Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: 47 Differences Between The Film and Script

Last November, we debuted the TRN Drive-In podcast series to review movies. Our inaugural show hosted by Mickey and Jason screened Planes, Trains, and Automobiles at TRN Drive-In. The format of the show made it a truly fun way to dig into the history of a film and also review it with fresh eyes in the modern day.

One of the facts about Planes, Trains, and Automobiles that came to light in the podcast was that director John Hughes’ first cut of the film was three hours and forty-five minutes long. Yes, 225 minutes that was reduced to 93 minutes for the theatrical release. So where is this extra 132 minutes of footage and will Paramount ever give us a true director’s cut release?

While I hope those two questions will be answered in my lifetime, we can fortunately get a peek at the lost footage through the movie script. The final 143-page shooting script is available online and gives us a glimpse into John Hughes complete vision for Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

You may remember that I had the same idea last year and found 47 differences in the Christmas Vacation script when comparing it to the theatrical release. It was such a gratifying experience, finding “lost footage” of my favorite Christmas film, that I simply couldn’t pass up doing it again with another holiday favorite.

Keep in mind that 132 minutes of lost footage is essentially another film so I’m trying to avoid the meticulous task of finding every single difference and concentrate on the major or obvious variations. In all, I’ve again compiled 47 differences between the film and script. Here they are for your enjoyment in chronological order:

“The First Snowflake” Opening Scene

The script calls for an elaborate journey in the opening scene of the movie. “The first snowflake of the first storm of the season” drifts to the ground from the sky, first encountering a commercial airplane at 5,000 feet and then as it approaches Chicago, meets a commuter train and then an automobile. It finally lands on the frozen lawn of a large two-story red brick house (which I assume would be Neal’s house.) The sound of a car horn then takes the film to New York City.

Del’s Trunk Makes an Early Appearance

After Neal’s associate John tells him “You’ll never make the 6” in the elevator, the theatrical release immediately takes us to Neal in a line of people waiting to hail a cab. In the script, there is a cut scene of a huge crowd jammed in the building lobby. Beyond Neal’s vision, the camera zooms to show a log jam of people at the revolving door. An unseen man is struggling to get an old steamer trunk through the doors which causes Neal to divert through a conventional door to avoid the crowd.

No-Go Limo

Another cut scene during this time frame is when Neal makes it to the street, he has a limo waiting to drive him to the airport. As he approaches, the driver gets out and opens the hood to a plume of steam rising from the engine.

$75 $100 For a Cab?

In the theatrical release, Neals pays a lawyer $50 $75 just for the rights to his hailed cab. In the script, Neal fumbles to count out his cash and the lawyer negotiates another $25 out of him to make it an even $100 towards “helping” him to have a happy holiday.

Del Delays at the Airport

There are several cut scenes when Neal makes it to the airport that further builds Del Griffith as a road block. Neal gets in a long line at the ticket counter and we see Del at the front contemplating the simple question from the agent “Smoking or Non-Smoking?” He explains he is trying to quit but if there is turbulence, he may need to calm down. Del also asks the agent if she can confirm he will be receiving his frequent flyer miles because he is “saving for a little weekender in Vegas. I’m a nut for the Oak Ridge Boys and they’re at the Stardust in July.”

Neal finally gets his ticket at the counter and rushes to the security check only to find another long line. Ahead of him being wanded by a security guard is Del. The guard gets a loud reading at Del’s feet. When he lifts up his pant leg, he finds a metal shoe horn sticking out of Del’s loafer. Del says “Son of a gun. I wondered why my damn foot hurt all day.”

Neal finally gets through security and rushes to the gate to find yet another line. Del is at the front of the line again, this time asking if the agent can confirm his special meal. The agent tells him that they can do that on board. He pays the agent and airline several compliments. At this time, Neal sees Del and recognizes him from the cab and leads to the scene which alternately happens at the gate lobby in the movie.

Susan Vents Her Frustration With Neal

In the movie, Neal’s wife Susan is a little more forgiving when he calls her on the phone about the flight delay. He tells her he should be home by 10pm and she says she’ll wait up for him. In the script, she telegraphs Neal’s situation and is more frustrated with him for choosing to travel around the holidays. Neal rolls his eyes and she even scolds him for doing that while still on the phone. She ends the conversation by saying “I’m not arguing on the phone” and hangs up on him.

