Snakes on a Plane is a 2006 American action horror film directed by David R. Ellis and starring Samuel L. Jackson. It was released by New Line Cinema on August 18, 2006, in North America. The film was written by David Dalessandro, John Heffernan, and Sebastian Gutierrez and follows the events of hundreds of snakes being released on a passenger plane in an attempt to kill a trial witness.
After witnessing California-based gang boss Eddie Kim brutally beat U.S. Prosecutor Daniel Hayes to death in Hawaii, Sean Jones is escorted by FBI agents Neville Flynn and John Sanders on a Boeing 747-400 to testify in a trial in Los Angeles. Despite increased security for the flight, Kim arranges for a time-release crate full of venomous snakes to be placed in the cargo hold in an attempt to bring down the plane before it reaches Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). To ensure the snakes attack the passengers without the need for provocation, he has one of his henchmen disguised as an airport ground employee spray the passengers' leis with a special pheromonewhich makes the snakes highly aggressive. The crate opens midway through the flight and the snakes make their way through the cabin. A couple having sex in a bathroom, and a man using another bathroom are the first killed. The plane's captain, Sam McKeon, investigates and fixes an electrical short, but is killed by the viper that caused it. Co-pilot Rick, unaware of the snake, believes Sam has suffered a heart attack and continues toward LAX.
Some of the snakes attack Rick, and while fending them off he accidentally releases the oxygen masks throughout the plane, causing several snakes to drop into the cabin with them. Numerous passengers, including Agent Sanders, are killed when the snakes invade the cabin. The surviving passengers, who have made their way to the front of the plane, put up blockades of luggage in a desperate attempt to stop the snakes. Rick is attacked and the plane starts to dip downwards, causing a food trolley to crash through the luggage blockade. The passengers flee to the upstairs first class cabin before blocking the stairwell with an inflatable liferaft. Agent Flynn and Flight Attendant Claire regain control of the plane. Rick retakes the controls and has Flynn go into the cargo hold to restore the air conditioning/ventilation system. Agent Flynn contacts FBI Special Agent Hank Harris on the ground, who gets in touch with ophiologist Dr. Steven Price, Customs' main source for animal smuggling cases. Based on pictures of the reptiles emailed to him via a passenger's mobile phone, Price believes a Los Angeles snake dealer known for illegally importing exotic and highly dangerous snakes to be responsible. After a shootout, the dealer is bitten by one of his snakes and Harris withholds the antivenom if he does not give them details. The dealer finally reveals that Kim hired him to obtain the snakes and adds how the latter managed to smuggle them on board the plane. Price injects the injured dealer with the antivenom and commandeers his supply of antivenom for the victims on the plane based on the list given to him, while Harris gives orders to have Eddie Kim arrested on multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.
Harris contacts Flynn, telling him that antivenom will be ready for the passengers when they land. However, Flynn discovers that the cockpit is filled with snakes and Rick is dead. After a brief discussion, Troy, Three Gs' bodyguard, agrees to land the plane based on prior flight experience. After everyone gets prepared, Flynn shoots out two windows with his pistol, causing the plane to depressurize. The snakes are blown out of the cockpit and the lower floor of the plane. Flynn and Troy take the controls of the plane and Troy reveals that his flight experience was from a video game flight simulator. Despite his lack of real-world experience, after Troy makes an emergency landing, the plane makes it to the terminal. The passengers leave the plane and antivenom is given to those who need it. Just as Flynn and Sean are about to disembark the plane, a final snake jumps out and bites Sean in the chest. Flynn draws his gun and shoots the snake, and paramedics rush to Sean, who is unharmed due to his wearing a ballistic vest. As a token of gratitude, Sean later takes Flynn to Bali and teaches him how to surf.
- Samuel L. Jackson as Agent Neville Flynn, an FBI agent assigned to protect Sean Jones on his flight to Los Angeles.
- Julianna Margulies as Claire Miller, a flight attendant.
- Nathan Phillips as Sean Jones, a surfer and dirtbike racer who witnesses a brutal murder committed by Eddie Kim.
- Bobby Cannavale as Special Agent Henry "Hank" Harris, Flynn's contact in Los Angeles.
- Flex Alexander as Clarence "Three Gs", a germophobic famous rapper.
- Todd Louiso as Dr. Steven Price, a snake venom expert assigned by the FBI to communicate with Flynn.
- Sunny Mabrey as Tiffany, a flight attendant who develops a crush on Sean.
- Kenan Thompson as Troy, Clarence's bodyguard.
- Rachel Blanchard as Mercedes Harbont, a socialite passenger who brings her pet ChihuahuaMary-Kate aboard.
- Lin Shaye as Grace, the senior flight attendant who acts as the flight's purser.
- David Koechner as Richard "Rick", Captain McKeon's co-pilot.
- Elsa Pataky as Maria, a Hispanic passenger who travels with her infant daughter Isabella.
- Keith Dallas as Big Leroy, Clarence's bodyguard.
- Mark Houghton as Agent John Sanders, Flynn's colleague assigned to protect Sean Jones.
- Tom Butler as Captain Samuel "Sam" McKeon, the captain of the plane.
- Byron Lawson as Eddie Kim, a crime syndicate leader.
- Taylor Kitsch as Kyle, a young man who boards the plane with his girlfriend.
- Samantha McLeod as Kelly, a young woman who boards the plane with her boyfriend.
- Kevin McNulty as Emmett Bradley, an air traffic tower controller
The story is credited to David Dalessandro, a University of Pittsburgh administrator and first-time Hollywood writer. He developed the concept in 1992 after reading a nature magazine article about Indonesian brown tree snakes climbing onto planes in cargo during World War II. He originally wrote the screenplay about the brown tree snake loose on a plane, titling the film Venom. He soon revised it, expanding upon the premise to include a plague of assorted venomous snakes, then—crediting the film Aliens—revised it once again to include "lots of them loose in the fuselageof a plane." Dalessandro's third draft of Venom was turned down by more than 30 Hollywood studios in 1995. In 1999, a producer for MTV/Paramount showed interest in the script, followed up by New Line Studios, which took over the rights for production.