Turbulence is a 1997 action-disaster film directed by Robert Butler. It stars Ray Liotta and Lauren Holly and was distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
After Ryan Weaver is arrested for a murder that he says he did not commit, he must be transported to Los Angeles to face trial. He and another prisoner are escorted by four air marshals on a Boeing 747 on a commercial flight. Even though it is Christmas Eve, the plane is nearly empty, with only eight people on board. The entire cabin is highly decorated with Christmas trees and other decorations. During the 5 hour flight, Stubbs, the other prisoner being escorted, breaks free and begins a shootout with the marshals. Amidst the chaos, both the pilot and co-pilot are killed. Weaver frees himself and attempts to save the last remaining marshal, but fails when both Stubbs and the marshal are shot dead. Weaver appears to be horrified by the ordeal, increasing the passengers' trust in him. Because of the death of the pilots, Teri Halloran, a stewardess, makes her way into the cockpit and learns she is the only one left capable of keeping the plane from crashing. To make matters worse, the plane is heading for a Category 6 storm. Weaver's behavior becomes increasingly erratic since he apparently got drunk, which means that the alcohol is damaging his brain and driving him crazy. He locks the passengers in the crew's cabin and strangles Maggie, one of the other flight attendants, to death. His motives had become clear to Teri after she spoke, via the plane's radio, with the detective who arrested him. Being the only hope for the plane's survival, Halloran must be instructed by radio how to land. Halloran's first attempt is unsuccessful, with the plane skimming an office building's roof Japanese restaurant and a car park due to Weaver altering with the circuitry in the avionics bay. She then must turn the plane around and leave L.A. airspace. Halloran begs LAX not to have her shot down as a result of her failed first attempt and insists that she can land the plane. At this point, Weaver, completely drunk and crazy, breaks into the cockpit and tries to murder her. Halloran spies one of the marshals' guns, which she uses to fatally shoot Weaver. She returns to the pilot's seat and safely lands the plane. Despite the boasts of Weaver that he killed them all, the passengers are found alive.
- Ray Liotta as Ryan Weaver
- Lauren Holly as Teri Halloran
- Catherine Hicks as Maggie
- Hector Elizondo as Lt. Aldo Hines
- Rachel Ticotin as Rachel Taper
- Brendan Gleeson as Stubbs
- Ben Cross as Captain Samuel Bowen
- Jeffrey DeMunn as Brooks
Despite its box office and critical failure, the film became a trilogy with two new direct-to-video sequels. They are Turbulence 2: Fear of Flying and Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal, each with a different cast and related in premise only.