Del Freshens Up in the Airport Men’s Room

The script has an extended scene at the airport while Neal and Del are waiting for the delayed flight. In the waiting area, Neal reads his newspaper while Del enjoys a cigarette and then proceeds to eat two jumbo hot dogs using mustard packets as a topping. Some time later, Neal is doing a magazine crossword and smells an odor. He looks across at Del to see he has removed his shoes and is now reading an erotic novel. (In the movie, the “My dogs are barking today” scene happens on the plane when Del removes his shoes and socks sitting next to Neal.)

Again later, Neal wakes up from a little nap and looks around to see no sign of Del but cigarette ashes, empty condiment packets, and candy wrappers. Neal gets up to use the men’s room. Upon entering, He sees Del at the sink shaving in his undershirt. Del greets Neal as he turns to use the urinal. Del gives Neal a exposition of airline travel and the city of Chicago. As he turns to ask Neal if he enjoys blues music, Del notices he is gone.

Seat Arrangement Surprise

In the film, Neal complains to the first class stewardess about being assigned to coach. He reluctantly moves to coach to find Del in the seat next to his. This plays out differently in the script. Neal is greeted in coach by a sexy young college girl in the aisle seat next to him. As Neal is striking up a conversation with her and stowing his belongings, the stewardess comes by to tell the college girl she is in the wrong seat. Before Neal realizes she is gone, he turns to find Del sitting next to him.

Del’s Shower Ring Marketing

After Del finds out that Neal is in the marketing business, the script has Del showcasing his shower ring marketing. Del reaches into his briefcase under the seat and pulls out a calendar featuring pictures of nude women holding curtain rings in the shower. Del tells Neal it was his idea and wants him to keep the calendar. Neal initially tries to refuse the calendar but after Del insists since he has plenty of copies, Neal reluctantly takes it.

Hitchcock Nearly Sunk Curtain Ring Sales

After Del pawns the nudie calendar on Neal, the script gives further background on the shower curtain ring business. Del brings up the Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho and “if it weren’t for shower curtain rings, Janet Leigh probably wouldn’t have caught her lunch.” Del goes on to tell that the impact of that scene hurt shower curtain ring sales because people switched to pebble glass shower doors. Del also blames Hitchcock for the drop in parakeet sales after The Birds was released.

The Annoying Blabbermouth

In the theatrical release, Del tells Neal he doesn’t want to be remembered as an “annoying blabbermouth” when waiting for the plane to take off. Beyond the chit chat about Hitchcock, the script has Del continuing to blab about all of the books his read while traveling. After noticing Neal’s crushed briefcase, Del explains that he got his briefcase from his company for closing the US Navy shower ring contract worth $37 million. Neal finally diverts the conversation as Del realizes he indeed has become the aforementioned blabbermouth.

How Many Bucks and Which Nut?

In the theatrical release, Del wakes up leaning on Neal in the darkened airplane cabin saying “six bucks and my right nut says we’re not landing in Chicago.” In the script, this scene does happen but there is an additional scene before the plane takes off with a similar line. Del questions why they haven’t left yet and states “You know why we’re not taking off? Bet you three bucks and my right nut that Chicago’s socked in.”

There’s also a cut scene in the script showing it snowing in Chicago and then at Neal’s house where little Marti asks Susan when her dad will be home and if he’ll be able to see her read her poem at school.

In-Flight Meal

The In-Flight Meal deleted scene from the film is actually available on YouTube. There are some subtle differences to what was scripted. The actor on the other side of Neal is a woman which asks for some items from his plate (and his watch.) The hair trick with the brownie was not in the script.

Mile High Club in First Class

In the script, there is a scene aboard the plane after the meal with the stewardess and pilot in first class. This is the same man that changes the stewardess’ demeanor when Neal is discussing his coach seat assignment. Sitting on the armrest of the seat across the aisle, the stewardess asks if she can get the pilot anything else to eat. The pilot says no and tells her to sit down in the empty seat next to him.

