Top 10 Hijacking Movies



Top 10 Hijacking Movies

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Nolan Moore.

Nobody move! We're taking over your computer screen! Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 hijacking movies. For this list, we're looking at movies where hijacking is essential to the plot. The hijacking must also take place in a vehicle such as a car, boat or plane. One or more villains must also be inside the vehicle to make the hijacking eligible.

Special thanks to our users kenn1987, MikeMJPMUNCH and Jaime Enrique Gutierrez Pérez for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
Script written by Nolan Moore.

Top 10 Hijacking Movies

Nobody move! We’re taking over your computer screen! Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 hijacking movies.

For this list, we’re looking at movies where hijacking is essential to the plot – so no “The Dark Knight.” A hijacking can take place on a boat, a plane, or in a car - so “Die Hard 2” doesn’t count as the baddies are in an airport, not an airplane. It’s also important that one or more villains actually take control of the vehicle, so “Speed” won’t make the cut since Dennis Hopper never makes it inside the bus.

#10: “The Delta Force” (1986)

In this 1980s action flick, Chuck Norris plays Captain Scott McCoy, a member of the special ops unit known as Delta Force. When Lebanese terrorists hijack a commercial airline, Norris hops on his missile-launching motorcycle and starts taking out the bad guys. But this movie isn’t just explosions and machine guns. The scenes inside the plane are incredibly tense, probably because the movie is based on the real-life hijacking of TWA Flight 847. Basically, “The Delta Force” is a big-time revenge fantasy. Take that, terrorists!

#9: “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” (1974)

When four men with machine guns board a New York subway train, things get claustrophobic fast. Led by the calculating Mr. Blue, the look-alike crooks want a million dollars in one hour…or else. On the other end of the line is an ordinary transit cop, a regular guy forced to think fast and buy some extra time. It’s a classic thriller and a snapshot of 1970s New York. It also influenced Quentin Tarantino, who borrowed the bad guys’ nicknames for his heist film, “Reservoir Dogs.”

#8: “Passenger 57” (1992)

Any “Blade” fans in the audience? Well, if you like watching Wesley Snipes beat up on vampires, then you should thank “Passenger 57” because this is the film that launched Snipes’ career as an action star. As an airline security expert, Snipes finds himself on board a plane with a vicious criminal mastermind who doesn’t particularly enjoy prison life. When the baddie breaks loose and unleashes a reign of terror, it’s up to Snipes to bring him down while dishing out action hero words of wisdom.

#7: “Under Siege” (1992)

Roger Ebert called this action flick “Die Hard Goes to Sea,” and there’s nothing wrong with that. When a group of terrorists storm a navy battleship, they kill the captain and imprison the crew…only they forget about the cook who’s actually a former Navy SEAL. Basically, he can do a lot more with a knife than chop carrots. With impressive fight scenes and fantastically hammy performances by Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey, “Under Siege” is Steven Seagal’s biggest commercial and critical hit to date.

#6: “Executive Decision” (1996)

At first, it seems like any other pre-9/11 hijacking. A terrorist takes over a plane and starts making demands. Only this isn’t your typical hostage situation. This bad guy plans on detonating a bomb full of nerve gas over the eastern seaboard. Unfortunately, he’s up against the combined forces of Kurt Russell and Steven Seagal. He’s so outclassed we almost feel sorry for him. But twenty minutes and one shocking twist later, we guarantee “Executive Decision” will have you on the edge of your seat.

#5: “The Sugarland Express” (1974)

A year before he directed “Jaws,” Steven Spielberg burst onto the scene with this tense Texas drama. When the state takes her son, Lou Jean Poplin breaks her husband out of jail, and the two set out to steal their boy back. But things get complicated when they hijack a police car and kidnap a state trooper. Sparking the craziest car chase ever, the hijackers become instant celebrities…only they’re headed straight for a Lone Star showdown. And what’s really crazy is it’s based on a true story.

#4: “United 93” (2006)

Released five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, “United 93” is a harrowing look at what happened on that fateful day. While the film cuts between air traffic controllers and military command centers, the real story takes place aboard Flight 93 as the frightened passengers prepare to take back the plane. With a minimal score, effective shaky cam, and a cast of unknown actors—including people who were actually there—“United 93” feels almost like a documentary and powerfully captures the gut-wrenching horror of 9/11.

#3: “Con Air” (1997)

Now here’s a movie that’s just plain awesome. After being jailed for manslaughter and earning parole, ex-Army Ranger Cameron Poe finds himself on a transport plane with “every creep and freak in the universe.” Things go south when the jailbirds revolt, and Poe finds himself trapped in a life-or-death game with supervillain Cyrus “The Virus” Grissom. Seriously, this movie has everything from an insane chase through Las Vegas to Steve Buscemi in a seemingly Hannibal Lecter-inspired mask. What’s not to love? Just don’t mess with Nicolas Cage’s stuffed bunny.

#2: “Air Force One” (1997)

It’s Harrison Ford versus Gary Oldman in this no-holds barred action flick. President James Marshall finds himself in a tricky situation when terrorists hijack Air Force One and demand the release of their leader. Should he negotiate to free his wife and daughter? Or should he go hardcore commander-in-chief and veto their plans personally? As he’s a Medal of Honor-winning Vietnam vet, we’ll choose the latter. While he picks off the terrorists one by one, Harrison Ford proves he’s the greatest president America never had.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- “Non-Stop” (2014)
- “Flightplan” (2005)
- “Dead Calm” (1989)
- “Turbulence” (1997)

#1: “Captain Phillips” (2013)

Taking our top spot is another gritty drama from director Paul Greengrass, the man behind “United 93.” Sharing a few similarities with 2012’s “A Hijacking,” “Captain Phillips” follows a no-nonsense mariner who’s trapped in a real-life horror movie when Somali pirates board his ship. After demanding a heavy ransom, the gang takes Phillips hostage, leading to one of the most nail-biting climaxes you’ll ever see. Despite controversy surrounding the film’s accuracy, “Captain Phillips” is loaded with nerve-wracking suspense and features amazing performances from Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi.

Do you agree with our list? What are your favorite hijacking movies? For more incredible top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to
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