The Terminal  

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The Terminal (2004) is an American film directed by Steven Spielberg starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

It is about a man trapped in a terminal at JFK International Airport when he is denied entry into the United States and at the same time cannot return to his native country due to a revolution. The film is said to be inspired by the 18-year-stay of Mehran Karimi Nasseri in the Charles de Gaulle International Airport, Terminal I, Paris, France from 1988 to 2006.


Viktor Navorski, a traveler from the fictional country of Krakozhia, arrives at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and learns that a coup d'état has occurred back home. The United States does not recognize Krakozhia's new government, and Viktor is not permitted to enter the United States or return home as his passport is no longer considered valid. Because of this, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seize his passport and return ticket pending resolution of the issue. He becomes a refugee and is forced to live at the airport.

Frank Dixon, the Acting Field Commissioner of the airport, instructs Viktor to stay in the transit lounge until the issue is resolved. Viktor settles in at the terminal with only his luggage and a Planters peanut can. Viktor finds a gate currently under renovation and makes it his home. All the while, Dixon is determined to get Viktor out of the airport and make him someone else's problem. He tries to get Viktor to leave by luring him out of the airport by ordering guards away from the exit for five minutes, but it fails. Dixon then tries to get Viktor to claim asylum if he is fearful of returning home, so he can leave the airport, but it also fails due to Viktor claiming that he is not scared of his own country. Meanwhile, Viktor befriends and assists several airport employees and travelers. Among them is a flight attendant named Amelia Warren, whom he sees periodically and tries to woo after she mistakes him for a building contractor who is frequently traveling. Dixon, who is being considered for a promotion, becomes more and more obsessed with getting rid of Viktor. In the meantime, Viktor begins reading books and magazines to learn English. After he impulsively remodels a wall in the renovation zone, he is hired by an airport contractor and paid under the table.

One day, Dixon pulls Amelia aside and questions her regarding Viktor and his mysterious peanut can. Amelia, who realizes Viktor has not been entirely truthful, confronts him at his makeshift home, where he shows her that the Planters peanut can contains a copy of the "A Great Day in Harlem" photograph. His late father was a jazz enthusiast who had discovered the famous portrait in a Hungarian newspaper in 1958 and vowed to collect the autographs of all 57 of the musicians featured on it. He died before he could get the last one, from tenor saxophonist Benny Golson. Viktor has come to New York to do so. After hearing the story, Amelia kisses Viktor.

After nine months, his friends wake Viktor with the news that the war in Krakozhia has ended, and he can get a green stamp, allowing him to leave the airport. Meanwhile, Amelia had asked her "friend", actually a married government official with whom she had been having an affair, to get Viktor a one-day emergency visa to fulfill his dream, but Viktor is disappointed to learn that she has rekindled her relationship with the man during this process. When he presents the emergency visa at customs, Viktor is told that Dixon must sign the visa. But with Viktor's passport now valid again, Dixon is determined to immediately send him back to Krakozhia. He threatens Viktor that if he does not go home at once, he will cause trouble for his friends, most seriously by deporting janitor Gupta Rajan back to India to face a charge of assaulting a police officer. Unwilling to let this happen, Viktor finally agrees to return home. When Gupta learns of this, however, he runs in front of the plane which would take Viktor back home, ensuring his deportation and taking the burden off Viktor.

The delay gives Viktor enough time to get into the city. Dixon orders his officers to arrest Viktor, but disillusioned with Dixon, they let him leave the airport. As Viktor is getting in a taxi, Amelia arrives in another taxi, and they briefly smile and make eye contact. Dixon himself arrives at the taxi stand only moments after Viktor's taxi has left. When his officers arrive and one suggests immediately cordoning off the area and searching all vehicles to find him, Dixon, having had a change of heart, tells them that they have incoming travelers to handle. Viktor arrives in New York at the hotel where Benny Golson is performing and finally collects the last autograph. He gets in a taxi, telling the driver, "I am going home".

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