Now, there is nothing but a half page of blank space in the script after she sits down. However, I think the insinuation is there that this scene may have been a “mile high club” moment with the couple to further explain why Neal got booked in coach and why there is an empty seat in first class.

More Arguing With Susan on the Phone

When Neal calls home from Wichita, Susan again shows a much more argumentative demeanor with Neal in the script versus the film. After explaining the redirection, Neal tells her maybe she’ll be better off if the next plane goes down. She doesn’t appreciate his tone as a father and not to come home if he’s gonna bring that attitude. She’s tells him good night and hangs up the phone. She then bangs the pillow next to her in bed and buries herself in the covers. This dialogue makes more sense with Del’s next line (after overhearing Neal’s phone conversation) of “a little trouble on the home front?”

Another Line from Ben Stein

The script adds another line for actor Ben Stein who plays the airline rep at the Wichita airport. After telling the crowd that the flight has been canceled, he says “On behalf of everyone at Mid-Central Air, I’d like to extend my deepest apologies for any inconvenience we may have caused you and wish you the happiest of holidays. Thank you.” While Stein’s smirk after delivering the initial line is enough to indicate his true sincerity, another line just further pads his cheeky apology.

The Chariot of Sin

The script has an extensive description of Doobie and his taxi which were eloquently filmed in the movie. However, the inscription on the side of the car is not “Doobby’s Taxiola” but instead called “The Chariot of Sin.” We also learn that the motel was not “just up the road a piece” as Del described at the airport. The script adds the detail of the cab fare during the scene inside showing $124.50 and still running.

Gus Shares His Life Story

The motel owner Gus Mooney is pretty straight forward in the film, but he’s a little more chatty in the script. When Del greets him at the counter he’s not doing very good saying “Sunday I pissed my pants during 60 Minutes so I guess I gotta go back in for more plumbing work.” He also tells Del he’s got half the Chicago flight booked for the night and wonders why they are letting fat gals be stewardesses these days. He also tells them that an old geezer died in their room last night and had to bring in a new mattress from his brother’s place in Salinas.

In the film, Neal and Del learn that there is only one room and Gus has booked them together. In the script, we learn that Gus has reserved a room for Del but not for Neal. Del invites Neal to bunk with him but he really doesn’t want to impose. Del offers for Neal to pay for the room and then it won’t feel imposing. Neal agrees and then we get the card swap with Neal’s Amex and Del’s discount card. Oh, and Gus requests they help his bookkeeping by registering as a Mr. and Mrs. Page.

Shower Encounter

Neal’s horrific shower experience is even scarier in the script. While he’s showering, he reaches to down to find a very hairy bar of soap. After washing it off, Del enters the bathroom and proceeds to sit on the john. After a minute, the pizza delivery boy knocks on the outer door which Del shouts “I’ll be with you in a minute!” Neal misinterprets Del’s response thinking he’s talking to him. Del flushes the toilet and Neal shrieks at the water temperature change.

The Pizza Boy’s a Perv

In our Drive-In podcast, I had a hunch the boy who sneaks into the room and steals the money from their wallets was the pizza boy. I was right and we get to know the pizza boy much better in the script. First, we know he’s a perv. When Del greets him to pay for the pizza, he notices the bathroom door is open and a silhouette in the shower. He thinks it’s a woman and sneaks past Del to take a peak only to find Neal. The pizza boy quickly closes the bathroom door and then waits for Del to pay him.

We also know the pizza boy’s theft is actually retribution. With a tab of $19, Del pays him $20 (of Neal’s cash) only getting a $1 tip for his “college fund.” The boy complains that he’s only getting a 5% tip with Del responding “You’re good with figures. You’ll do well in college.” Del closes the door on the kid and we find out later the kid is still hanging around later that night, listening to the motel room door, and enters. The script doesn’t specifically describe him taking the money but it’s setup the next day with their wallets empty like the movie.

“The Ugliest Pizza Ever Made”

That’s the description in the script of the pizza Del orders. It includes cheese, sausage, olives, green peppers, jalapenos, kraut, bacon, beans, corn, and anchovies.

