclaim and praise for Hughes for branching out from his comfort zone of teen comedies.

Finally, both Steve Martin and John Candy embodied themselves into their characters which brought out the comedy, heart, and truth in the movie.

thanksgiving travel


The cast includes Steve Martin as Neal Page, John Candy as Del Griffith, Laila Robins as Susan Page (wife), Olivia Burnette as Marti Page (daughter), Matthew Lawrence Neal Page, Jr. (son), Dylan Baker as Owen, and Lulie Newcomb as Owen’s wife.

Additionally, there’s Michael McKean as State Trooper, Larry Hankin as Doobie, Richard Herd as Walt, Diana Dill as Peg, Charles Tyner as Gus Mooney, Lyman Ward as John, and William Windom as Mr. Bryant (uncredited).

Also, there’s Kevin Bacon as the man running for a taxi, Edie McClurg as the car rental agent, and Bill Erwin as the man on the plane.

Lastly, there’s Ben Stein as the Wichita airport representative and Martin Ferrero as the second motel clerk.


Neal Page is on a business trip in New York City as an advertising executive. With an indecisive client and a late-running business meeting, Neal was eager to go home before Thanksgiving Day in Chicago.

Also, Neal has a stroke of horrible luck in getting a cab. He bribes the man who happened to hail a cab but was later taken by a different man. When Neal arrives at JFK Airport, he discovers that his flight has been delayed.

While he was waiting, he meets Del Griffith who’s an overweight man that’s selling shower curtain rings. He recognizes that this was the same man who “stole” his cab earlier.

To Del’s delight and Neal’s annoyance, they were both assigned seats next to each other. Their plane diverted to Wichita and had to wait overnight because of a blizzard in Chicago. With Neal unable to get a room for himself, Del successfully gets a room.

Neal hesitantly accepts Del’s invitation to share the room. While checking in, Del mistakenly uses Neal’s credit card. Inside the hotel room, they both argue about each one’s behavior, but make peace and share a double-sized bed. While they were sleeping, an intruder stole all their cash overnight.

The next day, their flight is still delayed and Neal buys two train tickets heading to Chicago but in separate cars. However, while traveling, the locomotive breaks down and stops near Jefferson City, Missouri which leaves all the passengers stranded. Neal saw and helped Del who was struggling with his trunk, and they both reunited again.

jfk airport thanksgiving

Halfway Through the Movie

The two travel to St. Louis on a bus. On the way, Del can sell some of his curtain rings as earrings and raises quick cash. Over lunch, Neal offends Del, and the two of them part ways again.

At St. Louis airport, Neal tries to rent a car but doesn’t get it when he goes to the parking lot. He returns to the airport and offends the car agent with his profanity-filled tirade. He then attempts to book a taxi heading to Chicago but insults the driver and punches Neal.

By coincidence, Del comes to the scene of the chaos with a rented car and takes Neal with him. They both argue while on the way to Chicago. During nightfall, Del drives in the wrong direction and nearly gets both of them killed. They park on the side of the road while composing themselves.

After carelessly discarding his cigarette, Del sets the interior car on fire. Neal gloats on Del because of the cost of damages, but Del reveals that he used Neal’s credit card and used it for the car rental. The fire destroys both of their cards and Neal barters his watch to get a motel room, but only for himself.

With Del left with nothing, he tries to sleep in the roofless, half-burnt car. Neal feels sympathy for Del and invites him to his room. They both share Del’s miniature liquor bottles and reminisce on the events they both experienced over the last two days.

busy airport on thanksgiving


The following day, they drive to Chicago with their damaged rental car. After several drives, the police impounded their car and deemed it unroadworthy. Del, using his salesman skills, persuades a truck driver to take them to Chicago. They both sit on the semi’s refrigerated trailer.

At Chicago “L” station, Neal genuinely thanks Del for helping him get home. As Neal rides a train to their neighborhood, he recalls Del’s odd silent moments and comments. He realizes that Del wasn’t trying to get home himself.

Neal returns to the station and finds Del sitting. Del explains to Neal that he doesn’t have a home to return to and the wife he’s talking about died eight years ago. Nel happily brings Del home and introduces him to his family. They all enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.

In the post-credits scene, it shows the client who Neal was talking to back in New York City. The client was still in the conference room, partially eating his Thanksgiving dinner, and trying to decide which ad to use.


Planes, Trains & Automobiles only took 85 days to film, which was mostly in South Dayton, New York, and Batavia, New York. Originally, the film was able to film a huge amount of footage than what the screenplay needed. The first cut of the movie was three hours and forty-five minutes long.

They cut the sub-plot of Neal’s wife suspecting him of having other women and not believing him of getting stuck in a blizzard. The first film screening received negative feedback. The audience perceived Neal as a pushover and Del as a freeloader.

To address these issues, the editor and director restored the sub-plot regarding their credit card mix-up. They also included a dialog showing the intention of Del repaying Neal.

There was a scene where it shows St. Louis which took place at Lambert International Airport. Additionally, the scene in St. Louis was filmed at Lambert International Airport. Lastly, they also filmed in Braidwood, Illinois at the Sun Motel.

busy airport crowd during thanksgiving holiday


The movie was first shown in American theaters on November 25, 1987, which was a Wednesday before the year’s Thanksgiving Day. Over the weekend, it finished third with a grossing amount of $7,009,482. On its sixth day, the grossing grew to $10,131,242 and stayed in the top ten movies for seven weeks straight. On January 22, 1988, the movie was able to finish its American twelve-week run with $49,530,280.

The overall production budget was $15 million. They released the movie in the United Kingdom on February 12, 1988, and topped the box office over the weekend.


