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View from the Top is a 2003 romantic comedy film about a young woman from a small town who sets out to fulfill her dream of becoming a flight attendant. The film was directed by Bruno Barreto, and stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Christina Applegate, and Mark Ruffalo.

Main cast


Donna is a girl from a small town who wishes to see the world. She reads a book by Sally Weston, My Life in the Sky and decides to follow her destiny by becoming a flight attendant. Her first position is at a small, seedy commuter airline but this success builds her confidence up and encourages her to attend open interviews for Royalty Airlines. She convinces her two co-workers, Sherry and Christine, to join her. While Christine and Donna get in, Sherry does not. Donna puts her heart and soul into the training camp, and, after meeting her idol Sally Weston, she is determined to be assigned to the top route, "Paris, First Class, International". Alas, when the assignments are posted, Donna is shocked to discover that she has been assigned to a commuter route in Clevelandmarker. Christine, who had initially struggled with the material and procedures, has inexplicably been assigned the high-priority New Yorkmarker route.

By chance, Donna runs into Christine in Cleveland. Donna knows from previous experience that Christine has stolen things from people's homes but is still shocked when Christine empties her handbag to reveal all manner of Royalty Air items. Even the smallest theft is strictly prohibited by Royalty Airlines, and could mean termination. Still sure there was some sort of error in her route assignment, Donna turns to Sally Weston for help. Through a course of events, Donna discovers that Christine had switched their test booklets when they were being handed up to their trainer - Christine's route assignment is rightfully Donna's, and vice versa. When Sally asks to have airline security spy on Christine's flight - to see if she stole any property (a code blue) - Christine gets caught. Donna gets the chance to re-take her exam and achieves a perfect score, assigning her the New York, First Class, International route. However, following her "destiny" means deciding between a boyfriend and her career. She chooses her career.

Though she gets all that she wants - Paris, first class, etc. - Donna realizes that she is still not happy. She misses her boyfriend in Cleveland terribly, and with Sally Weston's encouragement, she returns to Cleveland to meet him. She does, and after a heartfelt speech to his deaf grandmother, which he overhears, the two kiss and make up. The movie ends with Donna wishing her passengers well as they land in Cleveland. She has become a Royalty Airlines pilot even though there was nothing in her life or the script to suggest that she was at all interested in flying planes.


  • At the end of the credits there are a few deleted scenes.
  • There is a cameo of George Kennedy. The veteran of the Airport movies (Airport (1970), etc) is the man in first class who declines Donna's offer of champagne and caviar.
  • The film wrapped in 2001 and was originally scheduled for a Christmas 2001 release. However, after the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, the studio felt it was not appropriate to release a comedy that made light of airline flight crews. After another year on the shelf and another round of edits, which cut out cameo appearances by Robert Stack and Regis Philbin, the film was finally released in spring 2003.
  • The segment where the trainee flight attendants at Royalty Airlines are undergoing training by Mike Myers' character included a lesson on how to deal with terrorists. The scene was cut from the film and was not included on the DVD release as a deleted scene.
  • Although this film wrapped in 2001, a 5 euro bank note is shown in a scene where Donna writes postcards in Paris. The euro was launched as a physical currency unit on January 1, 2002.
  • The DVD includes a special supplement about the history of the flight attendant.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow later had a cameo role in Mike Myers's Austin Powers in Goldmember
  • The fictional Royalty Airlines company in the film is loosely based on the real Continental Airlines with allusions and similarities as follows: Royalty Express instead of Continental Express; Royalty has hubs in Dallas, TX, and New York, NY, compared to Continental's Houston, TX, and Newark, NJ, hubs; both share an Express hub in Cleveland, OH; both have their training center at their Texas hub; both pride themselves on in-flight excellence; Royalty has light blue uniforms while Continental has dark blue; Royalty's "R" inside-a-square logo resembles Continental's globe inside-a-square logo; flight attendants at both consider the international route to Paris as one of the most desirable; many of the in-flight policies of Royalty are same or very similar to those of Continental; both airlines bake cookies for passengers in first class on domestic flights. The airline also parallels the now-defunct Braniff International Airways, another Texas-based airline, with its brightly-colored and whimsical airplane decor and stewardess uniforms.
  • Paltrow calls the film a "terrible movie" that Harvey Weinstein talked her into starring in. She puts the film into the 'shite' category of films that she has acted in, meaning she took the role only for the paycheck.


  1. Where the heart is | Interviews | Guardian Unlimited Film

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