Neal Jabs Del Before Lights Out

In the movie, we go from the shower of terror to Del clearing his sinuses in bed. In the script, there is a scene before lights out where Neal vents some frustration about Del using all the towels, toilet paper, and eating all but one slice of pizza. Neal grabs a warm beer to wash his pizza down. He complains again to Del about it being warm, but Del responds “It comes out warm, what the hell difference does it make going in?” Del then asks Neal for a beer and as they simultaneously crack them open, they both explode thanks to Del leaving them on the vibrating bed.

There Are Two Lights On Scenes

In the movie, we get a combination of two “lights on” scenes in the script, plus some cut-away scenes of Neal’s wife Susan staying up late in bed (which aren’t in the script.) In the script, the first “lights on” scene comes when Del lights up a cigarette in bed. Neal turns on the light and complains about being away from home with a stranger and practically paying his way. Del then reveals he paid for the pizza too because he only had a $100 bill and the pizza kid didn’t have change. Neal is frustrated that Del looked through his stuff, but Del justifies he was just trying to prevent sending a punk kid into the bathroom to look at his dick.

Neal continues to push Del about going through his bags but Del makes a point that he wanted to make sure Neal didn’t have a gun since he didn’t know him. He then tells Neal the exact contents on his trunk which includes: “Two suits, Two dirty shirts, some stale shorts, and some skin magazines.” As Del tries to justify having the mags, Neal asks him if he’s finished with his cigarette and they turn out the lights to settle in bed again.

Del begins to clear his sinuses and tells Neal he has to fart which then brings Neal to turn on the lights a second time. Then the “I like me. My wife likes me.” scene which appears in the film happens.

The “Boring Stories” Monologue was Ad-libbed

Neal’s verbal lashing of Del and his boring stories was all ad-libbed by Steve Martin. Reading the vomit bag, sitting through insurance seminars, the Chatty Kathy doll bit, none of it is in the script.

“Those Aren’t Pillows” Line Is Not In The Script

Perhaps the most famous lines from the movie, when Neal and Del find themselves spooning in bed the next morning, is not in the script. The setup is there: “Why are you holding my hand? Why did you kiss my ear? I don’t know. Where’s your other hand?” However, the pay off line is a shout from Neal “Find it, Del!” followed by a simultaneous count to 3 to spring out of bed. And the Chicago Bears talk after the jump out of bed was also not in the script.

Neals Shrunken Suit

In the script, Neal is on the phone with Susan that morning as he’s getting dressed in the motel room. He removes a grey wool suit from a laundry box and notices as he puts on the shirt, the sleeves are 4-inches too short. His pants and suit jacket are also short which is why in the diner scene, he is still wearing the same suit and Del is in fresh clothes. At breakfast we learn it was Del who sent Neal’s suit to the motel laundry service as a favor the night before.

The Hairy Oatmeal

In the film, we see Neal and Del realize that all of there cash is gone in their wallets at the diner. The assumption is that they paid the tab with one of Neal’s credit cards. In the script, this situation is more of a conundrum. They pull out a few crinkled bills and loose change from their pockets but they are still a $1 short of the tab. Del appeals to the waitress that he was charged for oatmeal but didn’t get any and even asks her to smell his breath as proof that he didn’t eat oatmeal. In reality, he gives his oatmeal to Neal at the beginning of the scene because Neal is repulsed at the “Pony Express” ground beef and gravy omelet that Del ordered him.

The waitress specifically remembers bringing the oatmeal to the table because she tells him she pulled a hair out of it “that’d make your arm pit proud.” Neal begins to wretch as Del explains to the waitress that he’s from the Department of Agriculture and the hair violates the health law he’s sworn to uphold. He further explains that her boss could lose his operating license (as Neal continues to wretch) and the waitress tears up the check.

No Checks

In the script, there is some extra dialogue as Neal and Del are waiting for Gus’ son to pick them up. It’s minimal but gives a little insight as to why neither of them carry a checkbook as a means to help pay there way home. Del asks Neal if he has any checks to which Neal replies that Susan keeps the checkbook. Neal asks Del the same question and he says he travels too much to write checks. “99% of them would be out of state and an out of state check is about as welcome as a priest in a whorehouse.”

