Steve Martin Still Gets Emotional About This ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’ Moment

Right from 1979’s The Jerk, it was clear Steve Martin was a star. And the actor continued to thrive in movies for decades afterward. However, a handful of hits has continued to rise above the pack. Martin himself has long considered 1987’s Planes, Trains, and Automobiles among his very best work. In fact, the actor reportedly still gets emotional because of one particular line of dialogue delivered by his co-star, the late John Candy.

Steve Martin and John Candy sit in a destroyed car in 'Planes, Trains & Automobiles'
Steve Martin and John Candy | Paramount

Steve Martin and John Candy struck a friendship on the set

Candy and Martin famously became fast friends on the set of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. The film — written and directed by John Hughes (The Breakfast Club) — stars Martin as an executive struggling to make it home for Thanksgiving. In his travels, he is joined by Candy as a salesman who he develops a complicated friendship with.

Fans of Hughes, Martin, and Candy often consider Planes, Trains, and Automobiles one of the best movies any of them ever made. And it’s heartening that Martin and Candy’s bond onscreen mirrors how the two stars connected during the making of the movie. Of course, Candy’s death in 1994 makes his character’s arc all the more tragic.

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Steve Martin finds this line of dialogue poignant many years later

Martin’s love for Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is certainly only enhanced by the friendship he shared with Candy. In fact, the book Wild and Crazy Guys: How the Comedy Mavericks of the ’80s Changed Hollywood Forever by Nick de Semlyen (via Express) sheds some light on an unscripted moment that has a profound effect on Martin. Candy frequently impressed the actor with his ad-libs, and the pair had a blast goofing off in between takes.

However, there’s a moment toward the end of the film that stands out. After explaining that his wife died years ago, Del (Candy) tells Neal (Martin) that he attached himself to strangers to cope with his grief. And according to the book, Candy added the line “But this time I couldn’t let go.” As de Semlyen writes, “Martin would still shed a tear remembering the heartfelt confession” years after Candy’s death.

Is ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’ streaming anywhere?

Over the years, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles has become even more beloved. The film was a box office hit upon its initial release, bringing in $49 million against a $15 million production budget according to Box Office Mojo. But it’s also become go-to holiday viewing for many fans of Hughes, Martin, and Candy, particularly at Thanksgiving.

Fans who have yet to check out Planes, Trains, and Automobiles — or who want to revisit the movie — can do so now. The movie is currently streaming exclusively on Paramount+. The comedy also stands as one of the best-reviewed movies for just about everyone involved.

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