The Planes, Trains & Automobiles film provided John Hughes with the change in repertoire that he needed. From teen angst filmmaker to adult comedy.

Siskel & Ebert

The film received two thumbs up and Gene Siskel declared it the best role by John Candy.

Rotten Tomatoes

Based on 62 critics, the Planes, Trains & Automobiles has a rating of 92%. Its average score is 7.90/10. The overall consensus states that “Thanks to the impeccable chemistry between Steve Martin and John Candy, as well as a deft mix of humor and heart, Planes, Trains & Automobiles is a hilarious, heartfelt holiday classic.”


Based on 22 critics, the film has a rating of 72% and is summarized as “generally favorable reviews.”


The site gives a grade of “B+” on a scale of A to F.

Robert Ebert

The movie is featured in Robert Ebert’s “Great Movies” collection. Ebert mentioned that the film “is perfectly cast and soundly constructed, and all else follows naturally. Steve Martin and John Candy don’t play characters; they embody themselves. That’s why the comedy, which begins securely planted in the twin genres of the road movie and the buddy picture, is able to reveal so much heart and truth.”

thanksgiving train travel

DVD Talk

Casey Burchby said, “John Hughes, like many other filmmakers who specialized in comedy during the 1980s, knew how to explore a varied range of tines in crafting a full-bodied movie that went well beyond the one-note comedies that are par for the course.

Hughes took comedy sub-genre such as the teen film, the buddy movie, the family comedy, and the road film, and boosted these flattened-out, cliché-bound stories with robust characters capable of generating believably absurd cinematic situations.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles displays Hughes’ powers at their height, as well as Steve Martin and John Candy in two of their very best roles.”

Leonard Maltin

Called the movie a “bittersweet farce,” while adding that Hughes “refuses to make either one (Martin or Candy) a caricature – which keeps this amiable film teetering between slapstick shenanigans and compassionate comedy.” Maltin also added that the movie was “hurt by an awful music score.


Planes, Trains & Automobiles‘ soundtrack features a mix of pop, rock and roll, and country. Additionally, Ira Newborn made the musical score with extensive use of the folk song “Red River Valley” which includes a cover of Johnny and the Hurricane’s rock and roll version, “Red River Rock”, performed by the British group Silicon Teens.

You’ll also hear the cover version of “Back in Baby’s Arms” which was performed by Emmylou Harris and popularized by Patsy Cline. “Mess Around” was also used in the movie which was written by Ahmet Ertegun and performed by Ray Charles. “Six Days on the Road” was performed by Steve Earle & The Dukes in a cover version.

Additionally, you’ll hear the contemporary pop song “Modigliani (Lost in Your Eyes)” by Book of Love which used both the Requiem Mass Remix and original single for the movie. By John Hughes’ request, a band recorded a special instrumental version of the “Power to Believe” by The Dream Academy as the unofficial theme by Del Griffith.

Also, Blue Room performed a cover song of “Every time You Go Away” for the final scene and credits of the movie. The complete soundtrack album was first released in 1987 as a compact disc and physical vinyl but is now out of print. Now, it’s available for download on iTunes.

Take note that “Power to Believe” and “Every time You Go Away” is not included on the album. However, it featured the original version of “Power to Believe” with lyrics.

In 2014, they released the instrumental version of the “Power to Believe” when The Dream Academy included it on their compilation album “The Morning Lasted All Day: A Retrospective”.

crazy thanksgiving traffic on the roads

Where to Watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles for Free?

You can watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles for free when you subscribe to different channels. If you’re already a subscriber to the Live TV service, you may already have access to the movie using fuboTV.

By subscribing to Amazon Prime, you will have access to the movie on AMC+ Amazon Channel and AMC+. You can also stream the film from premium subscriptions on DIRECTV, Sling TV, HBO Max, and Spectrum on Demand.

Where to Watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles (Paid)?

As mentioned earlier, you can watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles by renting or buying the film.

You can rent and watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles on the following channels:

  • Amazon Video – $2.99
  • Google Play Movies – $2.99
  • YouTube – $2.99
  • Vudu – $2.99
  • Microsoft Store – $2.99
  • Redbox – $2.99
  • AMC on Demand – $2.99
  • Apple iTunes – $3.99
  • DIRECTV – $3.99

Also, you can buy and watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles on the following channels:

  • Amazon Video – $9.99
  • Google Play Movies – $9.99
  • YouTube – $9.99
  • Vudu – $9.99
  • Microsoft Store – $9.99
  • Redbox – $12.99
  • AMC on Demand – $12.99
  • Apple iTunes – $12.99
  • DIRECTV – $14.99

Is Planes, Trains & Automobiles on Netflix?

Unfortunately, Planes, Trains & Automobiles is not on Netflix. However, it’s available only on Canadian Netflix which was first shown on May 25, 2021. If you’re looking for other funny Steve Martin movies this holiday season, you can watch his other films on Netflix.

Subsequently, some of his movies include Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget For The Rest of Your Life and Home.

Is Planes, Trains & Automobiles on Hulu?

Just like Netflix, Planes, Trains & Automobiles is not available for streaming on Hulu. However, you can watch other Steve Martin movies here like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Bowfinger, Only Murders in the Building, and The Out of Towners.

Where to Watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles – Conclusion

You can watch the movie Planes, Trains & Automobiles on stream by subscribing to your preferred channels. This includes fuboTV, AMC+ Amazon Channel, AMC+, DIRECTV, Sling TV, Spectrum On Demand, and HBO Max. Additionally, you can rent or buy the movie on Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Vudu, Microsoft Store, Redbox, AMC on Demand, Apple iTunes, and DIRECTV.