Owen Asks His Wife and Kids To Ride in the Pickup Bed

We learn pretty quickly that Gus’ son Owen isn’t ashamed to put his wife to work. In the movie, Owen tells the travelers that she’s strong enough to push a baby out sideways without screaming. He even demands that she puts their luggage in the pickup. In the script, he goes a step further and tells her and the kids to ride in the back so Neal and Del can ride up front. Of course, the travelers refuse the offer even though Owen tries to justify that “she resists the cold real good. She already push started the truck this morning.” His wife also gives her only line in the script, “Sometimes I sleep naked.”

Owen then makes another demand that his wife help them into the pickup bed. She exits the truck and gets down on all fours so they can use her back as step stool. They refuse again and Neal gets down on one knee so Del can step up into the bed of the truck.

Del and Neal See Each Other on the Train

In the theatrical release, Neal and Del go their separate ways as they board the train. They don’t meet again until the train has stopped and as the passengers exit, Neal feels compelled to help Del with his trunk across the farm land. In the script, Del finds Neal after visiting the bar car. Eating a bag of peanuts and holding a beer, Del sees Neal sleeping in his seat and carefully grabs Neal jacket under his seat and drapes it across him like a blanket. About that time, the train comes to an abrupt halt and Del spills his beer on Neal’s foot. They exit the train together with Neal shaking his beer-soaked foot the first few steps they take.

No Singing on the Bus

The scene in the film when Del asks the bus passengers if they know any songs is not in the script. Neal sings “Three Coins in a Fountain” to which no-one responds while Del breaks out The Flintstones theme to everyone’s pleasure.

Neal Gets A Reality Check

After they finish their meal at the bus station restaurant and part ways again, Neal heads to the airport to rent a car. In the theatrical release, we pickup with him exiting the courtesy bus to find his car’s parking space is empty. There is an additional scene in the script with Neal waiting for the courtesy bus to arrive. He’s in a great mood at the thought of making it home in time for Thanksgiving after all he’s been through. He strikes up a conservation with a young business man next to him stating “you have no idea what I’ve been through to get here.” The man says the same statement back to Neal with Neal sure that whatever he’s been through doesn’t measure up to his last 48 hours. The man says “I had my foot amputated on Thursday.” Neal tries to change the subject asking if he’s looking forward to the holidays. He replies “Oh very much so. You know, looking on the bright side of things. My feet are only half as cold as yours.”

Subtle Differences at the Rental Counter

This is one difference that the theatrical release got right. Casting Edie McClurg as the rental agent was brilliant. Some may say the scene is most notable for the amount of f— words used by Neal but the real star is Edie. The script specifically states that the agent is a perky young girl. Edie really nailed the role and glad they didn’t cast it differently. Her routine on the phone when Neal walks up is totally ad-libbed with the script just noting the agent happily typing a her computer.

And just for posterity’s sake, I counted the f— word 19 times in the theatrical release which includes Edie’s finale. The script has 22 occurrences.

A Call Home From A Roadhouse

There’s an extended scene in the script that happens once Neal and Del begin traveling down the highway to hell. Back at Neal’s house, the whole family is having dinner including the two sets of grandparents who only make a brief appearance at the end of the film. They are remembering Marti’s performance at school earlier that day when the phone rings. Susan answers and it’s Neal calling from a very loud roadhouse. While trying to talk to Susan, Del emerges from the crowd who is watching a stage girl dance behind a shower curtain. He asks Neal for $5 of the $23 he has left in his pocket.

After he gives him the money, Susan tears into Neal and doesn’t believe a word of his story about traveling with Del. She tells him that his coworker John got home the previous night. Neal is now more frustrated as Susan passes the phone to Neal’s dad. He tells Neal they had no problems traveling and after some chit chat, Neal can’t seem to understand why Susan doesn’t believe him. Susan gets back on and let’s him have it one more time, telling him she knows what’s going on and to be sure he doesn’t come home with Del’s panties in his briefcase. Neal misinterprets the remark and tells her “Funny you should mention that. I dried off my face with them this morning.”

The Car Talks Back

After Del tells Neal about his Larry Bird ball handling skills, the script adds another level of frustration. After their little fight, the movie has Neal drifting off to sleep which is followed by the “Mess Around” scene with Del driving the car. The script has Neal settling for his nap but before he can settle, an audible warning comes from the car saying “The trunk lid is ajar. Please secure it before proceeding.” The two fight over why Del has to travel with the trunk (which sits on the trunk lid in the movie instead of being inside and secured with rope in the script.) The car warning goes off again and Del hits the dashboard which quiets the warning and turns on the radio. He can’t figure how to turn off the radio so he hits the dash again and it goes off. Neal settles back again for a nap and just a few seconds after he closes his eyes, the warning message sounds off again.

Del is a Sound Sleeper

Another car scene in the script has Neal behind the wheel with Del snoring like a buzz saw. Neal fiddles with the radio to mask Del’s snoring. The snoring gets louder. Neal turns the radio louder. The noise battle continues until the radio is full blast. Neal rolls down the windows and starts screaming Del’s name to wake up. He pokes at Del and finally he turns over and closes his mouth to stop snoring. Neal rolls the windows up and turns off the radio so he can have silence. He reaches down to adjust his crotch with Del telling him “Just can’t leave your walnuts alone, can you.”

Late Night Coffee

Another scene in the script that’s not in the film has them stopping at a café for coffee during their highway journey. It’s a real bonding scene with Del asking about Neal’s kids and Neal wondering why Del hasn’t called his wife. Del explains that just because he hasn’t seen him phone home, doesn’t mean he hasn’t. Del says she is very understanding about their situation with Neal wanting to know how she hasn’t blown up like Susan. Del tells Neal his secret, that “marriage can be a pretty flexible institution if the two parties involved know without a doubt that the love they give will never be less than the love they receive.” Neal really ponders Del’s speech as he finishes his coffee and they hit the road again.

Susan’s Convinced Neal Doesn’t Want To Be Home

The biggest difference between the script and the movie is pretty clear: Susan’s character. Another scene in the script is after the car burns up and Neal and Del check into the motel. Neal can’t call home because of the locked rotary dial on the phone and we get a scene with Susan and her mother discussing the situation. Susan is all but ready to put on a happy face for the holidays and call it quits afterwards despite Peg’s disbelief of Neal’s blatant affair.

Deep Thoughts

In the theatrical release, we see Neal give in and invites Del into the motel room after he wasn’t able to convince the clerk to give him a room. They are more cordial then perhaps we’ve seen them throughout the entire journey, mainly because they are knocking back little bottles of liquor. In the script, there is no liquor and yet they go a little bit deeper versus the “summer camp” feeling that Neal says in the movie. They compare their legacy of shower curtain rings and recycled lip stick ads. Del sees himself as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman and Neal comes to the realization that money is no measurement of worth.

This leads to the appreciation of their wives like in the film but in the script before they turn in, Neal asks Del if he’s gonna have his last smoke. Del says they burned up in the car with Neal then asking him to consider quitting. Del reveals that’s what his wife used to tell him. Neal misinterprets and asks “when did she finally stop” meaning when did she quit smoking. Del gives a more straight answer of “Eight years ago March” really meaning the date when his wife passed away.

Cold Awakening

In the script, Neal and Del wake that morning to a frosty room. There was a fresh snowstorm overnight and it actually fills the inside of the car and drifts underneath the motel door. Neal is in his underwear, curled in a ball on the bed with no pillows or blankets. Del has both pillows and is in a mound of blankets with his hat and overcoat on. When Neal goes to the bathroom, he removes the toilet brush from the toilet and it is a solid sphere of ice. The shower head has icicles, his toothbrush is frozen to the holder, and the sink is a solid block of ice with his shorts contained within (thanks to Del.)

The Car Rams The Motel in Forward Gear

One minor difference is when Neal is pushing the car with Del hitting the gas to dislodge it. In the movie, Del guns it in reverse and plows into their motel room. In the script, the cars jets forward into a fence, a pillar, and then the motel wall which breaks a window.

Hawaii Distraction

If you watch the trailer, there is a cut scene of Del and Neal in the car talking about Hawaii. This is a lead-in prior to them getting pulled over by the state trooper. Del explains that he was planning to go to Hawaii for his honeymoon but American Light and Fixture called and he started his job.

He also asks Neal how they are doing on time but Neal, of course, had to trade his watch to the motel clerk for the room. Del insists that Neal takes his watch. He tries to wiggle it off his wrist while driving and cannot get it off. Neal then tries to help and before you know it, the weaving and speeding car is noticed by the trooper.

Speedy Wreckage

It’s a subtle difference, but in the movie the trooper tells Del they were going 78 miles an hour. In the script, it’s 98.


There is a great behind-the-scenes featurette on the movie called Getting There is Half the Fun which Michael McKean talks about his extended role as the state trooper that never made it into the theatrical release. The scene is in the script and one of the major realizations that comes to light is Neal and Del have overshot Chicago. McKean’s character is a Wisconsin state trooper and tells them they are most definitely lost. Another omission from the movie is that not only does he impound the car but he places Neal and Del under arrest.

As they exit the courthouse later, Neal’s a little worse for wear after being strip searched. Del brags that he didn’t have to get strip searched and also slips that he tried to save Neal a few bucks and didn’t get insurance on the car. Neal then punches Del in the face. You can actually see Del’s black eye prominently through the rest of the movie so the punch scene was definitely filmed.

A Cheesy Fare

The scene inside the tractor trailer continues in the script. Surrounded by boxes of cheese, Del tries to lifts Neal’s spirits by telling him he wishes he had a box of crackers and that Neal shouldn’t mind if he takes his shoes off now. Neal is not in the joking mood and becomes really irked when they arrive in Chicago. He also quickly realizes that the ride wasn’t free like Del said and the driver demands they unload the trailer.

Neal Stumbles Into The Truth

In the theatrical release, there is a wonderful realization when Neal is on the train and connects the dots of Del’s life. He goes back for Del who is still at the train station and tells Neal he doesn’t have a home. In the script, the truth comes to light a little bit different. Neal picks up a discarded newspaper on the train and continues reading it as he steps off the train. He’s so focused on the newspaper that he trips over something upon exiting the train…Del’s trunk. Del has somehow gotten ahead of Neal and followed him to his stop.

Del who is now in desperation finally tells Neal that he doesn’t have a home to go to. Del opens his trunk and shows Neal trinkets from his former home and now claims about 300 motels as his true home. Del explains that the holidays are the toughest part of the year and usually he finds a church to help him feel better but he was too late in finding one this year. He tells Neal how grateful he is to have met him and that he has his business card and plans to repay him. His picks up his bags and one end of the trunk and drags it back toward the train platform. He tells Neal that “When I give my thanks, it will be for meeting you.” As Neal watches Del continue toward the platform, he says “Me too.”

Alternate Ending

After we leave Neal and Del at the train station, the script cuts back to Neal’s house where last preparations for their Thanksgiving dinner are being made. (The scene of Neal and Del walking with the trunk up the street is not specifically in the script.) The doorbell rings and it’s Neal with Del who greet the kids and family. The scene continues at the dinner table with Del being grateful to be seated at this very moment with Neal’s family enjoying turkey. Susan nudges Marti to say her poem that Neal missed. It’s actually a prayer and as Marti struggles to remember the words, everyone joins in to recite it. We cut to the living room with a closeup of Del’s trunk as the camera fades to black as everyone says “Amen.”


WOW. There is so much new material from the script and even more than I didn’t include in this article. While the behind the scenes featurette gives us some great content, nothing would make me happier than being able to watch John Hughes’ original vision for the film. Join me in appealing to Paramount on social media with the hashtag #ReleaseTheHughesCut for Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and maybe one day we can watch a true director’s cut!

If you are curious to read the script, I found it from The Script Savant. These Film/Script Differences articles are truly fun to put together and I have another I’m saving for closer to Christmas this year. Thanks for reading!

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About Jason Gross 557 Articles
'80s Kid, '90s Grad, and '00s Dad. I've been writing and podcasting about 1980s pop culture since 2011 at my website. I collect vinyl, cassingles, '80s comics, Batman memorabilia, and all things Mobile Armored Strike Kommand.

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